The Baby Doll Lounge Inspiration
The Baby Doll lounge was the inspiration for Production Designer Gustav Alsina's plans for the topless bar interior in "Headless Body in Topless Bar".
The Baby Doll Lounge, on the corner of Church and White Streets in lower Manhattan, was in a neighborhood jammed with heavy trucks groaning over cobblestones and loading into warehouses during the day. After quitting time, the area emptied out, leaving just the rats rummaging through blowing garbage in the dim streetlight. The Baby Doll's red and yellow signage was among the few welcoming businesses in the area. It was a low end, cozy joint. Unlike other topless bars -- which tended to be populated by sullen, silent men -- the Baby Doll had a welcoming party atmosphere. Patrons of all classes and races were having fun, couples had sexy dates there, and occasional slumming celebrities such as Martha Stewart would show up.
And the young women who were "dancing" were making good money. Many of the topless dancers were art students, and the owner of the bar commissioned them to fill the walls with murals. The producers of "Headless Body in Topless Bar" photographed the bar's interior and in particular loved the art work.
Alsina used the photographs to recreate the bar, stage, and furnishings. The Baby Doll is long gone -- transformed into a smooth windowed wine bar more in fitting with the wealthy, dull, and boring Tribeca neighborhood has now become. But an anonymous topless dancer art student's murals still survive in the movie "Headless Body in Topless Bar".