July 21, 2011


Bill Matteson
Uptown Chicago History Correspondent

When I first saw Indiana Jones and the Raiders of the Lost Ark , I thought there was a familiarity to it but I couldn't put my finger on it.
Then on one of my last articles, I wrote about Phil Kaufman, Stewart School Class of 1950, who developed the Indiana Jones character .
I also loved the cliff hanger scenes that made up the entire movie.
As kids we were all into the Saturday Afternoon matinees at the Mode (pronounced mo day) Theater. Two westerns, two Serials and 10 cartoons
I am sure Phil Kaufman was no exception,
It is also Ironic that Harrison Ford also went to Stewart School

one of the Favorite Serials of the time was "Zorros Black Whip" starring Linda Sterling
My favorite Cowboy was Lash LaRue

The War ended in 1945 and within a couple of years War Surplus stores opened up, prices were reasonable, I remember paying . 50 for combat boots .25 for a fatigue hat .50 for a garrison belt and so on.

In or about 1950, We all bought Leather Bomber jackets for about $10, From a War Surplus Store on Broadway just North of Montrose
this is exactly the same kind as worn by Indiana Jones.

We had Bull Whips, I bought mine from the Boy Scout Section, on the second floor in Goldblatts,
My friends Lionel Rowe , Don French. John Markin, Bob Carter and me, all had them

One day I was practicing in my backyard when our janitor said " try this' He picked up that whip and showed me a few tricks in whip handling
He was pretty darn good at it. He told me that he used to work in the stockyards and they used whips to fight , when there were Union problems
He also told me that a strand of piano wire on the end, instead of a cracker, could cut a persons appendage off
Actually he used different terminology .

He showed me how to braid a rawhide cracker or fall as it is properly known
and how to make a fall out of hemp rope that comes on the newspaper deliveries
The rawhide fall makes a sharp crack like a rifle the hemp fall makes a loud sound like a shotgun.

I mentioned in the other article that I probably helped little Harrison Ford safely across the street in my role as Patrol Boy

So it only stands to reason that since we're all from Uptown, well , here I am folks, a young leather jacketed Uptown kid with a bull whip and probably the Prototype and Role model for Indiana Jones.

Bill "wait till my grandkids read this one" Matteson

my girl friend, Eileen Griffin 4740 Kenmore , was pretty good with a Bull Whip also, we've been married for 55 years, she's still my girl friend.
and she's still cracking the whip

1 comment:

MandaLeigh said...

"...we've been married for 55 years, she's still my girl friend.
and she's still cracking the whip"

I love that. :D


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