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Season 6 – Episode 4: How the DIA Turned From a Private Art Collection Into a World-Renowned Museum

Here’s where Detroit was, art-wise, in 1917: A middling art museum on the east edge of downtown Detroit, with little to attract notice. We tell the story of the next 10 years, when the entire world began to pay attention. The magnificent Detroit Institute of Arts building on Woodward went up, with paintings by the…

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Season 6 – Episode 3: Bird, Barry and Miles: The Blue Bird Inn during the 1950s

The Blue Bird Inn was a cathedral of musical wonder in 1950s-era Detroit. This now-defunct west side club featured bebop jazz, featuring musicians such as Miles Davis, John Coltrane, Barry Harris, Thad Jones, and a longer list of jazz masters. The place was pretty much abandoned a few decades ago, but a local preservation group…

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Season 6 – Episode 2: The Polar Bears of World War 1

A group of soldiers from metro Detroit and Michigan boarded a trip ship bound for war-torn Europe during the closing months of World War I. Instead, they were diverted to Russia, just south of the Arctic Circle. They battled the Bolsheviks, who had just deposed Russia’s Czar. They fought in temperatures as low as 40-below…

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Season 6 – Episode 1: The Sheik and Big Time Wrestling

The Sheik (real name: Edward Farhat) was the most feared bad guy in Detroit wrestling during the 1960s and 1970s. He threw fire. He cut his opponent. He bit them, often winning with his “camel clutch.” His business model was simple: to behave in such a vile manner that people would pay money to watch…

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The 1957 NFL Champion Detroit Lions: Revisited

It’s been 5 years since the Detroit History Podcast originally released their podcast on the 1957 NFL champion Detroit Lions. Much has changed with Lions brass in the past few years, and it has finally led to post-season success in the Motor City. The Detroit History Podcast revisits the improbable run the 1957 team made…

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Season 5 Finale- The Development of PCP and Ketamine

Ketamine has found wide uses since the 1960s: as a painkiller, an anesthetic, a street drug consumed at raves, and — now — considered by many to be an exciting new treatment for depression. We explore how ketamine was developed here in Detroit, at the Parke-Davis pharmaceutical company, with help from a Wayne State University…

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Season 5 – Episode 9: Fran Harris, The First Female Newscaster in Michigan

Newscaster Fran Harris’s life was a lifetime of firsts. She was the first woman newscaster in Detroit radio during World War II, persuading her bosses at WWJ to abandon its “guys only” tradition. And when television came along in Detroit on Channel 4 in 1946, she was on the air for that, too. When she…

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Season 5 – Episode 8: A Century of Mexicantown

A longstanding community called Mexicantown on Detroit’s southwest side has persevered for around a century. The area of restaurants, shops, and bakeries anchors a key ethnic community in Detroit. For many, the journey here was prompted by a search for jobs. We explore the rise of the community, and the decline when Depression-era policies due…

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Season 5 – Episode 7: The Biography of a Rumor: The “Paul McCartney Is Dead” Hoax

Thousands of phonograph records were destroyed, as were thousands of needles used on the old-style record players. Teenage sleuths were conducting their own investigations in the great conspiracy theory of the fall of 1969: Beatle Paul McCartney had died, but that his death was covered up. However, as the theory went, clues could be found…

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Season 5 – Episode 6: The Origins of Detroit Style Pizza

Sometime in the mid-1940s, an Italian immigrant bar owner by the name of Gus Guerra started making pizzas in his joint to bring in a few extra dollars. Decades later, Gus’s creation is big business, and world-renowned. Detroit Style Pizza is being served up in uber hip places in Brooklyn. The big chains are in…

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