The Sensational Story of 'Studio 54' Explored in A&E Documentary

Christina Gables
Courtesy of A&E

The experience of going to Studio 54 has become legendary.

When the doors were first opened in Manhattan on April 26, 1977, they revealed a glitter-filled and glamorous party universe. Mick and Bianca Jagger, Michael Jackson, Andy Warhol, Cher and anyone who was anyone in celebrity culture went beyond those velvet ropes. Studio 54 defined "exclusivity."

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Its co-founders, Steve Rubell and Ian Schrager, two friends from Brooklyn, seemed to come out of nowhere. Their imaginations took flight as soon as they entered the abandoned soundstage on West 54th St. The elegantly tall and ornate ceiling inspired a vision for the most epic nightclub ever created. Thousands of people would bottle up the traffic outside in the hopes of getting inside the discotheque.

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Schrager relives the party again in the documentary Studio 54. He remembers some of the wildest nights with one caveat: "The craziest night ever was every night at Studio 54. It was mayhem every night."

Memories of Rubell, who died in 1989, the glitz, the drugs, the sex, the money and mattresses in the basement are told for the first time, as a treasure trove of intimate photos and newly discovered footage are revealed.

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In 1980, Rubell and Schrager were sentenced to three-and-a-half years in federal prison for tax evasion and skimming $2.5 million from the disco's revenue. The night before they reported to prison, they threw a giant bash to celebrate their final hours of freedom. And so the party ended.

The duo were compelled to sell the club while in prison.

Studio 54, Monday, February 11, 10/9c, A&E