Make us your home page
Instagram

Today’s top headlines delivered to you daily.

(View our Privacy Policy)

Dan Aykroyd delights crowd at MacDill Air Force Base

TAMPA

When Chris Hinchee was 4 years old, his family let him pick out a movie to buy. He chose a VHS tape with a white ghost breaking out of a red circle on the cover.

It was Ghostbusters, the first movie he ever loved.

He kept it close for two decades, even as VCRs became obsolete, carrying it with him from his hometown of Sacramento, Calif., to MacDill Air Force Base.

On Friday, nervously clutching that same videotape, the 28-year-old Air Force command post controller finally met the man he knew on film as ghostbuster Ray Stantz.

Actor and comedian Dan Aykroyd had come to MacDill to visit the troops.

"You can thank me," Aykroyd told a crowd of about 200. "But I got a far bigger thank-you to give you."

For 45 minutes, the 59-year-old Blues Brother and Saturday Night Live legend turned down no one.

He posed for photos, shook hands and made small talk with everyone crowded into the base's Surf's Edge club. He posed with an airman's baby, donned a cap someone gave him, signed a little girl's pink journal with a Mickey Mouse pen, autographed a DVD of The Great Outdoors and posed with two 46-year-old MacDill workers who had performed Sweet Home Chicago for Aykroyd in matching Blues Brothers outfits.

"The only reason these people exist are to protect the artists and creative people," Aykroyd said, "and that allows us to do what we do."

Hinchee had met several rock stars before, but this was a childhood hero. His younger friends had trouble understanding, since The Blues Brothers debuted in 1980, Ghostbusters in 1984 and Coneheads in 1993.

"You know, Ghostbusters?" Hinchee had said to vacant stares. "Forget it. I'm going to be out of the office for a few hours."

"He's still relevant," he muttered later.

But he, too, wondered just how bright Aykroyd's star still burned.

That question was answered by the spectrum of fans who came out Friday.

Fans such as bold Alyssa Baumgartner, who dressed like a Blues Brother in her father's black suit and carried a poster board asking Aykroyd to attend her 14th birthday party that night.

The crowd also included meek Mike Updike, the base's inspector general, who stood to the side quietly, military cap in hand.

He wished just to say hello to the star of one of his favorite comedies, Spies Like Us.

"I'd be glad to meet him," he said.

And then there was Hinchee and his precious videotape.

"I hope he can't resist signing it," he said. "Maybe I can get my picture with him? I don't know. I know his time is limited."

His chance came, and he walked up, told the star his story and handed him the videocassette.

The comedian looked it over, signed it with just a few words and handed it back.

Hinchee thanked the actor repeatedly and then stared at the tape.

To him, it had traveled across the country and two decades just for this moment.

Justin George can be reached at jgeorge@tampabay.com or (813) 226-3368.

Dan Aykroyd delights crowd at MacDill Air Force Base 03/09/12 [Last modified: Friday, March 9, 2012 11:41pm]
Photo reprints | Article reprints

© 2017 Tampa Bay Times

    

Join the discussion: Click to view comments, add yours

Loading...
  1. Shakeup on Adam Putnam campaign

    Blogs

    In a sign of unsteadiness for what  had  looked like a strong-out-of-the-gate Adam Putnam campaign, the Republican frontrunner suddenly fired his campaign manager and political director. Hard-charging Campaign manager Kristin Davis and political director Jared Small were two of the three outsiders to join …

    Putnam campaigning in Destin the other day as part of his 22-city bus tour
  2. Rays let early lead get away again in loss to Angels (w/video)

    The Heater

    ST. PETERSBURG — As pleased as the Rays were to win consecutive series against the contending Red Sox, Indians and Yankees and to get briefly back over .500, there was a lot of talk in the clubhouse before Monday's game against the Angels that it was time to do better.

    Tampa Bay Rays third base coach Charlie Montoyo (25) high fives designated hitter Corey Dickerson (10) as he rounds third on his lead off home run in the first inning of the game between the Tampa Bay Rays and the Los Angeles Angels at Tropicana Field in St. Petersburg, Fla. on Monday, May 22, 2017.
  3. Tampa man arrested for killing man in his USF-area home

    Crime

    TAMPA — A Tampa man was arrested Monday in the death of man found killed at a home in the University of South Florida area last week, according to the Hillsborough County Sheriff's Office.

    Kadeem Dareem Archibald, 26, was arrested Monday on a  second degree murder charge in the University Area killing of Khando Kerr. [Hillsborough County Sheriff's Office]
  4. Report: Trump asked intel chiefs to push back against FBI collusion probe after Comey revealed its existence

    National

    President Donald Trump asked two of the nation's top intelligence officials in March to help him push back against an FBI investigation into possible coordination between his campaign and the Russian government, the Washington Post reports, citing current and former officials.

    From  left, CIA Director Mike Pompeo; Director of National Intelligence Dan Coats; and National Security Agency Director Adm. Michael Rogers take their seats on Capitol Hill on May 11 before  testifying before the Senate Intelligence Committee hearing on major threats facing the U.S. [Associated Press]
  5. For Gov. Rick Scott, 'fighting' could mean vetoing entire state budget

    State Roundup

    Every day, Gov. Rick Scott is getting a lot of advice.

    The last time a Florida governor vetoed the education portion of the state budget was in 1983. Gov. Bob Graham blasted fellow Democrats for their “willing acceptance of mediocrity.”