Chicago Stories

Chicago Stories

Six New Stories

A New Season of Chicago Stories begins Friday, April 1 at 8:00 pm. Six new stories will uncover the fascinating history, rich diversity, and breadth of human experience that shaped this great American city. Don't miss Jane Byrne; Downtown Disasters; The Real Mad Men; The Union Stockyards; Our Soldiers, Our Lady of Guadalupe and The Birth of Gospel on Friday nights!

Chicago Stories: The Birth of Gospel poster

The Birth of Gospel

This episode of Chicago Stories traces the birth and growth of gospel music in Chicago in the 1930s. The story follows "The Father of Gospel", Thomas A. Dorsey, who wrote one of gospel’s early hits while coping with his grief over the death of his wife and child. It explores the roots of gospel from southern spirituals during slavery, through gospel’s early years.

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Chicago Stories: Our Soldiers, Our Lady of Guadalupe poster

Our Soldiers, Our Lady of Guadalupe

This is the story of pride and heartbreak in a close-knit South Side community. Our Lady of Guadalupe, Chicago’s first and oldest Mexican-American parish, lost 12 young men in the Vietnam War during a brutal five-year period.

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Chicago Stories: The Union Stockyards poster

The Union Stockyards

At the end of the 19th century, Chicago completely transformed the way Americans eat, and the Union Stockyards on the South Side were the center of that revolution. Experience the sights, sounds, and awful smells of the Union Stockyards and the complex of meat factories next to it, known as Packingtown.

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Chicago Stories: The Real Mad Men of Chicago poster

The Real Mad Men of Chicago

You may not have heard of Albert Lasker, Eugene Kolkey, or Tom Burrell, but you most certainly know their creations. They're Chicago’s Mad Men - the local executives who created iconic figures like the Marlboro Man, Charlie the Tuna, and the Pillsbury Dough Boy. This episode of Chicago Stories explores how the real Mad Men of Chicago became the leaders of the advertising world.

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Chicago Stories: Downtown Disasters poster

Downtown Disasters

Chicago Stories recalls two very different disasters that occurred in the heart of Chicago’s Loop 90 years apart: First, the deadliest building fire in U.S. history: the 1903 Iroquois Theatre Fire.

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Chicago Stories: Jane Byrne poster

Jane Byrne

As a woman once again occupies the fifth floor of City Hall, Chicago Stories remembers the city’s first female mayor. After pulling off one of Chicago’s greatest political upsets, Jane Byrne found herself caught between the political machine that shaped her and the reformers who elected her.

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Chicago Stories: Inventing Improv poster

Inventing Improv

It may be Chicago’s greatest cultural export: improvised theater that was carried out into the world by the likes of Bill Murray, Tina Fey, Amy Poehler, and Stephen Colbert. But this art form wasn’t created by a funny man - it was devised by a woman who wasn’t out for laughs. Explore the life and legacy of Viola Spolin, the social-worker-turned-theater guru known as The Mother of Improv.

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Chicago Stories: Inventing Improv poster

Ida B. Wells

There are few Chicago historical figures whose life and work speak to the current moment more than Ida B. Wells, the 19th century investigative journalist, civil rights leader, and passionate suffragist. WTTW brings you a new Chicago Stories special that tells her story as never before.

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Chicago Fire dramatized animation

The Great Chicago Fire

On October 10, 1871, Chicago awoke to an unrecognizable landscape: where 48 hours earlier there had been a vibrant city, now there was nothing but rubble stretched for miles on end. The Great Chicago Fire: A Chicago Stories Special brings to life this seismic event as never before, using vivid animations, elaborate re-creations, and interviews with historians and the descendants of eyewitnesses.

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