[Best of Chicago Slices]

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Open with Studs Terkel. "This is the city of hands."

Camera follows bike messenger through downtown traffic. Blackfelt relates a little life philosophy, what it takes to be a good rider, and demonstrates how he navigates Chicago traffic.

“We’re getting on the El right now and we’re going to do something that everybody in Chicago always does which is stand there and pretend that you’re really bored and see someone and wonder what their story is.”

Host Judy Markey leads Lisa and Steve Rebman in a guessing game about the age, occupation, marital status and name of another rider on the Lake/Englewood Line . Steve guesses 29, student, single, and his name is Sean. Lisa guesses 26, lawyer, single, and his name is Michael. In reality, he’s 28, works with the Chicago Board of Election commissioners, he’s single, and his name is Michael Yates. BINGO!

Debra Robinson tells the story about the time she got her hair stuck in the dishwasher and her neighbor had to cut it off. As he ran away, he fell down the stairs and he broke his leg, “So, now we’re talking to a broke leg man and a bald-headed woman. It was ugly, God it was ugly!”

“Hi, I’m Johnny Lira, man about town… suave, debonair, and character extraordinaire.” Lira recounts his successful history as a boxer from amateur to World Champion and shares how he became involved in event promotion and management. Lira introduces one of the boxers he is managing, David Davis, who is hearing impaired. Footage from his heavyweight bout with Ernie Terrel in 1965

Local police officers write rap music aimed at providing positive role models for inner city youth. As Eric Davis (aka “21”) explains, “Basically, we started the whole Slick Boys thing because we wanted to give back to the community, other than just being the police.” He and partner James Martin (aka “E-Murph”) tell their histories, both starting in the projects. “we’re giving it all back,” says Mike Merrill, Assistant Manager. Cabrini Green residents tell what they think about the Slick Boys. Also, footage from their music video “Ain’t It a Shame.”

Ray Still, in his 40th year with the Chicago Symphony, demonstrates how to make an oboe reed, plays a few pieces, and offers a bit of advice, “If you’re going to be someone who’s going to improve at his craft, you can’t stand still.”

Suburban kids trek to the city to ride bikes down stairs, over curbs, and off the 4-foot high walls.

An eight-year-old girl from the North side tells her story about a dinosaur bone she (or her dad?) found in the backyard. Her teacher, neighbor, mom and dad tell their widely-ranging versions of the story.

 

Flagger/Construction worker Tammi Smith shares her tricks for stopping traffic and describes what she sees from her perspective.

(music: “Walk on the Wild Side,” Lou Reed) Carpenter John Simms talks about his second job as Jyneen, as he gets ready for his next gig… a birthday party in Wilmette. “It started out as a joke about five years ago and now I spend more time with a dress on than pants and it’s kinda strange… I do all private parties. I’m not gay, believe it or not. This is business and that’s how I attack it, strictly business and it’s not really a lifestyle. If I’m out working, I’m not really running around with a dress on. Although sometimes it’s easier… I could almost be a real live Tootsie, although I think I carried it a little further with the boob job. I’m a guy. The bottom plumbing works, but I make my living wearing a dress.” Jim Saunders, a friend since high school talks about “Crazy” John… a guy you can count on.

People on the street are asked who they look like… Fred Flintstone, Barney Rubble, Mayor Sawyer, a new Albert Einstein, one of the Barbarian Brothers, Bruce Lee, Sissy Spacek, Kevin Costner, and Ivana Trump. (The real) Irv Kupcinet says people mistake him for Cary Grant. But don’t you look like Kup? “I used to be Irv Kupcinet,” he replies.

Emma Jenkins is interviewed while fishing at Jackson Park Lagoon.

“What’s your name ma’am?”

“Emma.”

“What’s your last name?”

“Jenkins.”

“What are you fishing for?”

“Fish.”

“Have you caught anything yet?”

“No.”

“You gonna catch anything?”

“Hope so.”

“What are you gonna do when you catch it?”

“Eat it.”

“How you gonna cook it?”

“Fry it.”

“Does it taste good?”

“Of course, that’s why I’m so fat (laughs)!”

Owner and chief cook of the Palace Grill, George Lemperis, introduces us to some of his customers, describes his work ethic, and lets us in on the secret ingredients in his hashbrowns seasoning.

Tom Carvallo, who just happens to be a chef, describes the health benefits of fish, with beer, of course.

Julie Fischer talks about tropical fish from a store her family owns near Clark and Webster. She’s asked, “What’s your favorite fish story?” and she replies, “I guess it would have to be about the lady who saved her goldfish with mouth-to-mouth resuscitation. . . It was dying and she took it out and breathed into its mouth and tried to revive it. I guess she did for a little while.”

Margaret Kunkler explains the concept of “Just Lunch,” a unique way for singles to meet and get to know each other over lunch. En route to her restaurant of choice, Tucci Milan, Cyndi tells us what she knows about her blind date, “Well, I know Joey’s my age, which is kind of in the early thirties. His family’s in the import/export business. He’ s supposed to be tall, dark and handsome, an Italian man, and a lot of fun. . .” To be continued. . . (music: Afternoon Delight: Starland Vocal Band)

Kiki, Heather, Alisa and Marcie talk about what it is to be best friends and how long they think they will remain friends.

Over lunch at the Walnut Room at Marshall Fields, Wanda McLenighan and Lillian Bender reminisce a little and talk about how thy met and how their friendship has developed through almost 80 years. Also, Wanda talks about the problem she faces with aging, “I just feel so inadequate. I was so independent. I could do anything really, but I can’t now.” Lilli gives some hard advice: “So, just accept it.”

Cindy and Joey meet for the first time and Andrea McGinty, from “Just Lunch” fills us in on what Joey’s looking for, “He definitely wants an urban city woman. He’s found he’s met a lot of women with big hair. That’s a quote from Joey and he wants someone who’s sophisticated, who likes the arts, and who’s interested in a lot of different things.”

To be continued. . .

From the original location of Comiskey Park’s home plate at 35th and Bill Veeck Dr., Cuban born White Sox slugger reminisces about his baseball days, which span six decades. “Baseball has been very, very, very, good to me. It gave me more than I expected and I never think they will be so good to me. And they respected that I was so good to them, they just give me so many good things. They gave me good friendship. . . and we respect each other, we see each other no matter where, ‘Hi buddy, how are you?” Hall of Fame WGN-TV broadcaster Jack Brickhouse talks about his first impressions of Minnie, “The first three of our times I interviewed Minnie, you know, on the Tenth Inning Program after the game on television, I can honestly say, I don’t think I understood one complete sentence, but he was so sincere and so serious about it all, and I’m sayin’ to myself this is on camera I hope he’s not advocating the overthrow of the government by force, I hope he’s not using profanity, I just hope everything’s all right. Now, of course, Minnie speaks very well.”

 

 

We find out what happens after lunch. . .

“So, Joey, tell me how it went?”

“Lunch was very nice. I was impressed with her, probably see her again, and we talked and we’ve got a lot in common, a lot of differences, but a lot in common.”

Cindy says she might call him. Hmmm . . .”

Gordon Walek, TV Editor, of the Daily Herald, What do you think of Chicago Slices?

“We TV critics usually watch the first episode of a new series and praise it or dismiss it based on that. I’ve done a comprehensive review of Chicago Slices and have found that the show hit its stride at about episode six. The “What the El” segment has been tightened up considerably, the “Kennedy Women” got the hook, and the people who bought the show have had the good sense to give it time to develop. . .”

 

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