Wednesday, July 30, 2008

What Does Shakespeare Taste Like?

Over at the Newberry Library, adjacent to Bughouse Square (on Clark, just above Chicago Ave), they have a copy of the First Folio, the 1623 collection of Shakespeare's plays published by his friends. It's not exactly complete (it's missing Pericles and some apocrypha that probably belongs in the canon), but it was the first time several of the plays had ever been published.

And they don't just keep it under a glass case, either. They'll bring it out to you on its own special pillow; you can touch it, read it, and smell it. I wouldn't recommend tasting it (and it's probably not allowed), but I imagine that careful, sneaky types might be able to pull it off. This is one of the wonderful things about Chicago - any time you feel like it, you can get your hands on a copy of the First Folio.

So, why do I bring this up today? Well, you see, the First Folio is really, really, really valuable. About 500 copies were printed, and just about half survive (though more keep turning up).

Just under 300 copies of the Weird Chicago Book with the misprint on the cover were printed.

So do the math: The "Missing O" variation" of the Weird Chicago Book IS JUST ABOUT EXACTLY AS RARE AS THE FIRST FOLIO!

Hurry up - a few may still be available!


Well, this is one for the "we can whine, or we can laugh about it" files.

It seems that the first handful of copies of Weird Chicago: The Book will have a misprint on the cover - namely, in the part of the subtitle that says "Forgotten history," the word "forgotten" is spelled "forgtten."

This just begs for jokes. "How forgotten is it? So forgotten that we forgot the O!"

This still puts us in safer territory than the first printing of another local ghost book which had to be recalled due to a serious amount of factual errors (apparently of the slanderous variety). And, anyway, it will make that first printing a highly-sought-after collectable, like that stamp where the airplane is upside-down, the baseball card where Billy Ripken has the F-word written on the end of his bat, or that Star Wars trading card that makes it look like Threepio has a wiener.

Hurry up and order your limited edition "typo" copy today, and retire in STYLE tomorrow!*

* note: rise in value is not a guarantee with our products any more than it is for those commemorative plates** from the Franklin Mint that have the Family Circus on 'em.

** - anyone interested in a limited edition commemorative plate of the Foolkiller Submarine? Or about one of the St. Valentine's Day Massacre? People pay a killing and three quarters (pun not intended) for bricks that may or may not even be from the garage, why not a commemorative plate?

Friday, July 18, 2008


Sorry for the recent silence - we've been occupied with doing some intensive research inside of a certain famously haunted place. We can't talk about it much yet; this is one of those investigations where loose lips might sink ships. But it'll be worth the wait - the information (and evidence) that we're getting on this place is pretty awesome!

Also, don't forget that next Saturday, the 26th, is the annual Bughouse Square Debates in Bughouse Square, on Clark just above Chicago Ave. Things usually pick up around 11am! I'll sure be there - in fact, it's sort of my bachelor party, since I'm getting married the next day.

The book should hit stores in the next couple of weeks - it's at the printers now!

Tuesday, July 1, 2008

The Fool Killer Submarine ad

One of our favorite topics around here is The Foolkiller, the submarine found in the river in late 1915 that contained the skulls of a dead man and his dog. How old the sub was, who the guy was, and what became of the thing, are some of the city's enduring mysteries. People tend to think I'm kidding when I tell the story about kids being admitted to see the wreck and the corpses for half price on Saturday mornings, so I've started bringing along a copy of the original ad from the Tribune that I dug up:

Yes, the thing was actually on display in the loop - dead bodies and all! Inflation has certainly gotten bad lately - the goodman theatre offered to show me a skull lately, and the price has has gone up from a dime to $500! It was eventually put on display in a carnival that traveled the midwest, and its last known whereabouts were on the midway at Riverview in late 1916.


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