For some of you, the only appeal of Jean Shepherd's "America” will be the fact that they love the “A Christmas Story” film every Dec. 25 and will appreciate the Hammond, Ind., native’s take on Chicago. For it seems that Shepherd is among those who appreciates the fact his hometown is so close to the Greatest City on the shores of Lake Michigan.
BUT FOR THOSE who are particularly annoyed with this past baseball season and the way it has turned into a love-fest of cutesy Cubbiness and certain fans who are convinced their ball club has now developed a New York Yankee-like aura of invincibility, it will be nice to be reminded that Chicago is a two-team town when it comes to the national pastime.
Shepherd was a Chicago White Sox fan, and I got a kick out of him shooting a portion of this film from the right field seats of the old Comiskey Park – section G, seat 161, which supposedly was his father’s favorite general admission seat whenever he went to ballgames.
It’s also amusing to hear Shephard compare Chicago to small-town America, with Marshal Fields as the corner store and Lake Michigan as the swimming hole nearby.
I also got my kicks from seeing the “Chicago, 1957” video – a couple of minutes long, that manages to show us places that haven’t changed one bit during the past 60 years. Even though some others would like to think Chicago is nothing like it used to be.
THERE’S PARTICULARLY THAT point at Wabash and Lake streets where you see the “el” trains making the bend and you wonder if this is the moment when the trains will derail again at that spot – which actually happened once back in 1972 and was something that a certain generation of Chicagoans won’t ever forget.
Then, there’s the person who felt compelled to put on YouTube a collection of television commercials for local businesses back in 1971.
I’m still trying to figure out if I’m most amused by the vintage commercial for Courtesy and DuraFab, with the knuckleheaded kid who got his hot dog stains all over his friend’s parents couch, or the Marshall Brodien spots for TV MagiCards.
Which could supposedly give anybody the magical skills of Wizzo the Wizard from Bozo’s Circus.