WQAD goes behind-the-scenes of “Manhattan”: Parts I, II & III

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It was 1943 and the world was at war.

While thousands of members of what would become "the greatest generation" fought and died for the United States overseas, back here at home, a secret mission brought some of the countries top scientists and physicists together in the remote New Mexican desert to build what they called "the gadget."

It's known now as the atomic bomb-- the weapon that's credited with saving the world while ending a part of it.

"There's a lot at stake," actor Frank Hickey, who plays physicist Frank Winter, told News 8. "Frank understands what's at stake-- world peace, the American way of life, democracy-- he's been called to arms by the President [and] we've got to find a way to beat these Germans."

That espionage-rich, stress-filled, anxiety-inducing race-against-the-clock in Los Alamos, New Mexico dubbed "The Manhattan Project" is the backdrop of the new WGN America show "Manhattan."

Produced and distributed by WQAD's owners and partners at The Tribune Company and Tribune Studios, the cast and crew have been working since this winter in-and-around Santa Fe, New Mexico, where a long-abandoned military hospital has been restored as a massive replica of Los Alamos.

"That authenticity as an actor is what you hope for," said Daniel Stern, best known for his work in the Home Alone series and now starring as physicist Glen Babbit. "You can be living in this world in these clothes, and actually have a real historical context that you can hold yourself against."


"Manhattan" premieres on WGN America Sunday night at 8:00 p.m. CST, with an encore airing on WQAD at 10:35 p.m. CST.

Check out Part I and Part II of WQAD's behind-the-scenes coverage below.

Also, explore the photo gallery farther down to see pics from our shoot, the set and some historic pictures from Los Alamos, New Mexico, 1943.