Manhattan’s Latin Quarter Nightclub was originally opened in 1942 at a Times Square location by Lou Walters, father of newscaster Barbara Walters. It was located in a historic wedge-shaped building at 1580 Broadway, best known for its big neon signs. Throughout the 1940s and 1950s, the Latin Quarter Nightclub presented festive floor shows that featured sexy waitresses, chorus girls, can-can dancers, and headliners that included Frank Sinatra, Frankie Laine, and the Andrews Sisters. It rivaled the Copacabana, which had opened two years earlier, in attracting the rich and the famous of post-World War II New York.
Lou Walters retired in the ’50s, and for the next decade, the Latin Quarter gradually relied less and less on big-name musical talent and more on showgirls and chorus lines. Attendance declined as the club was no longer considered a place to be seen by the young, wealthy and beautiful crowd. The Latin Quarter closed in 1969 after its chorus girls went on strike and its 15,000-square-foot upstairs room subsequently reopened as Cine Lido, an art-house movie theater that specialized in soft-core porn, beginning with “Camille 2000,” from director Radley Metzger. Initial plans to augment movie showings with a live burlesque stage show were dropped due to the overwhelming success of the movie screenings. But before long, New York officials cracked down on the burgeoning adult business, and in 1973, Cine Lido was raided by police for showing the film “The Newcomers.” When The New York Times later stopped accepting ads for X-rated films, Cine Lido and other theaters like it had trouble reaching their audiences and began to fall by the wayside.