Bill Lustig and the X rated films of Billy Bagg

Bill Lustig and the films of Billy Bagg – Distribpix Podcast episode #2

The Distribpix Podcast  Episode #2- Bill Lustig and the films of Billy Bagg

The Distribpix Podcast Episode #2- Bill Lustig and the films of Billy Bagg

Before he was known as Bill Lustig, he was called Billy Bagg, want to know why?

Before he became the legendary head of Blue Underground and years before he was releasing his favorite films to DVD for Anchor Bay, he was Billy Bagg.

Billy Bagg was an alias for Bill Lusting when he directed 2 X rated films in the late 1970′s, Hot Honey and The Violation of Claudia. Both of these films are getting a special release as a double feature, with brand new 2 k scans of each film, as well as amazing commentaries on both of the films, moderated by Hollywood director Nic Winding Refn.

Bill Lusting and Nic Winding Refn, 2010.

Bill Lusting and Nic Winding Refn, 2010.

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The details of the audio commentary are amazing, and any Blue Underground, Nic Winding Refn fan or just fan of classic erotica must pick up ,this soon to be released DVD. This project has been a huge undertaking and the restorations of both films are excellent. In order to prepare and celebrate this release, I got together with Bill Lustig in his West Hollywood apartment in late January 2014 and we sat down and talked a bit about his career, his love for cinema and we touched briefly about the films. Lustig also talks about growing up in NJ, escaping to the grind houses of NYC as a child, his early influences and so much more! BUT, we made it a point to leave out all the exact details of the films and keep them exclusive to  the commentary tracks. But, with that said, I hope you enjoy our conversation together, it is honest, simple and to the point.   In the podcast, he refers several times to “your father”, he is referring to Arthur Morowitz, the original founder of Distribpix.

 

Bill Lustig X Rated Films          

 

Listen to the podcast here:


Or download it here: Bill Lustig Podcast

The Films of Billy Bagg

Honcho of Blue Underground, Manic Cop Maven and Anchor Bay Bandit ,Bill Lustig, was once called Billy Bagg….yup- Billy Bagg!

Yes, this is absolutely true. He made 2 films using that alias, The Violation of Claudia and Hot Honey, both from the late 1970′s. These were his first films, Violation of Claudia was shot in 35mm and Hot Honey in 16mm. Distribpix owns both of the films and the original elements. They were recently scanned in 2k resolution and had digital restoration and color correction performed. They both look very clean, maybe too clean!

Several years ago, Bill Lustig, along with famous movie director, Nicolas Winding Refn,were both gracious enough to come to a sound studio in Burbank, to perform audio commentaries on both films, both full length, it is gold! Nic actually moderates the commentary with a cynical tone that changes from astonished to comical, but all in all, it is very informative, and the complete stories of both films are told. Bill is wonderful with his memory, he is accurate and shares many details. I am hoping that all of the Blue Underground fans will give this release a chance, if not only for almost 4 hours of unique and rare commentary, but equally as gorgeous film restorations. I think this will become a valuable collectible.

The films are being authored and should be able to see the market by late Spring, early summer.

It will be billed as a double feature that will contain both films, from 2k scans, full length audio commentary for each film and an exclusive slideshow/ephemera gallery.

I have wanted to release this for a while now and I am excited to see things finally moving along again.

I hope you enjoy The Billy Bagg Double Feature.

 

Bill Lustig X Rated Films

Bill Lustig

The World Theater, The Violation of Claudia

The World Theater, The Violation of Claudia

Hot_Honey_ad

 

 

 

A Tribute to Porn Legend Gloria Leonard

All About Gloria Leonard, Original theatrical Invitation- Art Board.© 2014 Distribix Inc.

All About Gloria Leonard, Original theatrical Invitation- Art Board.© 2014 Distribix Inc.

Gloria Leonard: Another Legend Passes, August 28, 1940 – February 3, 2014

Gloria Leonard was not just a porn star. Gloria was a friend and maybe even more like a distant aunt. She would call my mom by her first name, she would always ask, “How’s Harriet”? I heard her name all the time growing up, as she was essentially one of the main contract stars, for much of the early Video-X-Pix classics, which was a company, run by my father and his partner. She got along very well with her cohorts.

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She was an activist, a mouthpiece for the industry, fighting for the rights of her fellow performers and censorship issues. She was a business woman, worked on Wall Street. She helped invent the phone sex revolution. She was the publisher of High Society. And a pornographic  film star. She was a single mother, and a wife. An AVN Hall of Famer and XRCO Legend. A friend to so many and an icon to thousands more. She will never be forgotten.

Gloria Leonard.

Gloria Leonard.

Gloria got her start in the film industry after meeting Radley Metzger in 1976. She starred in 2 of his films, The Opening of Misty Beethoven(1976) and Maraschino Cherry(1979).

The Opening of Misty Beethoven and Maraschino Cherry

The Opening of Misty Beethoven and Maraschino Cherry

Gloria Leonard and Constance Money, The Opening of Misty Beethoven.

Gloria Leonard and Constance Money, The Opening of Misty Beethoven.

She continued to work throughout the industry as a star and a often made cameo appearances. Her starring role in Joe Sarno’s, All About Gloria Leonard (1978) , and later appearances in Chuck Vincent’s Misbehavin(1979) set her apart from your average star. We even get to see her as a blonde in Silky (1981).

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All About Gloria Leonard, 1978. ©2014 Distribpix Inc.

All About Gloria Leonard, 1978. ©2014 Distribpix Inc.

Gloria was very pivotal in the early years of the Distribpix Video arm- Video-X-Pix. The industry had just gone thru it’s porn-chic prime and was on the down slide-  the self named “Movie Mongoloids”(Morowitz/Farber), had sequestered Joe Sarno to helm the camera for some good old NYC porn features on 35 mm, to implement their newly acquired Sam Lake Enterprises. Gloria was there at the right time, she was a real lady and she had an incredible sense of humor, An excellent quality that most know about her.

Distribpix founders, with Gloria Leonard, circa 1978.

Distribpix founders, with Gloria Leonard, circa 1978.

It has been hard to try and write something since the news hit all of us last week. We were in touch with each other, not every month, but we spoke. I flew her to NYC in 2009, we worked together on some interviews and extras for Radley Metzger’s ,’Maraschino Cherry’. We had fun, and I distinctly remember her flying in, and we had her picked up at the airport, and she was beat and needed a pick me up. She was so up front, so straight forward and looked at me and said, ” Do you have any pot to smoke”? I knew I had my dream girl! We shared a joint, it was great. We had tons of fun. After our visit, she headed into the city and then on to visit her daughter down south.

We saw each other again, and it did not seem that long ago, I want to say it was 2012. I was working on a deluxe and remastered package of Radley Metzger’s,  ‘The Opening of Misty Beethoven’. This was Gloria Leonard’s first adult role and a hell of a role it was. I wanted her to do a commentary track for the release, as well as perform an HD interview, which she did in Hawaii, at a cinematographer’s studio. In return for her services, I flew her into NYC, so she can spend some amazing time with her lifelong friend’s of Club 90( Gloria Leonard, Kelly Nichols, Sue Nero,Veronica Hart, Veronica Vera, Candida Royalle, Annie Sprinkle, as well as attend a wedding of her dear friend, Veronica Vera. ( Again, I hope I am getting these details right, sorry if they are jumbled).

Gloria also attended a Club 90 reunion at the Museum of Sex in NYC, where all the girls got together on a panel. They spoke of their lives, their work and we got a solid glimpse of what they are all about. It was a great event. Even dragged my father out, and he has always had a soft spot in his heart for Gloria.

Club 90 reunion, June 2012.

Club 90 reunion, June 2012.

Arthur Morowitz and Gloria Leonard, 2012.

Arthur Morowitz and Gloria Leonard, 2012.

They had a wonderful relationship, and it showed. We took her out to dinner after the event at the Old Homestead, the oldest steakhouse in NYC. Now this detail is faded in my mind, but this is no joke- at the table were Arthur Morowitz, Gloria Leonard, Joe Rubin, myself and Bill Lustig? LOL. I am not kidding, I just forget how Bill got into the mix. Anyway, it was a great meal, a good time. Gloria and my father had a slap stick relationship, they joked all the time. They would also talk business and of course some politics. She would often use the same jokes on him and vice versa. At the last dinner we had, He joked, that if he fucked her, he would be arrested for necrophilia,  and she coyly reply, “Hey Arthur, if you want to commit suicide, just jump off you wallet”. The same old jokes.

The Old Homestead Stekakhouse- Arthur Morowitz , Gloria Leonard, Joe Rubin and Bill Lustig(not pictured).

The Old Homestead Stekakhouse- Arthur Morowitz , Gloria Leonard, Joe Rubin and Bill Lustig(not pictured).

The loved each other, and I loved her too. I genuinely knew of her much of my life and since 2009, had kept a semi continuous relationship with her. Even recently, she had taken to Facebook and was doing some nice communicating, between old and lost friends, and even new fans. This came as a huge surprise to me, not sure why, I mean, these things happen. But, for some reason, I just thought of Gloria sticking around for a long while. I wish I had a chance to say good bye, I am sure we all feel that way. As I get older, death becomes something that I have been dealing much more often. We get older, our elders, get older. Life moves quick, and I know we can’t fight death, we must accept it. BUT, we can make sure that people are not forgotten. We can make sure that legends live on forever. I will do what I can in my life, to help keep Gloria’s legend alive. Preserve her on film, tell stories, share images, etc.

Gloria Leonard and Distribpix Founder,Arthur Morowitz, 1978.

Gloria Leonard and Distribpix Founder,Arthur Morowitz, 1978.

I love you Gloria. I am posting some gorgeous and not too often seen images of you throughout your career. These are from the archive and there are hundreds of them, and hopefully they will be part of a coffee table book on the genre! But for now, these are for old fans, new fans and anyone else. You were an original, one of the pioneers, a legend. With all of our love forever.

Gloria Leonard, 1978. ©2014 Distribpix Inc.

Gloria Leonard, 1978. ©2014 Distribpix Inc.

Gloria Leonard. ©2014 Distribpix Inc.

Gloria Leonard. ©2014 Distribpix Inc.

Phone Sex Fantasies-Gloria Leonard. ©2014 Distribpix Inc.

Phone Sex Fantasies-Gloria Leonard. ©2014 Distribpix Inc.

Gloria Leonard, 1978. ©2014 Distribpix Inc.

Gloria Leonard, 1978. ©2014 Distribpix Inc.

Screw founder and legendary actress, Gloria Leonard.

Screw founder and legendary actress, Gloria Leonard.

The one and only, Gloria Leonard. ©Distribpix Inc.

The one and only, Gloria Leonard. ©Distribpix Inc.

Pornography in New York, New York at it’s hardest core….

From the Distribpix Archives, all content ©Distribpix Inc. All Rights Reserved

For the last month, I have been fortunate enough to have a college student, acting as an assistant in my archive, doing many things, but primarily, his job was to continue on the never ending mission of digitally scanning through our archive. Not large scale stuff, like posters, but rather the countless filing cabinets of contact sheets and their respective negatives, racks of binders of 35mm color slides from the shoots, boxes of 8×10 glossies from all the sexploitation films, old theater shots, original VXP and Sweetheart theater mini catalogs, shoe boxes of never before seen photos, rolodex contents and even daily planners, etc.

As many of you have seen, there is a daunting amount of photo material in the archive, all one a kind and rare. So little by little, we are chugging through it, and backing up our files daily. As much as I love this type of nostalgia, I am drawn to the more personal ephemera, particularly shots of the people who were part of the actual landscape of classic erotica. No matter if they were on the big screen, the owner of the company, the projectionist or the janitor. None of them survived without the other. With the current state of technology today, it is easy to see how and why, many of us take for granted the actual workings of the golden age of erotic films. People today think that they would shoot a film, take it to theater, BAM. It was so much more involved than that and the mechanics of the industry were as complex and fine tuned as they are to this day, maybe even more so.

I have had several people as part time assistants, and this guy was by far the best. He was a worker and smart as well, and technical. He could handle scanning slides, organizing digital files and packing DVD’s at the same time. He did a great job helping me digitize some great ephemera. Almost 14,000 individually scanned files over several months- from contact sheets to business cards to catalogs. He was one of many who have helped me chisel yet another notch in the arduous task of unraveling the Distribpix legacy, which is Pornography in New York. Distribpix is Pornography in New York and more!!

I wanted to share a few of the more recent pictures from the golden age of NYC erotica, these have been hidden away for over 30 years, it is a pleasure to see some of them.

Legends of the Golden Age of Erotica, Joe Sarno, Gloria Leonard, Arthur Morowitz

Legends of the Golden Age of Erotica, Joe Sarno, Gloria Leonard, Arthur Morowitz

Joe Sarno and Gloria Leonard were both key players in the early days of New York hardcore.  Joe was making films when he met Arthur and Howard, but he was still growing as a filmmaker. It is safe to say that he is a as synonymous with Distribpix, like bread and butter. Gloria was a legend in her own right. This photo was taken around the time that Joe directed, All About Gloria Leonard( 1978-79), which was a popular film from Video-X-Pix.

Porn Queen, Annie Sprinkle and Arthur M.

Porn Queen, Annie Sprinkle and Arthur M.

Annie Sprinkle and Distribpix/Video-X-Pix Founder, circa 1982. Annie Sprinkle was essentially discovered by Gerard Damiano while she was working at a theater out west. She followed him back to New York and the rest is history. She was vibrant, kinky and collected. As far as I know, this is has never been seen before and totally exclusive.

Distribpix Founder- Arthur Morowitz, working the booth at the famous World Theater.

Distribpix Founder- Arthur Morowitz, working the theater.

After legendary Bobby Sumner ran the World Theater is was taken over by the owners of Distribpix. The ran it with several other theaters that became part of the legendary Sweetheart Theater chain (The World, The Orleans, The Circus Cinema, The East World, The Harem). Arthur was a true businessman, and when it came to making a buck, he had the brains and the balls. He really did help to create and industry and move it along. His business sense was as keen as it could get. He would eventually own many theaters in NYC, and the surrounding areas.

Original Distribpix Business cards.

Original Distribpix Business cards.

Well, if you thought that Distribpix was isolated to only New York, your dead wrong. As much as it was a NY based institution, Howie and Artie, had branched out to the west coast, to make sure that their films would have equal representation in the theaters of Los Angeles, as well as other west coast venues. Those were the days, but not long after, 35mm began to die and of course for Artie and Howard, that was an obstacle that they conquered with ease( VIDEO-X-PIX and VIDEO SHACK). It really is an intense story and I am hardly able to scratch the surface. He talks about it with much passion and we have recorded so much of it. It is almost much better told by him.

One of many Video Shack, window displays, 49st, NYC.

One of many Video Shack, window displays, 49st, NYC.

Now, I want you all to listen up! Take a moment and make sure you digest the following little tidbits. This is a window display of the Flagship Video Shack on West 49thst, 7th and Bway, which was owned by Distribpix founders. As many of you know, it was the first and certainly the best, of the big biz video chains, that had created and helped to define home video.( 20 plus locations). In other words, like the slogan boasted, ” WE HAVE THEM ALL”, and they did.

Anyway, so this is a shot of the last window of the store, and the display is all ADULT product, nothing else, and what is the product? It is all Video-X-Pix product in the window. Next to the Video Shack, you can see the entrance to the porn theater, All American Girls is showing. That theater is also owned by Distribpix founders, and they operated it. So here is the lesson, which is obvious when you hear it from me, but it took me many years to see all of this and actually put it together. So they owned some of the best real estate in NYC, on that block they owned and operated a huge video store, which sold their own Video-X-Pix produced adult product, next to a theater that showed their own 35mm productions( and others)……….Holy shit, are you with me, talk about a little fucking empire! No doubt, the rents in NYC are as high as they can get. They got in at the right time, they had the brains to create and pave a niche and the drive to succeed.

Video Shack catalog, 1983.

Video Shack catalog, 1983.

The story can go really deep and as much as I want to tell it all, it is for another time. We may produce a short documentary that focuses on the basics of Video Shack, or bring back the brand in the form of a blog.

Screw founder and legendary actress, Gloria Leonard.

Screw founder and legendary actress, Gloria Leonard.

When I was around 7 or 8 years old, the words- Al Goldstein, Seka, Porno and Video were commonplace. I did not have the most typical upbringing. Totally normal in the sense that I would go to school, was an average(or below) student, and hung out. Not typical, in the sense that I was constantly surrounded by the adult business and I have 2 brothers, as well. So you got 3 boys, living and breathing this biz, all living in the same house. There were pictures of my father and Al Goldstein on the walls of our home and when I look back on it now, the pictures were hanging up, because he was proud of Al, and proud of their relationship. I still have those pictures, and they are amazing. I know I met Al, when I was a young boy, and have no actual memories that I had of him and me interacting, other than seeing him in my father’s office.

Al Goldstein, hopefully now resting in peace, is pictured here in much younger and thinner days. He is in the Distribpix offices eating cake and possibly celebrating the release of All About Gloria Leonard, or maybe not. I have not shown this to my father yet, but he is very quick to remember the most random stuff, and he may be able to identify the context of this photo.  In order to discover the context of some of this ephemera, I have to almost act in a forensic manner.

Video Shack was a family business, even my grandmother worked there, for many years.

Video Shack was a family business, even my grandmother worked there, for many years.

The great Syliva Millhauser (my mom’s mom and only surviving grandparent), my grandmother, worked at one of the Video Shack locations on Long Island, I think it was the Carle’s Place store( I have to double check). She was an amazing employee and worked their for so many years. She is still alive and I want to interview here before it is too late. She would take me to work and I loved to stay with them, in their tiny apartment in Little Neck. My mother would drive me to Queens, and I would stay with her so many times. My grandpa Jerry would leave at 5 am and take the train to the garment district, where he worked for his entire life, until he was canned, it was sad. Oddly enough, at that time, the Video Shack on 49th st, was a cash machine and to keep grandpa Jerry busy, my father gave him a job as a security guard, to keep an eye on the ADULT room in the back of the store, which was a hot commodity. So my grandpa continued to get up at 5 am and head into the city, but instead of going to the garment district, he headed to Video Shack.

This amazing shot, shows grandma Sylvia, working the porn counter and working it well. Look at that selection in the glass counter. It is the mecca of adult VHS! I remember her so gracefully charging someone’s credit card for hundreds of dollars of VHS porn( which was like 2 movies)! Or asking why they did not rewind Debbie Does Dallas. Again, it is in hindsight that I realize all of this.

Original Sweetheart theater min-catalog, these are priceless.

Original Sweetheart theatre mini-catalog, these are priceless.

“Take Your Sweetheart to a Sweetheart Theatre”!! The Sweetheart Theatre chain consisted of 5 film houses- The World Theatre, The EastWorld, The Circus, The Harem and The Orleans. These were all prolific film houses, some more historic and important than others. The World Theater had an amazing reputation and if you had your movies play at the World, it was a good thing. It was like, ” If it is playing at the World, it must be great”. Gerard Damiano’s Deep Throat  premiered at the World in 1972 and so did many of Radley Metzger’s films, such as The Opening of Misty Beethoven in 1976. The Circus around the corner was more gritty, but also a cash cow. I grew up around the theaters, I was too young to be a patron, but it never stopped me from going inside. I would go along for walks to pick up money bags from the theaters, with large men, that carried guns. I hung out with a Philippino projectionist named Raleigh, who would lift weights in the projection booth, between reel changes- NO JOKE. He was packed with muscle and if I remember correctly, he was a runner up or a winner of the Mr. Philippines contest, before he came to the US. I mean, I was thrown into this projection booth and I would peek down into this packed theater of perverts, it was awesome. I remember once, going down to the front entrance and asking for a soda and candy bar. I am not sure if I was even 10 years old at the time?

The World Theater.

The World Theater.

I hope you enjoyed my little mini tour of some of these rare and unique images, there are so many more stories and images, they really can fill volumes of coffee table books, but right now, I have to get some sleep. Long live New York’s golden age of erotica.

-Distribpix Man

Mike Vraney, Founder of SWV, dead at 56

Mike Vraney, founder of Something Weird Video and master collector and comic book expert died last night, Jan.2, 2014.

Mike Vraney, founder of Something Weird Video.

Mike Vraney, founder of Something Weird Video.

Some of the saddest news to come out of the video industry in some time, and I am afraid that Lisa, Mike’s wife, had confirmed his death was last night. Mike died at home, after a long battle with lung cancer. He dies with Lisa by his side and he was suffering. Mike’ suffering is over, but his legacy will live on forever, through the fans and through his collections. He also go to realize his dream, which was to make the story of sexploitation and work with his mentor, the late Dave Friedman. I am honored to have gotten to actually sit with Mike and Lisa, this past Ocotober, as we watched “That’s Sexploitation” and he was so proud of that, so happy and watching it with Mike and Lisa, was a once in a lifetime experience. Although Mike was very sick, during all of this, he smiled and was truly happy.  The Distribpix Family would like to send it’s heartfelt condolences to Mikes family, his wife-Lisa, his 2 wonderful children and all the other close people in Mike’s small circle. Tim Lewis, Frank Henenlotter, Jimmy Maslin, and all others. I am truly sorry for this loss, but I know he is no longer suffering.

My father, Arthur Morowitz, who was very close with both Dave Friedman and Mike Vraney, was very saddened to learn of this just a few minutes ago, and was rather upset, he knew how ill Mike has been, and is relieved that he is no longer suffering.

He added, “This is a monumental loss to the film community and a diamond in the rough has left this earth. Mike was a very interesting guy and took chances that led him to brand SWV and turn that into a globally recognized name, and that was something that I was drawn to immediately. He released many of our early Distribpix titles to the market and we have been involved in film deals for decades. He was a man of his word, and strong will and that is one of the traits that drew my attention, when we first met. He was aggressive and would always follow through on our deals. He was a man of privacy and when we did get together, we always had fun. Although we have not been in touch for a while, I did get to speak with him before his passing and that was special. he will be missed.

Mike Vraney and his lovely wife Lisa.

Mike Vraney and his lovely wife Lisa.

I will be doing more stories and interviews on SWV and Mike’s legacy , but in the meantime, all love to the family and close friends. Let’s get That’s Sexploitation into Distribution!!!

Extra! Extra! Hindsight: Richard Pacheco’s Autobiography Hits Newsstands!

HINDSIGHT : True Love & Mischief in the Golden Age of Porn

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by Howie Gordon aka Richard Pacheco

Published by BearManor Media, Albany

Let me take you back to the early days of Spring 1986.  The setting : a small yet serviceable flat rented by my late BFF Frank in our hometown of Bruges, Belgium.  One sun-dappled afternoon, four freshly out of the closet friends aged 18 to 20 (including the aforementioned Frank as well as yours truly) feasted their fevered fantasies over our host’s carefully conserved copy of Playgirl Magazine’s Men of the Year special issue for the year 1980, lasciviously if tastefully lining up the cavalcade of cock that had graced its pages over the twelve preceding months.  Amidst our personal likes and dislikes, we all ended up agreeing that the selected stud laureate, one Howie Gordon of Berkeley, CA, met all our expectations and then some, therefore declared a worthy winner by our fabulous foursome.  To paraphrase a Cole Porter tune, he’d be oh so nice to come home to.  Sigh…

Among our quarrelsome quartet, though I didn’t let on at the time, I happened to be the only one (and since none of the others could ever stop blabbing contrary to softspoken lil’ me, they wouldn’t have been able to keep such a goodie to themselves) who was able to identify this hunk o’burnin’ love as adult actor Richard Pacheco.  A loyal if criminally underage patron of our local porno palace, which had definitively closed its doors the year before, I had harbored a serious crush on the guy since seeing him as sensitive boy next door stripper Jonathan, sweetly seducing then ruthlessly abandoning spinster schoolmarm Georgina Spelvin in Anthony Spinelli’s 1981 carnal classic THE DANCERS, a first-rate fuck flick first viewed in the early days of ’83 that still stands firmly amongst my personal favorites three decades down the line.
Mind you, this was not the very first adult film I had ever seen but none of the male performers I was familiar with at the time had struck much of a chord beyond the “oh yummy” stage that would traditionally last mere seconds and rarely extend past some masturbatory frenzy they had unwittingly inspired.  What made this Pacheco fella so special that he would stand out among his crowd of pornographic peers ?  The answer was simply : more.  Not necessarily in the penile compartment, as there were far heavier hung horsemen about, but contrary to popular belief (which the Internet does absolutely nothing to dispel) not every gay man, or woman for that matter, is a size queen per se.  No, we’re talking about something more on the inside, going on between the ears and expressing itself in a manner not immediately expected from someone in his line of work.  Conflicting with the conventional superstud image comfortably inhabited by most men in explicit entertainment, Pacheco’s screen persona was like THE DANCERS’ Jonathan very much what we imagined slash hoped the boy next door to be, someone we would like to know outside the confines of the bedroom, fall in love with maybe, at the least could fornicate and have fun with.  In short, a complete person, unafraid to show his softer side, not as some wrongly perceived weakness but as an actual stock in trade few screen studs cared to rival with, apart from Eric Edwards and Bob Bolla perhaps.

And now there’s the one time Richard Pacheco aka the achingly real Howie Gordon’s long-awaited autobiography, which he’s been planning to write since 1984, finally seeing the light of day.  Thirty years in the making !  A cast of thousands !  Was it worth the wait ?  You betcha !  Clocking in at just under 700 albeit lavishly illustrated pages (full color if you catch it on Kindle but beautifully rendered in black and white on the printed page nonetheless), it tells absolutely all about this most personable of porn performers.  Yet to circumsize his character to fit the fuck film frame is to do the man grave injustice.  Although each of his erotic epics is duly elaborated upon and judged as much as a personal experience in making it then as a work of entertainment, if not outright art, his adventures in the skin trade are just the tip of the iceberg, or perhaps in Howie’s case that should be the ever erupting volcano.  A backdrop almost to the greatest adventure of all, a life lived to the full that encompasses everlasting love with wife Carly and fatherhood forever strained yet sometimes also strangely strengthened by gainful employment in the erotic industry.

Gordon appears entirely unafraid to present himself as is, warts and all, described in an infectious style of conspiratorial camaraderie that draws readers in from page one, not to let them loose, equal parts exhilarated and exhausted, till the entire tale has been told.  Frequently interjected with jokey interludes by Marty the agent, pulling him back on track whenever in danger of digressing, and the voice of God (I kid you not), this could have easily ended up an unholy mess of a patchwork quilt but somehow Howie holds it all together beautifully as he guides us through his troubled youth, struggling with obesity prior to having his cherry popped on three (!!!) different occasions, past the relationships that were to shape his life either for better or worse.  Adult aficionados will, of course, hungrily devour accounts of encounters with such lusty luminaries as Marilyn Chambers or the late lamented Shauna Grant, to name but two on opposite sides of the spectrum connecting hilarity and heartbreak respectively.  Fair enough, we would all like to know what these fantasy-fuelling females were really like and Howie’s too much of a Mensch to reduce any of them to predictable stereotypes or performance rating scales.  What audiences witnessed on screen was often but a pale imitation of the interhuman complexities emanating from the brief bonds formed by the author and his leading ladies over a period lasting a mere couple of days stretching to several weeks, depending on what a particular project’s budget and shooting schedule would allow.  Considering the amount of time this book has spent in various stages of gestation, a certain déjà vu effect might inevitably occur among avid readers of men’s publications such as Hustler or Penthouse which have featured embryonic editions of various tidbits included herein over the years.  Equally important were his lasting friendships forged with filmmaker and mentor Sam Weston aka Anthony Spinelli and reigning rooster of the hardcore hen house John Leslie, who teamed up for the monumental TALK DIRTY TO ME and its makers illicit sequel (as title rights belonged to the producer with whom he, characteristically, had a falling out) NOTHING TO HIDE, much deservedly yielding numerous industry awards for people on both sides of the cameras.  Both men sadly no longer with us, Howie pays them touching tribute.

Still, the one character that will stay with readers long after they have finished this massive tome, rightfully so as she’s undoubtedly the most important person in his life, is Mrs. Gordon.  Wife, mother and ultimately grandmother, Carly remains something of a conundrum, a wish fulfilment forgiving spouse for boys who refuse to grow up, until Howie graciously allows her voice to be heard, explaining how it took a whole lotta love, respect and resilience to keep their family firmly fixed.  This essential testimony cements the book’s definitive status as one man’s soul-searching study of his own life and what it all meant, reflected by the views of his most significant other to put it all into perspective.  Like James Stewart’s modern day Job George Bailey from Frank Capra’s Christmas classic IT’S A WONDERFUL LIFE or perhaps more appropriately Don Ameche’s on the surface seemingly far more salacious scoundrel Henry Van Cleve in Ernst Lubitsch’s HEAVEN CAN WAIT, Howie’s world eventually turned out a far better place for having him in it.  In a foreword that merits the book’s purchase all by itself, longtime friend and neighbor Whoopi Goldberg (perhaps the most down to earth Hollywood celeb but still) confirms as much and it is further tribute to the guy’s gentlemanly stature that he barely bothers to namedrop her throughout after that glowing introduction.

Somewhere up in the sky, Frank (reread my opening paragraph if you already forgot about him) smiles down at me, shaking his head at his former friend’s impish secrecy, comfortably cushioned between too many dearly departed souls from all our lives, both real and imagined, sitting in the dark even in the most disreputable of movie houses.  At age 65, Dickie Pacheco finally got his autobiography out, timely as so many lustful luminaries have been checking out these past few years (in addition to Spinelli, Leslie and Chambers, there’s also been Gerard Damiano, Juliet Anderson, Harry Reems, Jeez, the list is long and way too depressing !), and its greatest surprise may be that it covers so much more than adult’s flourishing West Coast scene of the ’70s and ’80s when he starred in several of the more prestigious schmeckle movies.  Testimonies such as these are not only valid in covering aspects of cinema history in danger of imminent oblivion, as “polite society” would undoubtedly prefer, but as proof positive of the existence of a compassionate humanity even in the “unlikeliest of circumstances” as the world at large still prefers to pigeonhole the sex industry, an occasional box office blast like BOOGIE NIGHTS barely able to alter that peculiar perception.

Dries Vermeulen aka DirtyMovieDevotee (just this once more for you, Howie !)
BUY NOW:

http://www.amazon.com/Hindsight-True-Love-Mischief-Golden/dp/1593937490

In the Flesh – A Powerhouse Film Series

In the flesh at Anthology Film Archives Dec 5-8th, 2013

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The first of many “In the Flesh” series had ended  Sunday night December the 8th, with the grand finale 35mm print of Larry Revene’s Wanda Whips Wall Street, and many stars were in attendance.The festival was a complete success on many levels. Each night a different person or persons who were involved with each film came out and got to experience the 35mm screenings as well as participate in the Q/A sessions afterward. Each session was more amazing then we even expected, I mean none of us ever expected, brilliant -83 year old composer, Jack Urbont, to bust out with the Bumble Bee Tuna Jingle, which we wrote. More on that later. But anyone, who cared about the golden age 0f erotica and was in the NYC area was there!

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The festival started on Thursday night Dec. 5 , where famed composer and lyricist, Jack Urbont, was on hand to discuss his role in Danny Steinman’s, High Rise, 1973. This film is about a woman(Tamie Trevor) who goes on one of the most amazing apartment hunts in NYC history. The film features a stand out performance by adult industry veteran, Harry Reems, where he, a model train set and Tamie Trevor all share in on the fun. There is also in insanely erotic  threesome,featuring Jamie Gillis, and not too mention that over the top climax– a 20 minute orgy scene, with some great cinematography and editing. One of the best of 1973.

The 35mm print was in decent shape, and was UNCUT. There was laughter and the crowd was around 75-80 people. It was wonderful to see on the big screen. Before the film, a trivia session was performed were movie related questions were asked and the correct answer earned some really great golden age ephemera, like original press books, posters and even original 1/4 inch radio spots.

Afterward, there was a Q/A session with Jack Urbont-How was he involved? Why was he chosen?etc, etc, etc. He answered all of this and much more. First and foremost he brought a bunch of wonderful guests with him, including his wife, and he mentioned how proud he was of the job he did on the film so many decades before. The music is solid and it holds up. Jack also mentioned that the way he intertwined the theme of High Rise throughout the film was his biggest challenge and biggest success. He went on to let the audience know just how famous he was and it sort of stole the show. All of a sudden the patrons who stick around for the Q/A, including myself, were mesmerized with all of his musical conquests. Besides the fact that his father was a musician, he was clearly driven to let his music pave the way for his success. His resume reads like a “best of’ list of jingles and tunes from all the shows we grew up with. Don’t believe me? Have you ever heard the Soap Opera The Guiding Light? What about Mission Impossible?What about the Surperhero themes we all grew up with?The Hulk? What about Iron Man?How about that old famous Bum-Bum-Bum-Bum-Bumble-Bee Tuna? Well, he wrote them all and so much more. That is really just the tip of the ice berg and what I was able to remember off the top of my head.

JACK URBONT- MARVEL SUPERHERO THEME SONG

High Rise, Original certificate of X Rating.

High Rise, Original certificate of X Rating.

Jack was very friendly with Herbert Steinman, Imago Films, and through Herbert, Jack met his son Danny. Danny Steinman was shooting this incredibly wacky and possibly ahead of its time film, in the apex of the Deep Throat Explosion and he needed someone to helm the music. Jack was friends with Herbert, he was also incredibly talented and the composer was found. He worked closely with Danny and was able to have the total freedom of playing with the theme and making it fit with each mini-segment of the film. The film itself plays like mini scenes and each one has a different theme, so the same music is used, but in way that is so sophisticated, it has not been done ever before. And remember this is not canned or library music, but original music and lyrics, composed specifically for this theatrical motion picture.

After the film ended, Jack was particularly impressed with his job, mainly in the sense that it has been decades since he has even seen the film and he still thinks the composition is sophisticated and even with his youth was produced with much professionalism. He also specified that they musicians that he was working with ,were the real deal, and had chops to prove it. He even mentioned it would be something that he would like to potentially revisit in the future. One thing for sure about Jack Urbont, is that he loves what he does and that is so refreshing.

Distribpix Man (Steven M.), Composer- Jack Urbont and Curator-Casey Scott

Distribpix Man (Steven M.), Composer- Jack Urbont and Curator-Casey Scott

Thankfully, we will be able to capture more of the magic of Jack’s life and his experiences in the film, when we do our commentary and interview for the  re-release of the brand new scan from the negative. This is slated for a 2014 release and will have a remastered soundtrack as well!

HIGH RISE(1973) Hilarious and underrated classic telling the story of a girl looking for an apartment in the Big Apple. Top production values provided by Danny Stone (“Friday 13th”), with highlights including Harry Reems and a model train set, an extremely erotic lesbian threesome, and an 20 minute climactic orgy featuring the best adult film theme song ever. Featuring Jamie Gillis and Tamie Trevor.

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The second night of the festival was to be all about Jonas Middleton’s, 1976, horror and sexually charged thriller, Through The Looking Glass. It is possibly the most sought after cult film of the golden age erotic filmmaking, but this one also has a soft or ‘R’ version. I have met with Jonas before and after contacting Middleton on a whim, he was more than wiling to fly into NYC and be involved with the screening and Q/A session to follow. We all met for a Ukranian meal a few blocks from Anthology and it was quite pleasant. Afterward, we headed into the theater in the rain and wet snow, but made it just in time for the screening to begin. His fiance was so gracious to allow me to share her umbrella with her. Both of them were dressed for success and it certainly showed.

As usual we did the trivia for the night. the items given away were TTLG DVD, posters, press book and most amazingly, an original radio spot on 1/4 tape. Jonas came up and introduced the film, he was so gracious and very poised.

The attendance was the highest for this night with approximately 120 patrons, lots of good energy. We knew it would be a good draw, as the films has roots in both Horror and Adult film communities. The characters, the plot and the music are tops notch, just like the other films in the series. For example, the composer for TTLG, was the same composer who worked on Friday the 13th, Henry Manfredini, and the similar string arrangements can easily be heard. The print was again totally complete, but had it fair amount of fade and splices.

The film concluded with a Q/A session between the director, Jonas Middleton and the curator of the series, Casey Scott. It was a very informative conversation. Many topics were covered, including the fact that Jonas is a recovering alcoholic, and has also taken god into his life in a very serious manner. He is a devoted Christian. He is not ashamed, but rather proud of his short stint in adult films. He also explained a bit more about is mindset and his intent fro making this film. He specified that he really wanted people to pay attention to the underlying themes of the film, sex, taboo, desire and consequence.

Jonas seems very excited to continue to work on the re-release of the film and we are in the process of working on details for the best possible restored release of this epic film. Since Jonas, has particular interest in the ‘R’ rated version, it will also be receiving a full restoration, and not just a transfer. This will possibly allow Jonas, to find some new and interested mainstream outlets for the film.

From Left to Right: Casey Scott, Steven Morowitz, Jonas Middleton, Joe Rubin.

From Left to Right: Casey Scott, Steven Morowitz, Jonas Middleton, Joe Rubin.

THROUGH THE LOOKING GLASS(1976) Cult film par excellence, successfully blending adult and horror cinema into a legendary package. One of only 3 films made by the mysterious Jonas Middleton, “Through The Looking Glass” shows the descent of a beautiful rich socialite (Catherine Burgess) into a surreal, sexual hell. Featuring a career-best Jamie Gillis, the ever wonderful Terri Hall.

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take_off

Saturday night was again another stellar event. The film was Take Off and our special guess was legendary director, Larry Revene. Larry did not direct this film, but he was on the second unit and also took a mass amount of stills from the set, all of which are in my possession.  Many cast and crew showed up for the screening and it was a pleasure to welcome them all. Make-up artists, costume, music and actors- they were all there, it was very exciting and they were all proud to see their work on the big screen after all these years.

Trivia again was very special as original posters, press books and original radio spots were given away as prizes.

The Q/A was a bit leisure and ended up being a very welcome free for all, where many were standing up, yelling out questions, etc. It was really great and Larry just went with the flow.

After the Q/A there was a very nice vibe in the upstairs lobby of the theater where many of the cast and crew were able to catch up on lost time and reunite.

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One of the biggest surprises of the night was that legendary adult industry veteran, Carter Stevens, came in to see the film, all the way from the Poconos. It was amazing to meet him after all these years and the fans were equally excited. I think he had fun.

L to R: Distribpix Man with Legendary Adult Industry Veteran, Carter Stevens(Mal Worob).

L to R: Distribpix Man with Legendary Adult Industry Veteran, Carter Stevens(Mal Worob).

TAKE OFF

(1978)One of the greatest adult films of all time. Superlative on every level, Armand Weston made a stunning visual treat that looks as fresh today as it did 30 years ago. The film is plot heavy, starting in the 1920s and following the hero’s escapades decade by decade through the 1970s. Starring Georgina Spelvin, Annette Haven & Leslie Bovee.

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Then came the snow. Sunday night was the last night of the series and another storm of wet rain and snow hit the city. I was cold and windy, and kept a few people from coming out, but all in all, the outcome was very solid. The film for this night was Wanda Whips Wall Street,1982, a very witty and well shot film, with director Larry Revene in person, along with lead actress, Veronica Hart ( Wanda). Veronica was actually a surprise guest who flew in last minute to be a part of the series. Her presence lit up the event. The print itself was in very good condition, and Larry was thoroughly impressed with how the film has held up after all these years.

Original VHS Box Art elements, from the Distribpix Archives.

Original VHS Box Art elements, from the Distribpix Archives.

The trivia was quick and we introduced Larry and Veronica( Jane Hamilton), the crowd was very pleased with them both. The film went off with a theater full of laughter, some great music and lots of one liners. It is one of the co-sponsor’s, Joe Rubin’s, favorite films of the genre, so he conducted a thorough Q/A, which soon took on a force of it’s own. As with previous nights, many of the films cast and crew were in attendance, and on this night, the screenwriter, was gracious enough to show up with his wife and he even got involved with the Q/A, he just came right down the stage and grabbed the mic, it was gold. They all spoke of the film, Chuck Vincent, Editing and other topics. Afterward, there was a very long line of people waiting to see Larry, Jane and all the others.

L to R: Joe Rubin, Larry Revene, Jane Hamilton- Wanda Q/A

L to R: Joe Rubin, Larry Revene, Jane Hamilton- Wanda Q/A

L to R: Veronica Vera, Larry Revene, Veronica Hart, Candida Royalle

L to R: Veronica Vera, Larry Revene, Veronica Hart, Candida Royalle

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It was an amazing night. Many of Jane’s friends had come out to the event as well. I got to finally meet Candida Royalle and spend some time with her, as well as reacquaint myself with Veronica Vera. Many people had said that it felt like a class reunion of the golden age.

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Wanda Whips Wall Street(1982)

This is the first adult motion picture to probe and expose the sexy and exciting world of Big Money. Wanda, played by Veronica Hart, sets out to gain complete financial domination of a major securities firm. She uses methods both illegal and immoral in her quest for more of the corporation’s stock. Also starring Samantha Fox, Sharon Mitchell, Jamie Gillis.

Wanda Whips Wall Street is directed by Larry Revene, who was not only an excellent director in the 80′s, but has a tenure that goes back to the early 60′s, and continues through today, 2014. His early adult work began, when he helmed the camera for Bob Wolf and made many of the first loops in NYC, during the second half of the 1960′s. He also went on to continue to shoot for Wolf Productions on actual mini features or shorts. He became an incredibly pivotal part of the golden age of erotica in NYC, throughout the 70′s and 80′s, as a cinematographer, director, still photographer. He is certainly very well known for working with Chuck Vincent, of Platinum Pictures. Without going into great detail, Larry was literally one of the ‘GO TO” guy for the majority of directors of the day, from the Amero Brothers, Ron Sullivan, Armand Weston and others. He was a true professional and he got the job done. As the golden age came to end, Larry’s career and love for filmmaking continued to thrive, let’s just say it is in his blood. from Viet Nam to Iraq, Larry has been filming all over the world, he continues to make feature films as well as documentaries. Larry is an accomplished artist and painter as well. His work and his life are both full of absolutely incredible experiences, they are ones that books are written about, and that is just what Larry has done. He recently finished his first book, which is essential reading for any true fan of the golden age of erotic filmmaking.

Larry had copies of his books on hand and he sold quite a few of them, and signed them as well.  Please do yourself a favor and grab your copy today.

Wam_Bam

http://www.amazon.com/Wham-Bam-Boom-Trenches-Sojourner-ebook/dp/B00ANZ1UOW

All in all, In the Flesh ,was a total success, and the best part was being able to gather after each night and go out with a group of people for a few drinks, laugh and have some fun.  I got to meet dozens of Facebook friends, and make new acquaintances. In fact, the conversation I had with Larry, over several pints of Blue Moon, after the Take Off screening, was one of the best times I ever had.That is what I will remember most about this series.

Adult Industry Legends, Carter Stevens(R) and Larry Revene(L), reuniting at Anthology Film Archives

Adult Industry Legends, Carter Stevens(R) and Larry Revene(L), reuniting at Anthology Film Archives

Jane Hamilton and Larry Revene.

Jane Hamilton and Larry Revene.