Getting close to the movies in Chicago may be easier than you think. Chicago has been the site for filming several movies, from classics like “Ferris Bueller’s Day Off” and “The Blues Brothers” (which you are not allowed to declare Chicago your home if you have not seen) to “The Dark Knight” where Chicago transformed into the fictional Gotham City.
Chicago itself could be considered movie memorabilia, but that doesn’t mean the Windy City lets every prop blow away. If you want to enjoy a little bit of Hollywood without the airfare, check out the Volo Auto Museum, Illinois Railway Museum, and the Hollywood Casino.
All Aboard for Tinsel Town! Choo! Choo!
“A League of Their Own” starring Tom Hanks, Geena Davis, and Madonna used The Illinois Railway Museum’s depot to shoot several scenes for Penny Marshall’s 1992 film. Also, the movie used the museum’s Nebraska Zephyr for several scenes, both inside the train and out.
If you’ve ever strolled through Woodstock, Illinois and experienced déjà vu, you may be having your own “Groundhog Day” moment. Bill Murray starred in the 1993 movie, which used the Illinois Railway Museum’s EMD SD24 diesel locomotive during filming.
Also “The Babe,” starring John Goodman, used several passenger cars in making the movie. While Clint Eastwood’s “Flags of Our Fathers” used the museum’s grounds as well as a few trains.
Hollywood Casino has a Movie Collection? Bet on It!
The only “Misery” you will find at the Hollywood Casino in Aurora are the props used by Kathy Bates and James Caan in making Stephen King’s book a fear fest for the screen. But that’s not all…
Don’t even think about playing dress-up with Jean Harlow’s clothing or Carmen Miranda’s shoes. Although it may sound like a hoot, Harlow artifacts are extremely rare and the casino’s owl-like cameras and staff keep careful inventory of its 1,800 plus articles of movie memorabilia.
Also on display, or maybe ready for riverboat emergencies, are lifeboats used in the movie “Titanic” as well as other props from the movie.
What makes this stupendous display rock even harder? It’s free! Well, it’s free to those who can resist the roulette table requesting a tete-a-tete .
Movie-Mobiles at the Volo Auto Museum in Aurora
Vroom over to the Volo Auto Museum to check out an impressive collection of movies’ greatest cars. The original Bat Mobile and a few vehicles from “The Dark Knight”, including the 18 Wheeler and a cop car, are on display. The Lotus from “Pretty Woman” that “corners like it’s on rails” is also at the Volo.
A few other notable automobiles from the collection include: the latest “Indiana Jones” movie’s ’51 Ford, the time traveling Dolorean from “Back to the Future”, the Porsche from “Risky Business”, and how could I forget… The Bluesmobile from “The Blues Brothers”. There’s just not enough room to go through every automobile in the Volo’s movie collection.
Chicago Movies: On and Off the Screen
Twice a year the Hollywood Celebrity Show displays movie props and collectibles. Not only will attendees find a vast display of film memorabilia, but true to the event’s title, the show boasts celebrities in attendance. The next Hollywood Celebrity Show is scheduled for March 26-27, 2011.
It may not be from the Silver Screen, but that’s because it is the Silver Screen. The American Movie Palace Museum in Elmhurst collects and displays pieces of film history. Posters, seats, ads, equipment; if it graced a Chicago theater, it’s in!
If you thought Chicago was at a loss for movie memories after Planet Hollywood’s launch into a black hole, relax. You don’t even have to wait two hours to buy an overpriced cheeseburger in order to enjoy a little Hollywood in Chicago. Movie memorabilia is only a train, game, or automobile away.
Oh, and put $10 on 14 for me, will ya? Thanks!