An Evening with Bill Jackson
Museum of Broadcast Communications
Wednesday, April 5, 1995
I had heard about this evening in the paper a few weeks before, and I knew that I HAD to be there. No one had contacted me ahead of time, but there were a whole group of former co-workers that had gotten together with Bill prior to the event and sat in the front two rows of the auditorium. I sat dead center right behind them.
The auditorium was packed, and they needed an overflow room. Everyone had come to see BJ. And Bill did not disappoint. There was the retrospective of his career, complete with clips from Cartoon Town and Gigglesnort Hotel, but there was also Bill - he drew on his easel, he worked with Blob, he took questions from the audience.
And that's when I had finally knew what had happened. I was no inexplicably tied to the history of children's television in Chicago. The people in the room went on, at length, about how Bill changed not only children's TV in Chicago, but the lives of his audience. And they were all here to tell him that.
And as I sat there, I knew that my little bit part of those shows was part of it. The experience changed me - I wasn't the same for months. I knew that I was part of something special, I just didn't really know how special. I do now.
At the end of the presentation, Bill donated his puppets to the museum, where they are still on display today.
I had the opportunityto briefly talk to Bill in an autograph line at the end of the night. Bill had no idea was there and he seemed excited to see me (which just pushed me over the edge on how wonderful the evening was).
That was the last time I saw him. I hope he is still well.