Continuous Lean points out a series of Time Life photos detailing the collection of hand signals that Sherman Billingsley, the owner of Old Manhattan institution The Stork Club, used to communicate silently with his staff.

As owner of the storied supper-club haunt of characters on Mad Men, and of people from the real-life 1950's!, Billingsley employed his elaborate system to make it seem as if things at the Stork just happened like magic, be they good—champagne! perfume!—or bad—get out and never come back! In the photos, Billingsley demonstrates each move, along with his regular drink, a Coke.

A tug on the pocket square meant that he liked a table and wanted his assistant to "Get them a bottle of perfume." Could be a cheap bottle for $7.50, or Chanel for $150. LIFE © Time Inc.

A hand out on the table also meant that he liked the customers, and wanted his assistant to "Bring a bottle of champagne." LIFE © Time Inc.

If he pointed his finger down, he liked a table and wanted his assistant to "Bring a round of drinks," but I guess he didn't like them enough for the champagne. LIFE © Time Inc.

When Billingsley fiddled with his tie, it meant "No check for this table." Congrats. You win. Free dinner. LIFE © Time Inc.

A hand on the nose meant "Not important people" or "Their check is no good." You didn't want a hand on the nose. LIFE © Time Inc.

You definitely didn't want this thumbs up signal, which told his assistants to "Get them out & don't let them in again." LIFE © Time Inc.