Every city has a history.

San Francisco has a legend.

Against the backdrop of the 1964 Republican Convention, a San Francisco cocktail waitress became one of the city’s most popular entertainers after making her debut as America’s first topless dancer. The new documentary feature Carol Doda Topless at the Condor tells the story of the fresh-faced girl next door who defied convention and the law by gyrating atop a white baby grand piano and turning a North Beach nightclub into the city’s second-most-popular tourist attraction after the Golden Gate Bridge. Meanwhile, Doda’s very public use of silicone to enhance her breasts launched a new industry. Directors Marlo McKenzie and Jonathan Parker share an unprecedented look at Doda’s life and legacy, as well as a behind-the-scenes tour of the vibrant, sometimes outrageous and always entertaining world of North Beach.

Cast & Crew

Edit Content

MARLO MCKENZIE (Director, Writer, Producer, Director of Photography) believes that story can change the world, and to create a better world we must first be able to imagine it. She produced Butterfly Town, USA and Standing on Sacred Ground. McKenzie is also the director of My Secret Country, a documentary about children who invent imaginary friends and worlds, which has just completed post-production.

McKenzie lived several lives before finding a home as a producer and director in San Francisco. The Detroit native spent time in Europe, working in theater in Germany and studying in France. In Australia, McKenzie co-founded a video production company that serves underserved youth.

JONATHAN PARKER (Director, Writer, Producer, Music Supervisor) is a writer, director, producer, musician and composer who is currently based in San Rafael, California. Parker’s first feature film, Bartleby, which he also scored, was the opening night selection at the New Directors/New Films Festival at the Museum of Modern Art in New York and was nominated for the Grand Jury Prize at Deauville. Starring David Paymer, Crispin Glover and Glenne Headly, Bartleby was an official selection at SXSW as well as the Seattle, Munich, Jerusalem and Karlovy Vary film festivals.

Parker’s film (Untitled), starring Adam Goldberg and Marley Shelton, won both the Grand Jury Prize and the Cinema Choice Award at the Mannheim-Heidelberg Film Festival as well as Best American Film at the Tallinn Black Nights Film Festival. The Architect, starring Parker Posey and Eric McCormack, made its world premiere at the Seattle International Film Festival and was an official selection at the Vancouver, Seoul, Rio de Janeiro, Houston and Mill Valley film festivals.

Edit Content

Lars Ulrich (Producer) is a founding member of Metallica. He is passionate about independent film and devoted to his adopted home of San Francisco. Ulrich’s love for Jonathan Parker’s film (Untitled) led him to form a creative relationship with the director. They realized their mutual interest by partnering together on this documentary.

Vincent Palomino (Producer) is a producer and director best known for serving as key grip on a number of major motion pictures including The Collector (2009), Grindhouse (2007), Lovely & Amazing (2001) and Suicide Kings (1997). Palomino was also the line producer on The Collector. He recently won an Independent Short Award for producing Enemy No More, which also received a Venice Short Film Award nomination. Palomino is currently in production on the feature I Love You?, a romantic dramedy starring Vanessa Angel that he is both directing and producing.

Rick Morse (Executive Producer) has decades of experience as a producer and an entertainment attorney. For the last several years Morse has served as senior VP of business and legal affairs for Radar Pictures, the successor company to Interscope Communications. The original company is known for myriad critically acclaimed box-office successes such as The Last Samurai, Mr. Holland’s Opus and Cocktail. Several franchises extended into remakes or sequels during Morse’s tenure, including the highly successful Jumanji reboot.

Edit Content
JENNIFER J. MAYER (Editor) is a gifted editor with an intuitive sense of visual storytelling. Mayer finds the diamonds in the rough of a filmmaker’s material and shapes them into a fast-paced narrative. She’s edited numerous projects across documentary and fiction, winning numerous awards for her work. Most recently, Mayer’s documentary We Said No! No! A Story of Civil Disobedience aired on PBS in 2023. Her prior credits include the series “The Night That Didn’t End” (2018) and The Wave I Ride (2015).

JEN PETRUCELLI (Archival Producer) has had the honor of working on award-winning documentaries exploring a wide range of social and political topics. Petrucelli’s films have aired on public television, network television and Netflix, screened at Sundance and festivals worldwide, and garnered three FOCAL Awards for their use of archival footage. Her credits include Double Victory: The Tuskegee Airmen at War (2012), Ahead of the Curve (2020) and The Way I See It (2020).

RICHARD BEGGS (Sound Mix Consultant) won an Academy Award® for Best Sound for his work on the Oscar®-winning film Apocalypse Now. Beggs has worked on more than 60 films since 1979, including Jonathan Parker’s films (Untitled) and The Architect. His more recent credits include Children of Men, The Chronicles of Narnia: The Lion, the Witch and the Wardrobe, Somewhere, The Beguiled and Mad God.

KAREN EVERETT (Story Editor) is a documentary story consultant and award-winning filmmaker. She has directed and produced six documentaries, including the PBS biography I Shall Not Be Removed: The Life of Marlon Riggs and American Visionary: The Story of Barbara Marx Hubbard. Everett served as story consultant on the Emmy Award®-nominated HBO documentary 50 Children: The Rescue Mission of Mr. and Mrs. Kraus and the Emmy-nominated series The Future Starts Here. Everett taught editing for 18 years at the UC Berkeley Graduate School of Journalism and is the author of the book Documentary Editing.

Edit Content

WEDNESDAY MARTIN (Cultural Critic, Author) has worked as a writer and social researcher in New York City for over two decades. Her memoir Primates of Park Avenue, an instant No. 1 New York Times bestseller, is a hilarious and insightful look into the exotic world of Manhattan motherhood. Martin’s book Stepmonster, a finalist for the prestigious Books for a Better Life Award, is widely considered a go-to source for stepmothers, adult stepchildren, therapists and others who seek a uniquely candid, interdisciplinary, cross-cultural and comprehensive look at the topic. Martin is also the author of Untrue: Why Nearly Everything We Believe About Women, Lust, and Infidelity Is Wrong and How the New Science Can Set Us Free.

SARAH THORNTON (Sociologist of Culture, Author) writes about art, design and people. Formerly the chief art-market correspondent for The Economist, Thornton is the author of three critically acclaimed books, including 2008’s Seven Days in the Art World. A Canadian who went to the U.K. on a Commonwealth Scholarship, Thornton was once hailed as “Britain’s hippest academic.” Now based in San Francisco, she is better known as “the Jane Goodall of the art world.” Thornton’s newest book, Tits Up: What Sex Workers, Milk Bankers, Plastic Surgeons, Bra Designers, and Witches Tell Us About Breasts, is coming out this year.

FLORENCE WILLIAMS (Science Journalist, Author, Podcaster) is a contributing editor at Outside magazine and a freelance writer for The New York Times, The New York Times Magazine, National Geographic, The New York Review of Books and numerous other publications. Williams’ latest book, Heartbreak: A Personal and Scientific Journey, won the 2023 PEN/E.O. Wilson Award for Literary Science Writing. Previously, her book Breasts: A Natural and Unnatural History (2012, W.W. Norton) received the Los Angeles Times Book Prize in science and technology and the 2013 Audie for general nonfiction. It was also named a notable book of 2012 by The New York Times. 

JUDY MAMOU (Former Exotic Dancer) was well-known for performing at nightclubs in the North Beach neighborhood of San Francisco. Mamou’s acts included fire, a monkey and a boa constrictor. She is the author of The Other Woman, her intimate story of coming of age in the ’60s, the path she took to nightclub life and the events that motivated her to leave it.

Edit Content

BENITA MATTIOLI (Author) grew up in a small Mormon town in Northern Utah. At age 20 she became a flight attendant and met Pete Mattioli on a vacation trip to Waikiki Beach. They have been together ever since. She has come to know most of the fascinating characters she writes about in her debut book Three Nights at the Condor, the captivating true story of how a tiny San Francisco bar was transformed into the first – and then the most famous – topless nightclub in history, becoming a key player in the sexual revolution of the 1960s.

JERRY MARTINI (Musician) is best known for being the saxophonist for legendary funk band Sly and the Family Stone. Martini began performing with the band at its inception in 1967 and continues to play with them today. He was inducted into the Rock & Roll Hall of Fame in 1993.

JOHN BURTON (Former U.S. Congressman, Former Bartender) is an American politician who served in both the California State Assembly and the United States House of Representatives. A member of the Democratic Party, Burton represented California’s 5th and 6th congressional districts. He was born in San Francisco and before beginning his political career in the mid-’60s Burton was a North Beach bartender.

PETE MATTIOLI (Former Condor Club Owner) owned the Condor Club with Gino Del Prete during its rise to the international spotlight. After retiring from the Condor Mattioli went into the horse business, where he thrived due to the champion genes of his horse Cal Bar, described by The Quarter Horse Journal as “Joe Montana, Magic Johnson and Mozart all rolled into one.” He is a former Equus Honoree and champion at cutting horses who led the formation of the Horse Council in Sonoma County.


SF Timeline

San Francisco has been at the center of innovation, culture, and counter-culture since the mid-1800s.
And Carol Doda has been a significant force in that, as well.

The Gold Rush
Hordes flock to the San Francisco area to seek their fortune.
Sourdough Bread

Sourdough bread is said to have first been made in San Francisco in 1849, and is often associated with the prospectors who flocked to the area starting the same year in search of their fortunes.

Late 1800s
Mary Ellen Pleasant

Mary Ellen Pleasant was a 19th-century entrepreneur, financier, real estate magnate and abolitionist. She was the first self-made millionaire of African-American heritage.

Levi Strauss

Strauss creates the first pair of denim jeans.

San Francisco Earthquake

At 05:12 on Wednesday, April 18, 1906, San Francisco was struck by a major earthquake, estimated to be 7.9 magnitude. 

Golden Gate Bridge

The Golden Gate Bridge opens on May 27, 1937, linking San Francisco Bay to Marin County. 

Carol Doda Goes Topless

In 1964, Doda made international news by dancing topless at San Francisco's Condor Club.

Bill Graham/The Fillmore

Music pioneer promoter Bill Graham brings acts like The Jefferson Airplane, the Grateful Dead,  Jimi Hendrix, Santana and The Who to a wider audience.

Black Panther Party

Founded October 1966 in Oakland, California.

The Summer Of Love

In the summer of 1967, as many as 100,000 people, mostly young people sporting hippie fashions of dress and behavior, converged in San Francisco's neighborhood of Haight-Ashbury

Harvey Milk Elected

Harvey Milk was the first openly gay man to be elected to public office in California, as a member of the San Francisco Board of Supervisors.

Silicon Valley Technology Revolution

The Bay Area becomes the birthplace for countless technology companies shaping our modern world.

Margo St. James

Margaret Jean "Margo" St. James was an American sex worker and sex-positive feminist. In San Francisco, she founded COYOTE, an organization advocating for sex workers.

"Carol Doda Topless At The Condor" in Theaters
Carol Doda Topless At The Condor movie poster.

C'mon everybody, c'mon in Bobby's gonna show you how to do the swim. Kinda like The Monkey, kinda like The Twist Pretend you're in the water and you go like this Now baby, Swim Baby, do The Swim

C'mon And Swim

Carol rose to fame when she go-go danced “The Swim” on top a piano at the Condor Club, with music performed by Bobby Freeman.

The Monokini

The monokini was designed by Rudi Gernreich in 1964. His revolutionary and controversial design included a bottom that “extended from the midriff to the upper thigh” and was “held up by shoestring laces that make a halter around the neck.” Some credit Gernreich’s revolutionary and controversial design with initiating the sexual revolution.

Gernreich sold about 3,000 suits, but only two were worn in public. The first on June 19, 1964, by Carol Doda.

The iconic Rudi Gernreich one piece design has now been faithfully reissued and is true to the freedom of movement of the original. Liberate yourself and go bare-chested today.

The Monokini | Rudi Gernreich US

Scroll to Top