The first program, Finding the Right Frequency on Wednesday, November 3 at 7:00 p.m. looks at the history of television in Chicago at its very beginning. Radio was the standard entertainment medium when the Chicago Federation of Labor transmitted the image and audio of its chairman in 1928. By 1950, there were four commercial stations in Chicago. Daniel Berger and Steve Jajkowski, editors of the book Chicago Television, will discuss the pioneering men and women who made early Chicago TV not only possible but exceptional.
The second program, Looking for a Smaller Audience on Wednesday, November 10 at 7:00 p.m. discusses how Chicago was at the forefront of children's programming with Burr Tillstrom and his Kuklapolitan Players when they first appeared until government restrictions changed the entire landscape of local television. Led by WGN, local stations were flush with talented and creative people whose shows are still remembered today. The shows were innovative, resourceful, and above all, fun. Local historian Jim Engel talks about this golden era of kids' TV in Chicago.
The third program in the series, TV Whenever and Wherever on Wednesday, November 17 at 7:00 p.m. looks at how the introduction of video recording systems and cable altered the relationship between the medium and its viewers. The prevalence of the Internet, smart phones, and user-generated content is constantly changing the television landscape. Television historian Walter Podrazik, leads a conversation about watching TV: then, now, and in the future.
A bus tour on the History of Chicago TV on Saturday, November 20 from 1:00 to 5:00 p.m. visits some of Chicago's pioneering stations, including a tour of the WTTW studio. Daniel Berger leads this tour that will travel from downtown to the Northwest Side and will discuss the talented people who made the history of Chicago television so rich. The tour is $45, $40 Museum members.
The Museum will also be featuring Network Nites on Saturday, November 6 and Sundays, November 21 and 28. Visitors will be transported back to a time when the picture was black and white, cast members pitched products, and the myriad choices with cable were still decades away. Each day of this three-part series will feature shows from a typical day's programming. Shows begin at 1:30 p.m. and are free with Museum admission.
Saturday, November 6: Primetime Friday Night, Fall 1952
Sunday, November 21: Primetime Thursday Night, Fall 1955
Sunday, November 28: WGN Tuesday Afternoon, 1965
Chicago and Television
The Chicago History Museum
Now - Nov. 28