40 years ago

Subject: Larry Kaercher’s column. In it, he noted that Joel Wells, editor of “Critic Magazine,” had addressed the graduating class of Rosary College. Of it, Kaercher told about having an advance copy. Out of it, came the disturbing possibility that people were apparently losing their sense of humor. And from it, came some excerpted conclusions:

“Our culture seems to take too much too seriously. Is it because of this loss that the times seem so scary? Could it be we have forgotten how to laugh? Is the light touch losing to computer spread sheets, charge cards, traffic jams, pollutants, rampant technology and widespread commercialization? …. Maybe being too rigid and wired, we’re robbing ourselves of the ability to ridicule the absurd. And our emotional health – the gift of laughter – is less for it.

“Everyone takes themselves too damn seriously or settles for the artificial – like laugh tracks on television, formatted movies drenched in violence and unfunny sex allusions …. If we don’t do a little natural laughing,” said Wells, “we’ll be as hilarious as the upper echelon of the Third Reich.”

The speaker closed with an example of humor out of the Greatest Generation during WWII. Audie Murphy, America’s most decorated soldier in that war, was pinned down under withering enemy fire. When his field telephone rang, he picked it up saying, “World War Two. May I help you?”

From the Aug. 26, 1970 Forest Park Review

30 years ago

This item has nothing to do with Forest Park. It simply appeared in a past issue of the Review. It has everything to do with pigs, mainly the fleet-footed ones that race at the Illinois State Fair.

Roy Holding, advertising director of Heinhold Farms in Galva, Illinois, said 30 pigs were in training for the Golden Carrot, actually a handful of Oreo sweetmeats – and a chocolate chip cookie for each runner-up. “Conditioning is the key,” said Holding, “The competitors associate the starting bell with the lifting of the corral gates – then it’s Gangbusters! Here I come! Down the straightway, ’round the bend, over the low hurdles, then negotiating the opposing bend, cloven hooves kicking up clods of turf, ears alternately a-flap and flattened back, the porkers could out-sprint even Jesse Owens.

“We don’t race any fatties here,” he adds. “Only your svelte, peak-conditioned kind. We even make sure there’s no grass on the course. They might stop for a patch, only to lose the race.”

From the Aug. 6, 1980 Forest Park Review

20 years ago

The late E.B. White wrote, “I’d rather watch a good plumber than read a bad poem.”

He was talking about excellence in its many forms. Excellence is indeed a beautiful thing to behold. It can thrill and excite the beholder, and when a baton is being twirled one is dazzled by both baton and twirler. And when the Grand National Finals are at stake, with young ladies from little, old Forest Park involved, there’s something special in the air basides batons.

The Finals took place in San Antonio in August of 1990. Our nine-girl contingent – the Sugar and Spice Corps – won or placed across all categories. Individual winners were Richelle, Stears, 13, Kanisha Lites, 13 and 14 year-old Yvonne Williams.

From the Aug. 15, 1990 Forest Park Review

10 years ago

A satisfying movie is one you’ll probably remember 3, 4 or 10 maybe 10 years later. Why not invite a video version from your past back into your life?

The Perfect Storm: Epic drama and true account of the courageous men and women who risk their lives every working day pitting their fishing boats and rescue vessels against the force of nature. Their worst fears are realized one day in 1991 when confronted by the greatest storm in modern history. George Clooney and Mark Wahlberg.

Gladiator: Set in ancient Rome, a general favored by the previous emperor is stripped of his powers and sentenced to fight as a gladiator. Russell Crowe, Jaoquin Phoenix, Oliver Reed and Derek Jacoby.

From the July 26, 2000 Forest Park Review

Bob was born in Yonkers, N.Y., in 1932. His family encouraged him to join the Air Force (ours) during the Korean War. There, he fell into the clutches of Barbara Miles. They still have two world-class daughters, Jill and Cara. “Each of the four of us likes the other three of us,” says Bob.