Royko Speaks

From a video archive, footage, seemingly rushes or a rough cut, of an interview with Chicago author and journalist Mike Royko by equally-famed writer, broadcaster, and social historian Louis “Studs” Terkel.

It was filmed in 1991. Royko appears grouchy and uncooperative at the beginning but soon loosens up under Terkel’s ministrations.

The topic is Chicago taverns in the mid-20th-century and how they changed under influence of suburbanization and technology. After their part finishes, two men are interviewed who had had trouble with alcohol and stopped drinking, quite interesting as well.

Perhaps the intention of the director was to make a documentary that covered different aspects of bars, taverns, and the drinking culture. I don’t know if the show was ever completed or officially broadcast.

The uploader includes notes summarizing the different parts of the interview, so there is no need for me to do it here.

It reflects in many ways its time and Terkel and Royko’s ages but is compelling social and cultural history in my view.

Royko identifies the local nature of the bar as the key to its earlier character and makes a direct link to the English pub and German beer gardens.