Although it's not synonymous with car chases like Lower Wacker Drive (Blues Brothers, The Dark Knight), has become a minor celebrity when it comes to Chicago-area film locales, appearing in the 1980s Dolly Parton vehicle Straight Talk and a handful of smaller projects and TV pilots.
The new TV drama, which premieres next month on Fox, shot scenes Tuesday, Aug. 21, at the tavern and at the old Frankfort Airport, as well as a farm south of the village on Steger Road. The Mob Doctor, according to a Fox press release, is "a fast-paced medical drama featuring a brilliant young female cardiothoracic surgeon who is split between two distinct worlds as she juggles her promising medical career with her lifelong debt as a doctor to Chicago's Southside [sic] mob."
Originally, the show was going to shoot its Frankfort scenes in Chicago, where the series films. But when the location changed to the Steger Road farm, the producers decided to find a bar nearby, said Jim Turner, the location scout for the series.
Turner checked out a variety of establishments in the area last week, but they looked too much like restaurants, he said. Producers finally chose Old Plank Trail Tavern because of its nice neighborhood feel and because the space, with its back room and outdoor beer garden, could accommodate cameras, lights, sound equipment and a large film crew.
Tavern owners Pam and Bruce Patterson got the call from Turner last Thursday and had no problems expanding the bar's filmography.
"He told us what he needed and what he was shooting for, and that was it. We said OK," Pam Patterson said as she watched the filming from the street Tuesday night. Occasionally, she would run to ask neighbors to quiet a barking dog or two when the crew was filming.
The tavern closed at 4 p.m. to allow set designers and lighting teams to get the interior in shooting condition, covering up beer signs and other product advertising, Turner said. handled traffic along Kansas Street, and residents gathered on the sidewalk across the street, trying to catch a glimpse of the action happening inside. A little after 8:30 p.m., filming wrapped, and the crew packed up the equipment quickly and efficiently, making it seem like nothing special had ever happened.
"These are the nicest people you could ever hope to work with," Pam Patterson said about the experience.
"There had to be a hundred people around here, and they must have it drilled into them to be polite," Bruce Patterson added about everyone from the show. "They try not to bother anyone, and they're friendly as can be."
Although it's done shooting in Frankfort, the show will return to the Steger Road farm Friday, Turner said. The Mob Doctor premieres Sept. 17, and the Old Plank Trail Tavern scenes appear in the fourth episode, which should air in early October, he added.
As for what the episode is about, Turner could only say it involves mobsters stealing a thoroughbred horse.
You know, typical Frankfort stuff.
UPDATE: Mary Canino, the village's community relations manager, says the show's producers told her that the scenes shot in Frankfort will be visible in two episodes, airing Sept. 24, and Oct. 8. Get your DVRs ready.
Did you watch the filming of The Mob Doctor? What did you think? Were you able to get an autograph from or a picture with one of the actors? If so, share your stories in the comments section and post your photos from the night of shooting in the media gallery.
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