The Residents Of Woodstock, IL. Were Stoked This Past Weekend, When They Received A Follow-Up Visit From Local Hero And International Comedian And Dramatic Actor Bill Murray!
*Below is a photoblog of some of the up-close and personal action, credit to my best friend and candid photographer, Carrie Callery.*
Well, it appears that Mr. Murray made an impression on the locals with his kindness, his attitude of gratitude toward the town of Woodstock, Il., and his folksy and down-to-earth ways.
I’m sure his killer sense of humor didn’t hurt, either.
Coupled with the fact that Bill Murray is an absolute icon, AND with the box office numbers and critical acclaim “Groundhog Day” was met with, it’s easy to see why residents of Woodstock fell for Bill Murray while he was in the area, filming.
Mr. Murray, a local hero, and legend to the residents of Woodstock Il., since Groundhog Day started filming in 1992.
While he was [apparently] going through a fair few personal struggles at the time, that didn’t stop Bill Murray from showing his kindness to the residents of Woodstock, and, because of that, throughout the passing years, Woodstock hasn’t forgotten!
Every year since, from the beginning of the holiday season to just after Groundhog Day in February, Woodstock, Il. shows it’s appreciation by opening up the iconic Woodstock Theater for free showings of the classic movie.
Observant viewers may notice some of their most beloved features from the historic Woodstock Square featured prominently in a variety of scenes throughout the movie.
It appears that Mr. Murray was back on the Woodstock Square not for sentimental reasons, but to shoot a very special Superbowl Jeep commercial, that Woodstock area viewers might like to keep their eyes peeled for, this Superbowl Sunday.
Woodstock, Il., and McHenry County, within which Woodstock resides, is pleased to be able to work once again with Mr. Murray.
As a Chicagoland native, myself, I too am stoked that Bill Murray came back to Woodstock for this project.
Having Mr. Murray back in Woodstock, Il. has not only bolstered the local economy but has created an absolutely bustling atmosphere at some of the Woodstock Square’s most popular sustainable local businesses, including Mixin Mingle, Double Yolk Cafe, and Ethereal Confections!
Woodstock is an important historical landmark in United States history. That’s right! Sleepy little Woodstock, Il. was home, for awhile (to be exact), to Eugene V Debs.
Woodstock is the seat of McHenry County.
It has hosted actors of renown at it’s historic opera house, including local actors and transplants alike. Geraldine Page, locally born actors Orson Welles and a young Paul Newman are just a few of the actors who got their start on the Woodstock stage. Welles formed and continued throughout the years to support the Woodstock Players, which allowed students of the Goodman School some much needed professional experience. Dick Tracy's creator, Chester Gould, also moved to the Chicago area, making Woodstock his home for a time.
Woodstock, Il. is also iconic for its labor organization history, particularly since the old Woodstock Courthouse and jail was home, for a time, to early railroad organizer, Eugene V Debs, who was sentenced to jail time in 1894 for inciting a large-scale strike of all union railroad workers working on any trains in which there were Pullman cars present. This strike was mainly in solidarity with workers who demanded a living wage and were being denied that by George Pullman himself after Pullman cut their wages by one-third.
At the time, and mainly due to Mr. Debs’ involvement in the matter, President Cleveland’s hands were tied. Since the railroad was the main impetus for mail delivery and the postal service had been all but shut down during this broad railroad strike to ensure workers’ rights, the president declared that all trains MUST run, and he sent federal troops to ensure that they did.
During Mr. Debs’ trial, Clarence Darrow acted as his attorney. Woodstock Sheriff George Eckert, however, moved as he was to follow the letter of the law, agreed with Mr. Debs and offered him comfortable accommodations, even allowing him to dine with his own family upon occasion.
During his...er...extended stay in Woodstock, Mr. Debs received distinguished guests, like the chancellor of Germany and the governor of Colorado, and other well-known labor leaders, including Victor Berger, who, during his visit, offered Eugene Debs a copy of the book “Das Kapital,” by Karl Marx. Acclaimed journalist Nellie Bly (around the world in 80 days) also visited Woodstock to see Mr. Debs during his six-month jail sentence.
Eugene V. Debs was beloved by the hard-working citizens of Woodstock, and was, it is said, carried all the way to the train station by its people, once his sentence was served. Whether this was, strictly speaking, factually true, we may never know, but the story is quite powerful.
Eugene Debs credits his stay in the Woodstock jail as the reason why he became a democratic socialist (or, strictly speaking, at that time, a “social democrat”). Sadly, this wasn’t Debs’ last visit to the Woodstock [McHenry County] Courthouse and jail, as, in 1919, Debs’ outspoken criticism of WWI landed him back in the courthouse to serve out yet another jail sentence.
With Woodstock’s history of hard-working residents and their love for those who they felt represented them, it makes perfect sense that they would embrace Bill Murray for his art, his down-to-earth sensibilities, and his contributions to Woodstock’s local economy.
Photos of Bill Murray during his Woodstock, Il. visit, photo credit: Carrie Callery:
*The full commercial: https://www.facebook.com/1242624643/posts/10216001689015371/?d=n
If you’ve enjoyed the photography in this blog post, I’d love for you to visit local photographer Carrie Callery on Facebook (Carrie Callery) and Instagram: https://instagram.com/carriecallery?igshid=11vm594l56av8
If you’ve enjoyed the historical information in this article, I’d like to recommend that you check out “The Historic Woodstock Square: An Illustrated History Of The Woodstock Square.” You can download this beautiful and interesting historical record of Woodstock, Il. for free at https://books.google.com/books/about/The_Historic_Woodstock_Square_Sesquicent.html?id=fF5VQwAACAAJ
I also used the following historical piece on Woodstock, Il. as well, to help fill in the blanks in my personal information: https://www.realwoodstock.com/whats-real-1/2018/1/3/the-legacy-of-dick-tracy
Woodstock Public Library: https://www.woodstockpubliclibrary.org/library/page/library-history-timeline
McHenry County Historical Society:
I also highly recommend taking a gander at Mr. Patrick Murfin’s blog: “Heretic, Rebel, A Thing To Flout,” at https://r.search.yahoo.com/_ylt=AwrExdzV5TBeD3IABpijzbkF;_ylu=X3oDMTBtdXBkbHJyBHNlYwNmcC1hdHRyaWIEc2xrA3J1cmw-/RV=2/RE=1580291669/RO=11/RU=http%3a%2f%2fpatrickmurfin.blogspot.com%2f2017%2f10%2feugene-v-debs-honored-in-woodstock.html%3fspref%3dpi/RK=2/RS=qQpOrfzI3mk7iEGIH1VQJ2OQiek-