In no particular order: Laraine Newman, John Belushi, Jane Curtin, Gilda Radner, Dan Aykroyd, Garrett Morris, Bill Murray and Chevy Chase
‘Saturday Night Live': All 141 Cast Members Ranked
- “Saturday Night Live’s” 40th season premieres Saturday
- Show has been incredibly influential
- Cast members have become stars in many media
- “SNL” has become big leagues of comedy
(CNN) — On October 11, 1975, “Saturday Night Live” was first beamed into living rooms.
It wasn’t called “Saturday Night Live” then. It was “NBC’s Saturday Night,” because there was another “Saturday Night Live,” hosted by Howard Cosell, over on ABC. And its Not Ready for Prime Time Players — seven youthful comic veterans of theatrical and improvisational troupes — were known only to those who may have seen performances of Second City (both its Chicago and Toronto versions) or “National Lampoon’s Lemmings.”
Almost 40 years later, the show is an institution: its players celebrated, its catchphrases ubiquitous, its very name synonymous with the comedy big leagues.
As the show prepares for the premiere of its 40th season on Saturday, we celebrate “SNL’s” landmark contributions to pop culture.
From the beginning, “SNL” was both cutting-edge comedy and a throwback to TV’s golden era. The show aired live: no retakes, no second chances. Though there’s plenty of taped material — and an occasional delay in case of profanity — it still airs live today.
“From New York”
Also like those golden age shows, it airs from New York. When “SNL” started, the Big Apple was a TV backwater, home of soap operas, news operations and little else. Today, a number of network shows shoot in Gotham, and even talk shows have come back to town.
“It’s Saturday Night!”
Before “Saturday Night Live,” late Saturday night was home to old movies, reruns and local programming. The show not only made the slot a network profit center, it helped bring in a youthful audience, which it still does today.
Studio 8H, 30 Rockefeller Center
When it was built in the early ’30s, 8H was the largest studio in the world, home to Arturo Toscanini’s orchestral radio broadcasts. The NBC studio has been the home of “SNL” since the beginning.
The Not Ready for Prime Time Players
The show’s first cast: Dan Aykroyd, John Belushi, Chevy Chase, Jane Curtin, Garrett Morris, Laraine Newman and Gilda Radner. The show has had more than 130 performers in the years since.
Except for five seasons in the early ’80s, the show’s creator and executive producer, a Canadian native and former “Laugh-In” writer, has been in charge for all of the show’s soon-to-be 40 seasons.
“SNL’s” original director for most of its first 20 seasons. He set the tone for the show and was game enough to take part in the occasional sketch.
The longtime NBC announcer introduced the first cast — and pretty much every one after that. All told, Pardo announced for 38 of the show’s first 39 seasons. He died in August at 96. Darrell Hammond, “SNL’s” longest-serving cast member, is taking his place.
Eugene Lee, Franne Lee and Akira Yoshimura
The Lees and Yoshimura created the show’s look; in fact, Eugene Lee, who’s also won several Tonys, has been “SNL’s” production designer for the entire run. For his part, Yoshimura has connections to several other NBC shows, including “Today,” “Late Night With Jimmy Fallon” and “Star Trek.” Well, at least the “SNL” parodies, in which he played Sulu.
The show’s midnight hour begins with a recap of the news. It’s been hosted by everybody from Chevy Chase to Cecily Strong and Colin Jost, with notable turns from Dennis Miller, Norm Macdonald and Tina Fey. It hasn’t always been called “Weekend Update”: for a time in the ’80s, the news segment was called “SNL Newsbreak” and “Saturday Night News.”
The “30 Rock” actor leads the way among “SNL’s” most popular guest hosts with 16 appearances. Steve Martin has 15. Other frequent guest hosts include Buck Henry, John Goodman and Tom Hanks.
But to prove that “Anyone Can Host” “SNL,” the show had a contest in 1977 to show just that. The winner was Spillman, a New Orleans octogenarian who did just fine with the program’s drug-fueled humor. Today she’d probably get her own show.
TV’s most famous Play-Doh accident victim was created by Walter Williams as the subject of a Super 8 film. Soon, his adventures with Spot, Sluggo and Mr. Hands were regular features on the program. He later did commercials, game shows and even became Peter Scolari for a real-life TV program.
Not every host was so welcome. Louise Lasser locked herself in her dressing room. She was never asked back. Milton Berle hammed it up. Never again. Steven Seagal, Martin Lawrence and Adrien Brody are also persona non grata.
Paul Simon in a turkey suit
“SNL” is not above making stars look foolish. On the 1976 Thanksgiving show, Simon came out wearing a turkey suit and started singing “Still Crazy After All These Years.” Dolly Parton went along with a skit called “Planet of the Enormous Hooters,” originally written for Raquel Welch. Timberlake put his d**k in a box. You get the idea.
Your musical guest
“SNL” has hosted some of the biggest names in music, often giving them their first taste of the big time. The Rolling Stones played “SNL” — and so did Devo and Fear. Justin Timberlake has taken the stage — and so did Lana Del Rey and Ashlee Simpson. You could set aside a portion of the Rock and Roll Hall of Fame (or Hall of Shame) for “SNL’s” music.
But “SNL” never landed the biggest of them all, the Beatles. (Not that anyone else did, either, after 1969.) It wasn’t for lack of trying, though. After a $50 million reunion offer was made to the Fab Four in 1976, Michaels responded by countering with $3,000. The ploy almost worked: a week later, Paul McCartney was visiting John Lennon in New York and the two almost headed down to the studio from Lennon’s Dakota residence. McCartney, George Harrison and Ringo Starr all have appeared solo over the years.
Howard Shore and Paul Shaffer
For musical inspiration, the show has also relied on Shore and Shaffer. Shore was music director for the first five seasons. He’s gone on to really big things since, including composing the music for the “Lord of the Rings” trilogy, which won him three Oscars. Shaffer, who could play music impresario Don Kirshner in a pinch, has been David Letterman’s bandleader for more than 30 years.
Another of “SNL’s” music directors was once married to Gilda Radner and the guitarist in Hall & Oates’ band. Smith led the “SNL” group from 1985 to 1995.
Game show parodies
What would “SNL” be without game shows? The program has taken numerous shots at “Jeopardy” and “Family Feud” and frequently made up its own contests, including “Jackie Rogers Jr.’s $100,000 Jackpot Wad” and one in which Phil Hartman played God. He did very well.
“SNL” has regularly gone to tape to air some short films. Some of the best include Eddie Murphy’s investigation, “White Like Me,” Harry Shearer and Martin Short as synchronized swimmers and the cartoons of Robert Smigel’s “TV Funhouse.”
“SNL“ prime time
The show hasn’t always stayed in late night. There have been a number of prime-time specials over the years, from the ridiculous — a messy Mardi Gras program in 1977 — to the sublime: 2008’s “Presidential Bash,” which gave Tina Fey another opportunity to play Sarah Palin.
John Belushi was a samurai. Phil Hartman was Unfrozen Caveman Lawyer. Adam Sandler was Opera Man. In fact, some of these characters were so popular they got their own movies.
Your local theater has featured movies based on “SNL” characters almost as long as there’s been a “Saturday Night Live.” “The Blues Brothers” went from a strange skit to a hit album and popular movie; “Wayne’s World” was a huge success. Even Julia Sweeney’s androgynous Pat got a movie — “It’s Pat” — though most folks probably want to forget it.
“SNL“ movie stars
The list of “SNL” performers who have gone on to big-screen stardom is long and influential: John Belushi, Bill Murray, Eddie Murphy, Mike Myers, Adam Sandler, Tina Fey, Kristen Wiig and Will Ferrell, just for starters. Even Robert Downey Jr. spent a year in the “SNL” cast when he was best known for playing a jerk in “Weird Science.”
Those who have left us
A handful of “SNL” cast members have left the stage entirely. They include John Belushi, Gilda Radner, Phil Hartman, Chris Farley, Danitra Vance and Charles Rocket, as well as writers Tom Davis and Michael “Mr. Mike” O’Donoghue.
The parody commercial has long been an “SNL” stock in trade, whether it’s Dan Aykroyd’s Ron Popeil-like pitchman for Bass-o-Matic (“Mmm, that’s good bass!”) to Chris Farley and Adam Sandler in an ad for “Schmitt’s Gay, the beer for homosexuals.” Don’t take “Colon Blow” or you may find yourself in need of “Ooops, I Crapped My Pants!”
Pushing the limits
“SNL” has battled NBC’s censors over the years, so it’s surprising what did make it on the air. How about “Sofa King,” the New Jersey furniture store? Or the music video “D**k in a Box”? The show was once even sponsored by “Pussy Whip, the first dessert topping for cats.”
Over the years, “SNL’s” parodies of celebrities have become better known than the celebrity’s own persona. Dan Aykroyd nailed talk-show host Tom Snyder and Phil Hartman was a wicked Frank Sinatra (“I’ve got chunks of guys like you in my stool!”). The show’s been on long enough that its own stars have since been parodied — witness Jay Pharoah’s take on Eddie Murphy.
Politicians and presidents
But when it comes to impersonations, politicians deserve their own slot. Gerald Ford may have been our most athletic president — the guy almost went into the NFL — but when Chevy Chase started falling down, it was all over. Will Ferrell was a master George W. Bush, while Dana Carvey cornered the market for W.’s father. And could Tina Fey have helped decide the 2008 election with her version of Sarah Palin? 1980 independent John Anderson is lucky he showed up in person.
Where you want to start? “Cheeseboogie, cheeseboogie, cheeseboogie”? “Schwing!” “Well, isn’t that special?” “Da Bearss!” A good chunk of the pop culture phrasebook wouldn’t exist if it weren’t for “Saturday Night Live.”
“Saturday Night Live” is, by definition, live, so occasionally the show shocks even the cast. Sinead O’Connor ripped up a photo of Pope John Paul II while saying “Fight the real enemy.” Elvis Costello abruptly stopped “Less Than Zero” to play the anti-industry “Radio, Radio.” Charles Rocket let the F-word fly. For all of the planning and preparation, sometimes stuff happens.
Sometimes the shock is on us — especially when there are unexpected guests. Janet Reno dropped by “Janet Reno’s Dance Party,” and the real Sarah Palin showed up next to Fey’s version. Perhaps the most ingenious was Barbra Streisand guesting on “Coffee Talk,” delighting Streisand worshipper Linda Richman (Mike Myers).
Viewers naturally focus on the cast, but without “SNL’s” writers, the show would be a lot of dead air. So let’s pay some tribute to Anne Beatts and Marilyn Suzanne Miller, Al Franken and Tom Davis, Jim Downey and Alan Zweibel, Andy Breckman and Carol Leifer, Bonnie and Terry Turner, Jack Handey and Robert Smigel, Bob Odenkirk and Ian Maxtone-Graham, Adam McKay and Max Brooks, Mindy Kaling and Simon Rich, and the dozens of others who have written all that material.
“Saturday Night Live” opened the door for several other edgy sketch shows. An early competitor was “Fridays” on ABC, which gave us Michael Richards and Larry David. Later came “MADtv,” “Mr. Show” and “Exit 57.” If the old-fashioned variety show is no more, it’s because of “SNL” and its imitators.
“Saturday Night Live” may seem as American as apple pie, but like the Band, there’s a portion that’s as Canadian as a maple syrup-covered moose. Among the show’s north-of-the-border notables: Dan Aykroyd, Mike Myers, Martin Short, Norm Macdonald, musicians Howard Shore and Paul Shaffer, and creator Lorne Michaels.
The show has also used some improv groups as pipelines. More than two dozen of the cast members have come from Second City’s outposts in Chicago and Toronto, and at least 15 have learned the trade with Los Angeles’ Groundlings comedy troupe.
In recent years, word of mouth — “Did you see that sketch?” — has been replaced by viral video and social media. The show quickly adapted to new technology, particularly thanks to Andy Samberg and the Lonely Island troupe, whose “Lazy Sunday” became a Web sensation in 2005.
According to the Internet Movie Database, “SNL” has won 45 Primetime Emmys over the years. It won four its first year — including outstanding comedy-variety series — and, just last month, picked up five more.
The first show of the 2014-15 season will be “SNL’s” 767th, and it’s long since become the longest-running variety series in U.S. history. To put it another way, both the season premiere host, Chris Pratt, and musical guest, Ariana Grande, were born after “SNL” first went on the air. So here’s to another 40 years — except, this time, let’s use more cowbell.
70’s snl original cast
Original cast members of NBC’s Saturday Night Live
Tribute to the SNL Original Cast (1975-1980)
Sugarcreek, Ohio has what they claim is the world’s largest cuckoo clock. In fact it had been on display at a couple of different venues for many years. It is quite a lovely and charming tourist attraction.
mother and Jack Kerouac
Reading their love letters from before I was born is an eerie experience.
My mother met Jack Kerouac on a blind date arranged by Allen Ginsberg. It was January 1957. Kerouac at the time was penniless, 34 years old, burned out from frantic world wandering. My mother, Joyce Johnson, then 21, worked in book publishing as she slowly wrote and revised her first novel. Years later, in his novel “Desolation Angels,” Kerouac called her “an interesting young person, a Jewess, elegant, middleclass sad and looking for something.” He also wrote, “I still love her tonight.”
The correspondence between them, collected in the new book “Door Wide Open,” starts a few months after that first meeting, when Kerouac characteristically splits for Africa, then San Francisco, Mexico City and Florida. As he speeds from place to place, he sometimes asks my mother to join him, then abruptly changes his mind. “I admit I’m flipping and am bugged everywhere I go,” he writes from Berkeley, Calif., distraught as each new place offers no refuge, no vibration, no new vision.
My mother’s letters radiate precocious self-awareness and tenderness. She seeks to lure Kerouac closer without frightening him away with any hint of commitment, and she also tries to dissuade him from his “desperate, gluttonous drinking,” his bitterness and the other demons that threaten to destroy him. “I remember the first party we went to last Fall,” she writes. “You said, ‘Protect me,’ and I wanted to with all my heart, but didn’t do a very good job, having all my old shynesses and especially my strange shyness of you.”
I feel a kind of shyness approaching these documents. My mother’s relationship with Kerouac ended six years before she met my father, painter Peter Pinchbeck, and eight years before my birth. There is something eerie about reading a parent’s early love letters; it gives you a vertiginous glimpse into the accidental processes that led to your own creation. Covering a span of less than two years, the letters not only suggest huge worlds of possibility that my mother could have lived, they also make me aware of the various ways these distant events shaped my own consciousness.
knights in white satin
I KNOW YOU’RE OUT THERE SOMEWHERE
History of the Band, Biographies of band members past and present, Images and Pictures of the band, Frequently Asked Questions
- Moody Blues History/Bio – “Just the facts” from The Classic Rock Connection
- Formation of the Moody Blues – From Brumbeat.net, The Moody Blues part in the Brumbeat era.
- All Music Guide – Comprehensive history from the definitive music site on the Web.
- The Moody Blues – The Wikipedia entry for The Moody Blues
- Moody Blues biography – Flying Public Press reviews the career of the Moody Blues (through 1998), presenting a less than glowing review.
- History of “Days of Future Passed” – short but informative narrative on how this album came about
- Biography of Justin Hayward – from All Music Guide
- Biography of John Lodge – from All Music Guide
- Biography of Graeme Edge – from All Music Guide
- Biography of Ray Thomas – from All Music Guide
- Graeme Edge Band – A VH1 biography
- Moody Blues – biography (in Russian) and discography (in English)
- BBC Wiltshire – Early photos of Justin Hayward
- Maggie’s Moodyland – one of the most prolific fan photographers shares 228 pages (and counting!) of Moody Blues photos
- Concert Photos – The Desert Sun publishes concert photos (Feb 11, 2007)
- Pictures from Sept 27, 2006 – Page of photos at the Apollo in Devon (Sep 27, 2006)
- Pictures from Feb 17, 2005 – Musicpix.com photos from Murat Theatre, Indianapolis, IN
- Wire Image – 25 pictures of the Moody Blues between 1965 and 1984
- Moody Blues World – Linda Bernier’s impressive collection of pictures of concerts, places and scenery from around the world
- Moody Blues Concert Photo Database – Eight sections of Moody Blues pictures taken by master photographer Linda Sailor
- Moody Blues Pictures – Twenty five pictures from early 90’s
The Scarface Mansion is Up for Sale
You might not know this (we didn’t), but Tony Montana’s Scarface mansion has a name. The estate, known as “El Fureidis” and actually located in Montecito, California, recently underwent a multi-million dollar renovation so that the 10-acre ………. continue reading
SCARFACE-THE BEST PARTS
Photographs & Text by John Suiter
Pawtucket Falls from the White Bridge, Pawtucketville, Lowell, Massachusetts, March 1992 © John Suiter
From 1918 to ‘20, Kerouac’s parents, Leo and Gabrielle, with their first two children, Gerard and Caroline, lived on the first floor of the building at right—No. 9 Lupine Road, in Lowell’s Centralville section. In 1921 they moved to the second floor, and it was there that Jack was born—Jean Louis Lebris de Kerouac—at five p.m. on Sunday, March 12, 1922.
…..Conjuring his birth many years later in Doctor Sax, Kerouac recalled the afternoon in reds—the red river, red rocks, red rooftops, a red suppertime—and liked to say that one of the first sounds that he heard was the river ice cracking a mile away at the Pawtucket Dam.
Canadians Pay Nimoy Tribute by Drawing Spock on $5 Bills
Even before his unfortunate passing last week, Leonard Nimoy has been receiving tributes by Canadian Trekkies in the form of currency doodles. Years ago someone noticed that with a few strokes of the pen, Sir Wilfrid Laurier—7th Prime Minister of Canada and face of the $5 bill—looked remarkably similar to Spock.
Ever since, people have shared images online of $5 bills they have found and received over the years that bear the Spock tribute; and since Nimoy’s passing, the amount of ‘Spocks’ in circulation has dramatically increased.
Contrary to the United States, it is not illegal to deface or mutilate Canadian bank notes, although there are laws that prohibit reproducing both sides of a bill electronically. [source]
Canada has recently introduced new polymer bills that make doodling nearly impossible.
Of course that has not deterred digital artists :)