Saturday, August 13, 2011

Photo of the Week: Baseball and the Babe

Jack Brickhouse holds steady while "Forever Marilyn" teases the crowds at Pioneer Court (JWB, 2011)

“I’ve often stood silent at a party for hours listening to my movie idols turn into dull and little people,” Marilyn Monroe once said.

There is nothing dull and little about the 26-foot statue of the actress, “Forever Marilyn,” that stands close to Michigan Avenue at Pioneer Court.  Sculptor Seward Johnson created the work, and The Sculpture Foundation and Zeller Realty Group, owners of Pioneer Court, commissioned the installation of the sculpture, an attraction that will remain through the spring of 2012.

Paul Zeller, the CEO of Zeller Realty Group, said of the sculpture, “With Marilyn we hope to rekindle an attitude and optimism from an era that this iconic figure represents—a time when we, as a nation and a people, were proud, productive, optimistic and self-assure, if a bit mischievous.  We seek to return to American Exceptionalism, and trust Marilyn will propel our attitudes in this direction.” [The Sculpture Foundation Press Release; July 15, 2011]

I’m not sure that the new sculpture is the best example of American Exceptionalism that one could find . . . whatever American Exceptionalism is.

But the blonde beauty is sure drawing them in.

It’s amusing that just north of Marilyn, the one-time baseball babe, sits Jack Brickhouse at the microphone, oblivious to the sight of Ms. Monroe’s lacy undergear aimed at the lucky tenants of 401 North Michigan.

Holding a scorecard, Brickhouse, as depicted by sculptor Jerry McKenna, most probably is watching his beloved Cubbies once again fail to score a run with men on second and third and no outs.  Brickhouse is a Media Wing Hall-of-Famer who was born in Peoria in 1917, just nine years after the Cubs won their last World Series.  At the age of 18 he became the youngest sports announcer in the country and by 1979 had racked up 5,000 broadcasts for WGN radio and television.

So there he sits, just upwind of the Hollywood beauty, maybe describing a backdoor slider that left another batter caught looking.  Or another moon shot that a Cub hit on the sweet spot.  Perhaps it was a called shot, launched after the guy on the mound pitched him high and tight.

It’s appropriate that the great broadcaster hunkers down to business while just to the south the wind, blowing out on a perfect day for baseball, lifts Marilyn Monroe’s dress to the world. 

Back. Back. Back.  Hey, Hey!


Billthebrown said...

Hey hey is right. Brick also did World Series in the early 50's. He made the call on the great catch by Willie Mays.

Chicago Old and New said...

And Marilyn Monroe made a great catch of her own!