Longtime reader Brian wrote in with a little treasure he found while digging through his closets;
Allow me to give you some back story real quick. My mother’s boyfriend is a manager of a gas station on the New Jersey Turnpike. Because of his location, on occasion celebrities come through the station. A while back Dan Aykroyd was one such individual. He was riding a motorcycle when he pulled in to the station and after being recognized was happy to give an autograph to a co-worker. Dan provided his own paper however and signed the blank side of it, the other containing an ectomobile sketch.
My mother’s boyfriend took some pictures on his cell phone to show me when he got home. Upon looking at them I noticed that ectomobile look strange. The picture was too far away and I couldn’t make out details. He told me he would have his co-worker make a copy of the sketch side of the image.
I was just reminded of all of this when I was handed a copy of the sketch tonight. After looking it over I did some research on it along with community figures Rob Smith and Cedric “CJ” Bacon.
Brian’s copy is a Xerox – I’m not certain (hopefully Brian can help clarify), but I don’t think the signed copy is an original. The Sharpie signature on the back can be seen through the art – something that’s not surprising in a thin sheet of photocopy paper, but probably wouldn’t happen on thicker artboard. Besides, as awesome a story as it would be (“Aykroyd accidentally leaves original art with fan!”), it’s more likely Dan would have photocopies on hand.
I wonder how much concept art Dan owns, and if he deliberately uses photocopies of it as signing material?
The art is signed Benton Jew, an established concept artist (having recently worked on designs for the new GI Joe movie), and dated for October 1988. According to both Jew’s website and the IMdB (though as always, the imdb counts for little), he did uncredited concept art for Ghostbusters 2 (it is not uncommon for artists to be contracted for concept work, but not appear in the credits, particular if the designs aren’t used, as this one obviously wasn’t.)
The concept is an interesting one – instead of the iconic Caddy, Benton opted to use what looks like a stretched NY Cab. The fake phone numbers are funny (1-800-BOO-BUST), but what’s particularly interesting is the LED signboard, though on the doors, not the roof – one element that did in fact appear in the movie. The art is labeled as a third version, so it’s not known if Benton came up with the signboard, or incorporated it from another design at the producer’s suggestion.
Big thanks to Brian, Rob, and CJ for their digging, and an extra heaping of thanks to Brian for sharing!
[UPDATE] Jason’s seen the cab before and better yet, he’s got a picture of a companion sketch for the concept. The downside is he can’t remember where it’s from. Also, the fro-gurt is cursed.