Remembering John Crededio, 1946-2018

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A pioneer of the
Chicago film industry,
the former gaffer
built an impressive
legacy of achievement
but always made time
for his family

Chicago Studio City founder John Crededio, Sr. passed away earlier this week.

A pioneer of the city’s film industry, Crededio spearheaded an era of activity that put Chicago on the national production map in the 1980s and continued to build a legacy of achievement that is rarely found in the business.

“John was loved and admired,” says IATSE President Brad Matthys, who notes that Crededio was the “first boss” he had in the industry. “It’s a tragedy for the family and our thoughts go out to them.”

“This is a sad loss for our community,” adds Reel Chicago owner / publisher Barbara Roche, who first met Crededio while working at Fred Niles Studio. “John was instrumental in bringing so many film projects to Chicago. I have many fond memories of filming on the Chicago Studio City lot.”

The son of Daniel Crededio, one of Local 476’s original members, John Crededio began his career as a gaffer and remained with the Studio Mechanics Union for five decades. According to Matthys, he showed a resourceful entrepreneurial drive during his early years on the job.

“He started buying equipment and eventually built the first complex that started to attract some big time productions here,” Matthys continues. “It was the beginning of the film industry infrastructure in Chicago.”

In the late 70s, Crededio launched his own business with a customized equipment truck named “The Stagecoach” that he purchased from The Keylight Company in Los Angeles.

At the time, it was one of the most impressive and expensive pieces of equipment that he had procured, recalls his brother, Gino.

“It was an amazing truck — two generators, cable reels, sliding doors,” he says. “We scratched and clawed everything we had to buy it.”

Crededio and his brother loaned out the truck — along with the equipment it contained and their expertise using it — to an Oldsmobile commercial shooting near the Ambassador East in the Gold Coast. The job helped launch a rental business that would soon require permanent space.

In the late 70s, Crededio bought a building near the intersection of Grand and Western and opened Chicago Studio Rentals. The 10,000 sq. ft. space became a popular set for television commercials and photo shoots. Many of the products featured in the Sears catalogue during that time were shot there.

Crededio continued growing the business while pitching L.A. studio executives for film and TV jobs, often bringing his sons John and Joe along for the ride.

“My dad dealt with the heads of production and developed relationships with Paramount, MGM, and other studios,” recalls John Jr., who says that his father was always approachable and one of the nicest guys in the world. “They would say, ‘we got a story about Chicago,’ and he’d say, ‘don’t do it in L.A. Do it in Chicago.’”

In 1979, Crededio purchased the former Fred Niles Studio on W. Washington Ave. and moved Chicago Studio Rentals into the space.

A short while later, MGM agreed to shoot 18 episodes of Chicago Story, a 90-minute episodic television show, at the location. It was the beginning of a TV boom that would grow to include other episodic shows as well as movies-of-the-week and, eventually, many of the most notable feature films to come out of Chicago. It also led to another need for more space.

In the mid-80s, Crededio sold the building on W. Washington to Oprah Winfrey — who converted it into Harpo Studios — and moved his company to a location just off of 290 West, near the borders of Cicero and Oak Park.

The 95,000 sq. ft. structure sat on the ten-acre site of the former factory where General Electric Hotpoint appliances were manufactured. It required a complete overhaul, from floors to doors and everything in between.

Today, Chicago Studio City is home to one of the largest commercial and film production studios in the area. It has been the shooting location or vendor to a list of projects that includes The Untouchables, Flatliners, When Harry Met Sally, Ferris Bueller’s Day Off, About Last Night, The Breakfast Club, and The Color of Money.

Throughout it all, Crededio rarely chose to take a vacation, but always made time for his extensive and tight-knit family, who remain active throughout the Chicago film industry.

“He was a worker,” says John Jr. “He was cutting the lawn on his farm last week. I am happy that, when my dad passed, we were in a good place.”

 
JOHN CREDEDIO, 1946 – 2018
From Legacy.com
John D. Crededio, age 72; Beloved husband of Delores, nee Iozzo; Devoted father of John and Joseph Crededio; Loving son of the late Daniel and Lucille, nee Dambra; Dear brother of Barbara Doherty, Kathy (Tony) Fatigato, Daniel Jr., Gino (Lorinda) and Ronald Crededio and the late Thomas Crededio; Dear grandfather of Stephanie (Fiancee Reno) Michael, Grace, and Nicholas Crededio.

   Visitation Date: Friday, June 29, 2018
   Visitation Time: 3:00 p.m. until 9:00 p.m.
   Funeral Home: Salerno’s Rosedale Chapels (450 W. Lake St., Roselle)
   Place of Funeral: Ascension of Our Lord Catholic Church

Funeral Notes: Prayers and final viewing to begin at 8:00 a.m. at the funeral home on Saturday morning.

Interment: Queen of Heaven Cemetery

Funeral Saturday 8:00 a.m. from Salerno’s Rosedale Chapels to Ascencion of Our Lord Catholic Church, Oak Brook Terrace. Funeral mass celebrated at 9:30 a.m. Interment Queen of Heaven Cemetery.

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BackTalk
  • Robert J.

    Reel Chicago former publisher Ruth Ratny and the leadership of local 476 both went out of their way to publicly vilify the Crededio family every opportunity they got while John was still alive. It’s highly inappropriate for either this publication or a spokesperson for local 476 to pretend to be at the forefront of honoring him now. Both parties lost that right a long time ago.

    May John rest in peace.

    • Barbara Roche

      And you sir are the spokesman for who? I am the owner / publisher of this publication and I have known John Crededio for many years. We are honoring the life a man who has been a major contributor to our film community. I find your comments to be inappropriate and very disrespectful of John’s family.

      • Robert J.

        The staff of this publication argued for years that Chicago Studio City should roll over and die when Cinespace Chicago arrived on the scene. They weren’t thanking John at that point for the decades he had put into building our film community into a legitimate power (all without the use of public funds), they were attacking him and his family for standing in the way of the next new thing, They fought relentlessly for the outsider with big plans, at the exclusion of CSC. They purposely and repeatedly framed the Credidios as villains standing in the way of the future of the Chicago film community, and adamantly refused to publish the Credidio’s perspective on being forced to insolvency.

        Those deep and abiding insults cost John Credidio and his family much personal and economic pain. Your attempts to rewrite that history are in poor taste. John’s story deserves to be told in its entirety, not just the parts that ignore this publication’s relentless effort to shame and subvert his legacy.

        This publication owes an apology to John and his family.

        • Barbara Roche

          There was no staff when Ruth published Reel Chicago. The staff was Ruth. There has never been a negative story in this publication about John Crededio or his studio. I knew Ruth for many years and she always considered John to be a friend. I never heard her say a negative word about him. Please do a search on this magazine and see the positive articles that covered the news at Chicago Studio City. Is this about covering the news on a competitive studio? If you want to contact me directly we can continue this conversation. My point is this is not the place to air your complaints. This is a memoriam to John and these comments are disrespectful to his family and his legacy.

    • Valerie Gobos

      I also disagree with your statement 100%, and I know how supportive and fond Ruth Ratny was of John and the family. We talked about it often.

  • mrshowscan

    Too add my two cents, I met him when I brought my film company here in 1984. As they say, he was a gentleman.

  • Valerie Gobos

    I loved John and he and his wonderful family were a huge part in my film career, being their receptionist at Chicago Studio City, and working on films with them as a stand in and PA. We were all family and a part of theirs. I will miss him very much just knowing that he is not there. Thoughts are prayers go to Dee, Gino, John Jr. and the rest of the family.

  • Cynthi Stefenoni

    Dear Dee and Gino, I am so very sorry for your loss and want you to know that you two and John have lived large in my memory since we worked together on Chicago Story lo, those many years ago.I went on to become a DGA AD and work many years in LA and all over the USA. But I have never ever forgotten my days in Chicago and how terrific you all were to me as I began my career in film and tv as a dialogue coach and all the crazy times we shared on set. Dee, you were so kind to me in that trailer and John was always good to me on set as well. As the years went by, I watched from afar as Chicago Studio Rentals reputation grew and was always so proud as John was feted by
    the industry. I was a fan. I am certain that he will be sorely missed and hope that the family is surrounded by the love we all feel at this time. You are all in my prayers and I will have a Mass said for him at my local parish. I wish you all the best and hold you in my heart. Sincerely, Cynthi Stefenoni

  • MARINA CHRISTIANSEN

    Dee, John and Joey,
    Please accept my condolences. Sending healing prayers and comforting hugs. Thinking of you in these difficult times,
    Love.
    Marina Christiansen

  • Loucas George

    I always considered John a special friend to me. I loved this man. I will miss him but I am richer for having known him. My condolences to everyone.

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