If you thought that, the past few years, the Taste of Chicago has gone through some changes, be prepared for an even more significant one-this year, not only will the event be held after the July 4th week- but- there will NOT be any giant barbequed turkey legs!
Anybody who has ever been to the Taste or even seen coverage of it knows that one could not walk more than ten feet there without running into someone gnawing on one of those huge delicacies. If there was a food associated with the event- I’d have to say it was the turkey legs (either that or- what was it? Harry Caray’s fried dough?)
Well, not this year. Kids- according to Chicago Tribune food critic Phil Vettel, this year, the gentleman responsible for the turkey legs being available all these years has decided to sit this one out, mainly due to health issues. Tim McGivern, who has been the purveyor of the legs , at various booths throughout the history of the Taste, is having knee and back problems, so he won’t be cooking the turkey drumsticks up this year. (Ironic that he’s having leg problems- which will prevent him from preparing those other legs!)
So, check your scorecard- no fireworks this year; no 4th of July week noshing; and now, no barbequed turkey drumsticks. I’d step in to fill the gap with rubber chicken legs, but somehow, I don’t think they’d be as popular.
I’m even more excited about my appearances this Saturday and Sunday at the Little Boots Rodeo in Elk Grove Village- because I found out that the Oscar Meyer Weinermobile will be there! The famed giant hot dog-shaped vehicle, which has become an iconic symbol of the company, will be on the premises for all its many fans! I myself am a longtime fan of the Weinermobile, recalling the commercials of my youth that featured little person “Little Oscar” dressed as a chef, inviting families to take a look at the interior of his vehicle (I don’t know if they do that these days)- and, as a very small child , being brought to a Weinermobile appearance where they actually had “Little Oscar” in attendance- and getting one of the famous Oscar Meyer Weiner whistles, that look just like the vehicle, from him! The 1950s “Little Oscar” was actor Jerry Maren, who is still around from what I can tell- he was a Munchkin in “Wizard of Oz” in the 30s, “Little Oscar” in the 50s,and, in the 70s, appeared regularly on ”The Gong Show”. Though he was the live-action “Oscar” in the 50s, I think he was replaced by an animated “Oscar” in the TV commercials- and I don’t think there’s been any sort of physical presence of “Little Oscar” in years- if there was, it’d probably be some giant-headed costumed character, like the “Marios” I keep seeing outside video game stores (lately, in 90 degree heat, I might add- not a pleasant job). I digress, though- it will be great to see the Weinermobile again this weekend! Please check the event information under our “appearances” tab on this site-and come out to see me AND the classic advertising icon!
A quick mention that Richard Lynch, who played many a menacing evil-doer in horror and sci-fi TV and movies, has passed away. He appeared in “Star Trek: the Next Generation”- the 2007 version of “Halloween”-“The Sword and the Sorcerer”-“Puppet Master III”-“Trancers II”- “Galactica 1980”-“the Barbarians” (which we showed on Sven!)- and lots of other non-genre productions. He also appeared on and off Broadway.