The New McDonalds & The Old Ghosts On Washington Blvd

How can I put this…? Karmic Law strikes again? The Quarter Pounder grows up? Maybe simply ~ a McDonald’s criticism-inside-a-compliment. The compliment has to do with the untold story to McDonald’s planned move to the city’s Near West Side. For it completes a 70 year cycle which began in 1955.

By 1980 the new hamburger king hired me to write their 25 year franchisee celebration. Back then I was huddled in a little corner of their future home when it was still the old Fred Niles Film Studios; then later the Oprah Winfrey Harpo Studios. My criticism is how they had me do my research out in their luxuriant mountaintop Oak Brook Headquarters; my compliment is how they are now willing to come back down the mountain, and remember their city roots.

There will be some ghosts haunting their new setting on West Washington Blvd. Among them the echoes of films shot there in the 1960s with Vince Lombardi, Van Johnson, and our own Chicago actor-icon Mike Nussbaum. Later ghosts, the network laughs and lessons when Oprah was master of all she surveyed there.

The softest ghost will be my own. You see, when I spent time meeting and writing for the Oak Brook titans, I was only a hired hand whose job was to write not advise. But had I the guts to say it then, I would have said what I am writing now. Everything proud I learned about the McDonalds nationwide operation, I learned from meeting their franchisees and workers in the field. Not their VIP’s at Oak Brook.

Here’s wishing they re-discover their roots in that lovely, ghost-tempered old building.

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