Mike Royko – Chicago Tribune
If you’re not bellying up to the bar, have a seat at one of the red & white checkered tables near the bar or on the other side of the grill in the “Wall of Fame” section. This area features photographs of local celebrities and yellowed articles written by famous Chicago newspaper columnists from the nearby Chicago Tribune and Chicago Sun Times like Dave Condon, Bill Granger, John Kass, Rick Kogan, Richard Roeper, Rick Telender and Irv Kupcinet. One of the largest “displays” is dedicated to the legendary Pulitzer Prize-winning Trib columnist, Mike Royko, and is comprised of photos, columns, and a memorial written by Royko following the passing of Billy Goat Sianis himself. In it, Royko declares Sianis the “Greatest Innkeeper in Chicago.”
Royko was often found each day after work, holding court down at the Billy Goat. He would entertain crowds by espousing local politics as the “voice of the little guy.” Most of his reader and colleagues would say that he was “Mr. Chicago.” His columns would consist of stories that described the different events and characters that brought out the true Chicago. Sam and Billy Goat Sianis acknowledged Mike Royko as a part of their family and he treated the Billy Goat as his home. Royko wrote many articles about events that happened at the Billy Goat or about Sam and his adventures. That is why Royko had such a following, because along with writing about the big events around the world, he also wrote about “the little guy”, which his readers could relate to. He new how to tell the “bar stories” or the “neighborhood stories” which many lived through. When people wanted to discuss what Mike Royko had written, they knew they could find him at the Billy Goat to express their views on his columns. Mike Royko would be more than happy to backup what was written.[/expand]
The son of a Greek immigrant grocer, Kass was born June 25, 1956, on the South Side of Chicago and grew up there and in Oak Lawn, IL. He held many jobs – retailer, ditch digger, waiter – before becoming a student of film at Columbia College in Chicago. There, he worked in the student newspaper and gained the attention of Daryle Feldmeir, president of the media department and previous editor of the Chicago Daily News. Feldmeir and media professor Les Brownlee helped Kass to obtain an internship at the Daily Calumet in 1980, where Kass worked as a reporter until he left for the Tribune.
Roeper began working as a columnist for the Chicago Sun-Times in 1987. The topics of his columns range from politics to media to entertainment. In more recent years, he has been widely considered one of the finest newspaper writers in Chicago.
Roeper also was a radio host on WLS AM 890 in Chicago. He also hosted shows on WLUP-FM, WLS-FM and WMVP-AM in Chicago. He won three Emmy awards for his news commentaries on Fox in the 1990s, and was the film critic for CBS in Chicago for three years in the early 2000s. He won the National Headliner Award as the top newspaper columnist in the country in 1992, and has been voted best columnist in Illinois by the Associated Press on numerous occasions.
Rick Telander has been the lead sports columnist at the Sun-Times since April, 1995. He previously was a senior writer for Sports Illustrated and ESPN, The Magazine. He has written for numerous magazines, including Men’s Journal, Esquire, Outside, Premiere, National Wildlife, and American Libraries. He has written eight books, one of which, “Heaven Is A Playground,” was made into a movie and has been in print for 30 years and was recently named one of the 10 best sports books ever (Playboy, June 2006). Sports Illustrated (Dec., 2002) already had named “Heaven” one of the top 25 sports books of all time.
While writing his sports column, Kupcinet also wrote a short “People” section which became officially known as “Kup’s Column” in 1948 after The Chicago Sun and the Daily Times merged to form the Chicago Sun-Times. “Kup’s Column” chronicled the nightlife of Chicago along with celebrity and political gossip. The column would eventually be distributed to more than 100 newspapers around the world.
In 1952, Kupcinet became a pioneer in the television talk show genre when he landed his own talk show. In 1957, he was one of the set of hosts who replaced Steve Allen on The Tonight Show, before Jack Paar was brought in to change the program’s format. Kupcinet’s own series ran from 1959 until 1986 and was, at one point, syndicated to over 70 stations throughout the United States. The series garnered 15 Emmy Awards along with a Peabody Award.
In addition to writing his newspaper column and talk show hosting duties, Kupcinet provided commentary for radio broadcasts of Chicago Bears football games with Jack Brickhouse (and popularizing the signature phrase, “Dat’s right, Jack”). He made cameo appearances in two movies — 1959’s Anatomy of a Murder and the 1962 drama Advise and Consent.
In 1982, Kupcinet was elected to Chicago’s Journalism Hall of Fame.
Louis “Studs” Terkel
A political liberal, Terkel joined the Works Progress Administration’s Federal Writers’ Project, working in radio, doing work that varied from voicing soap opera productions and announcing news and sports, to presenting shows of recorded music and writing radio scripts and advertisements. His well-known radio program, titled The Studs Terkel Program, aired on 98.7 WFMT Chicago between 1952 and 1997. The one-hour program was broadcast each weekday during those forty-five years. On this program, he interviewed guests as diverse as Bob Dylan, Leonard Bernstein, Jean Shepherd, and Alexander Frey. In the late 1940s and early 1950s, Terkel was also the central character of Studs’ Place, an unscripted television drama about the owner of a greasy-spoon diner in Chicago through which many famous people and interesting characters passed. This show, along with Marlin Perkins’s Zoo Parade, Garroway at Large and the children’s show Kukla, Fran, and Ollie, are widely considered canonical examples of the Chicago School of Television.
Terkel published his first book, Giants of Jazz, in 1956. He followed it with a number of other books, most focusing on the history of the United States people, relying substantially on oral history. He also served as a distinguished scholar-in-residence at the Chicago History Museum. He appeared in the film Eight Men Out, based on the Black Sox Scandal, in which he played newspaper reporter Hugh Fullerton, who tries to uncover the White Sox players’ plans to throw the 1919 World Series.
Kogan earned his first byline in the Chicago Sun-Times at age 16. Although he did not attend college, Kogan continued to write for the Sun-Times, the Chicago Daily News, and then, after the Daily News ceased publication in 1978, returning to the Sun-Times, where he specialized in writing about Chicago’s nightlife.
In 1985, Kogan joined the Chicago Tribune, eventually becoming the paper’s TV critic and later serving as editor of the Tribune’s Tempo section. He currently is on the staff of the Chicago Tribune Magazine, and he also typically writes front-page obituaries of notable Chicago figures, particularly those who have worked in the news media or literature. Among those whom Kogan has memorialized with front-page tributes are Mike Royko (with Jerry Crimmins), Irv Kupcinet, Ann Landers, Gene Siskel, Charles M. Schulz, Studs Terkel, Jeff MacNelly and Abraham Lincoln Marovitz (with Noah Isackson).
Articles written by Rick Kogan
Bill Granger – Chicago Tribune and Chicago Sun-times
Bill Granger (June 1, 1941 – April 22, 2012) was an American novelist from Chicago specializing in political thrillers. He also wrote under the pseudonyms Joe Gash and Bill Griffith. He worked at the Chicago Tribune and other Illinois newspapers.
Articles written by Bill Granger
– Billy Goat Tavern runs full circle around the city
Dave Condon – Chicago Tribune
David Condon was more than a sportswriter. He knew presidents and princes, actors and aldermen, heroes and hucksters. He was a Chicago legend, a man about town, as recognizable as many of the notable men he wrote about in the 27 years he wrote In the Wake of the News for the Tribune.