NSFW: Sidney Lust’s Leader Theater Girls

For conservative, puritanical Americans, this is probably highly inappropriate … especially in the early 20th century (we warned you about NSFW if your boss is looking over your shoulder). But this was an odd enough moment in time that we had to share it with GoDCers.

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Sidney Lust's Leader Theater Girls in 1919
Sidney Lust’s Leader Theater Girls in 1919

Well, for Sidney Lust, this was his bread and butter. He was in the theater business, and was quite successful for many years. Also, his last name was seriously Lust? Was he destined for this line of work?

His Leader Theater stood on 9th St. NW, between F and E streets and he originally came to Washington as a partner of Jack and Harry Warner (i.e., Warner Brothers) to establish a chain of theaters. The Leader was his first and, when he died in 1955, he owned 10 neighborhood theaters in and around the city. Below is a photograph of his flagship, the Leader Theater.

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Leader Theater and Gayity Theater circa 1922
Leader Theater and Gayety Theater circa 1922

About Tom

Tom founded Ghosts of DC on January 4th, 2012 as a blog to uncover the lost and untold history of Washington, D.C. He has lived in the city for over a decade and loves exploring every corner of the District.

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  • WOW! I used to go to the Sidney Lust drive-in theater in Beltsville with my friends. At that time, they only showed really low quality porn. This was around ’80 or maybe before. We (me and a bunch of guys, including my BF) would all go in our big hoopdee and just laugh and laugh hysterically. The movies were so bad and some of them would have the orgy scenes in a loop, like you wouldn’t notice. I specifically remember one guy who looked like Abraham Lincoln, but nekkid.

    If you drove over the bridge, next to the theater (Powder Mill Road, I think) you could be lucky enough to catch a glimpse of EXTREMELY LARGE ‘nads. Or other naughty bits.

    Ah, youth.

  • If I read the sign correctly, the building between the two theaters is the Acropolis. Any information about what that’s about?

  • Popeye D. Saylorman

    Check out those knockers.