Thursday, June 20, 2013

"Michigan Boulevard"

A Chicago tale - minus gangsters

For Hollywood, as with much of the world, Chicago has been synonymous with gangsters.

But in 1932 Universal Studios had a novel idea - a movie about Chicago minus the gangsters. The idea is the cinematic equivalent of soy hot dogs. Noble in intent but unappealing to a public eager to satisfy its carnivorous instincts.

Which probably explains why nothing seems to have come of it.

The idea was reported by columnist Louella Parsons on May 7, 1932.

To the Chicago historian, news of a vintage film filled with generous amounts of location shooting in Chicago is very enticing. Indeed, Universal came to Chicago in 1929 to film scenes for "King of the Rodeo" with Hoot Gibson. The film, which exists, contains stunning shots of Soldier Field and the Chicago Loop.

So the question is did this film ever get made. And I honestly don't know. There is no listing in IMDB. And Universal films of the early 1930s, unless you are looking for a classic horror film, are hard to come by.

What I was able to find out a bit about was the woman who came up with the idea for the film and whose first name was misspelled by Louella Parsons.

Let's begin with this obituary from the Chicago Tribune.

And I found the following item from a blog with news clips about old Hollywood.

There was also this news item in the New York Times about her son.

So what about her actual work? There is this intriguing item in the Library of Congress copyright catalog that also gives her Chicago address.

There is a news item from Dec. 28, 1931 about this play

And there is this from Film Daily, 1932.

So at this point, it would appear that Elynore Dolkart arrived in Hollywood with a lot of dreams and some interesting concepts but left with nothing to show for it, only to land in Chicago and leave a legacy in the form of an award given every year in her name.

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