Club 82 was a famous drag club in New York City during the 1950s and 1960s. The club was opened in 1953 and was operated by the mafia, as were most gay clubs during that time. It was illegal for men to impersonate women and all openly gay clubs were illegal in that era. Gay bars and clubs could operate only through a system of bribes and pay-offs to authorities, and the mafia filled that niche. Without the threat of constant police raids, Club 82 soon became quite popular and attracted both a straight and gay clientele. Several of the female impersonators that worked there held steady jobs at Club 82 for over a decade. Kitt Russell, who Walter Winchell named “America’s top femme mimic” in 1951, was the director of the "Club 82 Revue." The club quickly built a reputation as a desired hangout for celebrities who wanted a walk on the wild side. It was said that Errol Flynn had once whipped out his dick at the club and played the piano with it! Liz Taylor and Montgomery Clift were also frequent visitors. The club’s popularity ebbed with the dawn of Stonewall and the Gay Rights Movement as drag began to move out from the shadows and became viewed as less subversive. The club was transformed into a glam-rock bar in the 1970s, then later a disco. It was an illegal after-hours club in the '80s, and eventually housed the gay sex club/porn theater, The Bijou, in the '90s.