The Chez Paree



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Covers from the Chicago Magazine  

These photo were submitted by Harold Rubin - CHICAGO LEGENDS archives  
Pages from the magazine below.

Click on photo to enlarge

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Many of the entertainers have long disappeared with an era of Chicago's swing and jazz.


This Week in the Chicago Magazine.

THIS WEEK IN CHICAGO MAY 6, 1944....a promo magazine distributed throughout Chicago to nightclubs, cabarets and hotels featuring top stars and entertainers on its front and back covers. Inside...a wide array of nightspot advertisements during the heyday of a bygone era. Both covers feature Sophie Tucker appearing at the Chez Paree with Ted Shapiro, dance duo Corday & Triano, Queen of Taps Sandra Barrett, satirist Patricia Bright and the Chez Paree Rumba Band.


Inside...a wide array of Chicago's nightspots entertainers and burlesque of a bygone era including Don the Beachcomber the Ambassador of Rum, 606 Club, Brown Derby, Town Casino, Bismark Hotel Revue, Rialto, Tin Pan Alley, The Airliner, Playhouse...a a host of others. Shown is a promo for the Rialto featuring band leader Kay Kaiser and his orchestra as well as the stunning, incomparable Lena Horne. Also shown here is another page revealing 12 entertainers appearing at a few of the hot spots...Laverne at the Club Flamingo, Genevieve Val at the Club Alabam, Laura Rucker at Tin Pan Alley. Interestingly ad appears featuring the Four Blind Mice...a blind quartet of top musicians...hailed for their outstanding music. 

Harold Rubin - CHICAGO LEGENDS archives 

WARTIME CARICATURE at the Chez. Postmarked June 1945...this colorful, unique postcard portrays cabaret life at the Chez. Original owners Mike Fritzel and Joe Jacobson puffin' on his stogie seen amongst the diners as the band plays swing and jazz music of the era. As part of the wartime effort...the card advertises [Buy U.S. War Bonds & Stamps]. Both borders feature the stars who appeared...Harry Richman, Gracie Fields, Milton Berle, Gertrude Niesen, Danny Kaye, Jane Froman, Jimmy Durante, Ted Lewis, Sophie Tucker, Joe E.Lewis, Carmen Miranda, Morton Downey, Lupe Velez, Ray Bolger, Martha Raye and Paul Draper.   

THIS WEEK IN CHICAGO June 22, Joe E. Lewis appeared on stage at the CHEZ PAREE. Lewis' career was a fascinating one while in Chicago. Lewis was earning up to $1000 weekly during the Prohibition era as a comedian and singer.
His career took off in the 20's as a vaudevillian, singer and burlesque comic. He appeared with notables of the time such as Sophie Tucker and Eddie Cantor. He was a popular act and success at Chicago's Northside Green Mill...owned by Machinegun Jack McGurn...a mob hit-man for Al Capone. Capone was a frequent of the Green Mill...usually with his entourage of bodyguards and henchmen.
In 1927...a dispute between McGurn and Lewis arose when Lewis wanted to leave his engagement at the Green Mill when his contract expired to open at the new Rendez-Vous cabaret. Mc Gurn warned Lewis...if he left...he would never live to open his act. McGurn made good on his threat after Lewis' opening performance and was attacked in his Commonwealth Hotel room by McGurn's thugs...brutally pistol-whipped...his face slashed...and cutting off a piece of his tongue. Fortunately Lewis survived...limiting his singing career...once again beginning his performances in the 40's and 50's at the CHEZ PAREE and other Chicago nightspots. Later...he frequented Las Vegas...starring on stage for the  casino crowds.
Frank Sinatra and Mitzi Gaynor starred in a movie...The Joker Is Wild...based on Lewis' life.
Also featured in this promo magazine is Billy Burke, June Darling, Jeanne Blanch, Ozzie Osburn and other stars of the era. Chicago has always had a fascinating and illustrious history...and Lewis certainly a part of it.
Harold Rubin - CHICAGO LEGENDS archives



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