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WTTW to premiere Geoffrey Baer’s latest Chicago history special CHICAGO TIME MACHINE

Tuesday, December 3 at 7:30 pm only on WTTW

For immediate release
Chicago, IL - November 27, 2013

Previously, WTTW’s TV tour guide Geoffrey Baer has explored Chicago history and architecture via boat, car, L train, bicycle, and on foot.  Now, he sets forth in an entirely new vehicle: a TIME MACHINE.  In WTTW’s new 80-minute public television special, CHICAGO TIME MACHINE, premiering  on Tuesday, December 3 at 7:30 pm, Geoffrey travels back in time to a wide variety of locations across the Chicago metropolitan area, aided by a mysterious antique gadget he finds at an outdoor flea market.  This mechanical oddity, with its antique clock, gauges and dials, features a large picture window through which Geoffrey is able to observe layers of lost history in present-day locations.

Come along for the ride as Geoffrey takes his time machine on a rollicking journey all around the Chicago area, revealing the fascinating untold stories behind (and in some cases, underneath) many historically significant places which Chicagoans unknowingly traverse every day. Through the device’s magical window, we view the history of:

  • Chicago City Hall (it’s not the first city hall to sit here -- it’s the 7th in the city’s history)
  • Grant Park (Great Chicago Fire, a very early air show, the birth of the Petrillo Bandshell, the 1968 anti-war protests during the Democratic National Convention, President Obama’s 2008 victory speech)
  • Across the river from the Merchandise Mart (Abraham Lincoln was nominated  for President here in 1860)
  • River North (where anarchists were hanged after the infamous Haymarket Riot)
  • McClurg Court (where Presidential contenders Nixon and Kennedy staged their famous television debate)
  • 1230 W. Washington (unlikely home of a weekly, nationally-broadcast “barn dance,” and earlier, Mary Todd Lincoln)
  • One South Dearborn (site of a theatre where John Wilkes Booth performed)
  • 15th and Wabash (site of the Libby Prison War Museum and later the Chicago Coliseum.)
  • Halsted and 42nd (former home of the International Amphitheatre that showcased everything from livestock to Led Zeppelin)
  • Dan Ryan Expressway (once a long-ago Negro Leagues baseball park)
  • 35th and King Drive (the former location of a Civil War-era POW camp)
  • Kimbark and 47th (site of an early civil rights sit-in)
  • 18th and Prairie (where a Native American battle site ultimately became Chicago’s original Gold Coast)
  • UIC (the original Greek Town and Little Italy)
  • Cabrini Green (once a Sicilian enclave known as Little Hell)
  • Lincoln and Wells (where comedy cabaret  Second City was born in a converted Chinese laundry)
  • Western and Roscoe (currently a strip mall, it was once the site of Riverview amusement park)
  • Rogers and Clark Streets (an old Indian trail that becomes an unfortunate Indian boundary)
  • The Kennedy Expressway at North Avenue (author Nelson Algren once lived here, then Congressman Dan Rostenkowski was erroneously given credit for diverting the expressway here, then Eugene Sawyer was anointed Chicago mayor here in 1985 after the sudden passing of Harold Washington)
  • South Damen Avenue and the Chicago River (Father Jacques Marquette encamped here during the winter of 1674)
  • Pritzker School in Wicker Park (resting place of a giant prehistoric beaver!

With Geoffrey Baer serving as an informative tour guide, CHICAGO TIME MACHINE uses archival photographs and film and lively special effects to bring Chicago history to life in a fascinating and fun way.  The experience will be greatly enhanced by the program’s robust companion website,, where viewers will be able to enjoy a variety of special interactive features and additional content.

CHICAGO TIME MACHINE is written and hosted by Geoffrey Baer.  Producer:  Dan Protess.  Associate Producer:  Angela Antkowiak.  Executive Producers:  Jerry Liwanag and V.J. McAleer. Original score:  Steve Mullen.  Produced in association with the Chicago History Museum; a production of WTTW Chicago.

Major funding for CHICAGO TIME MACHINE is provided by BMO Harris Bank.  Additional funding is provided by the Russell and Josephine Kott Memorial Charitable Trust; ComEd: An Exelon Company; the Joseph & Bessie Feinberg Foundation; and Carl Buddig & Co.  The program is also made possible by Joel M. Friedman, President, Alvin H. Baum Family Fund; Robert J. & Roberta L. Washlow; Harriet K. Burnstein; Ken Norgan; Millennium Properties; and the Sage Foundation.  Further underwriting comes from Margaret S. Hart and Peter Kelliher II.

About WTTW
For almost 60 years, audiences have turned to WTTW for distinctive programming that informs, inspires, educates, and entertains. WTTW reaches 1.5 million weekly households over a four‐state area, making it the most‐watched public television station in America. Recognized for its award‐winning local and national productions, WTTW is committed to presenting the very best in cultural, nature, science, public affairs, and children’s programming across its five distinct channels: WTTW11, WTTW Prime, its Spanish‐language channel WTTW V‐me, and WTTW Create, and