Seedy 1970s Adult Entertainment Business

The District had a much darker underbelly in the 1970s and 1980s, including a number of adult theaters in the area. Just check out the old advertisements in The Washington Post from the time. Here’s one from November wnd, 1976.

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adult entertainment ads
adult entertainment ads

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  • 1976 — that was just before the VCR became affordable for the average household. The VCR did to the adult theater business what the automobile did to the buggy whip.

  • When I joined The Old Guard at North Post Fort Myer in 1967 a visit to the infamous 14th Street strip wa almost mandatory. The Casino Royale was actually a beer and burger hall with the floor covered in peanut shells. It became a video store/strip show around 1971. When it burned in the early 1980s a DC fireman was killed. Across the street (on the east side) you had the Butterfly (a lawyer salvaged the neon sign for his office), a strip joint called This Is It and a beer hall that was a ‘favorite’ of The Old Guard called Benny’s Rebel Room. The Military District of Washington never did ban servicemen from the 14th Street strip. MDW did send MPs and Navy Shore Patrol into the strip on Friday and Saturday nights. One block to the west, on 15th Street was the D.C. Playhouse, a once glamorous theater that showed X-rated fils into the mid-1980s when it was gutted and converted to law offices.

  • In the late 1980s I used to get off at the Franklin Station of the Metro and walk to my office on L Street. There was one remaining adult bookstore and had a flashing sign that said, “Live Girls”. I used to laugh when I thought of the alternative, “Dead Girls”? 14th Street and Thomas Circle became the main prostitutes handouts from 1970 to about 1980 when they started working ‘massage’ parlors. By the mid-90s, streetwalkers were a rarity on 14th Street.

  • Nolan

    I believe the ad on the left in the middle for (“Bridal Intrigue w/ Box Boy”) at 4100 18th Street NE is now the building I’ve only seen used as Vincent Orange’s campaign headquarters for his various campaigns over the years. I can’t imagine a x-rated theater doing well there, it’s amongst a bunch of houses and literally right across the street for Howard Divinity School….

  • ahh_2_2

    Looking at the addresses, it’s funny to see what’s there now. I can’t believe there was a theater on 18th St NE. That’s a residential area.