Dark Hollywood: Oz, Cocaine, Gangsters

75 min

Consider film's dark past via a Chicago park, historic row houses, and old movie theater



A park inspired by The Wizard of Oz, homes designed by Chicago’s leading architect, and a theater built for moving pictures seem friendly enough. But a closer look at these three Chicago locations leads us down a destructive path closely tied to Hollywood.

Join Chicago Movie Tours in Chicago’s Lincoln Park neighborhood for an hour-long outdoor walking tour on the darker side of the silver screen.


You’ll start the tour in a neighborhood park devoted to The Wizard of Oz. There, you’ll learn about Chicago’s connections to the children’s story and hear dark accounts of the 1939 movie.

Next, you’ll head to a set of historic row houses. On the tree-lined street, you’ll hear about the buildings’ architect, history, and Italianate style—and their relationship to “cocaine comedies” and scandals of Hollywood’s silent era.

From there, you’ll follow a narrow brick road. It’s not yellow, alas. But look carefully as you walk, and you’ll find written remnants of Chicago’s past.

On the final stretch of your tour, you’ll encounter a story tied heavily to Chicago’s and Hollywood’s gangster history. 

Movies/TV series highlighted: Public Enemies (2009), High Fidelity (2000), The Lady in Red (1979), The Wizard of Oz (1939), Get Out and Get Under (1920), The Mystery of the Leaping Fish (1916), For His Son (1912), The Wonderful Wizard of Oz (1910)


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What's Included

  • Expert tour guide commentary, including little-known facts and stories from Hollywood's and Chicago's pasts

  • Visual and audio media to enhance your experience

  • Plenty of Instagram opportunities 

  • Mini goodie bags! 💙