Thursday, March 8, 2012

Knowledge is Good sayeth Emil Faber.

I have a notoriously prickly relationship with time. I presume that we all do. As kids, it never seems to pass quickly enough. As adults, it disappears to a spot out on the horizon line with such pace and vigor that we find it hard to keep up. A happy medium? If there is one, then it has eluded me thus far. Candidly, the prospects for the next forty-five years are not terribly hopeful either.

It was thirty years ago this week that John Belushi died, felled by an overdose of cocaine and heroin at a bungalow at the Chateau Marmont Hotel in West Hollywood. He was only thirty-three. It seems almost inconceivable to me that by this point in time he has been dead for almost as long as he was alive.

I was fifteen when Belushi died and at the time of his death he was already a couple of seasons removed from his breakout work on Saturday Night Live. I cannot recall which of my older siblings (or what combination thereof) opened my eyes and ears to his genius when I was just a boy but I am glad they did. His work on "SNL" was tremendous - I think that to this day Joe Cocker believes that he is the one singing here. He also starred in what remain to this day two of my all-time favorite films. Whenever I am channel surfing and stumble upon either "Animal House" or "The Blues Brothers Movie", I put down the remote control.

Belushi's name was in the press this week a bit more than I am used to seeing it not only because of the sad anniversary but also because "Animal House" is apparently coming to Broadway. It is an idea that - to me at least - seems ill-conceived as it promises to deliver a finished product in which I cannot envision myself having any interest. I mean certain things should not be screwed with; right? But then again, it boggles my mind how many people plunked down good money to see "CATS" or "A Chorus Line" (not to mention "Les Miserables", which lasted roughly twenty-one times as long on Broadway as the French Revolution that inspired it did) so I freely admit that I may not be among the audience producers of this show shall look to target.

The great Pete Hamill wrote, "Time itself is long, even if the time of man is short." Belushi's time certainly was. But through the magic of video and film, the work he did outlives him. It enables us to look back and laugh....

....and in one instance to even look back and imagine that which he did not live long enough to allow any of us to see.



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