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After NBC-TV Series ER Season Finale Airs This Week, Many Will Miss Its Chicago Backdrop!


Since the hit TV Series ER began its trend setting run nearly 15 years ago, the producers and cast have come to Chicago three to four times each year for seasonal shots - 54 visits in all.  Although much of the show was shot on a CA sound stage, the Chicago Connection has been unforgettable!

Set in the fictional County General Hospital, the facility was based loosely on the aging Cook County Hospital on the West Side of Chicago.  That old, public facility was replaced by one more modern several years ago.

As summarized by Chicago Tribune Reporters Mark Caro and Robert Elder in today's edition, there were scenes shot in gentrified Chicago Neighborhoods, and aging factory districts.  Shots of the CTA L were liberally included, especially the Brown Line L Station at Chicago Avenue near Wells Street in the River North Neighborhood. 

The hospital's heliport was originally atop the Chicago Fire Academy, on DeKoven Street, alleged inception point for the Great Chicago Fire, followed by the heliport atop the Chicago Hilton and Towers on South Michigan Avenue.

According to the Illinois and Chicago Film Offices, the series' partial production here brought roughly $33.5 Million into the city.  That's far short of the many more millions of dollars a show shot in its entirety would bring Chicago - the CBS Series "Early Edition" pumped nearly $200 Million into Chicago coffers during its run between 1996 and 2000. 

But the successful series nonetheless brought the city considerable visual notoriety, and kept a lot of local film crews, and extras, working. 

Julianna Marguiles' character, Nurse Carol Hathaway, owned a Victorian home on the North Side, along the L tracks.  Dr. Mark Greene, the character portrayed by actor Anthony Edwards, resided in a newer South Loop Condo.

The fast-paced, hand-held camera shots spotlighted Michigan Avenue, The Chicago River, The Chicago Skyline, and other local staples in a way that will be long memorable in syndication.

And the staff and crew often frequented Chicago Neighborhood Restaurants and Clubs.  During the last Chicago shooting trip, in January, several members of the cast and crew caught local Blues Legend Buddy Guy at his namesake club on the Near South Side.

See the Chicago Tribune article for more information, as well as cast and crew quotes.

Remember, too . . .  we haven't completely lost ER - it will be around near forever, in reruns!


Posted: Sunday, March 29, 2009 6:02 PM by Dean's Team


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