Forty Years Ago
Esteemed REVIEW Editor and State Representative Claude Walker would be henceforth known as Esteemed REVIEW Editor. As of Jan. 12, 1965, he would no longer represent his constituents at Springfield. Defeat was his after two successful runs as state rep. Was he bitter? Disillusioned? “Outside of a slightly wounded ego,” he said, “I take this so-called misfortune in stride.”

Probably speaking for many other fallen warriors from the fields of politics, he added that “[Politics] is an unusual game. It’s like any business or profession. When one decides to indulge in a political career, he has to play according to the rules and accept certain facts of life that, in private business, would not be tolerated. Dishonesty, hypocrisy and double-crossing are prime words in the political dictionary. Gullibility and naivete only bring heartaches to one who mistakenly goes into this game with such an agenda.”

From the Dec. 1964 issues of the Forest Park Review

Thirty Years Ago
“Dear Sally: I am a widow of 43 and recently began dating a very attractive man of 45. Everything was lovely until the roof fell in. I learned that he is married! When I confronted him with this, he explained that his wife has been bedridden for six years, that he has been very lonely, and that if I will continue going with him, it will bring him much happiness”that we will keep everything strictly on a ‘friendship basis.’ What do you think about this? – Dilemma.”

“Dear Dilemma: How long do you think such a relationship with a lonely and unhappy man could be kept on a ‘friendship basis?’ And how about the kind of man who has apparently forgotten the sacred vow he once took to love and cherish his wife ‘In sickness and in health?’ Steer clear!”

Here’s a news report as puzzling as it was tragic: A shooting occurred in a tavern at 7609 Madison. Mr. Thomas Kerksick was fatally wounded when a gun was discharged by Mr. Joseph Burns. The two men involved were reportedly good friends and were in each other’s company when the incident took place. Officers Charles Kline and Richard Boyce were first on the scene and had Kerksick removed to Loyola Hospital where he died a short time later. Burns surrendered to Sgt. Kline outside the tavern without a struggle. Investigator Jack Bachman of the detective division was searching for the cause of the shooting. Burns was being held at the Cook County Jail on the charge of murder.

From the Dec. 1974 issues of the Forest Park Review

Twenty Years Ago
The car (under control) was heading north on Desplaines Avenue as it approached Greenberg (Cemetery) Road at 12:40 a.m. Then, while accelerating, it hit a patch of ice, spun around and slammed into a telephone pole. The impact caused the ejection of the rear seat passenger, Bernard Jantz, out the rear window. Neither the driver nor his front seat passenger was hurt. Mr. Jantz was taken to Oak Park Hospital, where he was pronounced dead. The driver was charged with driving too fast for conditions and driving under the influence.

At this time of year it’s too cold and gray not to have a few laughs. These, courtesy of George Burns, are from a p.2 article in the Jan. 2, 1985 issue: “From age 7 to 27, I was a big failure in show business. Then I met Gracie.” They married and worked up a vaudeville act in which Gracie was straight man to George’s schticks. No matter how hard he tried, she got the laughs. That called for a role reversal and stardom for both.

Some of Burns’ toss-offs: In the movie, Oh God! he (playing the lead role) was asked if he had ever made a mistake. His reply: “I think I made the stones in the avocados too big … People ask me what I’d most appreciate getting on my 87th birthday. I tell ’em I’d welcome a paternity suit … Old age isn’t so bad once you consider the alternative.” George Burns died in 1996, shortly after he reached 100.

From the Jan. 1984 issues of the Forest Park Review

Ten Years Ago
Last week this portion of the column saluted the oft-repeted classic Christmas movie, A Christmas Story. Very funny and made with lots of nostalgia, it recalled how family life in the U.S. was lived in the 1950s. Some of the copy had been cut last week with the flimsy excuse that there was no more space. Well, sir. There was more.

Created by humorist Jean Shephard, Story takes place in Hammond, Ind., c. 1952. It’s the oh-so-traditional Ho-Ho season for a family of four extremely human persons”father (Darrin McGavin), mother (Melinda Sillon) and two sons, Ralphy (Peter Billingsly), age 9, and Randy, his hapless younger brother. (By the way, Billingsly should have gotten an Oscar nomination.) Everything goes wrong, wrong, wrong mostly from the viewpoint of the innocent, bespectacled Ralphy. From a long-desired Red Ryder B-B gun (“You’ll knock your eye out.”) to a lady’s leg lamp mail-ordered by “the old man,” to the wife/mother’s ever-present red chenille bathrobe and the neighbors’ hounds running through their living room. It’s a joyful romp that never goes over the top. (Read, out of control.)

From the Jan. 1994 issues of the Forest Park Review