Backstory with Larry Potash

11 EpisodesProduced by WGN-TV

Explore the BACKSTORY behind some of the most intriguing tales in history, culture, religion and science from Chicago and beyond. 

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How the real-life 'BlacKkKlansman' infiltrated the KKK

June 10th, 2019


How does a black detective go undercover to investigate the Ku Klux Klan? Ron Stallworth shares the amazing true story of how he accidentally used his own name, and talked his way into becoming a card-carrying Klan …

The capture of German sub U-505

June 3rd, 2019


Meet the man who accomplished the impossible: capturing a German sub at sea, helping to turn the tide of WWII.

Thief stole millions, hid out in Chicago as toy store owner

April 3rd, 2019


For decades, Phil Cresta was the best thief on the East Coast. He stole millions and nobody knew who did it. After fleeing the law and the mob, he …

Inside an Ivy League secret society

March 21st, 2019


Secret societies are a common concern of conspiracy theories and Hollywood blockbusters, and at Ivy League schools, secret societies are the elite …

How Chicago's first basketball champs lost their title

March 12th, 2019


The Chicago American Gears were the city's first basketball champions — until their trophy was taken away, and a team with the makings of a dynasty was forced to disband.

How Eliot Ness took on Al Capone in Chicago, and a serial killer in Cleveland

March 7th, 2019


Legendary G-Man Eliot Ness is remembered for taking down Al Capone in Chicago, but as pop culture grew the legend around him, it begs the question: …

The truth of Al Capone and Eliot Ness, the investigator who helped bring him down

March 5th, 2019


You've probably heard of how legendary mobster Al Capone's criminal empire was disrupted by investigator Eliot Ness and his group of "Untouchables." But what really happened in Chicago, and what was invented by …

Growing up with the mob next door

February 28th, 2019


Brothers Michael and Jeffrey Gentile say their childhood was a cross between The Wonder Years and The Sopranos. While he never got into a life of crime, their dad's friends included some of Chicago's most infamous …

The Myth of Mickey

February 26th, 2019


Mickey Mouse may be the biggest paradox in pop culture: people love him, but know nothing about him.

You may have heard Mickey was first drawn by Walt …

The “Code Smasher” Elizebeth Smith Friedman

February 18th, 2019


Recruited by an eccentric millionaire to search for hidden messages in Shakespeare’s works, Elizebeth Smith Friedman became a pioneering code breaker who took on the Nazis and the mob. Her story has been buried by …

Death of the "Furnace Girl" Elfrieda Knaak

February 7th, 2019


On the morning of Oct. 30, 1928, Elfrieda Knaak was discovered in the furnace room of Lake Bluff's Village Hall, naked and with her hands and feet …

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