Sit down kids, I've got a little story to tell. Now, you youngers will think I'm making this up, but I swear on the graves of two of my heroes, Helen Keller and Oscar Wilde, that it is the absolute truth. You know that guy on that TV show about the community college? The one in those old movies about going on vacation? Yeah, that's right, Chevy Chase. Well, once upon a time Chevy Chase was one of the most famous celebrities in the world. No, wait, wait. It gets even better. Chevy Chase was not just one of the most famous and popular celebrities in America, but Bill Murray viewed as little more than a pale imitation forced upon us a sad replacement for Chase's comic genius.
See, I told you that wouldn't believe me.
It's true, though. Those who have come to know Bill Murray as the only guy who has so far come closest to making Sofia Coppola movie time coincide with the actual passage of time or as the man who inhabits all those Wes Anderso movies may not realize that Bill Murray first came to the attention of America as the 1970s equivalent of those replacement referees who came so dangerously close to destroying the country in the early part of the 2012 football season.
Chevy Chase was the first breakout star in the history of "Saturday Night Live." He wasn't even supposed to be a member of the performing cast; he joined the show as a writer. But cast member he became and not long into the first season it was clear he was far ahead of John Belushi and Gilda Radner, the two cast member who looked likeliest to break out first.
Following Chase's departure from "Saturday Night Live" there was actually speculation as to whether the show could continue to remain as popular. Although they tried their best to introduce Bill Murray as the newest cast member without making it seem like he was the Chevy Chase replacement, that was exactly what it felt like. Here was this relatively thin, young, dark-haired sarcastic guy filling a slot in a cast of a show previously occupied by a relatively thin, young, dark-haired sarcastic guy.
Peering into a crystal ball at that point so that one writing form the perspective of history at this point, the smart money would have been on Chevy Chase being an aging comedy legend and Bill Murray being a footnote. What a crazy world reality is, though, huh?
Chevy Chase has become the cranky old guy from that TV show. Meanwhile, Bill Murray has become God.