WGN Radio Podcast

WGN Radio Podcast - Paul Lisnek Behind the Curtain

Paul hosts “Paul Lisnek Behind the Curtain,” for WGN Radio. The podcast is available everywhere people get their podcasts. You can even ask Alexa to “Play Paul Lisnek Behind the Curtain.”

Behind the Curtain presents current political topics and key political figures, authors and analysts to discuss the political climate of the day. In addition, the podcast let’s Paul extend the reach to the world of theater, TV, arts and entertainment. Leading figures from Broadway, current television and film actors and classic TV personalities make for an eclectic and enjoyable weekly podcast. The guests include both national and local people to tell the stories that need to be told. You never know who will turn up from show to show.

Paul is also a frequent fill-in host on WGN Radio for various news, business and entertainment programs and can be heard on 720AM when he is live.

In his past radio work, Paul hosted The Paul Lisnek Show on WVON-AM radio (“The Talk of the Nation”) from 2008 to 2012. That began a career that led him to add WGN Radio to his TV roles.

This page shares a few of Paul’s most recent podcasts which he thinks you would most like to listen to,  plus below you can listen to what Paul considers to be his “Classic” interviews with major figures that truly stand the test of time.

You can listen to Paul Lisnek Behind the curtain here, or at WGNRadio.com, ITunes/Apple Podcasts, Google Podcasts, Stitcher,Spotify, Audible/Amazon Podcasts and TuneIn. You can also ask Alexa to “Play Paul Lisnek Behind the Curtain.”


Featured Podcast Shows

Lucie Arnaz on her mom
Behind the Curtain:
Lucie Arnaz on her mom, Lucille Ball’s, ‘Let’s Talk to Lucy,’ a new podcast plus other upcoming Lucy and Desi projects

This week, Paul goes behind the curtain with Lucie Arnaz the actress/singer/dancer daughter of Lucille Ball and Desi Arnaz. Who knew that Lucille Ball hosted a radio interview show back in 1964 – 66 which aired on the CBS Network. What an historical archive of interviews with Hollywood heavyweights including: Gene Kelly, Frank Sinatra, Dean Martin, Steve Allen, Bob Hope, Debbie Reynolds and so many more. Taped so long ago and never heard since their original airing, they are now offered as a podcast offering an amazing life view of how the celebrities, who didn’t give interviews like this at that time, viewed marriage and kids, who ran the household. Amazing!

In addition, Lucie talks about a brand new biography movie in the works by Ron Howard and directed by Amy Poehler, and the new much-awaited Aaron Sorkin movie project starring Nicole Kidman and Javier Bardem called “Being the Ricardos.”

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Actor Anthony Michael Hall
Behind the Curtain:
Actor Anthony Michael Hall films ‘The Class’ in Chicago and reminisces about his long career

This week, Paul goes behind the curtain with Anthony Michael Hall (Sixteen Candles, Breakfast Club, Weird Science and now, The Class) to talk about his new film just filmed in the Chicago area called The Class, where Anthony, once the geeky nerd student who drove the teachers and principals crazy, is now that principal dealing with a new generation of young folks. In addition, he has a new movie coming out this fall called “Halloween Kills,” the latest entry in the Halloween series. Then, it’s a walk down memory lane as Anthony talks about the old films, his relationship with John Hughes, whether he really turned down some roles so he did not get typecast, his close friendship with Robert Downey, Jr. thru the high times and low, and so much more. Who influenced Anthony? Who would he like to work with? It’s all answered in this in-depth and candid chat with one of the great Brat Pack originals! Enjoy.

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Former Hardball host Chris Matthews
Behind the Curtain:
Former Hardball host Chris Matthews on current political issues and his new autobiography ‘This Country’ – Part TWO

This week, it is Part TWO of Paul’s visit behind the curtain with former MSNBC/NBC News Political Anchor Chris Matthews, former host of “Hardball” which had a 20 year run on the network. In this episode, Chris focuses on his new autobiography book, “This Country,” which details his life and political development from his earliest days growing up Catholic and in a Republican household. His run for Congress, his life as a speech writer for former President Jimmy Carter and of course, his entry into the world of political analysis and strategy through print and television journalism. Chris stepped down from his show after 20 years because of stories brewing about inappropriate comments he made to guests. Confronted on that topic in this interview, Chris answers the allegations directly here, says whether or not NBC knew he would walk off after opening the show and whether he would still be on the air if the allegation had not emerged….all here on Behind the Curtain. Also, Chris talks about the influential people in his life. It’s an important interview with one of the key political analyst figures on television for the past decades. Take a listen and think about your own views as you listen….and listen to last week’s Part One interview addressing today’s political landscape if you missed it last week. The book is “This Country: My Life in Politics and History,” and can be ordered from Amazon or bought wherever books are sold.

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….and Jerry Mathers as….The Beaver!!
Behind the Curtain:
….and Jerry Mathers as….The Beaver!!

This week, Paul goes behind the curtain with The Beaver himself, Jerry Mathers! Jerry talks about his acting work before Leave it to Beaver…..yep, he worked with Bob Hope and Alfred Hitchcock. Then a look at the Leave it to Beaver years where I ask Jerry several questions submitted from LITB fans. He talks about life on the set, his retirement from acting for awhile to attend college and serve in the US Air Force Reserves. Plus How his kids and grandkids see him as Beaver, whether he tires of being recognized for this iconic role and…do people call him Beaver? All of that because Jerry appears on a episode of Hollywood Museum Squares, the ongoing benefit to raise money for the Hollywood Museum which has been closed during the pandemic. You can get tickets for these special Hollywood Museum Squares episodes at only $10 donation per episode) and you can get tickets by clicking HERE or go to www.stellartickets.com and search Hollywood Museum. Available ONLY until August 10th!! Check them out and enjoy this visit with a classic television star!

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Hollywood Museum Squares Benefit
Behind the Curtain:
Hollywood Museum Squares Benefit with Bruce Vilanch, Loni Anderson and John Davidson

It’s an incredible Behind The Curtain as Paul visits with the stars of the benefit, “Hollywood Museum Squares,” a virtual series of programs created to benefit the Hollywood Museum, and available until July 11th. Listen to the incredibly funny and insightful memories of Bruce Vilanch (writer for the Oscars, Bette Midler, star of stage – Harispray – and screen- Get Bruce), singer/TV and Broadway star John Davidson (“Happiest Millionaire” and “The John Davidson Show”) and the incredible Loni Anderson (WKRP in Cincinnati) as they share memories about Hollywood Squares to answer questions like: do the stars know the questions beforehand? Are they given the answers? What was the legendary Paul Lynde (center square) really like? It’s a conversation that flies by as the stars reminisce about their careers and also learn previously unknown information about each other….. Purchase tickets for the 5 full specially created benefit Hollywood Museum Squares shows and see 40 classic TV stars as they re-create this classic game show. Tickets are only $10, monies benefit the Hollywood Museum and can be purchased by clicking HERE or go to StellarTickets.com and search for Hollywood Museum.

This is one interview you won’t want to miss! Tune in and enjoy!

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Podcast Archive

Paul hosted The Paul Lisnek Show on WVON-AM radio (“The Talk of the Na2on”) from 2008 to 2012. That began a career that has led him to fill-in frequently on WGN-AM radio for various morning, afternoon and evening shifts.

In addition, he began a podcast called “Behind the Curtain,” in 2016  which addresses the political topics of the day, but also shows the other side of Paul, his love of theater and the arts. Interviews with entertainment figures from Broadway to Hollywood and beyond are frequent on this podcast which has become a “must do” interview for many leaders in the entertainment industry. This page shares the most recent podcasts in the order they aired, plus below you can listen to what Paul considers to be his “Classic” interviews with major figures that truly stand the test of time.

You can listen to Paul Lisnek Behind the curtain here, or at WGNRadio.com, ITunes/Apple Podcasts, Google Podcasts, Stitcher,Spotify, Audible/Amazon Podcasts and TuneIn. You can also ask Alexa to “Play Paul Lisnek Behind the Curtain.”

Archived Podcast Shows

The power of social media from those who live as social influencers

This week, Paul goes behind the curtain for a really interesting and insightful conversation about social media and social influence. How did this area develop, what do those who do it right to gain the followers. 

Legendary actress Ruta Lee spills it all on Classic Hollywood in a new autobiography tell-all!

This week, Paul goes behind the curtain with legendary actress Ruta Lee. Starring in the classic movies “Seven Brides for Seven Brothers,” and “Witness for the Prosecution,” appearing in countless classic TV shows

“Frankly We Did Win This Election: The Inside Story of How Trump Lost” author Michael Bender’s Inside Look at Trump’s Last Year

This week, Paul goes behind the curtain with Michael C. Bender, Senior White House Reporter for the Wall Street Journal discussing his New York Times Best Seller “Frankly We Did Win This Election: The Inside Story of How Trump Lost.

‘The Triumph of Nancy Reagan,’ a new biography by Washington Post’s Karen Tumulty

This week, Paul goes behind the curtain with the author of a new in depth biography of First Lady Nancy Reagan, Washington Post Deputy Editorial Page Editor and political columnist Karen Tumulty.

New movie Notorious Nick stars a beloved classic television actor: My Three Sons’ Barry Livingston (Ernie) and brother Stan (Chip) joins in!

This week, Paul goes behind the curtain with former child actor Barry Livingston to talk about his new film (now in theaters and available for streaming rental) called Notorious Nick.

Gilligan’s Dreams: A New Book by Bob ‘Gilligan’ Denver’s wife Dreama details life with ‘The Little Buddy’

This week Paul goes behind the curtain with Dreama Denver the widow of Bob Denver, forever remembered as Gilligan from Gilligan’s Island and Maynard G. Krebs from “The Many Loves of Dobie Gillis.”

Growing up Hope: Reflections of Linda Hope, the daughter of legendary comedian Bob Hope

This week, Paul goes behind the curtain with the daughter of the legendary comedian Bob Hope. The co-author of the book “Dear Bob…Bob Hope’s Wartime Correspondence with The G.I.s of World War II,”

‘Prison Clown,’ new book explores Richard Keith’s time in prison, and the unfair prosecution process that sent him there

This week, Paul goes behind the curtain with author Richard Keith to discuss his new book “Prison Clown,” exploring the years he spent in federal prison for what most would consider to be no crime at all.

‘Dear Bob…’ – A new book sharing letters to and from the troops of World War II and legendary comedian Bob Hope

This week, Paul goes behind the curtain with the co-author of a new book “Dear Bob….Bob Hope’s Wartime Correspondence with the G.I.s of World War II,” Martha Bolton. Martha was the first woman staff writer for Bob, helping to write his TV shows, personal appearances and military shows as well.

West Side Story’s ‘Bernardo’ George Chakiris on his new autobiography, ‘My West Side Story: A Memoir’

This week, Paul goes behind the curtain with Academy Award Winner George Chakiris to discuss his new autobiography “My West Side Story: A Memoir.” This is a must listen podcast for West Side Story fans.

Mayor Pete’s husband Chasten Buttigieg speaks out on his life

This week, Paul goes behind the curtain with Chasten Buttigieg, husband of “Mayor Pete” Buttigieg, former mayor of South Bend Indiana who took the national scene by storm in the 2020 Presidential election.

President Jimmy Carter: A full life you may not know much about – An interview with author Jonathan Alter

This week, Paul goes behind the curtain with award winning author, columnist, filmmaker and biographer, Jonathan Alter to discuss his latest book: “His Very Best: Jimmy Carter, A Life.”

Former Governor George Ryan on Illinois’ death penalty and his own time in prison

This week, Paul goes behind the curtain with former Illinois Governor George Ryan to discuss his new book: “Until I Could be Sure: How I stopped the death penalty in Illinois.”

White House Photographer Pete Souza’s book “Shade;” “Middletown” at Apollo Theater brings TV Legends to the Stage

This week, Paul goes behind the curtain with Chief Official White House Photographer for the Obama administration, Pete Souza. Souza’s book “Shade” is NOT your average book of photographic memories.

Senator Sherrod Brown talks impeachment and his New Book “Desk 88;” “Too Hot to Handel returns to the Auditorium Theatre for 15th Year

This week, Paul goes behind the curtain with Senator Sherrod Brown (D-OH) to discuss his new book “Desk 88: Eight Progressive Senators who Changed America.”

“Ensemble: An Oral History of Chicago Theater” by Mark Larson: An inside look at the Chicago Theater Community

This week, Paul goes behind the curtain with author Mark Larson to discuss his new book: “Ensemble: An Oral History of Chicago Theater.”

Meet Writer Steven Levenson (Dear Evan Hansen, If I Forget, Fosse/Verdon) and the cast of “IF I Forget” at Victory Gardens; and “Hedwig and the Angry Inch” at Theo Ubique

This week in a very special Behind the Curtain Paul talks with Tony Award Winning playwright Steven Levenson about the creation of the incredible show “Dear Evan Hansen,” TV’s Fosse/Verdon Mini-series ,  and “IF I Forget”

MASH Star Loretta Swit (Hot Lips) reflects on her Career and her Efforts to Assist Animals in Need with her New Art book: Switheart

In this week’s podcast, Paul goes behind the curtain for an extensive conversation with Actor Loretta Swit who played Margaret “Hot Lips” Houlihan on the classic TV series MASH.

The WHOLE New World of Alan Menken-legendary Composer and Songwriter Plus, The Cast of Little Shop of Horrors at Mercury Theater; and Richard Pryor, Jr. the son of the legendary comedian on his new book

This week, one of the most exciting looks behind the curtain ever! First, a chat with legendary composer/songwriter/pianist Alan Menken (Aladdin, Beauty and the Beast, Newsies, Little Mermaid, Little Shop of Horrors, Bronx Tale)in which Menken  takes a look back on his amazing career as he readies for his appearance at the Auditorium Theater on March 30th for an evening of stories and music.

Singer Roslyn Kind releases new song to “Save the Country,” and The Disco King of Skokie Carey Weiman shares his incredible story recently captured in a documentary seen on PBS

This week, Paul goes behind the curtain with Roslyn Kind…yes, she is Barbra Streisand’s sister but a force in her own right with an incredible voice and a passion for trying to replace the negativity in our country today with love and peace. The story beyind her newly recorded “Save the Country, “ now available on I-Tunes, Amazon, CD Baby, etc. is discussed as well as her plans for the future.

JB Pritzker addresses Election Issues Head on

This week, Paul goes behind the Curtain with democratic nominee for IL Governor, J.B. Pritzker.

Mayoral Candidate Lori Lightfoot shares her platform for running the city of Chicago; and the Importance and Role of LGBTQ Theater in Chicago through the years and the current season at Pride Films and Plays

Paul goes behind the curtain of the upcoming Chicago Mayoral race with candidate Lori Lightfoot.

Happy Days Mom Marion Ross talks about her life and career, the Happy Days and Those That were Not!

This week, Paul goes behind the curtain to chat with Happy Days Mom Marion Ross to discuss her new autobiography, “My Days: Happy and Otherwise.”

A Cast of Thousands….All in the Person of Legendary Impersonator Rich Little

This week brings you a special “Behind the Curtain,” as Paul talks one-on-one with legendary impersonator Rich Little. The man of a thousand voices, Rich tells many stories about some of the greatest celebrities of our times.

Randy Rainbow’s political humor, election analysis, new facts about Al Capone

Paul Lisnek talks to Randy Rainbow about his political humor, gets a political update from Brad Bannon and learns some new tidbits about Al Capone from the author of Capone, Deirdre Bair.

Interview with Carl Reiner

Carl reflects on his life and career as detailed in his book, “I Remember Me.” He was funny from the opening moments of the interview and thru his memories of the Dick Van Dyke Show and much more.

Interview of Bo Svenson from the Original Inglorious Bastards…

Bo starred in the original film of Inglorious Bastards (re-made with Brad Pitt)

Interview of Kathy Garver from Family Affair

Kathy played Cissy Davis in the TV classic of the 1960s. Kathy reflects over her career during this interview.

Interview with singer Melba Moore

An amazing singer, Melba Moore joined Paul to talk about her career and a movie they appeared in together called The Heirloom.

Michael Cunio from Jersey boys

Cunio continues to amaze audiences with his amazing voice and broad range of talents. This interview from 2009, goes back to Michael playing Tommy DeVito in The Jersey Boys. A fun look at a career in its earlier days. Michael recently starred in Teatro Zinzanni in Chicago.

Simeon Wright. The cousin of Emmett Till

Now gone, Simeon wrote a book called “Simeon’s Story: An Eyewitness Account of the Kidnapping of Emmett Till.” He remembers and re-lives those days in this in-depth interview important to history.

The career of June Lockhart

The Career of June Lockhart interview looks back at an amazing career of a woman who will always be remembered for playing the Mom in Lassie and also in Lost in Space, not to mention Petticoat Junction. If you watched TV in the 1950’s and 1960’s, it was impossible to miss a starring role by this wonderful actress.

Interview with Tippi Hedren

Tippi Hendron is well remembered for her starring role in Hitchcock’s The Birds.” She reflects on her career and a surprise moment happens when her daughter Melanie Griffith stops by and joins the interview!

Carol Channing reflects on her career

Carol Channing was a beloved star of Broadway and Film. Best known for Hello Dolly, Carol reflects on her career and is joined by her husband Harry Kulijian as they discuss their efforts to improve the work and quality of education in our country.

Interview with Dawn Wells… Mary Ann from Gilligan’s Island

Dawn will forever be remembered as Mary Ann from Gilligan’s Island. She embraced that role and in this interview, she reflects back on her career with interesting stories about her castmates and the show which remains an iconic classic today.

Interviews with Marlo Thomas and Dan Rather

In this star-studded program, Paul talks with Marlo Thomas, the star of the TV classic “That Girl,” and about her father, the legendary Danny Thomas. She is married to TV talk show icon Phil Donahue and the conversation is wide ranging. Then Paul talks with legendary CBS News anchor Dan Rather about the state of journalism and politics.

Interview with Erin Murphy…who played Tabitha from Bewitched

Paul talks with Erin Murphy one of two real life twins who played Tabitha in the hit TV series Bewitched.

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