Down Clark Street

Tom Palazzolo takes us on a tour of the Chicago neighborhood where he lived in the 1960s, stretching down Clark Street from Chicago Avenue to the Chicago River. Palazzolo combines his own vintage photographs and film footage from the '60s and '70s with a modern-day video tour, led by the filmmaker himself. Palazzolo recounts stories of locals that he knew, filmed and photographed on Clark street and speaks of how the neighborhood has changed over the years.

00:12Copy video clip URL Titles: “Down Clark Street” Opens with Tom Palazzolo talking over his own archival photograph. He arrived in Chicago in 1960. His impressions of Chicago continue over archival video footage of downtown.

00:49Copy video clip URL Footage switches to present day. Palazzolo is still talking about his inital impressions of Chicago, including that he moved to Hubbard Street in 1962, where he lived the next ten years, photographing his surroundings from the River to Chicago Avenue. Some of these photographs are shown, and they are interpersed throughout the piece.

02:55Copy video clip URL Palazzolo in front of a building that used to be hotels for men. Old footage of him follows, some in a Chaplinesque style, also includes him playing the trumpet on the Stock Exchange.

03:56Copy video clip URL Palazzolo goes to the river to feed the pigeons, talking about a woman, “The Pigeon Lady” he used to know who fed them. This is interspersed with footage Palazzolo shot of her.

05:37Copy video clip URL Palazzolo lifts up a board to find “The old city of Chicago” saying an old storefront is down there, pointing at a hole in the sidewalk.

06:20Copy video clip URL Palazzolo remembers a depressed man who used to wander aimlessly around the neighborhood on weekends and sell newspapers during the week. “He was so depressed he would let the street cleaners practically run him over.”

07:33Copy video clip URL Palazzolo discusses Chicago in the springtime, including the parades and patriotism. He also mentions people who would come to the parades and hand out literature.

09:11Copy video clip URL Palazzolo visits the place where he used to pay his rent and remembers his landlords and handyman. He also visits the former home of bookbinders he once took a photo of.

10:13Copy video clip URL Palazzolo visits a bar that’s changed a couple of times and remembers his own family’s bar back in the Depression.

13:03Copy video clip URL Palazzolo remembers the burlesque houses in the neighborhood, especially the Playhouse on Grand Avenue.

14:00Copy video clip URL Palazzolo interviews Jim Flint, owner of the Baton Lounge, which features female impersonators. The Baton Lounge was established in 1969. They discuss the building and a “greasy spoon” diner, David Berg’s.

16:06Copy video clip URL Palazzolo walks through a parking garage and remembers all the stores that used to be there.

17:00Copy video clip URL Palazzolo talks about the neighborhood people he used to know over their photos.

17:33Copy video clip URL “Clark Street was the best integrated section of the city.” Mainly archival footage and photos.

19:52Copy video clip URL Archival and present-day footage of where Palazzolo used to get his hair cut at a barber’s college.

21:24Copy video clip URL Palazzolo talks about Carol Ann, a terminally ill woman who would spend her nights in a diner until someone would walk her home.

23:00Copy video clip URL Montage and summary of the neighborhood.

23:57Copy video clip URL End credits.

24:58Copy video clip URL End of tape.


1 Comment

  1. Zeke utkiewicz says:

    Tom, many thanks for this. Brings back memories of when we were kids looking for comic books on North Clark St in the early 1960’s, and especially the ABC Magazine shop at 418 N. Clark. Never thought I’d find a photo of it, until I found your video today. Thanks a million for the memories.

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