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Jean Shepherd's TV Look Inside Excites Corner Tap
Airdate: Monday - June 7, 1971

Last Update: 11-13-2012

Show Description
Down at Mary Vnuk's Tavern, they go for that educational television. Sunday night nine of the faithful gathered around the set to watch life watcher Jean Shepherd's tribute to beer - the substance he said, that can make you forget that the White Sox are 47 games out or first place on June 1st. The first 15 minutes of "Jean Shepherd's America" on Channel 10 was devoted to the corner tavern, more specifically the tavern at the corner of Packard and Martin in Cudahy - Vnuk's. In case anyone missed that part, Cochise was punching guys in the ribs when the camera panned such sights as the door to the men's room. "Look at that, it's right over there," he said, pointing to the GENTLEMEN sign. There was a great deal of hooting, especially when Danny the bartender kept walking In front of the camera. But the local patter was not always in the same tradition of camaraderie that Shepherd would have you believe. "Look there. There's that slob that made a pass at Bonnie that day, remember?" Cochise, wearing an old T-shirt and a couple days' growth of gray beard, was the only celebrity who returned to the scene at Vnuk's to watch himself on television. He took the brunt of the catcalls from his compatriots. "Don't anybody want my autograph?" he asked. Another local hero, Van, did most of the talking on the tube - mostly about the pleasure of drinking Pabst at 7 a.m. when the shift was over at the Ladish Co. Somebody said they didn't dare quote Cochise or they would have gone off the air. Cochise did get a chance to demonstrate coast to coast his famous Vnuk pool shot. "They put it in for me," he confided. "They wanted to make me look good for national TV." At one point the camera focused on Cochise's sad old face then switched to a picture of a bum on the wall. The crowd caught the symbolism. That Boston crew couldn't put anything over on them. When the camera left Vnuk's tavern, some of the interest in the program dropped. But Cochise was still impressed with the oceans of beer that kept bubbling across the screen. "Look at that, no pollution there." The real highlight of the rest of the show, was at the end, when the words "Special thanks to Vnuk's Tavern" rolled across the screen. Danny bought a round to mark the occasion and announced that the show - which was filmed at Vnuk's last summer - would be rebroadcast Tuesday night at 10. Almost as soon as the show faded, Danny's wife appeared and demanded that he ask for a raise now that he was a national TV star. Everybody around the bar predicted that Cochise would never be the same. But as he headed for the pool table, he suggested that he probably would be.
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