Arthur Penn’s Bonnie and Clyde was a lightning bolt of
1# Studio 54 “The Best Party Of Your Life.”
In the late 1970s Andy Warhol, Mick Jagger, Liz Taylor, John Travolta mingled at the world’s most exclusive party. The strict door policy ensured only the rich, famous, young or beautiful got in. People would scream with joy to make it inside. They could party under a huge man-in-the-moon above the dance floor. Bianca Jagger once rode into the disco on a white horse, while on New Years Eve four tons of glitter was dumped from the ceiling, covering guests with gold dust four inches thick! The fun ended due to tax evasion, but the Studio went out with a final party.
2 # Night In A Surrealist Forest
At this sensational 1941 party for 1000 guests, Salvador Dali used 2,000 pine trees, 4,000 sacks, 2 tons of old newspapers, 24 animal heads and mannequins, 12,000 shoes, a wrecked car and baby lions to build a unique atmosphere. Celebrities enjoying this madness included Ginger Rogers, Clark Gable, Bob Hope being shocked by live frogs and Bing Crosby eating fish from a shoe.
3# King James 1’s Royal Jelly Disaster
King James liked to party hard and his 1606 Royal banquet to host the King of Denmark fell apart after an all day binge. The actress playing the Queen of Sheba drunkenly fell over, knocking ‘wine, cream, jelly, beverages, cakes, spices and other good matters’ onto the King. He staggered off to bed, while the rest of the dancers stumbled about being sick. A guest later wrote “I did never see such lack of good order, discretion and sobriety as I now have done“.
4# Freddy Mercury At The Fairmont
Even by rock n roll standards this party at the Fairmont in New Orleans was an assault on the senses – as well as champagne there were trolls, ballerinas, man biting the heads off live chickens, dwarves serving cocaine from trays strapped to their heads, rooms decorated like jungle swamps, magicians, tribesmen, contortionists, fire-eaters, drag queens and strippers wrestling in baths of uncooked liver.
5 # Vanderbilt Ball
This 1883 event was the most incredible party New York had ever seen. 1200 were invited and spent months designing outrageous outfits. Dressmakers and cobblers spent months perfecting their designs. Mrs. Vanderbilt’s costume actually lit up due to batteries hidden in her dress, while a Miss Kate Fearing Strong wore a taxidermy cat head and seven cat tails. And the cost? $250,000 (nearly 6 million today). By the 1900’s bored millionaires on both sides of the Atlantic tried to out-do each other with themed parties. In New York, the ‘Copper Plate King’ had dollar bills hidden in walnuts at a Pyjama Party while London’s Connaught held a fake safari, with the dining hall turned into a South African mining town with boulders, sand, gold dust, flying birds, tents and a real fire.
6# The Black And White Ball
1966 saw “The Party Of The Century” as high society, politics and celebrity were in a frenzy of preparation for this masked ball, hosted by Truman Capote. The hat maker and hairdresser of the day (Halston and Kenneth respectively) were overwhelmed making masks, hats and hair look perfect for the attendees. Anyone who was anyone was desperate for an invitation and with Frank Sinatra on the scene, it was talked about for decades.
7# The “Burning Men’s Ball”
Notorious for all the worst reasons, 1393 Saw King Charles VI of France turn an innocent ball into carnage. It began merrily as he and his men dressed in Wild Man masks and costumes. But they were made of flammable material. Disaster struck when the Duke of Orleans put a torch “so near that he set the coats on fire, and they were all in a bright flame“. The ensuing chaos left only two survivors – the king, and a quick witted dancer who had jumped into an vat of wine.