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Originally posted on WGN Radio - 720 AM:

The Park Ridge Classic Film Series will be presenting a special 75th anniversary screening of ‘Son of Frankenstein’ next Thursday October 30th at the wonderful Pickwick Theater.  Donnie Dunagan, the last surviving cast member from the film, will be a special guest.  Get more details when programmer Matthew Hoffman joins Nick Digilio.

To download this or any of Nick’s podcast visit our I-Tunes page.

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Grace Rellie:

Please check this out. If you live in the area and have ever wanted to say Hi, now is your chance. I’ll be there and so will a great movie.

Originally posted on WGN Radio - 720 AM:

Nick Digilio visits with Matthew Hoffman, programmer of the Pickwick Theatre Classic Film Series about their 50th anniversary showing of Goldfinger on September 18th.

To download this or any of Nick’s podcast visit our I-Tunes page.

View original

As I write this I stand behind the counter of a small four pump gas station. I know times have changed. With the passing years innocence has been lost and with it the general trust of a nation. No longer can there be doors left unlocked. Cars no longer can be found left standing idle and the owner vacant from his seat.

The world has truly changed. Coming into my little gas station over seventy miles from Chicago you know you’re in rural America and yet like the big city you will find things locked. There is a key to the propane stand, a key for ice and separate keys for the restrooms. The men’s room even had its key stolen block and all once upon a time.

Who would have thought thirty years ago that we’d have to pay for such things as water and even air to fill our car tires? These days we even buy soil for our gardens (though the gas station draws the lines there.)

Gas today will begin at $3.59 and it’s gone down 20 cents in the last few weeks. A propane exchange will cost $16.99. The cheapest cigarettes are $5.23 a pack.

I think of my not so long ago youth. Gas was $1.39 a gallon. I don’t know what propane cost but I don’t think I was much, for if it was my neighbors down the clock wouldn’t have bought a new gas grill three years in a row when theirs got stolen for the third consecutive year. Cigarettes couldn’t have been as high then either. My best friend’s dad was a trucker and he always seemed to have a cigarette hanging from his bottom lip. They never had much but he always had his smokes.

It’s not just the cost of living that’s gone up. It’s our very sense of being that has changed. Think to when you were a child. How often were you actually in the house? Were you playing baseball or stickball in the street? Did you go exploring around the woods or in the creek? Did you collect rocks, feathers or even bits of string? How often did you stay out until your Mom called you in for dinner? Didn’t you go out again as soon as you finished and stay out until it got dark?

I did all that and I’m only 28. I was behind for what the world had already become. I lived and imagined. I still do. I believe that fun can be made on your own and not manufactured. I believe that children should be allowed to be children. They can learn how to behave and still have the freedom that belongs to them.

These days the children of America by and large, whether they live in the country or the city, whether the family has money for food or not, these children live in front of the television or the computer. They gain weight eating snacks, their vision dims from looking at the glow from that TV or monitor and they develop allergies because they don’t experience the great outdoors. In an age of freedom we have voluntarily caged ourselves.

As Americans we live in the greatest country in the world. We have the most advantages. Why do we squander them? Why do we live the way we do?

I don’t have the answer. All I have is a call. Don’t wake up one morning with regrets. If you do now, make a decision. It’ll change your whole life and you’ll find that if you didn’t like yourself or your life before, you will now.

Good luck.

A very good friend of mine who is just as passionate about the movies as I am will be showing the iconic 007 film. Once again we are introduced to, “Bond, James Bond.” Goldfinger celebrates its 50th anniversary this year and I can think of no better location than the lavish Pickwick Theater in historic downtown Park Ridge Illinois.

 

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When you step up to the ticket office you will be greeted by a Bond girl in gold who won’t ask for your soul or your virtue but the price of admission. Inside more dazzling beauties in gold will be on hand to help you.

 

Special treats include a prop from the film and a man from the Ian Fleming Foundation. There will be much to see and tell upon your return home. Please step out on the 18th of September and see Goldfinger with us.

 

What:

Goldfinger starring Sean Connery (1964)

 

Where:

The Pickwick Theater

5 S. Prospect Ave, Park Ridge, IL 60068

 

When:

September 18th, 2014

Live Organ music by Famed Organist Jay Warren at 7 PM

Goldfinger at 7:30 PM

Be sure to come early and bring your camera to have your picture taken with a Bond girl.

 

Why:

The 50th Anniversary

As if we needed an excuse!

 

Price:

$7 Adults

$5 Seniors

Please check back in with us to learn what other movies and surprises we have in store for you.

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Driving on expressways is fast, hectic and at times nerve wracking. If you occasionally use Chicago’s expressways you know exactly what I mean. Driving the city streets the traffic is often times bumper to bumper and the city driver feels a sense of freedom in the speed they experience when they drive the tollway. It is said that they fly like demons and in some ways they do.

Chicago drivers on the expressway drive as if the road were free and clear. They don’t seem to see anyone in front, beside or behind them. There is even a move that according to one New York driver is unique to the Windy City, the three-lane crossover. Without hesitation and with no turn signal the driver will notice at the last second that their exit ramp has come up and they cross three lanes of heavily laden traffic and the possibility of sudden death to make their exit. If they notice the sudden sound of screeching, burning rubber and squealing brakes they don’t show it. They drive fearlessly like a cat with double its nine lives. Why they think this behavior is no big deal remains a mystery to all safe drivers.

For the thousands of drivers who transverse these paths every day and the dozens of lunatic drivers who cross them up, it would seem luck is with them but luck only lasts so long and goes so far. July 20th of this year luck ended for two drivers as Dennis Anderson changed lanes unexpectedly in his Pontiac coupe leaving no room for Tito M. Rodriquez’s motorcycle. The two collided and Rodriquez, an off duty police officer was killed.

Anderson paid for his crime with a ticket for improper lane use and invalid insurance. Those will soon go away but the memory of taking a life will haunt him for the rest of his. The event is still under investigation.

 

Source: Chicago Tribune Monday July 21, 2014, Section 1, Page 9

The Lack of Caring

It always amazes me about some people. They’re self-esteem must be very low. How else can you explain the actions of your fellow man? Walking through a supermarket you get a good idea of what the local population is like and if you think at all about how others view you, you will be shocked.

People walk around in their pajamas and at times these are very close to underwear. Flesh hangs out in all the wrong places and yet they fail to cover themselves. They don’t care. I do and I avert my eyes. Bad hair days are really, just rolled out of bed at 3 pm. Rats nests abound.

Other than their appearance is their manners. I don’t expect everyone to adhere to Emily Post because I too am guilty of many a taboo but there are certain things that are givens. If you are waiting in line and haven’t yet put your perspective purchase on the convaire belt and discover someone standing behind you with only a few items as opposed to your several dozen, you should let them go first. There are still some brave souls who do but mostly they pretend you aren’t there. Instead of a quick one, two, three you spend ten to fifteen minutes waiting for Food Stamps, Link, credit cards and checks to pass through their hands while you stand in line with achy arms holding your gallon of milk in one hand and gallon jug of water in the other waiting to pay cash.

Then there is the eater. Yes, when we buy groceries we get tempted to buy what is looking back at us from the shelf but there are others who don’t just get tempted. They open the package up and begin to eat it right in the store. Have they paid for it? No. Is it ethical to eat the bag of chips as you shop and pay for it later? Not really. Do they always pay? No. Sometimes they simply stash the empty package on a shelf and walk away.

If people don’t care what others think when their in public, imagine what their house’s look like. Do you think that they’d be neat, tidy and clean or do you suppose their home looks very much like they do – unkempt, soiled and thriving in being lesser than the rest? I wish I could say that it would all change some day but I highly doubt it. People fall into habits and find it almost impossible to get out of them. Why? Mostly, because they couldn’t care enough. They have people in their lives who think as they do and so they cling together and remain who they never were meant to be. For what parent held their child in their arms for the first time and said – “Some day my daughter will be a window washer and toilet scrubber at a fast food restaurant!”

Please, I implore you, if this sounds like you, look at yourself in the mirror. If you admire yourself and think you look great, I’m happy for you. But if you look at yourself and say, “How the heck did I get here,” please take some action and be who you can be – a wonderful person with great qualities. No one was born to be a slug and you shouldn’t be content to be one. Take some action. Be a wonderful beautiful person with a smile on your face. Start today.

Her name was Betty Joan Perske but the world will remember her as Lauren Bacall. She was born September 16, 1924 in the Bronx section of New York. Like many young girls she dreamed of her name in giant letters across the marquis of Broadway. To help that dream come true she studied at the American Academy of Dramatic Arts. It helped and she found herself performing on Broadway in minor rolls but she didn’t make it to the top.

To keep money coming in she exchanged lines on a script for curves in magazines and became a model. She had the looks and she used them well. Her big break came in March 1943 when her picture graced the glossy cover of Harper’s Bazaar. Mrs. Howard Hawks took one look at the woman and showed her husband. Her Hollywood producer-director husband agreed and in one month Bacall had a seven year contract from Warner Brother’s in her hot little hand.

Perhaps the studio sensed something but either way their pairing her with leading man Humphrey Bogart yielded pure magic in her screen debut, To Have and Have Not. The two were fire on the silver screen and the now famous and much quoted line, “If you want anything, all you have to do is whistle,” spelled it out. Her line, “It’s even better when you help,” to a returned kiss from Bogart informed viewers that they were witnesses to much more than film simply rolling from one reel to another.

The true reality was the 19-year-old Bacall and the 45-year-old Bogart were falling in love during the film’s shooting. By the following year they were married and together they would make three more films together. Each with a slightly different tone but each with the same smoky come hither look from Bacall that would earn her the name, “The Look.”

Over the years she made more movies but they were sporadic as the studio presented her with parts and pictures she refused to do. Eventually Warner Brother’s suspended and fined her. From there she moved on to 20th Century Fox and other studios. During the 50’s her career was in a slump but always Bogart stood beside her, loving and encouraging. She became content with simply being a supportive wife and caring for their two children, Stephen and Leslie. When he diagnosed with esophageal cancer in 1956 she devoted herself completely to him. He died the following year and for a time she went into depression.

She remarried in1961 to Jason Robards, Jr. and together they had a son (actor Sam Robards.) Unlike her marriage to Bogart, which was complicated but good, her marriage to Robards was stormy. No longer able to deal with Robards’ violent behavior when drunk she left and they were divorced in 1969.

At the end of the 60’s she returned to Broadway where she appeared in the successfully received play Cactus Flower. Then in 1970 her youthful dream came to fruition in the form of a play entitled Applause (a musical remake of the film All About Eve) for which she won the Tony. After an eight-year absence from the movies she returned in 1974 but she didn’t give up on appearing in plays. In 1981 she had another hit when the play, Woman of the Year, rose to the top. In movies she found another triumph when she was nominated for the first time for best supporting actress in the 1996 film The Mirror Has Two Faces. In 2009 she received an honorary academy award.

Miss Bacall made her last film in 2012. She died of old age 35 days before her 90th birthday on August 12, 2014.

 

A List of Her Most Memorable Rolls:

 

  • To Have and Have Not (1944)
  • Confidential Agent (1945)
  • The Big Sleep (1946)
  • Dark Passage (1947)
  • Key Largo (1948)
  • The Shootist (1976)
  • The Mirror Has Two Faces (1996) – Academy Award Nomination (Best Supporting Actress)
  • The Forger (2012)

 

Sources:

The Film Encyclopedia by Ephraim Katz 4th Edition Ó 2001 Bacall, Lauren, pg. 73

Chicago Tribune Wednesday August 14, 2014, Section 1, Page 14

Chicago Tribune Thursday August 15, 2014, Section 4, Page 1,6

Who can say why some things happen but what happens later is oft times an even bigger problem. In the Chicago northwest suburban town of Crystal Lake, ILL Thursday was garbage day. Amid the still sleepy drivers headed to work who wished it were Saturday garbage trucks rumbled up and down the streets.

The regular routine of one truck came to a sudden change when smoke and flames began to spark from its belly. The police and fire department were called around 6:30 in the morning to this unusual haul being driven down Route 14.

The story quickly changed again as the truck turned northward onto the Route 31 ramp the fire contents were emptied accidentally onto the side of the road and the nearby grass licked it up hungrily. Firefighters worked for twenty minutes to put the brush fire out but at seven that morning they were still working to put the smoldering garbage pile down. These hot spots of rubbish had no intension of giving up but the men where just as determined.

That morning drivers found a detour at the closed ramp and a very unusual sight. What caused the fire was a mystery. It could have been a teen’s prank to set a garbage can at the curb on fire or it could have been an early morning jogger throwing out a spent cigarette that wasn’t quite out. However it could have been a total accident. We’ll never know but the image of a garbage truck’s contents on fire will not soon leave our retinas.

 

Source: Northwest Herald, Friday April 11, 2014 – Page B2

There has always been a fascination between children and trains? How fast is it going? How much does it weigh? Will it really flatten a penny? The answer is simple. Trains go fast, they weigh a lot and they will flatten a penny.

As we get older our questions change to, ‘What if’s.’ What would happen if the tracks froze? What would happen if a car where on the tracks? How about a tire? Would that be a problem? If the tracks freeze the train goes on, if it hits a car it’ll spin the vehicle and stop when it can but it’ll stay on the tracks.

Unlike the penny that simply gets flattened, a tire on the tracks is an entirely new deal. If it hadn’t been proven before, it was a few months ago when a Chicago train encountered just such an issue. The Blue Line train left the city headed to Forest Park. At approximately 7:40 p.m ., they left the West Side station at Cicero Avenue. Shortly there after, the train encountered a very out of the ordinary problem.

There on the tracks was a semi trailer truck tire. With the tire suddenly in the driver’s vision there was no time to stop. Only Superman could see a tire a mile away and it takes a mile for a train to stop completely. With nothing to do but move forward train and tire hit head on. The result? The front car of the train derailed! The score? Tire 1, Train 0. The tire won.

As of the source date there were no injuries reported. The passengers were shuttled to the next station and the tale of the tire had come to a full circle. Pun intended.

 

Source: Chicago Tribune, Friday April 11, 2014 – Section 1, Page 9

To be a forger or not to be a forger, that is the question. Tamera Alexander’s character Claire Laurent struggles with this question as she fights for what she knows is right and what she can not undue. Claire’s story is written within the rich background of America’s recently ended Civil War.

Painting is Claire’s passion in life and she wants nothing more than to paint one painting that she can call her own but as a forger, her life’s blood is strengthened by the works of the masters and Claire’s own family are her masters. Then, suddenly, the unexpected happens and Claire finds herself alone and her life spiraling out of control as she is forced to flee the one city she’d begun to call home.

Alone in a new city and in the company of strangers, her every instinct tell her not to trust, she must again run. Now, truly on her own she must fend for herself. The shelter of a church gives her a place to sleep but what to do in the dawn.

The next morning, a bit of accidental eaves dropping and a chance encounter send her on her destined path but can she become the woman she longs to be? Can she truly put her past to rest and start the life of happiness she longs for? Can the man she’s come to love accept her for who she was and who she has become? Follow her journey in A Lasting Impression and see if Claire’s story leaves a lasting impression upon your mind.

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