Through the MBC Prism, Forward via the Past

In its first full year after cutting the ribbon to a new permanent home in downtown Chicago, the Museum of Broadcast Communications (MBC) hosted events and personalities from all slices of media history.

Looking forward, through the prism of the classic past.

IMG_6054Some of the highlights of 2013:

In March, the Museum celebrated the 89th anniversary of the groundbreaking National Barn Dance radio program.

Moderator Stephen Parry (writer-producer of the PBS documentary The Hayloft Gang) welcomed scholars, guests, and those who were there “back in the day.”

The gathering took place at an early site of the WLS radio studios, west of Chicago’s Loop, as one of the last events at that old building.

Jon Provost (Timmy from Lassie) chatted about child star life, and thereafter, with MBC CEO Bruce DuMont and WGN personality Steve Dale, signing books.

Provost also posed with a beautiful collie stand-in.

IMG_6314 - CopyA team pitching a series pilot (“I’ve Got a Life in Kalamazoo”) staged a read-through presentation that featured cast members Vicki Lewis, Ed Asner, and Marion Ross.

I conducted one of the question-and-answer discussion sessions with that production crew, the stars, and the audience.IMG_6228 - Copy

As television curator I prepared text for an exhibit on child star Gary Coleman. I also wrote a “Salute to the 1980s” program dinner show script, getting the opportunity to work with Saturday Night Live vet Tim Kazurinsky and George Wendt, quintessential fan of “da Bears.”

IMG_7366After the event, everyone gathered at TV screens along the back wall to watch the Blackhawks skate to victory.

In November, the Museum staged a 25th anniversary public program (hosted by Steve Darnall) reuniting cast members Joel Hodgson, Frank Conniff, and Trace Beaulieu of the cult TV classic Mystery Science Theater 3000.

Circulating in the audience taking questions, I found a young fan who sweetly asked the age of Crow T. Robot. “How old are you?” came the reply from the MST3K stars, who then assured him that was exactly the puppet Crow’s age as well.

IMG_8605For events in 2014, regularly visit online at or in person in Chicago at 360 N. State Street.

First up: Are you a fan of Chicago Fire? The new Chicago P.D.? Producer Dick Wolf? Circle Wednesday evening, February 19 (7:15) on your calendar for “An Evening with Chicago Fire, Chicago P.D.” See the site for ticket information.

Text and photographs © 2014 Walter J. Podrazik

This entry was posted in Media, Review 2013, Television and tagged , , , , , . Bookmark the permalink.

1 Response to Through the MBC Prism, Forward via the Past

  1. Steve Parry says:


    Nice article on the MBC’s events of 2013. I sure enjoyed being part of the WLS 89th Anniversary event last March. One last look at the old Prairie Farmer studios where the once great National Barn Dance was broadcast was an emotional and thrilling experience. Kudos to the Radio Hall of Fame and MBC for having the foresight to promote this event.

    Stephen Parry
    Producer: The Hayloft Gang

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