Forty Years Ago

Forest Park’s public PTAs combined efforts to bring an outstanding speaker to this area. Judge William J. Obermiller, known as the “spanking judge” because of his views on the treatment of juvenile offenders, would speak at Garfield Elementary School. “A Judge Looks at Parents” would be his topic. The judge was known for sentencing juveniles to jobs such as doing all the family dishes for months, washing cars, etc. He felt the sentence should not only fit the crime, but the age of the defender.

Claude Walker, Jr. gave this report of the winter 1965 Chamber of Commerce Banquet: “The 500 people present at Bond’s Supper Club in Berwyn, were out for a good time with no seriousness tolerated. Guests were urged to be seated at 7:30 p.m.. but the cocktail hour took preference. By the time dinner was served many had lost their appetites. After the singing of the National Anthem, someone yelled ‘Play ball!’ Speeches were ignored, entertainment couldn’t be heard and seating arrangements were criticized. That’s the annual story of the Chamber gala”the top social event of Forest Park, and you can’t please 500 of the people all the time.”

This reminds me of a cartoon in which a lady liquor store customer returns to tell the clerk, “That wine you sold me the other day not only complemented the meal, it made it totally unnecessary.

From the Feb. 1965 issues of the Forest Park Review

Thirty Years Ago

Remember the Smiley Faces on Water Tower One, North and Water Tower Two, South? Some people loved the idea. Columnist Steve Olderr abhorred it. Quoth Olderr: “Ever since they put those ‘Smilies’ up on our two water towers I’ve been trying to withhold comment, but I can’t take it anymore. Putting those things up on the towers was about the dumbest thing I’ve seen done around here since they put those big yellow painted rocks on the corners for all the kids to roll off onto the streets. I am not assailing the notion of a smile, which could see anyone a long way through the day, but promoting the idea with a grinning grapefruit 12 feet in diameter makes me ill. It is the mindless drooling grin of an idiot. lf a Smiley had ears we could be absolutely certain that there was a total vacuum between them. Forest Park has never been known as a cultural Mecca but this is the first time we have gone to any length to advertise a lack of taste. It’s pure kitsch. Commercial, sentimental junk-art, and while citizens of Forest Park are perfectly free to wear that vapid moon face on their lapels, I wish the officials of this village would keep [it] off our water towers.” (I’ll bet Steve felt better for having vented.)

From the Feb. 1975 issues of the Forest Park Review

Twenty Years Ago

An elderly woman fell on the sidewalk in the 300 block of Harlem Ave. An unknown woman passing by picked up her purse and walked away with it. Sometimes people are just plain swell. Sometimes the milk of human kindness goes rancid. Or, yes, Virginia, there is a Loch Ness Monster.

If you ask Clifton Sharp how he was able to win more that $28,000 in prizes on a television game show, he’d probably tell you, “I practiced.” Sharp, a 33 year-old Forest Parker, had been a fan of NBC’s “Wheel of Fortune” playing the game as an at-home contestant. One day his wife said, “We ought to get you on that show.” When vacation time came, the Sharps opted for a trip to L.A. where “Wheel of Fortune” is produced. So they called me back and told us when to show up, which we did.

“I went through the audition process and before I knew it I was the owner of a new car and a trip to Greece. In three subsequent segments of the show, Sharp went on to ring up a prize list worth $28,226. The inventory included furniture, lamps, TV sets, plus the car and trip. Four segments were taped at one sitting. He sailed through the first two undefeated and added a bit to his booty on the third segment, before bowing out. Back home in Forest Park, he was able to watch his triumph on the popular, nationally-televised show.

From the Jan./Feb. 1985 issues of the Forest Park Review

Ten Years Ago

A 19-year-old Forest Park man was hit with a variety of charges after he buried his car into the front of a home. According to police, Shannon L. Spears, 19, of the 800 block of Lathrop, drove too quickly as he rounded the corner onto the 800 block of Beloit, jumped the curb, skidded onto the sidewalk, crossed the lawn and embedded everything forward of the dashboard into the private home. Nobody, including the driver, was injured. Spears was charged with driving under the influence, driving too fast for conditions, disobeying a stop sign, making an improper turn and failing to reduce speed to avoid an accident. Aside from that, it was just a little trip half way round the block.

Who remembers? Comic strips like, Prince Valiant … Katzanjammer Kids … Ella Cinders … Terry and the Pirates … Steve Canyon … the Toonerville Trolley … the Phantom … Howard the Duck … former Bear and sportscaster Johnny Morris … Hagger washable slacks … NORAD … Alfonso the Wise … Ethelred the Unready … Ethelred the Silent … and various other sobriquets,… not forgetting Julius “Dr. J” Erving. Yes.

P.S. Don’t hang around parade floats, they tend to move when you least expect them to.

From the Jan. 1995 issues of the Forest Park Review