Tag Archive | Bob Hudgins

Groundhog Day 2017 in Woodstock-25th Anniversary


2-2-17

Our last visit to Woodstock was for Groundhog Day in 2015, we looked forward to another great celebration! We arrived the night before, a beautiful clear evening with no snow on the ground. Two years ago we had a big snowstorm on Feb 1.  After an easy ride down, we stopped for dinner at the Tip Top Cafe’, actually Taqueria La Placita Taco house.

taqeuria-la-placita-in-woodstock

The bright light in the window is the actual Tip Top sign in the Groundhog Day movie.

tip-top-cafe-sign

We sat in the same spot where Phil enjoyed that large breakfast in the movie.

Inside Tip Top


Groundhog Day morning we headed to the Square (Gobbler’s Knob) to see the prognostication.  The place was packed!  We were entertained by Corky Siegel and Die Musikmeisters before the prediction.  He predicted 6 more weeks of winter. We also sang Groundhog carols.

Groundhog Day songs in Woodstock

We were armed with a go pro-like camera mounted on a bike helmet to get over people’s heads and I took photos with my new Canon Rebel T6i camera. Watch it below!

Afterwards we headed to the Moose Lodge for the Groundhog Breakfast and entertainment.  It was packed too, a sell-out crowd!  We got treated to choral performances by the Woodstock High School Choir.  Richard Henzel also reprised his clock radio voice from the movie.He also did it at the Prognostication, he does both voices now since his co-star has not returned in a long time.

I made a batch of groundhog cookies to contribute to the celebration and a cd for the Inner Square committee of GH Day 2006 when WGN came to cover the event.  Watch it all below. The Groundhog picture is from the winner of the Woodstock Independent GH day poster contest. Cute!

Groundhog Cookies and Coloring Contest picture

groundhog-poster-winner-sonny-marsalla-2017

After a wonderful breakfast, we joined the crowd for a Bob Hudgin’s-lead Groundhog Day Movie Walking Tour. Joining him was Rick Bellairs, our friend and one of the Inner Square Committee members. This tour was bittersweet as the Bob was going to retire from giving this tour after this year.  Bob was in charge of organizing all of the places where the movie was going to be filmed. He had many anecdotes and told us about a couple of sites not on the guide. That was the tree the boy fell out of and the tunnel seen during the police chase after stealing the groundhog. He had been leading it since 2005 and it was time for someone else to pick up the mantle. Maybe Rick was his understudy too 🙂  I also recorded a video of this historic tour to share with all of you.  Thanks Bob for keeping the movie alive 25 years later!

Bob Hudgins Location Manager of Groundhog Day

Woodstock Groundhog Day Movie Site Walking Tour

That was an incredible tour (and cold!)  We headed to the Public House for lunch and toasted our sodas to World Peace.i-always-drink-to-world-peace-plaque-at-public-house-in-woodstock

Bar in Groundhog Day movie in Woodstock

We got some souvenirs at this delightful bookstore on the square, Read Between the Lynes.  Their helpful staff can help you find the perfect gift or treat for yourself.

Read Beween the Lynes bookstore in Woodstock

iead Between the Lynes staff

Read Between the Lynes Groundhog Day display

Our last stop was the Woodstock Public Library to see artifacts from the movie on display, my cookies were served there to the whole community, sweet!

Woodstock Public Library

Groundhog Display in Woodstock Library sign

Groundhog Garbage can top

tip-top-cafe-in-woodstock

Gobbler's Knob woodstock

 

Richard Henzel was there too, we chatted a bit and took a selfie too. Very nice man and a great conversationalist.

richard-henzel-and-i-20170202_131700

We had a perfect Groundhog Day in Woodstock, one we wish we could repeat.

groundhog-day-2017

Groundhog Day 2015 in Woodstock Illinois


2-2-15

Even though we had a snowstorm going on  Sunday,  we decided not to cancel our plans to come, since Woodstock did not cancel Groundhog Day there.  The storm was over around midnight, we woke to a cold, clear morning of 4 degrees. We arrived downtown on the Square around 6:30 AM, it was beautifully lit with icicle lights and  the fresh snow (9 inches) looked beautiful.  The city crew worked hard all night to clear the square and the rest of the street after the storm, they did a great job!

Woodstock SquareWoodstock Square Park Groundhog Day

 The crowd was gathering at “Gobbler’s Knob”, bundled up against the cold, at least the strong winds from last night subsided. While waiting for sunrise, we sang some Groundhog carols. Woodstock Willie posed for pictures with the crowd too.  Frank Jay and his Orchestra provided the musical accompaniment.  Groundhog Day Crowd in Woodstock

 

Groundhog Day songs in Woodstock

Woodstock Willie selfie 2-2-15

 It was time for the prognostication, the Inner Circle assembled in the gazebo and rapped on the door on Woodstock Willie’s tree stump.

Prognostication Time in Woodstock

 Mayor Dr. Brian Sager, who is fluent in Groundhogese, listens intently to Willie’s weather prognostication.

Willie's Prognostication in Woodstock

He got his answer, and tells the crowd “Six more weeks of winter.”

Despite the news, we are in good spirits since the storm is over and the sunrise was beautiful. Both groundhogs greet their admirers afterwards, posing for pictures.

Weather Prognostication in Woodstock

Groundhog Power in Woodstock

 Our next destination is the Moose Lodge, where the Groundhog breakfast and entertainment continued.

The Moose Lodge-Pennsylvania Hotel Dance in Woodstock

Groundhog Breakfast in Woodstock

Frank Jay and his Orchestra played polkas while the Groundhog Day movie played silently on a TV screen. Roger Adler, who was one of the members of the band at the Groundhog dance in the film, sang “Weatherman” while playing guitar.  They also had a raffle and a trivia contest.

Groundhog Breakfast at Moose Lodge in Woodstock

 

Roger Adler in Woodstock

 

Frank Jay and his Orchestra in Woodstock

 Bob Hudgins was also there, thanking the people of Woodstock and fans of the movie for continuing to welcome them back every year to help celebrate Groundhog Day. Also for the dedication of the new Harold Ramis Auditorium at the Woodstock Theater. He was the director of the movie. He passed away in 2014 at age 69.

Bob Hudgins in Woodstock

We also chatted with members of the Inner Circle, including Rick Bellairs, head of the committee responsible for planning and running this festival. We will never forget the best Groundhog Day we ever had and the hospitality of the citizens of Woodstock.

Groundhog Day Banner and Stump in Woodstock

 Be sure to enjoy the Walking Tour when you are in town, you can do that anytime you visit the city.  The city is quite beautiful any time of the year.

Woodstock Groundhog Day Movie Walking Tour


2-2-17 / 2- 2-15 / 1-30-11 and 10/17/03

groundhog-and-chalkboard

The Groundhog Day Walking Tour is the highlight of any visit to Woodstock. Following the map, any visitor can take this tour year ’round. One week out of a year, the tour is guided during Groundhog Days. This time we got it on video, especially important since Bob Hudgins (Location Manager) was retiring from conducting the tours. The tour lasted almost 2 hours (bundle up!) and he had many back stories to tell about each scene.  He has done this since 2005 gratis, just because he enjoyed doing it. Thanks Bob!  Join us on the tour below! It’s edited length is 1 hr-6 min.

  Here is a map of most of the sites, print a pdf version here  as well as more info about what is going on each day.

Woodstock Groundhog Day Movie Site Walking Tour

Bob is ready! Let’s examine the sites one by one.

Bob Hudgins Location Manager of Groundhog Day

1. Pennsylvania Hotel

 The historic Woodstock Opera House. The place where the dance scene takes place in the movie and bar scene preceding the dance.

Pennsylvania Hotel - Woodstock Opera House

2 & 3.  Gobbler’s Knob and Bandstand Dance – The large gazebo in Woodstock Square Park.

Phil always hears “Pennsylvania Polka” when he arrives at Gobblers Knob. In fact, there are speakers throughout the park and we heard this and other music from the movie soundtrack during the tour. It is performed by Frankie Yankovic. A classic!

Gobbler Knob- Woodstock Square Park

Plaque on large gazebo

The Gobbler’s Knob plaque is flat on the ground.  Saw it for the first time in 2017 since there was no snow.

Gobbler's Knob Plaque in Woodstock

4. Bar Scenes – Old Courthouse –  Public House of Woodstock

This was the bar as portrayed as being inside the Pennsylvania Hotel, just outside of the dance hall where the Groundhog dance was near the end of the movie.  Also where Phil shared a Sweet Vermouth on the Rocks (with a twist) with Rita. We enjoyed a delicious lunch there and made a toast to world peace. The plaque is inside by the bar.

The Old Courthouse and Jail in Woodstock

i-always-drink-to-world-peace-plaque-at-public-house-in-woodstock

Bar in Groundhog Day movie in Woodstock

Full Bar in Public House

The jail scene was also filmed here, a former large cell is part of the dining area.   Al pretending to be locked up.

Al pretending to be locked up

5. Bill Murray’s Puddle

Six cobblestones were actually taken out of the street to create the hole for the puddle, as told by Bob Hudgins.  He had to put them back in at the end of the day. Al stood in for Bill on our first visit to Woodstock in 2003.

Bill Murray's Puddle PlaqueBill Murray's Puddle

6. Tip-Top Cafe

 Where Phil and Rita had breakfast before trying to leave Puxatawney. Also where Phil learned everything about all the patrons in the restaurant.  At the time of filming it was an empty storefront, now it is a real restaurant called Taqueria La Placita. We enjoyed a great dinner there in 2017.  We sat in the area where Phil’s table was in the movie.  They also had the original Tip Top Cafe lit sign in the window too.

Tip Top Cafe in Woodstock

 tip-top-cafe-plaque

Inside Tip Top

Tip Top Cafe sign

Across the street from the cafe is the Berkshire-Hathaway Real Estate, which doubled as a Rexall Drug in the movie.

Berkshire-Hathaway Realtor in Woodstock

Another perspective shows this is where Phil, Rita and Larry drove into town.

Phil and TV crew entering Woodstock

7. Alpine Theater – Classic Cinema Woodstock Theater

Where Phil and his girlfriend dressed in costume to see a movie. He was dressed like Clint Eastwood, she as a cocktail waitress.

Alpine Theater - Woodstock Theater frame

It had been refurbished and the ticket counter in the front has moved inside.  I got a picture in 2011 before it changed.

alpine-theater-ticket-window

Alpine Theatre plaque

Love the lit marqee at night.

Woodstock Theatre marquee at night

8. Gas Station –  Gas Depot.

Where Phil called to try to get more information on the blizzard. This is what is currently looks like. The window was blocked with stuff so you could not see outside well.

The Gas Station - Gas Depot in Woodstock

the-gas-station-plaque

 The station in  2011 before it changed.

gas-depot-2011in Woodstock

9. Bowling Alley – Wayne’s Lanes

Where Phil was drinking with two other guys who all then proceeded to leave and drove drunk with the police hot on their tail on a high-speed chase through town.

Bowling Alley - Wayne's Lanes in WoodstockBowling Alley - Wayne's Lanes inside in Woodstock

Wayne's Lanes inside

They did not actually actually drive on the train track here, just the view of them turning onto the track was here. The actual track driving was done at the Illinois Railway Museum in Union, Il.  The bowling alley is across the street to the left of this view.

Turning onto train track scene

10. The Dance

 In the movie it’s in the Pennsylvania Hotel, in reality it’s the inside of the Moose Lodge. This is where the tour began after the Groundhog Breakfast in 2017. The breakfast was here too. They made no changes inside, still the same interior as in the movie.

The Moose Lodge-Pennsylvania Hotel Dance in Woodstock

moose-lodge-plaque

Moose Lodge inside - Dance Scene in Woodstock

Inside Moose Lodge

11. Old Man’s Alley

 In front of the movie theater, where Phil finds a homeless man and tries to help him.

Old Man's Alley in Woodstock

View from the other side.

Old Man Alley view from other side

12. Ned’s Corner

Phil’s high school classmate Ned Ryerson, now insurance agent meets Phil here while he is walking to Gobbler’s Knob.

neds-corner-plaque

Ned Ryerson's Corner in Woodstock

13. The Chase and Crash

 Takes place after the aforementioned Bowling Alley scene. Here you see the movie scene super-imposed over the photo I took.

The Chase Before the Crash in Woodstock Square

  The garbage can was proudly displayed at the Woodstock Public Library.

After knocking over the groundhog…This once was a vacant lot, now there is a building on this site with a plaque on it.

The Crash (into big Groundhog) -Woodstock Footage

the-crash-plaque

The building there now in the former vacant lot.

crash-scene-site

 We are now on our way to the Piano Teacher’s House and Cherry Street Inn (Royal Victorian Manor) and encounter another movie site not on the printed guide. The tunnel where Phil drove the red truck when he stole the groundhog. It actually is for the Metra train that stops in Woodstock. It was built in 1897.

Coordinates:              N 42° 18.772 W 088° 26.625

Phil groundhog chase scene location

14. Piano Teacher’s House

 Phil learned how to expertly play the piano in one day here.

piano-teachers-house-plaque

Piano Teacher's House in Woodstock

Continue past the house to find the tree that the boy fell out of that Phil caught.

iTree boy fell out of in movie

 15. Cherry Street Inn

 Royal Victorian Manor.  The B&B where Phil stayed. And those are all of the plaqued sites Woodstock are located.  This is also where our tour concluded.

Cherry Street Inn in Woodstock

cherry-street-inn-plaque

The view of the street we saw in the movie.

Street by Royal Victorian Manor

This concludes the walking tour of the Groundhog Day movie filming sites.  It is a lot of fun to do this tour any time of the year, but doing it on or near Groundhog Day make it even more exciting!

Hot Website Links

Groundhog Days in Woodstock, IL

Woodstock Chamber of Commerce

Woodstock Opera House

Gas Depot

Woodstock Theater – Classic Cinema

Taqueria La Placita (Tip Top Café)

Woodstock Moose Lodge

Old Court House Arts Center

Wayne’s Lanes