Jim Cornette and the Svengoolie Burger Challenge!

2Photo by Jim Roche

With just a few days recovery from mine and the other Terror Dave’s vacation/road trip, it was time to resume my favorite Chicago past time…keeping up with national horror host, Svengoolie! We enjoyed seeing him at Brookfield Zoo for my AAZK Chapter’s annual Vital Grounds fundraiser (which David covered HERE) and were honored when he agreed to also have dinner with us the following evening (this time as mild-mannered Rich Koz) along with Jim Roche at The Squared Circle restaurant.

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Svengoolie’s 2nd trip to “The Squared Circle” a total Zoo!


On Saturday, September 20th, I picked up John (a Brookfield Zoo keeper pal of mine) and headed up to The Squared Circle in Lincoln Park. Local fans of national horror host, Svengoolie, know this Chicago restaurant is not only owned by the beautiful pro wrestler, Lisa Marie Varon, but also home to the official “Svengoolie burger.” I think I’ve pretty much made it clear that his last visit there was the BEST Svengoolie public appearance EVER and folks, I oughta know. Even as far as a month before the big day was slated, I found myself smiling just thinking about it.

Tragedy, however, has no sense of timing.

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Saying Goodbye to our dear fellow “Goolie,” Joan


Not long ago I posted a list of things I’d learned from attending so many Svengoolie public appearances; listing “making new friends” as Number Seven. Today I’ve been given a painful  reminder that this should actually have been number one.  I received a call from my friend, Bill Yingst, informing me that his beautiful wife, Joan (far right in the above photo) had died, suddenly, this morning.  Joan was not only a contributor to this blog but had become a dear friend and I felt as if I’d been hit with a baseball bat.

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New Svengoolie Burger enters the ring at Chicago’s “Squared Circle” Restaurant!


This past Saturday was a day I both dreaded and anticipated with a flurry of events (none of which I wanted to miss) all converging at once. For starters, it was the weekend of G-FEST (Godzilla Festival) which I’ve attended faithfully with my kids since 2004. In fact, if you’re a Japanese monster fan, your entire calendar year pretty much revolves around it. Though it offers plenty of activities throughout the weekend, Saturday evenings are known for being the show’s climax with their highly anticipated costume contest.

The earlier portion of my day was spent covering an event hosted by my Brookfield Zoo AAZK (American Association of Zoo Keepers) Chapter and, after that, a Svengoolie appearance.

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