“Bill Murray is circling in the air,” a female announcer says, somewhat nonchalantly for such a one-of-a-kind statement. Murray is so high that no one can spot him, but he can see all of us. He’s sort of like God.
Chicago sure knows how to start its annual Air and Water Show: with gratuitous celebrity cameos, like Wilmette-born actor Murray dropping from the sky alongside the Army’s Golden Knights paratroopers and Gary Sinise’s Lt. Dan Band playing the smooth classics. Murray is in a complete 120 mph freefall, his bright yellow jumpsuit slowly coming into focus as his lanky body is strapped to an expert skydiver. The announcer, speaking in front of the background music of Darude’s “Sandstorm,” takes the opportunity to remind us that Murray—one malfunction away from his body hurtling towards the precipice of death—was in “Ghostbusters.”
But alas, his black and yellow parachute fires correctly, and ol’ Bill is smoothly flying over the crowd, flailing his arms and legs about in triumph. As Murray comes in for soft landing, waving politely to the masses and feigning limpness in his leg, the announcer advises us to look up at the “traffic jam in the sky.” People gasp as the sky is suddenly filled with 10 or so more paratroopers, somersaulting, twisting aimlessly, spraying pink smoke into the air. The crowd seems taken by surprise. Everyone was so fixated on watching the possible untimely death of Peter Venkman that anything short of a nuclear explosion in the middle of the lake would have gone unnoticed. (Andy Seifert)