Today In Chicago History: Great Chicago Fire, Victory Auto Wreckers Commercial

By Chuck Sudo in Miscellaneous on Oct 8, 2010 3:20PM

Today marks two milestones in Chicago history. The first event, of course, is the 129th anniversary of the Great Chicago Fire. Reams upon reams of paper have been been spent chronicling one of the seminal events in Chicago's history. We'll refer you over to the Chicago History Museum's online portal for all things regarding the fire for reference.

The second seminal event may seem more trivial, but still newsworthy. Friend of Chicagoist the Expired Meter points out on his site that today is also the silver anniversary of the Victory Auto Wreckers commercial. The 30-second spot for the Bensenville salvage yard is now as synonymous with Chicago television as "Bozo's Circus," "The Ray Rayner Show," "Family Classics," Oprah and another iconoclastic Chicago commercial, Eagle Insurance.

The man in the video is Bob Zajdel, who was working for Victory at the time. He wasn't paid for the commercial and, in interviews, noted that he could have lost his hand opening the door that fell off the car. Zajdel, who went on to become a trucker, still owns the watch and t-shirt he wore in the commercial.

The Expired Meter also pointed us to a Victory Auto Wreckers facebook page.