Draped in khaki, sporting a pith helmet, and armed with but a camera and a microphone, Ben Hollis for 14 years (1989-2003) searched the urban jungle of Chicago for the eccentric and unique people, places and things for “Wild Chicago!” a half-our show that aired weekly 1989-2003 on Ch. 11.
Now Hollis and his offbeat adventures are back, with a hefty 2 hour 20 minute DVD, “The Golden Age of ‘Wild Chicago,’ Volume 1” will debut Nov. 13 at the Patio Theatre, 6008 W. Irving Park at 3 p.m.
Forty-five segments of the greatest, side-splitting clips will screen exactly how they aired. They will be shown on a large screen with a state-of-the-art projector, Dolby sound, and a simulated night sky with twinkling stars that will take every “Wild Chicago” fan back to past decades that won’t be soon forgotten.
Segments from the best of the first two seasons (1989-90)were compiled by multiple Emmy-winner Hollis and co-produced by Ben Hollis Worldwide and WTTW. John Davies, with Ch. 11 at the time, was the show’s co-creator who brought the record-running series to life after seeing Hollis’ short film, “Rent A Friend.”
Some of the offbeat places revisited are Maxworks Hippie Commune, River Slim Live Fish, Montenegro’s Puppets, Get Me High Jazz Club, Punk Rock Park, The old Greyhound Bus Depot, Sparky’s 85¢ Breakfast, The Rock Star Shop with Diamond Rexx, Shooter’s Biker Bar and Piranha-Man’s All Night Donut Shop.
In 2003 Hollis left “Wild Chicago!” and moved to Ch. 50 with “Ben Loves Chicago” and Ch. 20 for “Ben Around Town.” He returned to Ch. 11 with “Wild Chicago’s Illinois Road Trip” in 2006.
Hollis is very passionate about “Wild Chicago” and this passion has only been “turned on by the passion of the people.” That’s why he wants to capture and revitalize this piece of TV history.
Currently, Hollis is producing “W.I.L.D.” (“What I Love Doing”) videos that capture and highlight Chicago’s eccentric businesses, hobbies, activities and obsessions in the spirit of “Wild Chicago.”