Best of Wild Chicago, no. 309: Sports

Episode 309 of Wild Chicago features a Sports theme. Eclectic sports like turtle racing, Jello wrestling, and an art exhibit turned into a mini-golf course are seen alongside an Italian-American sports museum and some pugilist philosophy.

00:11Copy video clip URL Production credits are displayed.

00:31Copy video clip URL WTTW Chicago opening graphics.

00:35Copy video clip URL Ben Hollis, host of Wild Chicago, is dressed as a hockey goaltender in an abandoned field. He introduces the show’s theme of sports while miscellaneous sports objects are thrown at him. 

00:59Copy video clip URL Opening to Wild Chicago, montage of Ben Hollis’s introduction and clips of various scenes around the Chicago area.

02:05Copy video clip URL “Turtle Races.” Hollis attends “thoroughbred” turtle racing at a late-nite bar called the Deja Vu Downs (2624 N. Lincoln Ave.). A round platform is set up in the middle of the bar and small turtles with numbers taped to their shells are brought out. An announcer tells contestants the stakes of the game: participants whose turtle wins the race win a t-shirt, participants whose turtle loses the race win a free drink of their choice. Hollis interviews various contestants, including “Al,” described as the a trainer of the most famed turtle “Eskimo Dream,” and John “The Fish” who is described as the “Grand master champion of all turtle racing.”

04:38Copy video clip URL The turtle racing begins. Turtles are corralled into the platform by a circular wooden disk in the center of a large while circular area bordered by a square blue area. Once the disk is lifted away, the first turtle to crawl cross from the inner white circular area outside to the blue area wins the race.

05:41Copy video clip URL “Golf Course.” Hollis visits “Par Excellence,” a traveling miniature golf course located inside an art gallery in River West. As an art installation, various artists have designed their own miniature golf holes. Various themes include putting into the Art Institute, avoiding potholes on the Dan Ryan Expressway, or having your fortune read. The 18th hole (the last hole) is made from hundreds of fabricated skulls and a large skeleton; according to the gallery guide, “This is the hole that keeps your ball. This is the end.”

07:44Copy video clip URL “Room for Jello.” Jello wrestling at the Moulin Rouge (5667 N Lincoln Ave). Women performers dressed in wrestling attire perform a spectacle watched by a predominately male audience. A black tarp is slung across the bar floor and buckets of Jello are subsequently tossed on the black tarp. The women act out wrestling moves with each other, the conceit of the Jello giving the wrestling a slippery and messy allure for those in the audience.

09:28Copy video clip URL “Dude Ranch.” Hollis visits the Trout Fisherman’s Dude Ranch in Des Plains, where guests can fish year-round. Signs mark that “You must keep your fish.” Hollis interviews one couple who enjoy fishing at the dude ranch regularly and asks about their baiting strategy.

11:55Copy video clip URL “Bingo City.” At Bingo City (6800 N Western Ave), a large open hall filled with tables strewn with large bingo cards and nightly bingo games run by volunteers and an organization called City of Hope. The regular prize for a winner averages $80.

13:28Copy video clip URL “Boxing Club.” At the Chicago Woodlawn Boys and Girls Club, lightweight Curtis Strong gives a tour of the gym and some pugilist philosophy. Alfonzo Ratliff is seen training in the ring.

15:37Copy video clip URL “Sports Museum.” The National Italian-American Sports Hall of Fame in Arlington Heights. Indy 500 racecars and uniforms of Yogi Berra, Franko Harris, Joe DiMaggio, along with other notable attire from famous Italian-Americans are on display.

17:27Copy video clip URL “Scuba School.” Scuba classes at the swimming pool at the University of Illinois on Roosevelt Rd.

20:51Copy video clip URL “Bowling Party.” At the Diversey River Bowl (2211 W Diversey Ave).

23:23Copy video clip URL “Cues ‘N’ Clubs.” Pioneer Lounge and Billiards (1537 N Pulaski), famous for Paul Newman and Tom Cruise having once played there. The lounge also boasts one of the few indoor golf ranges in the Chicago area at the time.

26:11Copy video clip URL Closing credits.



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