Saturday Night Live/Dyan Cannon/Leon and Mary Russell

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Dyan Cannon/Leon and Mary Russell
Season 1, Episode 20
Airdate May 15, 1976
Production Number 023
Writer(s) Anne Beatts
Chevy Chase
Al Franken &
Tom Davis
Lorne Michaels
Marilyn Suzanne Miller
Michael O'Donoghue
Herb Sargent
Tom Schiller
Rosie Shuster
Alan Zweibel
Director(s) Dave Wilson
Gary Weis (short film)
← 1x19
Madeline Kahn/Carly Simon
1x21 →
Buck Henry/Gordon Lightfoot
Saturday Night LiveSeason One

Dyan Cannon/Leon and Mary Russell is the twentieth episode of the first season of Saturday Night Live, and the twentieth episode overall. It is the first appearance on the show by both its host and either of its musical guests.

Guest Stars: Dyan Cannon (Host), Leon Russell (Musical Guest), Mary Russell (Musical Guest)


Episode Breakdown

  • Chevy Chase Pratfall: From the floor, Chase starts to say, "Live from New York, it's Saturday Night!" but the director interrupts him to say a clock in the control room was fast, so they didn't get his pratfall. Chase resets the stage and explains the sketch, which involved him climbing a step ladder to change a light bulb during a poker game. Although the other actors don't come back out on stage, Chase climbs the ladder again and falls off it onto the card table.
  • Dyan Cannon's Monologue: Cannon comes out and tells the audience about herself to "make friends." She says she is a vegetarian who does not drink or smoke, and she has a daughter. She also says all of her childhood dreams have been fulfilled, except for the one where a man comes out of the ocean on a white horse and sweeps her off her feet. As she half-talks, half-sings about this, piano player Paul Shaffer nods every time she wishes for a man to sweep her off her feet. At last, he stops playing the piano to pick her up and carry her off the stage.
  • Sugar Free Zing!: Elaine Szigeti (Newman), who is "not an actress, she is a real person." She takes a blind taste test, first of the new soft drink Sugar Free Zing!, then of a glass of phlegm. After the spokesman (Chase) asks her which one she prefers, she says she prefers Sugar Free Zing!
  • Hearing Test: A researcher (Cannon) administers a hearing test to three subjects (Morris, Radner and Curtin), who are to raise their hands to indicate from which direction they hear the tone but are not to look around. After the test begins and the students can hear little outside the headphones, the burglar alarms go off, and the students dutifully raise their hands. Two burglars (Aykroyd and Belushi) enter the test room and take the researcher hostage. The students keep raising their hands to the sounds of sirens and gunfire as police fire upon the burglars, killing first the researcher and then the burglars. After those three are dead, the police keep firing, and they kill all the students except the middle one. She raises her hand one last time as a shot from the police kills her, too.
  • Affair: A woman named Angela (Cannon) is having an affair with a man from the car wash (Chase) when her husband (Aykroyd) comes home and catches them. Angela is lying under the car wash man, and she says he was a delivery boy who died and fell on top of her, pinning her. She makes up a story about a broken lamp and sending it away for repairs when her husband notices the "delivery boy" is breathing. He pretends to come to from having passed out and says his shirt says "car wash" because he has a number of jobs to pay his way through medical school. When the husband starts to get suspicious, the car wash man claims he is innoculating people for swine flu, as the president has ordered. He distracts the husband by saying he is showing signs of swine flu and pretends to leave to get the vaccine. After he is gone, Angela pretends nothing ever happened, and she leaves to fix her confused husband dinner.
  • Bulgarian Adventure: Curtin's guest on her show Vacationland Adventure is Piotre Sulga (Belushi) of the Bulgarian Tourist Bureau. Sulga says he can't find good Bulgarian potato kaskas in America. He also says he intended to bring a film promoting Bulgarian summer and winter resorts, but he forgot the summer resort film. He shows the film Bulgaria dis Vintor, which shows black and white stock footage of fat Bulgarians walking around in the snow, swimming in ice water, dancing and sledding. After the film, Sulga makes a confusing joke about Serbo-Croatians, and Curtin closes by saying her subject next week will be Rhodesia.
  • Dyan's Dream: As Cannon tries to introduce the musical guest, Aykroyd enters, and his voice sounds very raspy. Cannon explains her dream is not a man who is hoarse, but rather a man on a horse. Aykroyd apologizes and walks off.
  • Satisfy You: Leon and Mary Russell song.
  • Weekend Update.
    • Newman interviews Maynard Spees (Morris), who claims to have the real will of recently deceased billionaire Howard Hughes, who has left his fortune to Spees. Spees claims to have gotten the money for helping Hughes when the mogul fell off a cliff and landed on a cactus. When Newman sees the contract is signed "Howard L. Hughes," she points out Hughes' middle initial is R, and she calls Spees a fraud. He tries to explain the difference away, but Newman dismisses him and throws back to Chase.
    • Chase gives a vague weather report with crude, cartoonish drawings as the "artist's renderings" illustrating the various weather conditions.
    • Chase holds a burning piece of paper, which he says is a report on a fire in Lousiana.
    • Chase repeats the top story, aided by Morris, headmaster of the New York School for the Hard of Hearing. Morris repeats Chase's words at the top of his lungs.
  • Orange Juice: The WU commercial starts with footage of fighting in Beirut, Lebanon. It cuts to Anita Bryant (Curtin), spokeswoman for Florida Orange Juice, who is being held captive in Beirut by two Arab terrorists (Aykroyd and Belushi). As she promotes the orange juice, her captors drink the juice and agree it is delicious. Nonetheless, as Bryant starts to sing the jingle, they place a bag over her head and order a firing squad to shoot and kill her.
  • Hiccupping Priest: A priest (Chase) attempts to give a eulogy at a funeral, but as soon as he starts talking, he starts hiccupping. He tries to continue through, but the deceased's brother-in-law (Aykroyd) suggests he drink a glass of water. When this does not work, the departed man Bob's sister (Cannon) tries suggests he hold his breath, but this, too, does not work. The brother-in-law and the sister try various cures—scaring him by yelling "boo," popping a paper bag, tickling him, even pouring a pitcher of water on his head—but the priest's hiccups do not cease. At last, the widow (Radner) makes faces at him to make him laugh, and when this fails, she slaps him. Nonetheless, even as he wraps up his eulogy, the priest continues to hiccup.
  • Dyan's Dream II: Cannon tries to introduce the short film, but she is interrupted by Morris, who is dressed as a pimp, and who has Newman and Radner as his whores. Cannon explains she dreams of a man with a white horse, and Morris leaves.
  • Affair Investigation: An interview with a Cincinnatti couple on their honeymoon at Niagara Falls is intercut with an interview with a real-life private eye, who investigates unfaithful married people.
  • Bathwater of the Stars: Celebrity Cindy Cleavage (Cannon) sits in the bathtub and helps Roy Waddmaker (Aykroyd) promote his Beverly Hills store, where he sells used bathwater from celebrities' tubs.
  • The Marine Corps Shoot a Commercial: Private Rick Duncan (Chase) tries to do a commercial for the United States Marine Corps. Whenever he makes a mistake, he is interrupted by his drill sergeant director (Aykroyd), backed up by two Marines (Morris and Neil Levy) with boxing gloves on the ends of their rifles. As the drill sergeant berates Duncan, the other Marines beat him back and forth with their boxing gloves. Duncan grows increasingly weak as he is yelled at and beaten, and he is barely able to finish the commercial.
  • Daylight: Leon and Mary Russell song. The song is interrupted by Joe Cocker (Belushi), who sings a few lines before collapsing on the stage.
  • Johnny Angel: Two parents (Belushi and Radner) question their daughter (Cannon) about her new love, Johnny. As they talk, three Hell's Angels (Morris, Aykroyd and Chase) enter, and they are all named "Johnny Angel." The daughter sings "Johnny Angel" as the Hell's Angels tie up her parents, trash her house and abduct her.
  • Cresk Toothpaste: Customer Claire (Radner) comes to the grocery store of Mr. Goodman (Belushi), and he asks after the health of her son Johnny. When she says her son died in a bus accident, Goodman expresses condolences, but he nonetheless convinces her to buy Cresk Toothpaste for Johnny's teeth.
  • Dyan's Dream III: As Cannon tries to introduce the Home Movie for the week, she is interrupted by Belushi riding his white friend Horace. Cannon again explains she wants a man on a white horse, but Belushi is unaffected, as he says he has learned Horace is a true friend.
  • Home Movies - The Hubcap Thief: A man tries to steal a hubcap off a Volvo, but he gets his finger stuck, so when the Volvo drives off, he rolls off with it. At a stoplight, a man in another car asks for directions from the hubcap thief, who provides them. The thief continues to roll along with the car to its destination, where a dog comes up and sniffs the hapless thief.


"Live from New York, It's Saturday Night!"

  • Chevy Chase as himself, after falling off a step ladder for a second time.


Leon and Mary Russell perform "Satisfy You."
  • Satisfy You, performed by Leon and Mary Russell: This song appeared on the first of two collaborative albums by Joe Cocker's former songwriter, Leon, and the former back-up singer for Sly & the Family Stone, Mary. Bobby Womack produced the 1976 album, called Wedding Album, which celebrated their recent marriage. With such lyrics as, "I want to satisfy you/Hold you in my arms right here forever," the song sounds as though it could be a set of self-written wedding vows between the two.
  • Daylight, performed by Leon and Mary Russell, featuring John Belushi: This song about a couple who find peace with each other while everyone else is out partying is another track off Wedding Album. Belushi interrupts as Joe Cocker to celebrate Leon's former job as songwriter for the real Joe Cocker. Russell co-wrote the Cocker song "Superstar," which Belushi previously performed as Cocker on episode 1x18 - Raquel Welch/Phoebe Snow, John Sebastian.
  • Johnny Angel, performed by Dyan Cannon, featuring Garrett Morris, Dan Aykroyd and Chevy Chase: Teenaged Shelley Fabares recorded this song of unrequited devotion in 1962 in a failed attempt to expand her career as TV star into a recording career, although the song was a #1 hit. The idea of being a singer was not Fabares', and when she had no other hits, attempts to capitalize on her success as other teen stars of the time had done were abandoned. Fabares was a better actress than a singer, which makes this a good song for Cannon to sing in the sketch "Johnny Angel," as Cannon's singing skills also leave much to be desired.


The Show

It is unknown how one who did as much cocaine as Chase is purported to have done could be this ripped.
  • Next Host Cameo: Buck Henry makes a cameo appearance as himself in this episode in the promo for next week's episode. The promo is framed as a mini-sketch in which Henry stands behind Gilda Radner and Laraine Newman as Newman expresses disgust at the thought of Henry returning. This type of promo would presage the commercial promos of coming years, in which hosts made fun of the show or made fun of themselves with one or more cast members.
  • First Appearance: The sketch "Orange Juice" contains the first appearance of Jane Curtin's impression of actress Anita Bryant.
  • Creature Comforts: Chevy Chase's arrival on the back of a white horse to fulfill Dyan Cannon's dream during the goodnights marks the first time a real animal was used for a live sketch on the show.

Behind the Scenes

Allusions and References

Memorable Moments