Playlist John Callaway

John Callaway

Leontyne Price on WTTW's 'Callaway Interviews' in 1981

From the Archive: Leontyne Price

Daniel Hautzinger

"It's never been the Black artist's problem, it has been other people's problem," the legendary Leontyne Price told WTTW in 1981 about the lack of Black artists, specifically in opera. "It's so simplistic, it's fairly ridiculous." Watch excerpts of the archival interview. 
Children being treated in iron lungs. Photo: U.S. Food and Drug Administration

"One of the Greatest Events in the History of Medicine": The Defeat of Polio

Daniel Hautzinger

DuPage county, outside Chicago, took part in Jonas Salk's polio vaccine trials in 1954, a successful nationwide experiment that led to the virtual end of a terrifying disease and was called "one of the greatest events in the history of medicine." 
WTTW's John Callaway interviews the 'New Yorker' writer Jane Kramer in 1978

From the Archive: 'New Yorker' Writer Jane Kramer

Daniel Hautzinger

New Yorker writer Jane Kramer discusses the myth of the American West, the rise of big agribusiness and its effect on both traditional ranching and cows, and what bringing her daughter along on her reporting could do, in this 1978 interview from the WTTW archives. 
The author Alex Haley in 1976

From the Archive: Alex Haley, Author of 'Roots'

Daniel Hautzinger

The author of Roots and The Autobiography of Malcolm X explains the origins of Roots and his difficulty in capturing the experience of being on a slave-ship in a 1976 interview. "The absence of pride changes to a presence of pride" when you know your history, he says.
Leon Lederman. Photo: Wikimedia Commons

Nobel Prize-Winning Fermilab Physicist Leon Lederman Has Died

Daniel Hautzinger

Lederman, who won a Nobel Prize in 1988 for demonstrating that there are at least two kinds of particles called neutrinos, coined the Higgs boson's nickname "the God particle," and worked at Fermilab outside Chicago as well as the University of Chicago, has died at age 96.
The Eastland Disaster on the Chicago River

Chicago's Deadliest Disaster

Daniel Hautzinger

One hundred and three years ago, on July 24, 1915, more than 800 people lost their lives in Chicago's deadliest tragedy, when a top-heavy boat rolled onto its side in the Chicago River only twenty feet from the shore. Watch an archival Chicago Stories episode about the Eastland Disaster.
John Updike

From the Archive: John Updike

Daniel Hautzinger

"Nobody needs a book much, do they?" It's a surprising sentiment to hear coming from a writer, but in this 1981 interview with WTTW's John Callaway, John Updike discusses his impressively humble views on literature, his existential anxieties, and his goals as a writer.
The film poster for Grease, with Olivia Newton-John and John Travolta

From the Archive: 'Grease' Becomes a Movie

Daniel Hautzinger

The smash-hit film version of Grease premiered 40 years ago on June 16, but it was already a huge success on Broadway, and had originated as a small play in Chicago. One of its co-writers discusses its popularizing transformations into something different from the original.
Dune by Frank Herbert

From the Archive: 'Dune' Author Frank Herbert

Daniel Hautzinger

The author of the world's best-selling science fiction novel discusses the broad base of knowledge he draws on in imagining other worlds, as well as his environmentalism. "I refuse to be put in the position of having to tell my grandchildren, 'I'm sorry, there's no more world for you, we used it all up.' " 
Tom Wolfe

Era-Defining Journalist and Novelist Tom Wolfe Has Died

Daniel Hautzinger

Tom Wolfe, who wrote The Right Stuff and Bonfire of the Vanities and gave us the terms "'Me' decade" and "radical chic," died yesterday at the age of 88. Watch him discuss his trademark white suit and the similarities between counterculture and evangelicalism in this archival interview.
Cesar Chavez on Chicago Tonight with John Callaway

From the Archive: Cesar Chavez

Daniel Hautzinger

Before watching Independent Lens: Dolores, take a look back at this 1985 interview with Dolores Huerta's compatriot and fellow labor organizer Cesar Chavez, in which he discusses his activism, the decline of labor, and the difficulties facing the movement.
Conservative leader and anti-"women's liberation" activist Phyllis Schlafly in 1977

From the Archive: Phyllis Schlafly

Daniel Hautzinger

Illinois just became the 37th state to ratify the Equal Rights Amendment, which sought to prohibit discrimination of women, more than 40 years after Congress approved it. Watch a 1977 interview with the woman who led the successful opposition.
Author Toni Morrison on Callaway Interviews

From the Archive: Toni Morrison

Daniel Hautzinger

In 1977, Toni Morrison spoke to WTTW's John Callaway about empathy, the importance of storytelling, and her deep love of writing in an extraordinary interview. Watch the Nobel Prize-winning novelist speak honestly early in her career.
James Baldwin on Chicago Tonight with John Callaway in 1985.

From the Archive: James Baldwin in Conversation with John Callaway

Daniel Hautzinger

Watch James Baldwin share his ever-incisive observations late in his life on Chicago Tonight in 1985. "When Americans say progress, they really mean how quickly, and to what extent, and how profoundly, a black person becomes white," Baldwin says.
Fred Rogers on WTTW's Chicago Tonight in 1985.

From the Archive: Mister Rogers

Daniel Hautzinger

In 1985, Mister Rogers appeared on Chicago Tonight to discuss 30 years on television and offer some wisdom in his characteristic thoughtful manner.
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