*Discovery Plus is ripping the velvet curtain off an iconic exotic troupe – and I’m here for it! FRONT ROW!
The astonishing new tale, “Curse of the Chippendales,” reveals the story of how the famous dance ensemble took the Los Angeles nightclub scene by storm and ended with international fame, untold wealth, bizarre murder plots and multiple deaths trapped in their legacy. Their brand became a multi-million-dollar global venture, successful beyond their wildest dreams. Of the three unlikely dreamers – who were there at the beginning – only one would make it out alive!
Driven by extensive video and photo archive, including never-before-seen footage and a nostalgia-filled soundtrack, viewers will be directly transported back to the ‘80s, into one of the most unexpected true crime stories of the decade. And all fueled by one thing: greed.
Before the docu-series September 24 premiere, the cast and creators – Read Scot (former Chippendale), Michael Rapp (former Chippendale), Candace Mayeron (Chippendales associate producer, 1981-1987), and Eric Gilbert (Chippendales creative director, 1983-1991) – appeared at the Television Critics Association’s Summer Press Tour this week and addressed the birth of the business behind the beefcakes and bowties.
In 1979, Steve Banerjee renamed his lounge Chippendales because there was Thomas Chippendale style furniture in the club.
“The original Chippendale show had revealing moments like the “tip and kiss” which were the two largest elements,” explained Mayeron. The dancers would hug and mouth kiss the women. “I believe it was originally created to be like the Village People. Six different guys would come out, each in costume, and undress. When Nick De Noia (who was murdered in 1987, by a hit man hired by Banerjee) joined the troop, he turned it into a high production value, scripted, choreographed show.”
Rapp added, “Paul Snyder (who later died by suicide after killing his wife, Playmate of the Year Dorothy Stratten) came into Destiny II – a backend discotheque – and came up with the idea of taking their worst night, and putting on this show he’d seen in Canada where men took their clothes off for women. Since it was a slow night, they had nothing to lose. And that’s how it all got started.”
In 1994, after pleading guilty to attempted arson, racketeering, and murder for hire, Banerjee was found hanging in his jail cell.