Chicago History With the Late Gene Wilder

With everyone and his cat quickly adding Gene Wilder movies to their Netflix queue this week, or ponying up $2.99-$3.99 to watch his films on Netflix, Amazon, Vudu, Sony, or FandangoNOW, here’s one not to forget: Expo: Magic of the White City.

Expo Magic of the White City DVD artSo far, we’ve only found the 2005 flick on Netflix. And in spite of being the quick-fingered sorts, it’s still marked “Long Wait” in our queue.  Here’s the summary:

Explore the world of 1893 via a visit to Chicago’s Columbian Exposition guided by narrator Gene Wilder. Many of the world’s greatest achievements in art, architecture, science, technology and culture were unveiled there — an amazing feat when one considers the general unrest that prevailed regarding workers’ rights, prejudice, discrimination and corruption. The Exposition cast a ray of hope for humanity’s future amid lengthening shadows.

So it’s your chance to learn something, earn +2 Chicago Points, and remember the beloved actor.

But if the lengthening shadows of humanity’s future isn’t your thing, you can always lighten up with Silver Streak, a movie set on an analog of the now discontinued Amtrak Desert Wind train between Los Angeles and Chicago.  The big finale is set in Chicago, and there was some filming at what is now Ogilvie Transportation Center in the West Loop, though our fuzzy memory isn’t sure how much of it is really visible.  We’ll let you know shortly after  that disc’s “Long Wait” turns into “Shipped.”

Silver Streak DVD art

Author: Editor

Editor founded the Chicago Architecture Blog in 2003, after a long career in journalism. He can be reached at

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