I have been a huge fan of your magazine since it came out. I look forward to each new release and I’d like to offer a little of my background. I was happily married for 20 years to my high school girlfriend. We raised two beautiful and successful children and looked forward to a bright future. Unfortunately, two weeks after our 20th anniversary, my wife was killed in a car accident. Aside from the heartbreak and devastation, I felt like I was fortunate enough to have such a perfect relationship with my wife that I was destined to be a single man the rest of my life. And, I was happy with that. Well, out of the blue, about one year later a past employee called to ask if I would meet and interview a colleague to see if I could help her change jobs. I met this woman with the intent to interview and network for future business connections. She was very impressive and we hit if off professionally (at first). Long story short, we fell in love. She also became very interested in my habits, one of which is cigars. She actually smokes most brands that I like, even some of the stronger varieties. Our wedding took place in Positano, Italy, where we both smoked Cohibas.
I truly look forward to many more happy times (and more magazines) to come.
John A. Durkee
West Chester, Pennsylvania
Each month I select a favorite old issue of your great magazine to put out on my personal bar for my friends to enjoy with a cigar and the adult beverage of their choice. They always comment on the quality and content of it.
For November I just happened to pick the February ’08 issue with the Blues Brothers on the cover. I had to laugh when I received the December ’10 issue in the mail and low and behold here was ‘lil brother Jim Belushi on the cover! What are the odds? My question is this; have brothers ever graced the cover before? I can’t recall any. Thanks for a great publication.
Editor’s Note: Actually, that’s Jim on the Feb. ’08 cover in his Blues Brothers outfit. So he’s in very rarefied territory—a two-time cover boy.
Jim Belushi once threatened to kick my ass in front of a thousand people … and I still love the guy, anyway. That was 1985. The place was Lantz Gymnasium at Eastern Illinois University (there was no local auditorium big enough to hold the crowd), and Belushi had swung through that town of Charleston, Illinois on a stand-up comedy tour.
Four years earlier I became a fan of his—not because of his comedy, or that he was John’s brother—but because he costarred in Michael Mann’s fantastic 1981 film, Thief, as James Caan’s alarm-expert sidekick. A film your writer Marshall Fine never mentions by name but, instead, lets Belushi gloss over in a vague reference only as “Michael Mann’s first film.” But I digress.
In 1985, while I was an eager young journalism major at Eastern, I was especially thrilled Belushi—having had a role in my favorite film of all time—was going to perform there. So, I not only purchased my ticket early, but that night I also brought along my student press credentials to ward off security when I got out of my seat, along with my 35mm camera. It was the camera that got me in trouble. Well that, and me taking a dozen or more pictures with it from the foot of the stage with—I’m sure—its blinding flash.
At first, I got a single, somewhat jovial acknowledgement from Belushi that I was a bit of a distraction, and then after snapping another six pictures he turned, paused and pointed at me from 30 feet away—with a deadly serious look—and said, “Leave right now and I won’t kick your ass.” The audience roared its approval and, needless to say, I shamefully found an exit.
Thank you, Marvin, for letting Fine update Belushi’s fans on his career and latest ventures. He’s a huge talent in a town that seems to pride itself on churning out crap entertainment. I wish there were more like him to fill that seemingly bottomless void.
And all I can say to Jim after 25 years is, please accept the apologies of a pre-paparazzi-era student who simply got a little camera happy. What good came of it? I got a job after graduation when a prospective editor saw your pictures in my otherwise lackluster portfolio—an editor who also happened to be a big fan of yours. And, while he seemed to enjoy the story, the pictures were the deciding factor in him offering me the gig. Thank you for everything.