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home : news : north central illinois   July 27, 2015

5/1/2013 5:03:00 AM
'Pick Us' pitch for Ottawa coming to TV screens soon


NewsTribune photos/Amanda WhitlockActor Walt Willey talks with Michael Malone account executive at CLTV and WGN-TV at the beginning of Willey’s press conference to announce a new production and the screening of a WGN commercial filmed in Ottawa at Ottawa City Hall in the council chambers on Tuesday morning. Willey appears in the TV commercial promoting Ottawa which will appear this month on WGN. The compact and professional-grade spot features the Ottawa native strolling, cycling, boating and dining through Ottawa and reminding viewers to “pick us” in keeping with the city’s “Pick us” campaign.
+ click to enlarge

NewsTribune photos/Amanda Whitlock
Actor Walt Willey talks with Michael Malone account executive at CLTV and WGN-TV at the beginning of Willey’s press conference to announce a new production and the screening of a WGN commercial filmed in Ottawa at Ottawa City Hall in the council chambers on Tuesday morning. Willey appears in the TV commercial promoting Ottawa which will appear this month on WGN. The compact and professional-grade spot features the Ottawa native strolling, cycling, boating and dining through Ottawa and reminding viewers to “pick us” in keeping with the city’s “Pick us” campaign.

NewsTribune photos/Amanda WhitlockActor Walt Willey (right) talks about the filming of the WGN commercial in Ottawa before the screening of the commercial in the Ottawa City Hall council chambers while Julie Johnson (left) executive director of Ottawa Visitor’s Center listens. Willey appears in the TV commercial promoting Ottawa which will appear this month on WGN. The compact and professional-grade spot features the Ottawa native strolling, cycling, boating and dining through Ottawa and reminding to viewers to “pick us” in keeping with the city’s “Pick us” campaign.
+ click to enlarge
NewsTribune photos/Amanda Whitlock
Actor Walt Willey (right) talks about the filming of the WGN commercial in Ottawa before the screening of the commercial in the Ottawa City Hall council chambers while Julie Johnson (left) executive director of Ottawa Visitor’s Center listens. Willey appears in the TV commercial promoting Ottawa which will appear this month on WGN. The compact and professional-grade spot features the Ottawa native strolling, cycling, boating and dining through Ottawa and reminding to viewers to “pick us” in keeping with the city’s “Pick us” campaign.
Willey to act in 'Deathtrap' in Ottawa

Walt Willey and entertainment partner Howard Johnson also announced the next production in the WilleyWorld Community Productions series: “Deathtrap,” running July 19-21.

“Deathtrap” is an Ira Levin play — and 1982 film starring Michael Caine — about fictional playwright Sidney Bruhl (Willey) and wife Myra (AMC’s Bobbie Eakes) who concoct a plan to kill one of Sidney’s students Clifford (Chance Willey, Walt’s son) and then steal his promising manuscript.

“’Deathtrap’ is a thriller that will have audiences glued to their seats — unless they’re leaping out of them in shock,” Willey said.

Show times are 7:30 p.m. July 19 and 20 and 2:30 p.m. July 21 at Central Intermediate School auditorium, 711 E. McKinley Road. The production was moved from Ottawa High School, WWCP’s traditional site, due to recent flooding.
Tickets are $25 and are available by calling (815) 434-2737 or (888) 688-2924 or at www.experienceottawa.com.


Tom Collins
NewsTribune Senior Reporter



OTTAWA — Tune in to a Cubs game or WGN news and you might see a familiar face making a plug for Ottawa.

City officials Tuesday unveiled a TV commercial promoting the city of Ottawa as well as the forthcoming wine festival. The 10-second spot features Ottawa native and daytime soap star Walt Willey and will air over the next several weeks on channel 9.

The compact and professional-grade spot features Willey strolling, cycling, boating and dining through Ottawa — stopping to sign autographs as he goes — and reminding viewers to “pick us” in keeping with the city’s “Pick us” campaign.

Willey, best known for portraying Jackson Montgomery on TV’s “All My Children,” said he was delighted with the finished product, marveling at how everything seemed to break right during a compressed film schedule.

“What we did in one day…” he said, trailing off. “It was indeed blessed.”
City officials were no less impressed with the commercial, which encapsulates Ottawa’s many offerings into a seamless montage. The costs were defrayed through a state grant.

WGN director Michael Malone said he was thoroughly impressed with Ottawa during his initial visit and found his greatest difficulty was selecting which streetscapes, eateries and vistas to exclude from the final cut.

“(Ottawa) was charming beyond belief to me,” Malone said, adding later, “Ottawa is a gorgeous, gorgeous city.”

Mayor Bob Eschbach said the spot jibes with his own perception of how the city is evolving. He remarked that he recently dined with friends and, upon exiting the restaurant, was taken with how much the flourishing downtown reminded him of tourist-oriented cities with better name recognition.

“I think this is a big step forward for our city,” he said, “making it a destination for Chicago-land and all over the state.”

Malone said a broadcast schedule would be released in early May and would be available on the city’s website. The spot would be aired ahead of the Ottawa 2 Rivers Wine Fest (June 7-9) and then reconfigured for broadcast for Riverfest (July 27-Aug. 5).

Tom Collins can be reached at (815) 220-6930 or courtreporter@newstrib.com.












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