History

Geoffrey Ward, scriptwriter for Ken Burns' The Vietnam War. Photo: Diane Raines Ward

The Extraordinary Life of Ken Burns' Scriptwriter

Geoffrey C. Ward has written scripts for Ken Burns for the past thirty years, and his incredible life uniquely fits him for the job. He survived polio, hunted tigers in India as a teenager, and has an ancestor who bankrupted Ulysses S. Grant. 
173rd Airborne Brigade paratrooper after an early morning firefight. July 14, 1966. Photo: AP/John Nance

Understanding Vietnam: A Conversation with the Director of 'The Vietnam War'

Lynn Novick, co-director with Ken Burns of the ten-part, eighteen hour documentary series The Vietnam War, which premieres in September, discusses the potential lessons of the war and one of the most affecting moments of her filming career.
Richard Nixon making his resignation speech on August 8.

Looking Back at Nixon's Resignation

43 years ago today, Richard Nixon announced his resignation from the Presidency on national television. The next day, August 9, he resigned. At 10:00 pm on August 8, you can revisit the events leading to Nixon's downfall in Dick Cavett's Watergate, which compiles some of Cavett's interviews and analysis of the Watergate investigation. 

The unveiling of the Chicago Picasso. Photo: Courtesy DCASE

A "Colossal Booboo": The Incredible Story of the Chicago Picasso

One of Chicago's most iconic emblems came out of an unlikely alliance between a gruff, conservative mayor and a sensuous, progressive artist. Through the mediation of a charming bon vivant architect, they changed the face of public art in America. 
The Brohakan Family in Birmingham, Alabama, in 1923.

'The Arab Americans'

"It was time to present a historical perspective of Arab Americans," says Abe Kasbo, creator of the documentary The Arab Americans, which traces the history and contributions of Arabs in America since the first immgirants of the late 19th century. 
The Race to Mackinac.

From the Archive: The Race to Mackinac

Watch Geoffrey Baer take part in the oldest and longest freshwater sailboat race, as he joins the crew of the Radiance in a journey from Chicago to Mackinac Island. Along the way, discover iconic sights, hear Lake Michigan lore, and learn about the history of the race and region.
Riverview Park.

From the Archive: Riverview Park

Riverview Park delighted Chicagoans for 64 summers, from 1904-1967. A massive parachute tower, beloved roller coasters, spooky fun houses, the world's largest carousel: relive them all in this Chicago Story about the beloved amusement park that used to stand at Belmont and Western.
The iPhone.

The iPhone at 10

Ten years ago today, Apple released the first iPhone, redefining our relationship to technology and heralding the beginning of the smartphone era. Revisit the legacy of the groundbreaking device and its creator in a Chicago Tonight segment that aired after Steve Jobs's death in 2011.
Malcolm Boyd on Callaway Interviews.

From the Archive: An Episcopal Priest On Coming Out

As the Chicago Pride Parade approaches, look back at a conversation with Malcolm Boyd, one of the first American clergymen to come out of the closet. "The majority loses its rights the moment it doesn't recognize the rights of minorities," he says.
Xi'an city walls. Photo: Mick Duffield

An Interview with the Makers of 'The Story of China'

The Story of China explores 4,000 years of history of the world's oldest continous state. Host Michael Wood and producer Rebecca Dobbs discuss the massive undertaking, their experiences in the country, and their goals in the six-part series.
Rehearsal for JFK's Pre-Inaugural Gala. Photo: Courtesy Mark Shaw

JFK's Lost Inaugural Gala

JFK's friend Frank Sinatra organized a star-studded gala for the new president's inauguration in 1961, but unforeseen circumstances prevented the performances of Ella Fitzgerald, Nat King Cole, Gene Kelly, and others from being broadcast - until now.
The Edgewater Beach Hotel.

Magic by the Lake: The Edgewater Beach Hotel

The Edgewater Beach Hotel played host to weddings, big bands, scandals, and celebrities like Nat King Cole and Bette Davis during its heyday. Experience some of the "Magic by the Lake" in this episode of Chicago Stories.
President John F. Kennedy.

From the Archive: John F. Kennedy

Today is John F. Kennedy's centenary. 34 years ago, WTTW's John Callaway hosted a discussion on the legacy of the 35th president of the United States on the twentieth anniversary of his assassination. 
Soldiers on a search and destroy operation near Qui Nhon. January 17, 1967. Photo: Bettmann/Getty Images

From the Archive: Veterans and Steppenwolf Discuss the Vietnam War

In 1984, WTTW hosted a discussion of the Vietnam War with a group of veterans and four Steppenwolf Theatre actors playing soldiers onstage, including Gary Sinise. Revisit it here.
Chicago's 1933 World's Fair

A Break in the Clouds: Chicago's 1933 World's Fair

84 years ago today, in the midst of the Great Depression, Chicago opened an extravagant World's Fair. The exposition celebrated "A Century of Progress" in the city and highlighted technological innovations such as the twelve-sided House of Tomorrow, which featured an electric dishwasher and air conditioning, and a Sky Ride that ferried visitors over the entire fair.

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