My father frequented those places and had so many great stories, like the time he caught one set by June Christy at Mr. Kelly's, then took the el to the Sutherland Lounge to catch the second set by Nina Simone. He once saw Lambert, Hendricks and Ross at Turk's (now Mother's) and during the break talked with Dave Lambert while Lambert was taking photos of the rainy street scene.
I was fortunate enough to have Marian McPartland autograph his copy of her live London House album for me.
I guess the clubs were all pretty mob controlled. I went to high school with a girl who was a professional pianist and played now and then at the Happy Medium. She told us of an incident where another piano player had his fingers smashed with the piano cover by some mob thug. I guess he didn't dance to their music, so to speak.
Naitonwide, most of the nightclubs, record labels, music publishing companies and booking agencies then were mobbed-up to some degree. One of the more famous stories from the Jazz Age involves Joe E. Lewis and the Green Mill, but underworld control was common up through the early days of rock 'n roll.
The Jazz Showcase has old showbills from previous locations like the Happy Medium and The Brown Shoe hanging on the walls. Great stuff.
[b]Ramsey Lewis was at the Londen House for many years on Wacker Drive. He also lived in Chattam. In 1960 I was a TV service man and I had a call at Mr. Kelly's. The set was on a shelf and in the corner and turning it aroung I broke the neck of the picture tube. I worked right around the corner at 58 w. Maple. That was a very expensive service call for me.[/b]
I remember going to Mr. Kelly's a few times in the early '70s with my wife on our wedding anniversary. Once, comedian David Frye was the performer and another time we saw the comedy duo of Hudson & Landry. I recall it wasn't very big and the food was good but not great, but it exuded a certain class and it was very enjoyable.
When we became parents, we didn't go out much and then it was gone. We moved to Florida 30 years ago so the memories are a little dimmer every year.
I presented my wife with her engagement ring at the London House back in the summer of 1972. Ramsey Lewis was playing. I was 20,she 18 It was special. It became a Burger King after that. Therefore never had the opportunity to celebrate our 10th, 20th etc. there.
I used to work for Norman Kean who managed/owned London Houses, Happy Medium and Mr. Kelly's. It was an amazing job for a 20 year old hippie. I got to meet Ramsey Lewis, George Shearing, Freida Payne, Billie Preston etc. I was also involved with the Medium's presentation of Jesus Christ Superstar. Needless to say, I had a ball!
Ramsey also played at "George's" on Kinzie in the 70's, I had a BD there with him playing. That place is still a club and cool to the Millinials, called "Guilt Bar" now.
I was smiling when my two adult boys told me that they were frequenting one of my old places!
What about the Gaslight Club? I was a member there.
BBC on rush? Sweetwater? Those were 70's places.
Tip Top Tap?
I am looking for info on the riverboat from the fifties /sixties, I thnk it was the Sherry S?
Anyone remember it?
> Cigarette girls with pill box hats and little
> frilly tutu skirts?
When my niece was young (now in her 20s) I tried to make sure she was exposed to the classics of American culture. Whenever we watched tv we would watch old movies and shows like Capra or Citizen Kane or the Marx brothers or The Avengers or Get Smart or SCTV.
We were watching some old movie, I forget what it was, maybe The Big Sleep, when she asked me what was up with these women with tutus and trays.
I had to explain to her that, once upon a time, it was not only legal to smoke in restaurants, but they used to send scantily clad young women around to sell you cigarettes.
There were good restaurants down there,Armandos, Adolphs,Chez Paul. Milanos on State/Division open all nite.The Oak Tree at Rush/Oak. BBC-Bombay Bicycle Club. Mr. Kellys-saw Dick Kavett, Chad Mitchell in the 1960's. You could eat at Mammys or Cartons all day.