Welcome to The Unveiling of Nightclub Etiquette

Dancing and trend setting all at one time.
Dancing and trend setting all at one time. | Source
Remember the cigarette girls?
Remember the cigarette girls?

Living in the magic

The swingin' nightclubs of the early to late 40's were described as . . .lying, stealing, cheating, gambling, rambling, dancing, prancing, singing, yelling, fighting, stabbing, sweating, betting, getting thrown out, all betted out, hiding, running, gunning . . .and what a band it was.

Cab Calloway, Duke Ellington, Benny Goodman who led the stars out at night to the upper's and lower's that just spent their only sign of having "made it," from street sweeper to janitor. And finally getting to take the pretty wife out in the pretty dress you bought on credit and you in those black and white slippers and Bowler hat you didn't need. Yes, this was the crop of nightclubs in their infancy.

The Cotton Club, The Avalon Club, and a few like these were "the" stylish, accepted night-places where the bootlegger mingled with the pimp. Where the socially- hungry went eye-to-eye with the fearfully-respected. What a statement to make to your blue collar friends: "Boys, what a jivin' time we had last weekend at the "Bo Bo Club"over on Sixth Avenue. Dames, drinks, and nasty dancing. Man, you gotta be there." Scratch three good friends.

The Rat Pack rehearsing their act
The Rat Pack rehearsing their act
Everyone having a great time
Everyone having a great time

Nightclubs: Not just pleasure, but a mixture of all ingredients of life

Cigarettes and pretty cigarette girls blending with a lofty smoke cloud over the V.I.P. seating where the wealthy, hundred-dollar bill burners sit to impress the sinking in debt. The lonely girl sitting alone in her dark haven of a booth where she hides in a bourbon straight and hoping that her make-up looks good enough to find herself a male friend even if it just for the night. No one ever said that nightclubs was where musical angels hung-out and harmonized in heart-touching numbers for the sanctified. Pain, pity, and persecution all walk hand-in-hand and man, what a band it was.

Nameless faces, and the faceless facing the smooth, two-faced power demons who whisper how the nightclub as well as the crooked city is to travel under the cover of cheap city hall politics. Nightclubs are not for the timid or trusting. It takes a keen-honed man or woman to see their way clear through the rats, snakes, heels and deals just to wake up at daybreak to assume another name.

A younger Frank Sinatra
A younger Frank Sinatra

Behind the phantom doors of the nightclub

Being that this introduction is a mixture of serious confessions mixed with humorous jabs at the institution of nightclubs, there was an unspoken set of unbendable rules that governed the living and soon-to-be dead who made nightclubs more or less their home.

Now I want you to read and understand what I found out about nightclubs. It is delicately-entitled:

Welcome to The Unveiling of Nightclub Etiquette


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For the criminal -- allowing your firearm to be seen by nightclub customers is strictly-forbidden. All firearms are to be worn inside your suit coat or raincoat. And your firearm is not to be used except in dangerous situations of you defending your life or the life of your girlfriend or friends who are with you.

Absolutely no yelling at the nightclub performer(s) as these are working under a strict contract to the nightclub owner(s). Any friction between guests and performers can be settled in two ways: One, parties to be escorted outside away from the nightclub customers and the security guards will act as litigators between the parties. Only in extreme cases, will the local police be asked to get involved in these events.

The nightclub owners urge customers to drink, play their games of chance, and live it up, but the nightclub owners will not tolerate any public drunkeness or inappropriate behavior in any way.

There will absolutely be no fist-fighting, scuffling, or wrestling by customers for this is respectable business and will maintain a reputable image at any cost.

When singers, performers, or film stars such as Frank Sinatra, Dean Martin, Ethel Merman, or Billie Holliday are performing, customers are forbidden to walk up to the performer during their act and talk to them. Our performers are professional and under a contract to us and if you ignore this rule and try to talk to any performer while in the middle of their act, you will be physically-removed by our highly-trained security guards.

All female customers are to dress and wear appropriate wardrobes. Dresses that show excessive cleavage or strike the female above the knee will not be allowed to enter our nightclub.

All male customers who dress in any inappropriate fashion, will not be alllowed inside our nightclub.

No pets allowed inside the nightclub except service animals.

If you are an amateur or professional performer, you will not be allowed to perform solo or with our performers unless asked by said performers or by our management. If you choose to ignore this rule, you will be asked to leave our establishment.

If you act in an inappropriate manner toward female patrons, you will be asked to leave our club.

The destruction of our club property such as tables, dinner plates and silverware, glasses is forbidden. If you do, under any circumstances, destroy our materials, you will be charged for said property and you will pay for the damage before you leave our club or be turned over to the authorities.

Foolish behavior not brought-on my liquor such as standing on our stage with the band and or running wild around the customer’s seating area causing our patrons to be uneasy, you will receive one warning and if you continue your asinine antics, you will be escorted from our premises.

Arguing, squabbling with your wife or girlfriend or boyfriend or husband in such a loud tone that you are deemed disturbing, you will be asked to leave our club or be turned over to the authorities.

Abusing our employees--waitresses, waiters, hat/coat check girls, and cigarette girls in any way, lewd talk, inappropriate behavior, is strictly forbidden and steps to insure our employees’ safety and dignity will be taken if necessary.

The throwing of silverware, glasses, plates, ashtrays or food from your table to another table will not be tolerated. We want you to have a great time, but allow others to have a great time also.

There will be NO selling of any item by customers such as tickets to shows, contracts to performers, shoes and clothing will be considered a crime and the police will be called if we see you disregarding this rule.

You or those with you or any customer in our nightclub are NOT to go into our kitchen area for any reason, or you will be escorted outside and banned from our nightclub.

Note: I might have a big announcement coming soon! “Kenneth’s Golden Moon Club” may be opening in a city near you. And I expect YOU and your friends to patronize me.

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Many of early TV's hit shows featured nightclubs

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