When John Stamos thinks about Chicago, “I always carefully like to check the weather that’s happening there,” the actor said, calling from his California home. He used to shoot scenes for NBC’s “ER” here, and only once did he visit during the winter. “Mostly, I was there in the spring,” he said, “and it was great! Chicago is one of my favorite cities — when the weather is nice!”
Coming to town to shoot exterior scenes for “ER” was something he and the other cast members looked forward to with enthusiasm. “Sure, they had Chicago exteriors built on the backlot at Warner Bros. in Burbank — the streets, the hospital and the L train. But when we came here, shooting those outside scenes in the real Chicago naturally felt more real and authentic.”
Reflecting on other times spent in the area, Stamos recalled performing at Ravinia — safely in the summertime! — with the Beach Boys. That’s something he’s scheduled to repeat this coming August. “Ravinia is such a special, beautiful place.”
Before that, Stamos will be in town as the celebrity host of the annual Illinois “Wish Ball” gala, benefiting the Make-A-Wish Foundation and its legacy of making dreams come true for children with life-threatening illnesses. This year’s benefit will be held at Navy Pier on Saturday evening (312-602-9474; illinois.wish.org/wishball).
“Back when we did ‘Full House’ in the ’80s, we would pre-tape the show on Thursdays,” he said. “It was on that day that the Make-A-Wish kids would come to our set. As I understand it, back then, ‘Full House’ was one of the top requests from the kids, right up there with [going to] Disneyland and meeting famous sports stars.
“At times we would have many, many wheelchairs and kids from Make-A-Wish from all over the country. We loved putting a smile on their faces, but afterward [the cast] would go backstage and find that we were smiling so much; we got more out of it than the kids did!”
As for his role at the “Wish Ball,” Stamos pointed out that unlike some of the previous hosts — Ellen DeGeneres or Jay Leno — “I’m not a stand-up comic and can’t really do my stand-up act. … So, I’ve put a lot of thought and energy into this. We’re going to have fun and entertaining things happening all through the evening. There will be video packages, music and I’ll have a very special co-host — an actual Make-A-Wish child. It should make for a funny, engaging and also heartwarming evening.”