Stories by Erica Gunderson

New Book Traces History of Cinema's Censorship

Jeremy Geltzer

Jeremy Geltzer's new book "Dirty Words and Filthy Pictures" explores the film industry's relationship with the First Amendment and how the definition of obscenity has changed over the years.

3 Days in Chicago: Revisiting a 1949 Sightseeing Tour in 2016

Chicago Railroad Fair, 1948.

In 1949, a Chicago Tribune reader asked editor and publisher Colonel Robert McCormick a question: If you had only three full days in Chicago, what are the things you would see and do without fail? The Tribune’s Rita Fitzpatrick responded with a brimming list, which made us wonder: If the reader returned to Chicago today, what could she revisit?

Viewer Feedback: 'Taxpayers Are Refusing to Pick Up This Tab'

Hear what viewers had to say about the ongoing contract stalemate between the Chicago Teachers Union and Chicago Public Schools when we read feedback from the "Chicago Tonight" website, and our Facebook and Twitter pages.

Viewer Feedback: Madigan the 'Root Cause of the Dysfunction'

Hear what viewers had to say about election season and the ongoing state budget battle when we read feedback from the "Chicago Tonight" website, and our Facebook and Twitter pages.

Ask Geoffrey: What's the History of the Telenews Theater on State Street?

In the 1940s, a theater in the Loop was providing nightly news updates, and a professional cyclist was cleaning up with his Chicago chain of dry cleaning stores. Geoffrey Baer raises the curtain on these local history stories.

Preservation Chicago Releases List of Most Endangered Buildings

(Photos courtesy Preservation Chicago)

Preservation Chicago has released its annual list of the most endangered buildings in Chicago, a list they usually call “the Chicago Seven” – but for the first time in 14 years, the organization has included an eighth structure.

Viewer Feedback: 'So Proud of this Program at Calmeca'

Hear what viewers had to say about Chicago Public Schools’ mariachi music program, Geoffrey Baer’s tour of Chicago’s rapid transit system and Ald. Ed Burke’s workers’ compensation program when we read feedback from the "Chicago Tonight" website, and our Facebook and Twitter pages.

Viewer Feedback: 'May the Force Take it Somewhere Else'

Hear what viewers had to say about Carol Marin’s conversation with Arne Duncan and the latest developments in the battle over the Lucas Museum when we read feedback from the "Chicago Tonight" website, and our Facebook and Twitter pages.

Ask Geoffrey: How the 'L' Do You Spell That?

Geoffrey Baer tackles three questions about Chicago's beloved rapid transit system, including the various spellings of the system, old downtown entrances between elevated stations and Loop stores and a mysterious tunnel a viewer spotted while riding the Blue Line.

Next Grand Plan for Chicago to Start Taking Shape

Would you pay a toll to zoom past traffic in an express lane on the Stevenson? That's one of the big ideas the Chicago Metropolitan Agency for Planning has for the Chicago region. Geoffrey Baer has an exclusive look at their newest plan.

Viewer Feedback: 'It's Time to Redraw the District Lines'

Hear what viewers had to say about Toni Preckwinkle's comments on the state budget stalemate and our candidate forums for the 4th and 7th Congressional Districts when we read feedback from the "Chicago Tonight" website, and our Facebook and Twitter pages.

Ask Geoffrey: What's the Story with Ebony Films in Logan Square?

An African-American movie studio in Logan Square made silent films that got people talking, but for all the wrong reasons. Geoffrey Baer shares the story of Ebony Films and more from Chicago's past in this week's edition of Ask Geoffrey.

New Book Serves Up Eli’s Cheesecake History, Recipes

The long and delicious history of the company is told in a new book, “The Eli’s Cheesecake Cookbook: Remarkable Recipes from a Chicago Legend.” Maureen Schulman, one of the book’s authors, shares this sweet tale and tips for making the perfect cheesecake.

Viewer Feedback: 'Finance Committee is Burke's Fort Knox'

Hear what viewers had to say about our web-exclusive story about a tent city in the South Loop and Carol Marin's panel of aldermen discussing expanding the inspector general's powers when we read feedback from the "Chicago Tonight" website, and our Facebook and Twitter pages.

Ask Geoffrey: The Story Behind an Iconic 1940s Bronzeville Photo

A famous photo taken in 1940s Bronzeville features the faces of five young African-American men, but their identities have remained a mystery for generations. Local history expert Geoffrey Baer is here with the story behind one of Bronzeville's most enduring images in this encore edition of Ask Geoffrey.

New Book ‘In a Different Key’ Tells the History, Politics of Autism

According to the Centers for Disease Control, an estimated one in 68 American children has Autism Spectrum Disorder. A new book tells the story of some of those parents as it takes a look back at autism’s dark history of institutionalization, questionable therapies and plain bad science. 

Viewer Feedback: 'People Don't Like Noise, But Do Like Access'

Hear what viewers had to say about our talk last week with Chicago Aviation Commissioner Ginger Evans and Friday's "The Week in Review" when we read feedback from the "Chicago Tonight" website, and our Facebook and Twitter pages.

Chicago Tonight Puzzle: February Challenge

Our puzzle pro Sandy Weisz returns with a new video puzzle and photo puzzles. Submit your answer by 10 a.m. Monday for a chance to win our puzzle prize package!

Ask Geoffrey: Which Came First, Eisenhower or Old Main Post Office?

Old Main Post Office (Brianbobcat / Wikimedia Commons)

The Eisenhower Expressway runs underneath the Old Main Post Office, causing one viewer to wonder which came first. Geoffrey Baer delves into the history of these interlinked landmarks and answers other viewer questions in this week’s edition of Ask Geoffrey.

Ask Geoffrey: Why is there a statue of Richard J. Daley in Springfield?

Chicago's most famous mayor might have a 50-foot Picasso in a plaza named for him, but a statue of Richard J. Daley resides in Springfield. Geoffrey Baer explains why Hizzoner is honored outside of Chicago in this week's edition of Ask Geoffrey. 

Ask Geoffrey: What's the History of Asylum Place?

Geoffrey Baer

Geoffrey Baer investigates the history of Asylum Place, the explosive story behind a 1930s death caused by a manhole cover and what happened to magical Chicago restaurant chain. 

Ask Geoffrey: What Happened to the Sunken Garden in Jackson Park?

Geoffrey Baer visits an artist under glass, gets that sinking feeling at a Jackson Park garden, and reveals the hej hej history of the Andersonville neighborhood's name in this encore edition of Ask Geoffrey.

Ask Geoffrey: Chicago's Crusade Against Air Pollution

Not that long ago, air pollution from burning coal made the Windy City more like the Smoggy City. Geoffrey Baer tells us how Chicago cleaned up its act. He'll also explore the Kentucky Colony that settled in the city and the history of a pediatric hospital on the South Side.

Ask Geoffrey: What's the Story with Montrose Beach 'Pier'?

Geoffrey Baer

In this encore edition of Ask Geoffrey, our local history expert Geoffrey Baer revisits a Streeterville puppet show, examines underground architecture on the Blue Line and digs deep into the history of Montrose Beach.