Thursday, September 19, 2013

At Lunch Today

Super foggy in downtown Chicago today.

Every Picture Tells a Story 9/19/13

Somebody no doubt thought it was pretty fucking hilarious when they glued this dime to the top of an equipment casing at the Kedzie Brown Line stop. Given the recession, I'm surprised somebody didn't break out a FUBar and pry the damn thing off.

Wednesday, September 18, 2013

RIP: The Original Svengoolie

Back in the days before the home video revolution, cable, satellite dishes and the Internet, if you wanted to see a movie, there were only two things to do: get off your ass and go to a theater, or sit on your ass and watch whatever was playing that night on TV. And, if you were lucky enough to live in a big city like, say, Chicago (which I was), you had a few choices, since most local stations (even the network affiliates) had air time to fill.

And if it was, say, a Friday night in the early '70s? My choice was to tune in to Screaming Yellow Theater on WFLD.

Sure, the initial attraction was the movies, a mixed bag of '40s and '50s B-grade (or lower) horror and sci-fi flicks, but that's not why I tuned in week after week. I tuned in for the man who appeared just before and after the commercial breaks. The man in the long green wig, sunglasses (worn at night) and striped bellbottoms. The man who did little skis, told jokes and, inevitably, got hit by a rain of rubber chickens.

I tuned in for Svengoolie.

Upon the news of his passing this past Sunday of a heart attack at the age of 77, one of the websites for a local network affiliate said his real name was Jerry G. Bishop, but that wasn't true--his real name was Jerry Ghan, who worked in radio and TV for decades as Jerry G. Bishop (or, when he was a DJ in the '60s, just Jerry G.). He was originally from Chicago, but also worked in Cleveland pre-Svengoolie and San Diego post-Svengoolie.

But what we in the Windy City remember him best for is, of course, the shtick he did around awful movies like The Bride and the Beast and Death Curse of Tartu. His humor never seemed mean or overly adult, but something kids could take one meaning from and adults another. And, given how bad most of the movies were, he made them watchable.

He did something else as well. He inspired an interest in watching movies on a regular basis and, along with Creature Feature over on WGN, began my cinematic education at a very early age.

He also inspired a young college student, who went on to work for Mr. Bishop as a writer and, a few years later, as his replacement--Rich Koz, the current Svengoolie, who has written his own touching tribute to his friend and mentor.

His run as the original Sven lasted a relatively short time--only three years--but his impact is still felt today, in Chicago and, thanks to ME-TV, well beyond.

Rest in peace, Jerry G., and flights of rubber chickens wing thee to thy rest.

Every Picture Tells a Story 9/18/13

Thursday, September 12, 2013

At Lunch Today

I know I have, in the past, lamented that stores start selling Halloween stuff (candy, decorations, movies, etc.) way too early..., like, at 12:01 a.m. the day after Labor Day.

Not so this year, though. All the Walgreens locations I go to (and there are many) have had candy out forever (makes one wonder how many chemical preservatives are pumped into that candy corn), but still have school supplies where witches, skeletons and Jack O'Lanterns should be.

But at least the Walgreens at Clark & Monroe had these two cute Pez dispensers. That's a start.

Every Picture Tells a Story 9/12/13

Sunday, September 8, 2013

Bear Down

Hockey season is long gone, and baseball season can't end soon enough. Bring on the Monsters of the Midway, even if nobody really expects them to be more than mediocre.

Friday, September 6, 2013

Monday, September 2, 2013

Labor Day 2013

Summer ends. Autumn begins. One last ride on the colored wheel, then it's pull-out-your-sweaters time.