Reporter Cracks Up as Harold Ramis Explains Movie’s Psychology Today Connection

HaroldRamisSheridanRoadMag_FeaturedIn 2009, not long after historic preservation foundation Landmarks Illinois celebrated former Chicago Tribune messenger boy Harold Ramis along with Cubs great Ernie Banks and Chicago marathon founder Lee Flaherty, the filmmaker spoke with Jake Jarvi for a subsequent article in Sheridan Road magazine. Perusing the interviews conducted over the years by Ramis, who passed away today at age 69, this one stands out not so much for what’s on the page but rather because of the Web version’s inclusion of audio of additional, unpublished conversation snippets.

In the five-minute bonus segment, Ramis repeatedly has Jarvi in stitches, starting with a recollection of how he got his first Hollywood agent and how a Psychology Today article inspired one of his films:

“Travel is not necessarily about relaxing. It can be a real hassle. I did a whole movie about that once, Club Paradise.”

“I read an article in Psychology Today about resorts. People pick a resort from a brochure, and if it’s in a Third World country, they arrive and they’re, like, terrified from the moment they get off the plane. They see all these foreign faces, and everyone’s yammering at them, trying to grab their luggage. They feel they’re going to be cheated at any moment. Till they get to the resort, where they feel safe.”

“But then they’re afraid to leave the resort. You go to Montego Bay in Jamaica and you hear, ‘Oh yeah, two tourists were murdered last night…’ Is that relaxing? I don’t know. So the whole article in Psychology Today was about the cognitive distance between what you imagine and what’s going to happen.”

“I’ve said to people, I’ve been miserable in some of the most beautiful places on earth.”

The biggest Jarvi laugh comes immediately thereafter. Not because of what Ramis just said but rather because of the topic the gentle comedy genius segues at another point – trying to remain calm during the claustrophobic experience of an MRI. RIP.

Photo courtesy: Sheridan Road magazine

@hollywoodspin Richard Horgan is co-editor of Fishbowl.