First of all, thanks for your patience with our website and these blogs the past few days. We apologize for the interruptions and delays.
Last night, a special event –of which our own Me-TV was a proud sponsor-took place at the brand new location of the Museum of Broadcast Communications-a special 25th anniversary salute to the MBC, the night before the grand re-opening today of this amazing addition to Chicago’s museum scene featuring local and national radio and television history. Established by Bruce Dumont, whose family ties include the early TV Dumont Network, the museum has been in a few different locations during its lifetime, but now has a permanent home at 360 N. State Street- a location that has added meaning to me, since my first broadcast home was right next door at 300 N. State Street, where WFLD was located in what is now the “House of Blues” building.
The sold-out celebration kicked off with the chance to wander the museum’s galleries, including the one devoted to radio broadcasting- featuring the radio hall of fame, a vintage radio collection, Edgar Bergen’s famed ventriloquist dummies like Charlie McCarthy who were among the golden days of radio’s greatest stars -and the television floor, which has some great special displays that fans of the great history of children’s programming here in Chicago will love- actual props from “Bozo’s Circus”, like the Bozo buckets, the organ from the Bozo band, and more- the puppets from “Garfield Goose and Friends”, including Gar and Romberg Rabbit- and a beautiful reconstruction of the set from Bill Jackson’s “Cartoon Town”- with all B.J.’s original puppets, perfectly restored, that he so graciously donated to the Museum! Another new addition to the museum is the original set from NBC News Washington from the late Tim Russert’s days of hosting “Meet the Press”- along with old favorites like the set from “Family Classics”.
Of course there were many local broadcasting stars, past and present, in attendance, and very special guests like the incredible Betty White, local (and national) treasure John Mahoney, and the great Hugh Downs, along with Mayor Rahm Emanuel .After the meet and greet and chance to browse the museum galleries, dinner was served, followed by an official program honoring the museum’s history and a special video presentation- including a message from former Chicagoan Barack Obama.
The official re-opening will occur this morning, with Betty White on hand to cut the ribbon and welcome the general public to this very special place, where they can view actual memorabilia from local and national radio and TV, and listen to and watch the many programs – over 8,500, in fact-in the museum archives. New exhibits are already being planned, and, rumor has it that a certain horror show host’s coffin will be put on display there within the next year!
It’s an honor for this city to have one of the only three broadcast museums in the country- and our local pride in the deep Chicago roots of radio and television programming is well-reflected in this new facility. I hope you’ll take the opportunity to visit the museum soon, for an educational, entertaining, and inspiring experience.