Today we want to tell you about San Francisco’s Condor Club. The topless bar, which today calls itself “San Francisco's Original Gentlemen's Club,” is treasured as a historical icon, which is something that makes sense according to San Francisco logic. 

The Condor’s historical significance is that that was home to Carol Doda, the city’s first topless dancer. Doda was also famous as the first stripper to get artificial “supersize breasts,” injecting enough silicone to grow to a size 44D. (If that doesn’t sound ridiculously big to you, that’s because “supersize breasts” was a term people just made up for marketing.) In the Condor Club, Doda would descend from the ceiling on a piano, its lift powered by hydraulics.

In 1969, Doda went from the city’s first topless performer to one of the first bottomless performers, leading to various arrests. Then when two other nude dancers in a different city, Susanne Haines and Sheila Brendenson, got arrested, the defense called in Doda as a witness. The judge took the jury to the strip club, and Doda danced for them, to the objections of the prosecution but with the judge’s approval. That judge was the son of Supreme Court Chief Justice Earl Warren, and the jury acquitted the dancers.

Doda’s act did result in tragedy, but it had nothing to do with her nudity. In 1983, a now 45-year-old Doda was back performing at the Condor. The assistant manager, James “the Beard” Ferrozzo, came in after hours one night with his girlfriend, Theresa Hill. They decided that a great place to have sex would be on that piano that Doda made famous. 

That sounds uncomfortable. It turned out to be much worse than that. Because that hydraulic lift turned on while the two of them lay there, shooting the piano right to the ceiling. The impact crushed Jimmy the Beard to death. Theresa survived, but it still doesn’t sound like a very pleasant experience for her. She was stuck on the piano, nude, under Jimmy, till the janitor walked in on them hours later. Then she remained there, still pinned in place under the corpse, till the fire department freed her after three hours more. 

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For more stripper tales, check out:

5 Things You Don't Know About Strippers (Until You Are One)

I Manage A Strip Club (And Not The Classy Kind)

Calls 911 Receives: Being Mistaken For Strippers

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Top image: Michael Holley

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