The legendary Mister Kelly’s, once called a “supernova in the local and national night life firmament,” illuminated Chicago's legendary Rush Street, and the entire country, by launching talents including Barbra Streisand, Herbie Hancock, Bette Midler, and Richard Pryor. Its visionary owners George and Oscar Marienthal smashed color and gender barriers to put fresh, irreverent voices in the spotlight and transform entertainment in the 50s, 60s, and ’70s. Now, with the club long gone, and its star talent reaching its golden years, George’s son David and acclaimed director/screenwriter Ted Bogosian go on a quest to collect the memories of the club before they are lost. Interviews with Lily Tomlin, Bob Newhart, the Smothers Brothers, Dick Gregory, Lainie Kazan, Dick Cavett, Shecky Greene, David Steinberg, Robert Klein, Ramsey Lewis and others are paired with voices of local musicians, staff, family, and patrons. Through historical footage, photos, music, and song, the history of Mister Kelly's illustrates the most beloved and famous talent of our time at the decisive moments when they first showed up, dug deep, and broke in. 

Special Events:

  • Friday, September 17 - 6:30pm + Q&A with director Ted Bogosian, editor Scott Dummler, Curator of Mister Kelly’s Archive at Newberry Library Alison Hinderliter, and Executive Producer David Marienthal - moderated by Rick Kogan (Chicago Tribune)
  • Saturday, September 18 - 6:30pm + Q&A with subject Tim Reid, director Ted Bogosian, editor Scott Dummler and Executive Producer David Marienthal - moderated by John Landecker (WGN/Radio)
  • Sunday, September 19 - 3:30pm + Q&A with subject Tim Reid, director Ted Bogosian, and Executive Producer David Marienthal - moderated by Laura Washington (Chicago Sun-Times)
  • Monday, September 20 - 6:00pm + Q&A  with editor Scott Dummler, Assistant Producer Adam Carston, Curator of Mister Kelly’s Archive at Newberry Library  Alison Hinderliter, and Executive Producer David Marienthal - moderated by Perri Small (WVON) 

Rick Kogan/Chicago Tribune coverage
Chicago Reader coverage

Updated COVID-19 Protocols

Dear Friends,

We care deeply about the well-being and safety of our audiences and staff. With the recent rise of COVID-19 cases, we are updating our health and safety procedures to require proof of full vaccination* or a negative result on a COVID PCR test for all screenings and events at the Film Center. 

We know it can be hard to enjoy a movie without knowing the status of the folks sitting close to you.  Our hope is that these new procedures will allow you to relax and view our films in the way they’re meant to be seen--with your undivided attention to the screen.

Beginning on Friday, September 10, you will need a valid photo ID and one of the following items to gain entry to the Film Center:

  • Physical vaccination card
  • A legible photo, copy, or scan of your card; an image on your phone will be acceptable provided that it is legible 
  • Proof of a negative result on a COVID PCR test conducted within 72 hours of the film or event start time

*Full vaccination means any vaccine for COVID-19 which has received full or emergency use approval from the United States Food and Drug Administration (FDA) or World Health Organization (WHO). Individuals are considered fully vaccinated two weeks after they have received the second dose in a two-dose series or a single dose from a one-dose series of a COVID-19 vaccine authorized for use by the FDA or WHO.

You will need to show proof of vaccination status or a negative PCR test result as you enter the theater. 

Children under 12 will not be permitted in the theater, since they are not yet eligible to receive a vaccine. 

In addition, the Film Center will continue to implement the following safety protocols:

  • In accordance with the Governor's recent Executive Order, all patrons and staff will be required to wear a mask covering their nose and mouth at all times while in the theater
  • Staggered showtimes and ample time between shows to mitigate crowds
  • Ticket pre-orders for films encouraged to reduce lines and guarantee seats
  • Hand sanitizer and disposable face masks available for patrons
  • Only 80% of our tickets will be available for sale
  • No eating or drinking will be permitted in the theater; no concessions will be sold

The Film Center reserves the right to require patrons who do not follow these procedures to leave the theater immediately.

As always, if you are feeling unwell for any reason, please stay home and stream films instead of joining us at the theater. We are happy to refund or exchange your ticket for another time.  In addition, please understand that while these updated procedures are intended to mitigate the potential spread of COVID-19, there is nonetheless inherent risk to exposure in any indoor space where others are present.  Those entering the theater do so at their own risk to such exposure.  

If you have already purchased a ticket for a screening on Friday, September 10 (or beyond) but are unable to comply with these new procedures, please contact us at for a refund. 

We appreciate your cooperation and support as we continue to navigate the ever-changing COVID landscape.

See you at the movies!

--Your Friends at the Film Center