Old Chicago


Old Chicago
Bolingbrook, Illinois
Reader Contributions
Page One

Old Chicago Shopping Center & Amusement Park in Bollingbrook, Illinois under construction

The photos on this page come from Cody Denkins and were taken by his parents. 


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Cody's father Shane pictured here arriving at Old Chicago worked at one of the more unique and memorable specialty shops in the shopping center portion of Old Chicago.

Old Chicago Shopping Center & Amusement Park in Bollingbrook, Illinois under construction

The unique store in question was the Marshall Brodien Magic Shop.  If you don't know the name of Marshall Brodien how about "Whizzo the Wizard" from Bozo's Circus TV show that ran on WGN for decades?  Or what about the spokesperson for the old "TV Magic Deck" trick cards TV commercials back in the 1970's and early 1980's??  Whizzo and that TV Magic Deck TV spokesman were the same man; Marshall Brodien and he had all the magical items one could want at his store in the Old Chicago Shopping Center.

Old Chicago Shopping Center & Amusement Park in Bollingbrook, Illinois under construction

Back to Cody there he is in the stroller with his mother outside of the Marshall Brodien Magic Shop.

Old Chicago Mall & Amusement Park, Bollingbrook, IL

There were all sorts of tricks and magical items in the store including the "TV Magic Cards" that you can see on the counter.

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If you are going to work at a magic shop one of the requirements is that you know how all of the tricks work and can demonstrate them for those looking to buy.  So it's no surprise to find out that Cody's Dad was a magician.  He was known professionally as the "Wizard of Norwillit". 

Old Chicago Mall & Amusement Park, Bollingbrook, IL

Here's some more of the goodies at Marshall Brodien's Magic Shop.

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For a magician working at the Magic Shop had to of been a sweet deal as you get to play around with all the tricks and do a little fooling around, I mean practicing and get paid for it.

Old Chicago Shopping Center & Amusement Park in Bollingbrook, Illinois

Photos of the Mansion of Horrors walk through haunted house and the Four Seasons dark ride have been parts of Old Chicago that I have wanted for a long time so I was thrilled to get this image from Cody.  The Mansion of Horrors was a dark and confusing walk through where monsters would jump out at you and there were other things to frighten you.  The Mansion was just a single story attraction while the windows upstairs were the Biergarten Restaurant. 

Old Chicago Shopping Center & Amusement Park in Bollingbrook, Illinois

Here is a photo of one of the Gargoyles that sat high above the Mansion of Horrors as part of its fascsade.  I have very vague memories of going through the Mansion but for Cody:

"I was too little to ride any of the rides, but I do remember that The Haunted House was so scary that I had to go back out the In Door less than halfway through!"

Old Chicago Shopping Center & Amusement Park in Bollingbrook, Illinois

Here's Old Chicago's Rotor with the Chicago Cat coaster in the lower right corner.  These photos had to have been taken in Old Chicago's first year as there are none of the sound dampening cubes that were hung from the ceiling in order to get rid of Old Chicago's noise problem.  Having a bunch of noisy rides inside of a steel and concrete box was noisy and when the Chicago Loop coaster ran you could hear it all the way around the mall.  

Old Chicago Shopping Center & Amusement Park in Bollingbrook, Illinois

With Old Chicago's turn of the century theme it was fitting that they had a Vaudeville Theater for some live shows.  I vaguely remember that they used to show silent movies in there as well.

 Old Chicago Amusement Park & Shopping Center, Bolingbrook, IL

There were a lot of acts at Old Chicago from their concerts to vaudeville to street performers to circuses like this one.  Check out the styling band with the matching vests and Mexican Wedding Tuxedo shirts.  

Old Chicago Amusement Park & Shopping Center, Bolingbrook, IL

This magician appears to be a Cubs fan as you can see the big Cubs "C" on the side of one his stage props to the right.  Sadly his magic hasn't got the Cubs to the World Series yet.  

Old Chicago Shopping Center & Amusement Park in Bollingbrook, Illinois

 Here's a musical Chimpanzee act that looks like they have a dog working the cymbals.  There were just a few sets of bleachers for these shows but after a few months Old Chicago built a more permanent arena that sat inside of the Old Chicago's turn that you see in the background.  I really liked going in there, not necessarily to see the shows but at the back of the seating was right up next to the track and every couple of minutes it'd be fun having a coaster speed right by you.

 Thanks to Cody for these pictures.  If any of you have Old Chicago memories, photos or video please email them to me as I'd love to add them to the Old Chicago section of Negative-G.

For more photos of Old Chicago sent in by readers click "Next" below.

  

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Paul B. Drabek