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This 1977 Chicago Tourism Video Is The Most '70s Thing Ever

By Kyla Gardner | August 21, 2015 6:01am
 The Chicago Film Archives released this 1977 tourism video.
The Chicago Film Archives released this 1977 tourism video.
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Chicago Film Archives

CHICAGO — In 2015, Chicago is "Epic." In 1977, it was, "fun," "exciting" and the "shopping and fashion center of the nation."

At least that's what a nearly 15-minute long commercial for the city — called "Chicago Is..." and complete with a campy intro — boasts.

The film, a bit color-faded and red-tinted due to film stock and storage conditions, was posted to YouTube by the Chicago Film Archives Thursday.

Kyla Gardner explains why the video has resurfaced 38 years later:

It was made by Cine-Mark productions for the Chicago Convention & Tourism Bureau Inc.

"The film was made in the late 1970s to encourage tourism to the city and therefore offers a light and fluffy glimpse of Chicago," Anne Wells, collections manager for Chicago Film Archives, wrote in an email. "It focuses on tourist hot spots, rather than diving into specific neighborhoods, populations or any critical discussion for that matter."

A voiceover calls Chicagoans "friendly, busy, hard-working people on the go," and notes their patriotism:

"You'll find Chicagoans love their city ... and their country."

Rush Street is the "night-life entertainment center of the city," and you can glimpse inside the city's "swinging discotheques."

The film may go a bit overboard with claims that "Chicago has more parades and special attractions than anywhere else on Earth" and "the most beautiful fountain in America," Buckingham Fountain.

But get a glimpse at the city's beaches, Magnificent Mile, restaurants, and outside the city, Great America and Ravinia, in 1977.

"I especially enjoy observing the people in the film — what they're wearing, eating, buying. And that song! So bad, so good," Welles wrote.

See what's changed and what hasn't in Chicago since 1977:

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