By Larry Atseff

There is absolutely no substitute for talent. And there is no substitute for being a genuinely nice guy. That is Dan Aykroyd in a nutshell.

His oeuvre as a comedian, actor, writer and director speaks for itself. Think about all the laughs you have had watching him on Saturday Night Live and in movies like Blues Brothers, Trading Places, Spies Like Us, as well as Ghostbusters I and II, among others. Aykroyd has even earned an Academy Award nomination for his supporting role as Boolie Werthan in the 1989 film, Driving Miss Daisy.

Many of the storylines, scenes and dialogue in skits and films are his. And, according to all reports, he is generous in his praise of his collaborators.

On Monday night, April 8, Hinsdale Magazine Group Publisher Scott Jonlich and I watched his nice-guy side, first- hand, for about an hour. He pleasantly enjoyed speaking with interviewers and dozens of fans. He was signing autographs and taking pictures during a promotional stint for his new Crystal Head Vodka. Appropriately enough, it took place at the Ghost Trap, Ghostbusters-themed speakeasy.

When asked about his legacy, Aykroyd said, “I don’t really think about legacy. I think about the future. I think about how I can impact people’s lives by maybe creating another piece of entertainment or two. And just living a happy, healthy life and everything in moderation.”

Ghostbusters is part of Wonderverse, Sony Entertainment’s first “immersive entertainment” venue, which happens to be located in Oakbrook Center, in Oak Brook.

You can go to the Ghostbusters VR Academy and be a Ghostbuster with two reality experiences. In one experience, you suit up and get armed with proton packs so you can outsmart spirits together with other visitors , to capture Ghosts. In another experience, you hop into the driver’s seat of Blitz, and Ecto Hovercraft, and you compete to see who is the fastest, most skilled driver in a high-speed race. For Aykroyd’s appearance, there was even an Ectomobile with several Ghostbusters on hand.

Another immersive theme is the Pacific Playland Arcade, the site of the final scene from the movie Zombieland. It comes complete with giant video classics like Pac-Man and Space Invaders, to customized claw machines and Skee Ball. You can also get into Zombie bumper cars. If you keep from getting bumped, you escape becoming “infected”.


“I don’t really think about legacy. I think about the future. I think about how I can impact people’s lives by maybe creating another piece of entertainment or two. And just living a happy, healthy life and everything in moderation.”

— Dan Akroyd


Wonderverse is all part of a trend that seems to be taking hold at shopping centers around the country.

Last fall, Jeffrey Godsick of Sony Pictures put it this way, “We are in the midst of an explosion in the experiential economy. People today, especially millennials and Gen Z, are much more interested in spending their money on experiences than acquiring just material goods.”

Sony chose Oakbrook Center because it is extremely successful and draws big crowds daily and year-round, according to Serge Khalimsky, senior manager for the shopping center. He also points to Puttshack, Escape the Room, Immersive Game Box and Sandbox VR. ■

Fans check out Windy City Ghostbusters
The “Ghostbusters” made a special appearance at Oakbrook Center’s Wonderverse. Photo by Oak Brook Magazine Staff

Author

LEAVE A REPLY

Please enter your comment!
Please enter your name here