40 years ago

A fish story that’s true. Jim Dale Travel Agency got a note from the master of a Holland trawler fishing in the North Sea. It read, in part, “The enclosed baggage label was found among a recent catch we pulled up. [It read, ‘If found, please return to Jim Dale Travel, 7517 Madison St., Forest Park, IL, U.S.A.’]”

The captain said he came to two conclusions; that it was either fastened to a key or bag of a client who lost it in the North Sea … or it was attached to a balloon and released for some kind of publicity, for the fun of it?

Note: the tag had come loose in a trans-Atlantic crossing of another ship.

From the Jan. 21, 1970, Forest Park Review

30 years ago

Act IV Playhouse, located in the basement of St. Bernardine’s Church, was the precursor to today’s Circle Theatre. Founded and funded on a scrap and a hope and the endless dedication of Karen Skinner, Wayne Buidens and Joe Bass, it has evolved into one of the foremost local venues for live drama, comedy and musicals.

In 1980, a stellar production was presented, The Thurber Carnival. Short skits by the zany yet somewhat controlled James Thurber. Anyone could go on telling you how funny a night it must have been. Lots of snappy lines, like: On wine snobbery – “It’s a naive, domestic burgundy without any breeding, but you’ll be amused by its presumption.” Advice on what to shout when shagging a horse out of your living room – “Roogie, Roogie. Whoosh!” The sound of Commander Walter Mitty’s ship as the engine cylinders rev up – “Ta-pocketa-pockata-pocketa.”

I feel sorry for anyone who hasn’t read Thurber.

From the Jan. 16, 1980, Forest Park Review

20 years ago

Destinies can entwine many ways. Who remembers Tom Collis? He was mayor of this town back in the WWII days. A lot of us remember Bob Collins – one letter difference – the popular WGN Chicago disk jockey who died only a week or two into the new millennium when his private plane went down while attempting a landing at Waukegan Airport, near Zion.

Tom Collis and his family relocated to Door County by the ’80s, where he owned a successful ice cream and grocery store. It was a happy time in a lovely setting until word spread that Tom’s business was up against it financially. By 1990, he had rebounded pretty well except for the longtime, nagging problem of rising propane costs. Collis took out a classified ad in the local Wisconsin newspaper addressed to the state’s legislature regarding the prohibitive cost of the fuel. Someone sent the ad to Bob Collins who championed Tom’s cause on the air here. In a relatively short time, the “unfair” cost of propane gas in Wisconsin was reduced.

Did Collins and Collis ever meet? Wouldn’t it be pretty to think so.

From the Jan. 24, 1990, Forest Park Review

10 years ago

Precious are the memories when a revered member of the community leaves. No one can be missed and loved by every person in the village, but Sam Zussman came close. He passed at 92 on Jan. 8, 2000, while preparing for temple, his home away from home. Sam had at least two passions in life, his commitment to high school athletics and his love of Zussman’s Style and Sports Shop on old and new Madison Street.

Born in Appleton, Wis., he would hitchhike for knothole tickets to see the old Green Bay Packers. He left college to make his fortune, settling in Maywood. His wife, Bertha, taught physical education at Proviso where Sam began his long avocation as a referee. He once threw his own nephew out of a game. And several times he officiated at Harlem Globetrotter games.

Gradually, his store (at three locations over the years) became a magnet for local, national, professional and amateur sports figures. For many years his patented cigar preceded him as he joined friends at “Sam’s” for an enjoyable sports shmooze. His Bertha died and within a year he married Ruth. When she died 10 years later, he closed shop, but not before landing a gig on this paper reporting on – what else – sports.

From the Jan. 13, 2000, Forest Park Review