Mike and I will be on WGN Radio's Pretty Late with Patti Vasquez tonight to discuss it. You can hear our 2011 podcasts exploring old silent film studios here and here
Chicago's role in the early film industry is largely forgotten today, but for a few years there we were a prototype Hollywood, producing early examples of serials, color films, feature-length films, and a whole host of other things that had never been seen before. Flickering Empire is the first book-length study of Chicago's role in the nascent industry, from the moving pictures that were (and weren't) on display at the 1893 World's Fair to the collapse of the local industry a quarter of a century later. To research the book I traveled the country seeking out the handful of films that survive, met with relatives of major players in the industry, and generally had a blast!