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Sidney Lust and His Leader Theater: Where the Girls Were (NSFW)

Get the story behind Sidney Lust's Leader Theater of the early 20th century. Though highly inappropriate for puritanical Americans, this odd moment in time can't be missed. Enjoy this NSFW glimpse into the past!
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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.

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.

Leader Theater and Gayity Theater circa 1922
Leader Theater and Gayety Theater circa 1922
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Ghosts of DC stories.