Tuesday, April 09, 2013

Ebert and O'Rourke's

Via Michael Miner in The Reader from 2009,

Neil Steinberg had asked Ebert about those good old days, which he'd come along too late to experience but understood to be a time when the flame from Chicago's Front Page era again burned brightly. "Steinberg said he'd heard that on a good night you might see Mike Royko, Studs Terkel and Nelson Algren there all at the same time. Yes, you might," Ebert writes, "but it was not always a good night." He writes nonjudgmentally, but we know that he knows that barflies mortgage years to buy hours. "Royko appeared one night after midnight, being supported by two volunteers, his trench coat a shambles," Ebert remembers. "He was scheduled to appear the following morning on the Phil Donahue Show. I made it a point to watch. To my amazement, he was lucid and didn't seem hung over."
I worked at the Dr. Scholl's factory shoe store on Wells street the summer of 1974 (if I recall right), and walked over to O'Rouke's on a Saturday afternoon to ask around about Algren who had just moved to New Jersey.
Ebert was sitting alone at the bar.  Don't recall much of what he said.  The bar tender told me Algren was a miserable guy and a miserable customer always harassing women patrons.
The extent of my Ebert recollections.  Too much beer I suppose.  O'Rouke's one of the few places then where you could get Guiness on tap. We talked I'm sure, but I haven't a clue about what other than he and the bar tender agreed Algren was a nasty guy.
Here's Ebert from his blog on O'Rourke's.


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