The 1950’s started off with a bang. All the nightclubs were still going strong, but a little thing called television began to slowly provide a new source of entertainment that enabled people to stay at home rather than to out to the nightspots. The clubs, with diminishing revenues, could not begin to compete with the small screen at home that made available, in your own living room, access to the world’s top entertainers—all without a cover charge. These variety shows, as you will remember, included stars such as Milton Berle, Bob Hope, Jimmy Durante and of course Elvis Presley, who shook up the nation on the Sunday night Ed Sullivan Show.
Of course, all of this did not happen overnight. Although change was in the air, in the 1950’s many of the most popular night spots and even a few new clubs were able to hold on as you will see in the following pages.
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Coming next: The 1960’s and 1970’s in Stanley Paul’s Classic Chicago series, That Toddlin’ Town.