About the Owner

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Otto J. Kubik Sr. was born in Cleveland, Ohio December 17th, 1894, one of 8 children.   After moving to Antigo, Wisconsin he left home at about age 14 to make his fortune. While in Chicago, he married his first of what would eventually number 5 wives.  Otto Jr.'s mother would be his 4th and 5th wife (a very long and convoluted story...) or as Otto Sr. liked to jest, "she just wouldn't eat the poison mushrooms".  At least I think it was in jest...

Otto married his first wife somewhere in his 20's. They had a premature son that didn't survive long after birth and shortly afterward, his wife died from spinal meningitis.  Medical science wasn't very advanced in those days, and Otto Sr. was subsequently  miss-diagnosed as having terminal cancer.   At about age 35, he found himself, widowed, childless and supposedly terminally ill.  He was a self-proclaimed hell raiser already, felt he didn't have anything to live for, and decided to spend his remaining days, living "on the edge".  During the next few years he became involved in numerous illegal activities, including rum running (he was wanted by the British Navy for Piracy) and had developed an affinity for jazz and liquor, not necessarily in that order.  After living several years beyond even the most optimistic medical estimate and feeling fine, he came to the terrible realization the doctors were wrong and realized he would have to pay his debt to society, or remain a hunted man.

He had a dream to open a jazz club of his own, and during the 40's had several small clubs throughout Cicero, most named Hunt Club #1 and 2.  Eventually, he accumulated enough capital to open the size club he had dreamed about and the Red Arrow Jazz Club was born.  The Red Arrow was operated by the Kubik family from 1951 until 1962.  Subsequent to 1962, he and his wife Nina re-opened the original Hunt Club in Berwyn, Illinois as the Deer Lodge, which they operated until 1979.  This property was sold and renamed Fitzgerald's and has become a Mecca for Blues in Chicago.  Several movies were "staged" there, including the COLOR OF MONEY, starring Paul Newman and Tom Cruise. 

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Otto Sr. died in 1968.  His 4th and 5th wife Nina Lou Woitovich Kubik passed in 1994.

I guess if she was his 4th and 5th wife, her name would be Nina Lou Woitovich Kubik Kubik?

 

There were a number of performers recorded "behind the scenes" at the Red Arrow.  

Given the copyright laws and questions of rights and ownership, it was deemed best to donate these items for posterity. 

 In 2003 these tapes were donated to the University of Chicago - Chicago Jazz Archive.  They have been restored and are a valued public resource. 

 

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An actual cocktail napkin from the club, circa 1962.