In 1967, American society was coming apart at the seams, splitting along racial and cultural lines. There was growing opposition to the Vietnam War and a widening generational gap between parents and their counter-cultural kids. Race riots rocked cities from coast to coast. Dr. King denounced the war and Muhammad Ali refused induction. The music scene was also revolutionary, with debut releases by the Doors and the Jimi Hendrix Experience. However, the page of the Review reflected little of this national nervous breakdown. The Turtles’ hit “Happy Together” would characterize Forest Park’s mood that year. 

Claude Walker, Jr. was still the Review’s publisher, editor and columnist. He juggled these jobs, while serving as a State Senator in Springfield. Walker brought on his son, Michael J. Walker, to serve as the newspaper’s Advertising Manager. One of his jingles was, “Tis no blarney, tis no fad, nothing does it like a Review want ad.” 

The Review was fat with ads for industrial, manufacturing and secretarial jobs. The newspaper was also peppered with public service announcements, like “Secretarial Facts and Fancies for the right-hand gal.” It suggested, “Groom yourself for success. Avoid shiny nose and chipped nail polish.” The Review had much to say about women and their appearance. 

“Are you fashion’s forgotten woman?” an ad asked, “Do tasteful clothes turn you on? Do mini-skirts and psychedelic dresses turn you off?” The Review also posed, “summer’s big question – to bikini or not.” The newspaper’s newest columnist, Gayle Achuff, was introduced under the headline, “Good Looker and Top Cooker.” Achuff penned a column called “The Bread Box.” 

The Review also commented on male styles. It announced, “Mod’s outmoded” and being replaced by Ivy League style. Conservative fashions could be found at Sam Zussman’s Men’s Style Shop, 7411 Madison Street. When he wasn’t selling clothes, Zussman was a renowned sportswriter.

The Park hosted an unusual sporting event, “Trout Fishing at the Park.” The pool was stocked with game fish and over 500 anglers showed up on the first day. Another popular Park activity was the “Learn-to-Swim Program.” It was in its 14th year, under the direction of Lorraine Popelka. Popelka later parlayed her success in teaching a generation to swim into a political career, becoming Forest Park’s first and only female mayor.

Politics was also a sport in 1967, as elections were held for mayor and commissioners. The field was wide open, because incumbent Howard R. Mohr stepped down to serve as a state senator for the 5th District. The Review hosted “Candidate’s Nite” at Homer’s Restaurant. The office seekers brought their troops and there were plenty of fireworks. Earl Witt was later elected mayor, while Robert Dowd, Mike Lambke, Santo Rizzo and James Sansone were elected commissioners.

Lambke, the head of Public Works, was already a local hero. On January 26, 1967, Chicago was socked with its largest snowstorm in history.  Twenty three inches fell and the blizzard produced 50-mph winds. Lambke was hailed for leading the best snow removal effort in the western suburbs. Crews worked around nonstop to clear the streets and the snow removal cost the village $30,000. The Boy Scouts were also lauded for their help. They mushed through 24 inches of snow to clear fire hydrants.

Besides the Boy Scouts, the Review regularly recognized others in uniform. The newspaper ran a two-page spread honoring “Your Adopted Marines.” There was another item, under the headline, “Viet Boys Thank Woman’s Club.” Joseph H. Byrnes was serving in Vietnam at the time and wrote, “People back home have been great to us fellas and it gives us a good feeling to know that an organization like yours is helping to keep up our morale.” (Byrnes now serves as a village commissioner.) 

The Review reflected the growing controversy about the war. It ran an ad asking, “Tired of talking about Vietnam? Why not do something positive?” Young men were encouraged to sign up for the Marine Corps Reserve at the Armed Forces Training Center, Hannah & Roosevelt. The newspaper also celebrated Dennis Galloway, a Proviso East grad, for winning a medal for meritorious service.

Galloway’s alma mater suffered a setback, though, when there were reports of a race riot at Proviso East.  The incident was sparked after no black girls were chosen for “Homecoming Queen.” The Review editorialized, “Perhaps education on a larger scale for Negros in this country would be more fruitful in the long run than sit-ins, marches and riots.” It noted that black students comprised 20 percent of Proviso East’s enrollment and that administrators shouldn’t back down from this vocal minority. By the end of the year, the school had expelled 35 students. 

In happier news, Astronaut Eugene Cernan (Proviso East Class of 1952) came to the school to present mementos from outer space. There was another celebrity sighting, when pianist Van Cliburn played a concert at Rosary College Auditorium (now Dominican University). World-famous clown, Emmett Kelly, Jr., cheered-up Freddy Hereau, of Forest Park, at MacNeal Hospital. Finally, Forest Park’s “national TV celebrity”, Mike Douglas, was named “Man of the Year” by the Illinois Broadcasters Association. 

The Park Commissioners were disappointed when their $850,000 bond issue to build an indoor recreational facility was clobbered by a 4-1 margin. However, voters did approve a bond issue to revamp the village’s water system. This included building two 500,000 gallon water towers, at 16th Street & Circle Avenue and Franklin Street & Circle Avenue. Voters also approved a $2,000,000 bond for expansion at Proviso East and Proviso West to meet the “exploding enrollment.”

The highlight of the year, though, was the Oktoberfest that was held in September, at Beloit Avenue & Madison Street. Future Review publisher, Bob Haeger, was chairman of the highly-successful festival. As the Review trumpeted in its headline, “Yeah, we is der Schwingist Town!”

John Rice

John Rice is a columnist/private detective, who has seen his business and family thrive in Forest Park. He thoroughly enjoys life in the village and still gets a thrill smelling Red Hots, watching softball...