Awesome ‘Blossom’ shows Hibbing memory in ‘Jeopardy’

Mayim Bialik describes the trip she took to Hibbing with her father in the early 1990s.

You might remember the old Zimmy’s restaurant on Howard Street in Hibbing. Boomtown is there now, but for several decades this was a bar and grill that paid tribute to Hibbing’s hometown singer-songwriter Bob Dylan.

For years, the only picture in the place that didn’t include Bob Dylan was a framed, autographed headshot of the actress Mayim Bialik. The photo dated from her time on the 1990s sitcom “Blossom.” The autograph commemorated her visit to Dylan’s hometown.

To me, Mayim Bialik represented the perfect celebrity for the walls of a Hibbing restaurant. She’s famous, but not ridiculously so. Had it been Brad Pitt or Madonna, no one would believe it. But Bialik? Who would fake a Blossom autograph? Only a monster. 

Even today it’s easy to picture Bialik sauntering down Howard Street. She’s no less famous. Bialik now hosts “Jeopardy” and stars in another popular sitcom, “Call Me Kat” after years of success on “The Big Bang Theory.”  But she’s also no more famous. That’s how we like it.

I sometimes wondered, as I often do for celebrities seen on the Iron Range, what Bialik might think about the place years after the fact. Do such people remember the place at all? Recently, the answer came most unexpectedly.

On April 5, Mayim Bialik appeared on the Late Show with Stephen Colbert to promote her new movie, “As They Made Us.” Bialik wrote and directed this partially autobiographical film about a family struggling with the illness and death of its patriarch. The interview had all the makings of a somber discussion, until midway through when Bialik cited the trip she took to Hibbing with her dad to see Bob Dylan’s hometown as one of their favorite father-daughter activities.

She was 17 then, so her trip to Hibbing occurred in the early 1990s. Sure enough, she showed pictures of her and her dad standing by the big green sign highlighting the Hibbing exit on Highway 53.

Then, in the big reveal, she showed the picture her father took of her in front of Bob Dylan’s famous boyhood home on the corner of Seventh Avenue and 25th Street. Here, she said, was the culmination of this cherished memory of her and her late father’s journey to Hibbing. 

Unfortunately, the picture shows Bialik standing in front of the house down the street. In other words, Bob Dylan’s boyhood neighbor’s house. She said no one gave them directions, so they were *hoping* that this was the right place. (It’s not).

I mean, do we tell her? Someone’s probably told her by now, right?

Bialik did tell Colbert that if it was the wrong house, she doesn’t want to know. I get that. After all, the gauzy fog of memory so often improves upon the unforgiving bounds of reality. The only thing that lasts is the way lost loved ones made us feel. 

This story illustrates how early 1990s Hibbing was still struggling to tell Dylan’s story to the tourists who came despite the utter lack of promotion. The town has come a long way since then, but I think we could do even better. One of my favorite things about northern Minnesota is that we live inside a story. New characters always invigorate a story.

Anyway, Mayim Bialik, if you’re reading this, you’re always welcome back in Hibbing. Bring your family. This time we can have some people show you around. I bet we can even find the right house. A collector owns it now and is restoring it to look like it did during Dylan’s childhood.  

If you’re worried about drawing too much attention, don’t. Half the population doesn’t know how to work their phones and the other half will just mistake you for one of the “Full House” girls. It takes a few visits, maybe a few decades, for us to warm up. But we do get there eventually.

Aaron J. Brown

Aaron J. Brown is an author and college instructor from northern Minnesota’s Iron Range. He writes the blog and co-hosts the podcast “Power in the Wilderness” on Northern Community Radio. This piece first appeared in the Sunday, April 24, 2022 edition of the Mesabi Tribune.



  1. Joe musich says

    So is Bialik’s appearance on Colbert with a memory actually a set up for the memory drug she is shilling every other commercial on the CNN network ? So is the wrong house picture then called product misplacement ? But no enough snark! I was probably watching some Kimmel that night but I will have to stream. So what happened to the picture ? Thanks.

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