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That so-called "war chant" that has so many Illinois sports fans emotional is time-honored, but perhaps not in the way you think.

The simple drumbeat isn't from Native American lore or even from a John Wayne Western, but from a children's cartoon segment that ran 60 years ago on the venerable "Captain Kangaroo" television show.

The "chant" music played by the Marching Illini and its pep bands and that some Illini fans contend gives them chills is from a song called "Pow Wow the Indian Boy," which introduced a simple black-and-white cartoon called "Adventures of Pow Wow."

I remember "Pow Wow" and the lyrics just as I can recall "The Adventures of Tom Terrific," another cartoon segment on "Captain Kangaroo."

Pow Wow, the Indian boy,
Loved all the animals and the woods;
Pow Wow, the Indian boy,
Loved all the animals and the woods;
Pow Wow was a friend
Of all the animals in the woods;
If there was any trouble,
He would help them if he could;
If Pow Wow couldn't help them,
He would go to the Medicine Man,
And he would tell them stories
Just how it all began, all began, all began ...

The song — which is about as authentic as a 1950s television Western filmed in a studio — was written by Monty Kelly, a prolific Oakland, Calif.-born composer who also wrote for albums, movies and other television shows. Listen to it below:

The "war chant" drum beat was first used by the Marching Illini in the 1970s, which would have placed it at about the time of the baby boomers who watched "Captain Kangaroo" and later on other children's television programs broadcast on Chicago and St. Louis stations.

One episode, titled "The Magic Spigot," which has the theme song at the beginning, can be found on YouTube:

Surely there's another old TV show or cartoon theme song that the band can use to fire up fans when it's first and goal from the 3-yard-line.

How about the old "Mighty Mouse" theme song? Or the openings from "Bonanza" or "Gunsmoke"?

Send your suggestions and we'll compile a list sure to give you goose bumps.

State Rep. Carol Ammons, D-Urbana, was one of three House members to vote "present" Monday on the school funding reform plan that she earlier had endorsed.

Why? She didn't like two provisions in the deal that had been negotiated by Democratic and Republican legislative leaders, and endorsed by Gov. Bruce Rauner.

One part allows the Chicago school board to raise property taxes an estimated $120 million annually to cover pension costs. The second provides state tax breaks to people who contribute to an approved non-profit "scholarship granting organization," not to parents who send their children to private schools.

Individuals or businesses who contribute to such organizations would receive a 75 percent tax credit for each dollar donated. Donors would be able to direct their contribution to a specific school but not to a particular student. A maximum of $75 million in credits would be awarded annually during the five-year life of the pilot program.

"Although I wanted the schools to be funded and open without interruption, I was really disappointed that the only way that we could get our schools funded was for us to provide tax breaks for the wealthy to do it," Ammons said. "It would be different for me if the credit was going to the parents, and they would be getting a credit for their children going to these schools in their community. But that's not what this tax credit is.

"This tax credit goes to big donors, who would not be public, yet they would get a tax credit which is essentially public dollars."

Ammons said the state Constitution says "you cannot use public dollars for private or parochial. But that's what we just did, in exchange for funding for public education, which is the responsibility of the state."

The program will be run by the state Department of Revenue, "and there is no obligation for transparency," Ammons said. The list of donors and how much they gave would not be public information, she said.

She said the language of the tax credits measure matches language from the conservative American Legislative Exchange Council.

Meanwhile, the Chicago Public Schools system stands to gain about $450 million out of the deal with increased state funding and higher property taxes included.

"The Republicans and the governor spent a lot of time suggesting to downstate school districts that they would lose big in Senate Bill 1, and then they turned around and what was passed would almost double the amount going to Chicago," she said. "This bill is even better for Chicago."

The forum featuring the five Democratic candidates for the 13th Congressional District seat will be at 6 p.m. Tuesday in Noyes Lab Room 100 on the University of Illinois campus.

It is sponsored by the Illini Democrats.

The forum will feature candidates Dr. David Gill of Bloomington, Ben Webb of Normal, Betsy Dirksen Londrigan of Springfield, Erik Jones of Edwardsville and Jon Ebel of Urbana. All five intend to be candidates in the Democratic Party primary next March and hope to run against U.S. Rep. Rodney David, R-Taylorville.

The first itemized contributions to Urbana Republican Erika Harold's campaign for attorney general were reported last Friday: $5,600 from Winnetka attorney Richard Porter and $1,000 from Sonia Carringer of Seymour.

Porter's contribution is especially notable because he is Illinois' Republican National Committeeman, he worked in the White House under President George H.W. Bush, and he is a partner at the Chicago law firm of Kirkland and Ellis.

Tom Kacich is a News-Gazette reporter and columnist. His column appears on Wednesdays and Sundays. he can be reached at 351-5221 or at kacich@news-gazette.com.

Columnist

Tom Kacich is a columnist and the author of Tom's Mailbag at The News-Gazette. His column appears Sundays. His email is tkacich@news-gazette.com, and you can follow him on Twitter (@tkacich).

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