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Mentor and instill pride of today's students.
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Senn High School's Harold Ramis Theater
Saturday May 17th - Chicago's Senn High School has renamed its theater after Chicago native and acclaimed director Harold Ramis. Ramis attended Senn from 1958 through 1962. His family was in the audience at the renaming ceremony Saturday evening. Harold Ramis is best known for movies such as "Ghostbusters" and "Groundhog Day and Stripes." He died in February at the age of 69.
Since Ramis' death in February, Principal Susan Lofton, teachers and students have compiled yearbook photos and stories from when Ramis walked the halls of the Edgewater high school.
"I remember when I was younger watching SCTV late at night, up past my bed time, and thinking it was the funniest thing ever," Lofton said of the sketch-comedy show for which Ramis was a performer and writer in the '70s. "He was part of me growing up as well."
MORE ABOUT Harold......
If someone had taken an interest at NBC, Chicago might have been famous as the location for "Mr. Ace," a sitcom Harold Ramis modeled on a store his mother and father operated on the West Side.
Ramis, an accomplished actor and director who died Monday at 69, spent much of youth in Rogers Park and was a graduate of Senn High school. But his earliest years were spent living near 13th Street and Keeler Avenue, and 14th Street and Kostner Avenue.
His uncle and parents, Nathan and Ruth, were partners in a grocery store at Lake Street and Hoyne Avenue called Ace Food and Liquor. Ramis was a delivery boy.
"I wrote a TV pilot about the store," Ramis told Dave Hoekstra of the Sun-Times in 1999. The store was in a black neighborhood "and there was a cool black butcher named Albert."
Since the store was called "Ace," Ramis said, "everybody called my father 'Mr. Ace.'" Set in the Eisenhower-era 1950s, the show was called "Mr. Ace."
Ramis' father was a real character, his son said. "Mr. Ace" loved to bet on sports events — "a buck on every single pro football, baseball and basketball game every day." The father, who died in 2009, was "the most charming, funniest person anyone knew," Ramis said at the time of his father's death.
The show Ramis had in mind "dealt with race relations like we don't see them today," Ramis told Hoekstra.
"There was period music, just the beginning of of everything that exploded in the 1960s. NBC paid for it but never got it on the air," Ramis said.
In a Tribune essay in 1994, Ramis said he felt secure on the West Side but his family joined "a great white flight" to Rogers Park, which he described as "rather unfortunate."
"I didn't perceive the integration of our West Side neighborhood as threatening," he said. The customers at Ace Food and Liquor "were all black and so were the employees."
"I had a secure feeling about race relations that apparently was not shared by others," Ramis said.
The store relocated to Rogers Park, and the family sold it in the 1960s.
Ramis, who also attended Hayt Elementary, 1518 W. Granville Ave., said it was "that three-story-apartment life that I totally associate with growing up and with Chicago."
"That's how I thought everybody lived. Only on television and in storybooks did people live in houses," Ramis wrote in the essay. "Every Christmas we'd drive to Sauganash to see the lights on the houses — that was how other people lived. It was not that we were poor; it's just that we were urban."
Long before he was on the big screen, a teenage Ramis got a taste of the spotlight as a Senn High School student, Class of 1962, where, according to Chicago magazine, he was known as Hershey, the Yiddish translation of Harold.
Ramis called being a member of the school's choir "a big formative experience for me." The choir served as extras at the Lyric opera, which allowed him to share "the most incredible stage I'd ever been on" with some of the greatest singers in the world.
"It made me feel, suddenly, that things were possible that had never seemed possible before," said Ramis, who wrote in his yearbook that he wanted to become a surgeon.
At Senn, 5900 N. Glenwood Ave., Ramis was co-editor of the yearbook and a member of the team's fencing squad. He was described by a Senn classmate in Chicago magazine as "a nice nerd."
Later, Ramis enjoyed the clubs in Old Town and joined Second City.
"The city gave me my education, and it's still giving me a lot," he wrote in the Trib essay.
Ramis went back to Senn years later and served as Principal for a Day in 2003. Senn principal Susan A. Lofton said Monday that the school would have a "tribute night," perhaps next week. The plan is to show a Ramis movie — "Groundhog Day was his fave," she wrote in an email of the 1983 comedy he directed and co-wrote.
Ramis' work included co-starring in "Ghostbusters," directing "Caddyshack," and helping write "Animal House."
By DNAinfo Staff on February 24, 2014 ~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~ Meet Walter Sobel our Senntennial Man. By this I mean Walter is 100 years old
Walter - a Senn alumnus, architect, teacher, and futurist, who celebrated his 100th birthday with family and friends on July 27 – is, in fact, a lot more tuned in to life than many people decades younger. Sobel was born in 1913 (the hospital bill was all of $37, he said), and grew up on the city’s North Side. He took architectural drawing at Senn High School, and accepted a Northwestern University scholarship’s engineering school, figuring that first year engineering requirements were similar to those for architecture. In 1930, the university’s $125 per semester tuition was tough for his family to shoulder, so the scholarship was welcome. Below Walter Sobel (on left), 100 years old and John Bernauer (on right) 99 years old,
get the celebration Bulldog Senntennial cake.
This is truly a Senntury of historical history of Senn Bulldogs.
Who we are? We are generations of Senn High School alumni. We are mothers, fathers and parents. We are single, married and divorced. We are also doctors, lawyers, bankers, teachers, construction workers, politicians, musicians, cab drivers, soldiers and much more…
Not only is the Spirit of Dr. Nicholas Senn still alive, but
“The Spirit of the Bulldog” lives on through each alumnus and we remain...
“Senn Friends Forever”
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