Forty Years Ago

Last week we dipped into Claude Walker’s column for his admission of overlooked, yet worthwhile local sites. Like his confession to never having gone to the Garfield Conservatory with its repository of gorgeous flora. Two weeks ago we reproduced an ad for Otto’s Restaurant, 7212 Randolph. After praising the lovely flowers the first week, Walker extolled “one of the very finest German restaurants in the Midwest.”

Founded in the same decade as The Berghoff, (1890s) Otto’s compared well to that restaurant, and in some ways surpassed it. In 1895 Otto Schneider, a German immigrant, cast his lot with the predominently German population here and opened his own place. With a cluster of cemeteries nearby he had an opportunity to serve good food and drink to this clientele as well as to local folks. It might be interesting to know this, yet it was far better to have been born early enough to dine there. It was here for almost a century.

Filler: Katrina slammed into New Orleans four days after the Big Easy’s 287th birthday. Founded Aug. 25, 1718″like many other U.S. towns and cities, it’s much older than our country.

From the Sept. 9, 1965 issue of the Forest Park Review.

Thirty Years Ago

Young men behaving badly. Officer Michael Thompson had reason to speak to the two young men twice before”for using loud and obscene language on the street and then for holding up traffic on Madison. More than “apparently” bent on causing trouble, one of them pulled a class act, urinating on the street. Approaching these “trouble youths,” Thompson asked for identification and was immediately slammed to the ground. Back up units subdued the crazies”and the slammers got slammed into the slammer where even more bad behavior took place. Judge Francis X. Connell set bond at $30,000. Boys night out.

The August 27, 1975 issue carried a funny, yet pitiful, piece about man’s (and woman’s) ability to mispronounce and misspell; in this case when applying for health insurance claims at nine Prudential Home Offices: Someone hadn’t received compensation for having suffered ‘yellow jonders;’ another had a damaged ‘knose;’ another complaint had to do with ‘falls teeth;’ while someone else’s lament had to do with ‘very coarse veins.’ Other afflictions: ‘a bad Bruce’ on the shoulder…a ‘sis’ on the eye…a bad case of ‘hemrocks’…’plops’ (can often lead to full blown polyps)…’high pretension’…even ‘fiscal’ check-ups.

From the Sept. 1975 issues of the Forest Park Review.

Twenty Years Ago

We’re late finding this photo of Forest Park’s Fourth of July picnic celebration back in 1985. Besides fireworks, there was food and drink for friends and family groups, frolicking in the foam for the kids and Bingo. Shown close-by is our esteemed park director”then and now”Dave Novak. Wouldn’t next July be a good time to reinstate the safe, wonderful and very funny sport called donkey baseball? (Not a lot of fun for the donkeys.)

Our Circle Theater had an official debut date of August 9, 1985. The production was Fiddler on the Roof, the part of Yenta, the matchmaker, was played by Lori Bianca of Forest Park and the venue was not yet 7300 Madison, but Grant-White School. Also, the runs back then were usually three days. Karen Skinner, Wayne Buidens and Joe Bass were co-founders of what is now quite a successful and well-regarded theater.

From the August 1985 issues of the Forest Park Review.

Ten Years Ago

Though located in Summit, the Candlelight Playhouse is remembered by many Forest Parkers who dined there, then sat back and enjoyed many a performance”usually a musical or a music review. Many a bus-full went there as club members, with family, on dates or with friends. Many opted for dinner with the show, and it was possible to describe both steak and performance as well done.

Located at 5620 S. Harlem, the dinner-showplace opened in 1961 under the auspices of William Pullinsi. Its state-of-the-art entertainment was enhanced by a special hydraulic stage that was raised and lowered for set changes, one of the first of its kind. The Candlelight helped launch the careers of actors like Joe Mantegna, Mandy Patinkin and Shelly Long.

Many outstanding productions were done there, including “Oklahoma,” “My One and Only,” “Beauty and the Beast” and “The Little Shop of Horrors.” Before closing in the mid-nineties there were well over 250 productions, some 4,000 performers and more than 90 Jefferson citations. The food was quite good, the entertainment at least rewarding and often excellent. The whole experience was nearly always quite satisfying.

From the Sept. 20, 1995 issues of the Forest Park Review.