Evelyn Nesbit’s Chicago Comeback

Winston-Salem Journal (31 May 1925)

Before the founding of Club Alabam, Evelyn Nesbit worked with Dan Blanco at Bill Rothstein’s Moulin Rouge Café, located at 416 South Wabash Ave. in Chicago’s Loop.

In 1925, after trying review-style shows at his café, Rothstein hired Blanco to create a cabaret-type show, with star bookings. In May, the announcement of Evelyn Nesbit’s forthcoming appearance at the Moulin Rouge became national news.

At forty, Evelyn maintained her youthful beauty.  Her famous Gibson Girl curls had long been bobbed, adding to her pert appearance.  Chicago stood ready to welcome her with open arms.

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If you enjoy local history, especially the world of entertainment, follow me at joannelyeck.com or on the Facebook page: The Blackest Sheep.

The Blackest Sheep: Dan Blanco, Evelyn Nesbit, Gene Harris and Chicago’s Club Alabam is available at Amazon, Barnes & Noble, and many other online bookstores.

Gene Harris’ Club Alabam

By the mid-1930s, Gene Harris was the sole proprietor of Chicago’s Club Alabam and his effervescent personality defined the popular nightspot.  His wit and charm drew a relaxed, fun-loving crowd. His snappy advertisements in local papers attracted the outgoing patrons he enjoyed.

In 1939, ad headlines like “Maybe We’re Crazy . . .” sold a lot of Flaming Crater Dinners at the reasonable price of $1.50.  Four shows nightly kept customers flowing into Harris’ club until the wee hours of the morning. Solid talent like Lil Bernard and Flo Henrie worked Club Alabam for years.

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If you enjoy local history, especially the world of entertainment, follow me at joannelyeck.com or on the Facebook page: The Blackest Sheep.

The Blackest Sheep: Dan Blanco, Evelyn Nesbit, Gene Harris and Chicago’s Club Alabam is available at Amazon, Barnes & Noble, and many other online bookstores.

King of the Mafia

In 1910, Dan Blanco and his Rathskellerians made headlines with a pastiche of Italian opera called “King of the Mafia.”  This musical treat gained popularity at White City amusement park.  The sketch opened with these bold lines:

I am the king of the Mafia,

When I get mad I get daffia;

I sink a stiletto right into your back,

If I don’t I’m a son of a gun.

For decades, Club Alabam founder Dan Blanco would maintain friendly relations with Chicago’s gangsters, skirting Chicago’s vice laws before, during, and after Prohibition. Rubbing shoulders with the criminal element went with the territory and gunplay (if not stilettos) sometimes ended in violent death.

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If you enjoy local history, especially the world of entertainment, follow me at joannelyeck.com or on the Facebook page: The Blackest Sheep.

The Blackest Sheep: Dan Blanco, Evelyn Nesbit, Gene Harris and Chicago’s Club Alabam is available at Amazon, Barnes & Noble, and many other online bookstores.