Dan Aykroyd Unravels a Cheesy Blues Brothers Mystery

Woman holding a can of spray cheese.

kizzzbeth/Flickr/CC BY 2.0

We've taken on the Cheez Whiz controversy. Specifically: Did it ever come in a spray can?

Like many others, we were under the same misconception as many other American that Cheez Whiz was once available in an aerosol-like spray can. However, that product is actually another Kraft Foods snack called Easy Cheese.

There's much back-and-forth on this, and some Internet chatterers point to a scene in the 1980 comedy classic "The Blues Brothers," in which Dan Aykroyd, as Elwood Blues, is showing his brother "Joliet" Jake (John Belushi, of course) around the dilapidated flophouse where he lives.

"Did you get my Cheez Whiz, boy?" an old man says to Elwood, who tosses the geezer what we assume is a can of Cheez Whiz.

We summoned Kraft Foods senior manager Basil Maglaris, who reviewed the movie, and he concludes that Elwood is actually tossing Easy Cheese.

"You can clearly see the triangular Nabisco logo on the can," says Maglaris. "There's little doubt."

Cheez Whiz was invented in 1952 by Edwin Traisman (one of the food scientists who invented McDonald's process for making French fries). It first appeared in a glass jar, as it does today (making it easy to microwave into melted goodness and pour it over nachos), though many people now prefer their Whiz in a plastic squeezable tube.

Never, ever, in its six-decade history has Cheez Whiz come in a spray-on can, says Maglaris, who, upon our request, checked with other Kraft food historians and the company archives.

'Blues' Cheese Memories

For the final word, we took this issue to Dan Aykroyd, hot off an appearance on "Saturday Night Live." The Emmy-winning, Oscar-nominated star stuck to his guns, and offered this response:

Cheez Whiz did indeed come in cans...Although not a spray, the nozzle squirted the contents out in a consistency somewhere between toothpaste and shaving cream.
The gentlemen to whom Elwood tosses the can was legendary makeup man, Lane 'Shotgun' Britton, who took care of Sinatra, Bob Hope, and many others.

Dan might've gotten this wrong, at least if you believe Kraft. But even if he has, this man has gotten an awful lot right.

When he and Belushi put the likes of James Brown, Aretha Franklin, Cab Calloway, and John Lee Hooker in "The Blues Brothers," that sort of music — a true American treasure — wasn't getting much attention.

It's truly thrilling to watch "The Blues Brothers" and see Big Walter Horton in one of the few times he was ever captured on film.


Graham, Nicholas. "SNL Republican Meeting Mocked In Opening Skit, Dan Aykroyd Guest Stars (VIDEO)." Huffington Post, March 18, 2009.

Hevesi, Dennis. "Edwin Traisman, 91, Dies; Helped Create Iconic Foods." The New York Times, June 9, 2007.