Saturday Night Live
50 Cast Members
Hitting the airwaves in October 1975, Saturday Night Live essentially became an instant hit, albeit a cult one at first. The first cast, The Not Ready For Prime Time Players consisted of Chevy Chase, John Belushi, Gilda Radner, Dan Akroyd, Jane Curtain, Garrett Morris and Larraine Newman. Chase left after the first season and was replaced by Bill Murray. I had moved to NYC the year before to go to art school and instantly fell in love with the show. Back then, before VCRs, if you wanted to see a show, you stayed home and that’s what millions of people started doing at 11:30 Saturday night. I remember there was always a lot of discussion about the show in the following days and we started imitating various recurring characters.
My mom had ordered tickets for me and my girlfriend to see the show live. It was episode 6 in the first season and the host was Lily Tomlin and I still think about that experience. I’ve tried to get tickets many times since but it’s almost impossible. Hey Lorne, how about some tickets?
Bill Murray quickly became my favorite cast member. I loved his characters; Todd and Lisa, the lounge singer and on and on. One time I had flown back from a vacation in California and was waiting in baggage claim. I turned around and there was Bill Murray standing there all by himself. I went over to say hi and he was instantly inviting and funny. He was grabbing my t-shirt asking me what was on it. I asked him what he was up to and he told me he had just finished filming a movie about summer camp. That was Meatballs and I think the character he played was just like the guy I met in the airport that day.