Oak Park’s favorite Berwyn institution (except, perhaps, for the Car-Ke-Bob) was recently transformed from its usual North Woods roadhouse look to a 1960s-style Texas Juke Joint in order to film scenes from the upcoming Universal Pictures film The Express, starring Dennis Quaid, Charles S. Dutton, and Rob Brown. Brown, who previously starred with Sean Connery in Finding Forrester, stars as Ernie Davis, the Syracuse running back who was the first African-American to win the Heisman Trophy. Davis died of leukemia not long after that.

The two-minute scene filmed there features the Syracuse team celebrating their 1960 Cotton Bowl victory, dancing to music provided by Lonnie Brooks, a Chicago blues musician who frequently plays FitzGerald’s. Wishbone Restaurant, now partnering with the nightclub, supplied food for the scene.

Quaid, who reportedly plays in a band of his own, was apparently quite taken by the club, and he’s not the first. FitzGerald’s has hosted a number of film shoots over the years, including A League of Their Own, The Color of Money, and Adventures in Babysitting, featuring such stars as Madonna, Paul Newman, Tom Cruise, Oak Park’s own Mary Elizabeth Mastrantonio, and Elizabeth Shue.

Owner Bill FitzGerald, himself a longtime Oak Parker, said Quaid “was nice enough to pose for a picture with me and my daughters.”

Twinkies go bananas

America’s iconic virtual food, Twinkies, caused quite a stir recently when it returned to its banana filling roots. A banana shortage during World War II caused the company to resort to a creamy vanilla center from which it never recovered, until now. Apparently, the banana filling is quite popular, resulting in a 20-percent boost in sales. And the man who started it all, way back in the 1930s? James A. Dewar, who invented the spongecake confection in order to save the company he worked for from bankruptcy during the Great Depression. Dewar lived in Oak Park and River Forest for 50 years. He died at the advanced age of 88, claiming to be a chain-smoker who consumed three Twinkies with a glass of milk before going to bed. He’s part of the Historical Society’s “Wall of Fame” traveling exhibit, currently on display at River Forest Village Hall.

Marion Street update

  • Expect to see a trench dug for the new water main before the end of the week.
  • Vertical pole banners for stores have been installed.
  • The Lake Theatre will remain open during electrical service upgrades, June 25-27. The work will be done between midnight and 5 a.m. to not affect businesses.
  • Businesses will remain open on Marion Street throughout the process.

Source: Village of Oak Park memo to businesses

Bar Louie blues?

Dinner on Father’s Day at Bar Louie was a sweltering affair, with the air-conditioning malfunctioning. Not the first time it’s happened, apparently, and not the only glitch the new business, located in the new RSC building on Lake Street. Apparently, the health club pool is located directly overhead and water has been known to leak.

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