Although Rubell and Schrager poured their heart into their club, they never imagined it would become as successful. To enhance the disco theme, the two owners revamped the inside of what was once an old television studio, transforming it into a light-filled ballroom perfect for dancing. However, in all their preparation, the club owners forgot to take care of their liquor licenses.
They failed to apply in time and found that they were left without booze just a few days before the club was meant to open, eventually leading to a frantic scramble to obtain the necessary permits. Despite this hiccup, Studio 54 went on to become a cultural icon and a symbol of the decadent excesses of the 1970s.
Rubell Turned Someone Away For Wearing a Hat
While Rubell was picking and choosing his club attendees, his requirements got increasingly stringent. What was okay one night might not work the next, and revelers never knew if their outfit would be acceptable or offensive.
In video footage that shows Rubell turn away potential partiers, he can be heard saying to one dejected individual, “Don’t ever come here with a hat.” Did Rubell hate hats in general, or was he simply not a fan of that person’s hat? Either way, it’s a depressing reason to be turned away when you can simply remove the headwear.
One Would-Be Patron Died Trying to Sneak Into the Club
While some rejected club-goers got angry, others resolved to find their way into Studio 54 by any means necessary. People would climb down buildings and jump barbed wire fences trying to get inside, often resulting in serious injuries. One patron, however, made a fatal mistake. He decided to sneak in through an air vent, but he got stuck before he could get inside.
Unfortunately, his body was discovered in a black-tie suit that never saw the dance floor. This incident serves as a stark reminder of the extreme measures people were willing to take to pursue the Studio 54 experience.
Timothy Leary Turns On, Tunes In, and Drops Out at Studio 54
Even though it is not surprising to see Timothy Leary at a place where substances could be found at every corner, the photo below is truly a gem. Leary, a former psychologist from Harvard University, became the ultimate icon of '60s counterculture and psychedelics.
We're guessing that apart from whatever he took that night, Leary has a smile from ear to ear because he was at the post-premier party of the "Sgt. Pepper's Lonely Hearts Club Band" film on March 6, 1978. The film, a musical inspired by the Beatles' album of the same name, was a celebration of the band's legacy and cultural influence, making it an event that Leary would not want to miss.
A Young Brooke Shields and Mariel Hemingway Somehow Made Their Way Into the Club
Before Brooke Shields graced the cover of Vogue, she was simply a young model looking to take advantage of everything New York City could offer. At only twelve years old, Brooke somehow made her way past the picky bouncer and onto the taboo dance floor of Studio 54. But Brooke wasn’t the only underage celebrity to sneak her way into the club.
She was joined by Mariel Hemingway, the granddaughter of the famous American author Ernest Hemingway. Together, the two young girls danced their evenings away at the nightclub far before they transformed into the beauty icons they are today.