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updated: 3/19/2010 10:55 AM

Veteran TV newsman tells it like it is

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  • Veteran broadcast journalist John "Bulldog" Drummond spoke about his career covering the big stories to a group at the Lake Villa District Library Thursday.

       Veteran broadcast journalist John "Bulldog" Drummond spoke about his career covering the big stories to a group at the Lake Villa District Library Thursday.
    Vincent Pierri | Staff Photographer

By Vincent Pierri

The days of the stogy-smoking, street-wise reporter in hot pursuit of a scoop are all but gone.

But longtime television news reporter John "Bulldog" Drummond still fits the iconic description, a throwback to the golden age of big city journalism.

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And he's been on the circuit speaking to folks about his storied career as a TV reporter.

Drummond shared stories of swindlers, arsonists, mobsters and more than one shady politician with a group of about 50 people at the Lake Villa District Library Thursday afternoon.

The no-nonsense newsman has covered some of the most infamous Chicago area crime stories in the last 40 years. The Wilmette man is "semiretired" at 79 years old, but still gives special reports on his beloved WBBM-Channel 2.

Recalling names, places and dates with lightening speed, Drummond gave details about covering the murder of former Illinois Sen. Charles Percy's daughter, the antics of Chicago mob boss Tony Accardo, the case of missing Antioch area swindler Woody Kelly and the still-unsolved 1977 disappearance of candy heiress Helen Vorhees Brach.

"It's the most interesting, most fascinating missing person story I've ever covered," Drummond said about Brach. "Nobody really knows what ever happened to her. We don't realize how many people go missing."

Opening it up for questions, Drummond was asked about the upcoming trial of former Gov. Rod Blagojevich.

"It's not going to be the most exciting trial," he said. "The batting average for convicting governors at the Dirksen Federal Building is very high. The only one acquitted was William Stratton. The rest have gone down. Dan Walker, George Ryan and Otto Kerner. That's three out of four. Blagojevich will be four out of five. Most people think he will be convicted."

Drummond chatted with fans and autographed his two books, "It Ain't Pretty But It's Real," and "Thirty Years in the Trenches," after his 45-minute talk.

Adam Morelli, 42, of Lake Villa, says he's loved watching Drummond's reports over the years. Pieces about the Chicago mob were his favorites.

"Drummond was the best," Morelli smiled. "He gets right to the point and tells it like it is."

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