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Happy Medium Ventures Brings Chicago’s Legendary Nightlife Venues – London House, Mister Kelly’s and Happy Medium – Back to Life

London House - Chicago

London House: an iconic jazz club known as “the place for steaks,”and the place to meet for Chicago’s movers and shakers

Mister Kelly’s: Rush Street’s internationally famous nightclub known for premiering many music and comedy superstars

Happy Medium - Chicago

The Happy Medium: a unique theater purpose-built to showcase original productions with a swinging underground disco

Happy Medium Ventures is the leading curator and steward of legendary Chicago nightlife venues, London House, Mister Kelly’s, the Happy Medium, and the Rush Street scene, from 1946-1970’s; the epicenter of Chicago’s entertainment district. Today, Happy Medium Ventures is reviving this bygone era for a new generation of fans through an unprecedented collection of photos, recordings, press clippings, and first-person interviews with key players in the Rush Street scene — from celebrity performers at London House, Mister Kelly’s and other Rush Street venues, to the employees behind the scenes, patrons of the nightspots, family and friends. Happy Medium Ventures aims to capture the fun and excitement through a new TV series, and other original content about this captivating chapter of Chicago history.

Our blog features photos, recordings, and interviews that bring this fabulous era back to life. Please contact us if you have anything you would like to share.

HISTORY

The story begins in 1946 when the London House, a new restaurant in downtown Chicago, opened on Wacker and Michigan Avenue. The London House quickly became the premier venue for Chicago jazz luminaries like Bill Evans, Oscar Peterson, Marian McPartland, and Herbie Hancock. Known by many Chicago natives as one of the classiest date spots in its time, the London House also brought black musicians, such as Ramsey Lewis, Cannonball Adderley and Ahmad Jamal, to the north side to newly-integrated audiences. “Make a Date with a Steak” was the credo that epitomized the Brothers Marienthal dedication to having the best food in the city.

SUCCESS & EXPANSION

Building on the success of live entertainment at the London House, the Marienthal brothers opened Mister Kelly’s in 1956; a nightclub venue that launched the careers of familiar comedians and singers such as Bill Cosby, Woody Allen, Bette Midler, and Barbara Streisand. Located on the notorious Rush Street in downtown Chicago, Mister Kelly’s revolutionized the nightclub industry. Both clubs became synonymous with big talent and celebrity life style. The brothers themselves became Chicago superstars sharing tables with politicians, business tycoons, and athletes, along with famous performers.

A CROWNING ACHIEVEMENT

In 1960 the “Mayors of Rush St.” built what became their greatest pride, a theatre and discotheque called The Happy Medium. There, the Marienthals produced and created original comedic and musical productions, introducing performers such as Jerry Stiller, Ann Meara, Helen Reddy, Donna Mills, and Oscar Brown Jr.

A WONDERFUL PAST COMES BACK TO LIFE

David Marienthal has interviewed and recorded dozens of performers, employees, family members, and even customers. David is able to access well known performers, and others, based on the good will created by his father and uncle. These interviews are full of interesting personalities, vivid details, and dramatic recollections. The collection also includes dozens of vinyl LPs recorded at Mister Kelly’s and the London House, with elaborate liner notes. Happy Medium Ventures will tell these stories and inspire others through the dynamic and multi-faceted archival trail that these Chicago spots have left behind.

PROJECTS

The Legendary Rush St

Mister Kelly's - a familiar landmark

The mission of Happy Medium Ventures is to produce entertaining and engaging projects expanding on the legacy of George and Oscar Marienthal’s renowned Chicago venues and night clubs, the London House, Mister Kelly’s and Happy Medium. Founded by George’s son, David, and partnering with the Chicago History Museum, we have amassed an extensive archive of articles, images, and historical records. This archive will be brought to life using interviews with entertainers, staff, patrons, and family members that have vivid stories to tell. Building on this rich history, go to MisterKellysChicago.com to read more about the exciting new TV series, and other new projects.

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