Jim Mahoney founder of Film & Tape Works passes at 71

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James A. Mahoney, the founder of Film & Tape Works and dear friend of many in the Chicago film community, has died at age 71.

Film and Tape Works at 237 E. Ontario, was the premier production and post-production film/video house in Chicago, for over 30 years.

Early in his career Jim was a cameraman and had the pleasure of working on Chicago greats such as The Blues Brothers and Ferris Bueller’s Day Off.

“Jim was a smart guy, who worked hard and ran a TV production business that grew and grew with hundreds of great local and International clients,” said Brad Fox, VP/Partner at Big Shoulders.

Throughout his career, Jim worked on many noteable and interesting projects. He enjoyed hosting Emeril Live in Chicago by transforming his studio into a full kitchen set, complete with a live studio audience. He particularly enjoyed filming many of Chicago’s finest sports teams. He edited the Chicago Bears Superbowl Shuffle video in 1985 when the Bears won the Superbowl.

“I worked for Jim for 3 years,” said Fox. “And one fond memory was working with him as his sound man and we were shooting the parade scene of the movie Ferris Buellers Day Off.  “We were working for Entertainment Tonight and standing in the middle of the crowds. Then Jim said, ‘follow me’, and we were running out into the parade and then told to back off by the Chicago Police.  We had no idea what an iconic popular blockbuster movie it would become.”

During his peak, Jim Mahoney and family purchased a modern, two-story building, the former home of the Museum of Contemporary Art, in 1996 for $3.9 million and over the years, invested more than $15 million in equipment, upgrades and renovations.

During its flush years, the company enjoyed annual sales of $5-6 million and employed 30. Because it was a full-service operation, offering pre-to-finished production Film & Tape Works serviced a diverse clientele Jim Mahoney, a cameraman, often shot for national TV shows when they filmed in Chicago.

Jim was the cherished husband of Elizabeth Chaban; a devoted brother; and caring “Uncle Bunny” to his many admiring nieces and nephews, their children; and many other relatives and friends.

Growing up in Brookfield, Jim attended Fenwick High School & Lyon’s Township High School. He studied Filmmaking at Columbia College in Chicago.

Jim loved cooking, gardening, and could tie just about any kind of knot. His greatest joy was helping others – and he never waited to be asked to do it. Jim was exceptionally kind.

“I can confirm that indeed Jim Mahoney could almost tie any knot in the world,” says Frank Hanes President at Big Shoulders. “I spent almost 10 of my 36 years in the business working at Jim and Kari’s illustrious Film and Tape Works. Jim and I were on hundreds of shoots together all over the US and Jim always made it interesting, especially at airports. During the span of my career I’ve met thousands of fabulous people but non quite like Jim Mahoney. He was one of a kind, I’m sure he will be missed.”

A Memorial Gathering will be held Friday, July 31, from 9:00 AM until the time of Prayers at 10:00 AM at Brust Funeral Home, 135 S. Main Street, Lombard followed by a Memorial Mass at 10:15 AM at Sacred Heart Church, 114 S. Elizabeth St., Lombard. All visitors are asked to practice social distancing and wear a face mask. 

In lieu of flowers, memorials to The Leukemia And Lymphoma Society appreciated. Visit www.brustfuneralhome.com or call 888-629-0904 for information.


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