Saturday, August 31, 2013

1957 Times Square Neon In Color and New Years Eve

As you may or may not know I am a neon fanatic and am always on the lookout for color images from the era of great neon. Sadly this is before the time of widespread use of color film. So there are not a lot of pictures all
I recently came across a couple of minutes of excellent color footage of one of the neon holy grails Times Square in New York city from 1957. There’s the Camel display draped in neon and with Phil Silvers blowing real smoke rings. We also get to see a fantastic sign for TWA complete with neon a multi look billboard and above it a giant plane flys. It’s a gorgeous look at outdoor advertising signs at their peak.

It was posted on You Tube by John Meyer who includes these notes.
“I used motion stabilization software to remove the shake from the hand-held footage. This makes it look more professional, but I assure you it simply home movie footage, although it was taken with a very good 16mm camera, and was perfectly exposed, something that was tough to do back in those days before auto exposure.”

While I was checking into Times Square 1957 I found a couple of other interesting nuggets. First is this interesting photographic comparison between 1957 and 2013 on

Then there was this b&w clip of New Years Eve 1957/8 posted by videoholic50s60s70s's. Complete with Guy Lombardo, ana one ana two…..

Tuesday, August 27, 2013

St. Huberts, Chicago Mobsters Downtown Meeting Spot

South Federal street in Chicago’s loop is a forgotten little lane. In the late 19th century it was home to the sprawling area of vice known as custom house place. We have a clip posted about this area there’s a link to it at the bottom. Since then it has been pretty much forgotten. Including this old building with the faces embedded in the wall. It was at one time the home of  St. Hubert’s Old English Grill and Chop House where fine food in the grand tradition of the British Isles was served.

Among the patrons were two men who spent a lot of time here taking care of business. They were Jake “Greasy Finger” Guzik and Murray “the Camel: Humphries high ranking members of the Chicago Outfit. Both were men who came up with Al Capone. This is where bagmen, politicians, lobbyists, cops, crooked lawyers and the rest would meet.

Guzik was the money man collecting and passing along bribes. Capone thought so highly of Jake he once blew Joe Howards  head off in public after hearing that Howard had slapped Guzik around. Humphries specialty was as a labor / political fixer he was the man who orchestrated the Outfits take over of the unions. When Ricca and other top mobsters were sent to jail following convictions in the Hollywood bribery scandal  in the 40’s it was the “hump” who reached into the White House to secure pardons.

These three men Ricca, Humphries and Guzik along with Tony Accardo took what Capone had started and turned it into an organization that controlled the city for more than three decades. Holding a lot of influence for another thirty years after they left the scene.

And this quiet little place was right between city hall and police headquarters a perfect spot for these two men to practice their dark arts. It’s stained and leaden glass windows keeping out prying eyes. They spent so much time there that Guzik died in his booth from a heartattack.

This clip is another in our series “Chicago Crime now & Then” check out our playlist.

Here’s a link to the Custom House Place video.

ChiTownView is a production of MindsiMedia we have a web portal that offers more video, music, photography and much more please visit.

I have many sources but the two sites that are at the top of my list are.

Chicago Crime Scene Project.

Sunday, August 25, 2013

Kenny Burrell, Jazz Guitar Two Mid 1960's Classics

I found a nice little group of jazz cds the other day when I was out and about. Two of them were so outstanding that I would pass along a recommendation that they are well worth checking out. Both are mid sixties releases by jazz guitarist Kenny Burrell.

First up is the 1967 classic Blue Note recording “Midnight Blue” where he plays with; Stanley Turrentine, Major Holley, Bill English and Ray Barretto. It's a winner from start to finish all killer and no filler. As the name would imply it's a laid back set that finds a nice groove and works it. This disc is a 1999 Rudy Van Gelder edition that reproduces the original Leonard Feather liner notes. There are also two bonus tracks not on the original LP.

The other one is the 1966 Verve release “Guitar Forms”. Which is a collaboration with Gil Evans. This made me a little leery because I'm not much for heavily orchestrated jazz but this one is really good and with the exception of a version of Greensleeves not to cornball. It also has a bonus track not on the original release as well as multiple takes of three of the tracks making it twenty cuts.

Part of Verve's 1997 Master Edition series there is a really nice booklet that you may need a magnifying glass to read. Still a nice listen. Below are a couple of sample tracks to give you the flavor of these discs.

If you are interested in obtaining these discs 
or any of your music needs check out 
Val's Halla in Oak Park Il.

Saturday, August 24, 2013

Video Of Gorgeous Frank Lloyd Wright Home In La Grange Il. On The Market

The Stephen M. B. Hunt house designed by Frank Lloyd Wright is up for sale. It's a beautiful example of the prairie school masters work. Located in the western suburb of La Grange on 7th Ave. not far from a Metra train stop. Built in 1907 it is a four bedroom 2,000 square foot home with a garage that sits on a large corner lot with a big backyard. It can be yours for the fairly reasonable price of $700,000.

Last year I took a video of the exterior of this house as part of my series of Frank Lloyd Wright Chicago area designs which can be found on ChiTownView. I also have a link to a Huffington Post article that has a sildeshow of photos of the inside.

For more videos of Chicago area Wright homes click here.

Tuesday, August 20, 2013

Vintage Las Vegas & Reno Neon Signs In Color

ChiTownView has recently uploaded a couple of clips that looks at a couple of America's gambling meccas. There is a 1939 visit to Las Vegas where we see the Freemont street neon signs blazing away. Then there is a trip to 1953 Reno where we once again see the nighttime neon display and some vintage slot machines.

1939 Las Vegas Neon At Night In Color & The Al Capone Connection 

 A lot of people like to give Bugsy Siegel the credit for bringing the mob to Las Vegas in the forties. And while it's true that he transformed a sleepy cow town into the destination for vice in the second half of the 20th century. The man that originally brought gambling to Nevada more than a decade before Bugsy was Al Capone.

As the story is told in Gus Russo's book The Outfit it was Chicago mob money that carried the day in May of 1931 when gambling was legalized. This only a couple of months after work began on the Hoover dam. Bringing in tens of thousands of workers making good money without much to spend it on.

Las Vegas boomed for a few years until work was finished on the dam and the captive audience drifted away and the twon went into decline. Until Mr. Siegel came on the scene.

Reno Casinos In 1953; Neon,: Harold's Club, Ship Bar, Vintage Slot Machines, Etc. 

 Here is casino action in Reno Nevada circa 1953. We see the street scene during the day and there is some fantastic nighttime footage of the blazing neon. We also go inside a casino and see some of the action. Including slot machines in the shape of cowboys & indians.

The music is by Ronnie Singer a jazzbo whose connection to the footage is he died the same year the film was shot. Both the sights & sounds are public domain items found on the

Monday, August 19, 2013

Ray Charles Live Brazilian TV Concert 1963

It took more than forty years before audiences in America got to see this 1963 Ray Charles concert that was broadcast on Brazilian TV.In it we see one the giants of soul at the height of his career. We can thank the fine folks at Rhino Home Video as they are the ones that unearthed this long lost gem.

Among the hits he performs are "Hit The Road, Jack," "What'd I Say," "Hallelujah I Love Her So," "I Can't Stop Loving You," "You Don't Know Me," and more.

Tuesday, August 13, 2013

Mont Tennes Early 20th Century River North Chicago Gambling Baron

Mont Tennes is another in colorful cast of corrupt Chicago characters that dominated the city at the turn of the 20th century. Decades before the Al Capone era.and Mont himself was following the footsteps of the legendary Randolph street gambler Big Mike McDonald who is generally credited with organizing political corruption in Chicago.

Close allies of Tennes were the Lords of the Levee themselves Bath House John Coughlinn and Hinky Dink Mike Kenna. They were the aldermen of the first ward a vast swath of the downtown and south loop that they controlled with and army of vagrants and drunks. The Levee was of course the semi legal southside vice district that Big Jim Colosimo helped them run. Check out the links for more stories on those people.

Produced by MindsiMedia for ChiTownView. Visit our web portal

Wednesday, August 7, 2013

The Beatles, A 10-Minute, Never-Released, Experimental Demo of ’ “Revolution” (1968) | Open Culture

"At over ten minutes in length, “Revolution Take 20”—which appeared as a mono mix on a 2009 bootleg CD called Revolution: Take… Your Knickers Off (after a piece of Lennon humor at the intro)—is more than an alternate take. It’s an alternate history,"

For more info on this clip check out the link below. The 10-Minute, Never-Released, Experimental Demo of The Beatles’ “Revolution” (1968) | Open Culture

Tuesday, August 6, 2013

The Chicago Coliseum History and The Doors Live There

Uploaded by ChiTownView 8/4/2013

The 1500 block of south Wabash is a quiet unassuming part of the south loop. There is peacefulness to it that masks a grand structure that once dominated this block. It was an immense exhibition hall called the Coliseum. This location is the best known of the three halls to bear that name in Chicago history. 

It was built by Charles Gunther who was one of the towns early candy magnates, an alderman and owner of a civil war theme park that stood on this spot. It included an actual Confederate prison brought from Virginia and reassembled brick by brick. It's popularity was fading in 1897 when the hall was re purposed and renamed

The Coliseum over the years was home to a half dozen political and other conventions, hockey games, boxing matches, evangelists of every kind,bicycle races, Jimi Hendrix,Malcolm X, boat storage and an annual display of vice and sin called the 1st Ward Ball put on by the lords of the levee aldermen "Hinky Dink" McKenna and "Bathouse" John Coughlin.

It was the scene of a near riot in the early 70's during an interruption of a closed circuit TV boxing match after that it was mostly storage until The Coliseum was sadly demolished in 1982.

In researching the history of this bit of Chicago history we found this Hub Pages post most useful.

Produced for ChiTownView by MindsiMedia. Visit our web portal at

In researching the Coliseum I came across a couple of clips on YouTube of the Doors playing there in 1968.

In research