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Golden Goddesses

Golden Goddesses
Front Cover: Serena

Saturday, April 12, 2014

Remembering Marilyn Chambers

Marilyn Chambers - Photo by Kenji
Marilyn Chambers passed away suddenly five years ago today. She is missed and remembered fondly not only by her fans, but by all of those who knew her well. In the summer of 2007, I interviewed Marilyn over the telephone for our biography, John Holmes: A Life Measured in Inches. Marilyn's memories of Holmes were overwhelmingly positive -- she understood him. A year after "Inches" was published and Marilyn sadly passed away, I reread our interview and realized there was enough material that could hopefully serve as the foundation for a Chambers profile/chapter in Golden Goddesses. Though the book was still in its infancy stages, my conversation with Marilyn Chambers is what became the impetus to highlight twenty-five women from Marilyn's era. 
     When we spoke, Marilyn's honesty, her spirit, her introspection and her love for her daughter, McKenna, were the factors that came through, and I wanted to honour those elements when I began to piece together Marilyn's profile. Thanks to McKenna, and to documentarian Valerie Gobos, because of their input, I was able to finish the chapter.
     One of the most touching aspects of launching Golden Goddesses in Hollywood in November 2012, was having the opportunity to meet Marilyn's long time best friend, Peggy, and her husband Darcy. Peggy and Darcy are wonderful, salt of the earth people. I am happy and pleased that Marilyn and Peggy were able to share in one another's lives for as long as they did, and I greatly appreciate their support of the book, in addition to McKenna and Val.
     The following excerpts are condensed from chapter four, "Marilyn Chambers: Girl Next Door Goes Behind the Green Door." I'd like to thank Valerie Gobos for suggesting the chapter's title. It's what Marilyn would have wanted.

    Of all of the female stars to resonate with aficianados of the golden era of Adult, Marilyn Chambers towers above the rest. Legendary for her unbridled, sexual  eccentricities onscreen, Chambers' early years  offer a glimpse into her potential as a maven in her field.
     Born in Providence, Rhode Island in 1952, Marilyn Ann Briggs came from good stock. Chambers was actively involved in gymnastics and trained as a junior Olympic diver as a young teenage girl. At seventeen Marilyn travelled to New York and enlisted with the Wilhelmina Talent Agency where she was promptly sent on auditions for commercial and film work. Chambers won a small role as Robert Klein's girlfriend in The Owl and the Pussycat, a Barbara Streisand that also co-starred reputable actor George Segal. During this period, Marilyn was photographed for the now infamous Ivory Snow soapbox advertisement that surfaced just as her career as an adult actress emerged after she agreed to appear in Behind the Green Door (1972) for brothers Artie and Jim Mitchell. When the pair made her an offer to star in their production and engage in real sex on camera, Chambers flatly turned them down, but reconsidered when they agreed to pay her an impressive sum of money for her efforts. She never imagined that the filmmakers would meet her demands and terms.

Marilyn Chambers: "I did that because I didn't want to do the film. I thought, 'Okay, I'm really going to give them something they're going to say no to.' I said 'I'm from New York, Don't you know who I am? I'm not going to do that!' They were cool guus and and they were very foxy, very sly, you know? They had their shit together for a short period.
      I loved the Mitchell brothers. I loved Artie and Jim and still do today. They're like brothers. Tey gave me an opportunity to do something and I thought 'Okay, I'll do a couple of films for them and then I'll get out of it, and I'll be able to do stuff in Hollywood.' I agreed [to do the film] and I got a percentage [of the film's gross] for approximately ten years, and then it was over. That part of the contract I forgot to look at."

 "It's an interesting thing. For a very long time I've been obsessed about wanting to write a book or  doing a documentary about why people go into the porn business and is there a type of person. Whey did they do it? What was their childhood like? If you were getting your master's in psychology, this would be a great thesis. I have a lot of questions about my own life, but I had a great childhood. Something interjected in there though, to propel me in that direction whether it was outside forces or inner stuff. It would be an interesting topic to explore."

 "In Insatiable, I did the last scene with John [Holmes], and I remember Stu Segall, the director -- we were shooting this film in San Francisco. Stu days, 'We're going to pick John up at the airport.'
     I said, 'Okay, great.' I'm not sure if another person was there, but we got into the car and we drove to the airport, and we picked up John Holmes. I was so totally nervous. I'd heard so much about him. I was no afraid, but just totally shy like, 'Oh my god.' [John] and I were sitting in the back seat and we were talking, and I was just kind of looking at him in awe, going, 'God, this guy is really smart. He really is reasonably articulate.' He said that he was just kind of a country boy and that he was doing all of this so that he could live a normal life. He was so not the John Holmes that I thought he was going to be. He didn't come marching up going 'Hey! Move over bitch!' He was a meek, kind of  a gentle man. I thought, 'Oh, okay, is he going to be able to take control here in the scene?'"

"Insatiable is my favourite film. I looked the best. I felt the best. I felt the sexiest. It was like the prime of my life right there. That was a time when you saw me being totally sexual, everything was great. Everything was going my way and I just felt sexy, and I felt happy. I wasn't into drugs and alcohol. We partied, but that wasn't my life. I love that film, but the problem with the film industry is that they got so into 'Let's make it a story for women, so women will watch.' They they went overboard and the fims had too much story and too much talking, and these people can't act. Then it evolved into vignettes. There's a beginning -- a middle and an end. There's not this big, long story that you have to sit through. The filmmakers went from stag films to loops, to Behind the Green Door, which was very experiemental to an Insatiable type thing. -- back to almost loops, which were sort of life vignetters [as in] Marilyn Chambers' Private Fantasies, five fantasies in one film."
 

"When VHS came out that was a huge turning point. Because then people started shooting on video. You could be the straightest, staunchest person in the world, but this is a person’s human nature. They are curious about sex. Everybody has sexual fantasies. And the older I get, I believe you don’t want those fantasies. That’s a private thing that you do in your own home, or behind closed doors, unless you’re a swinger. Everybody doesn’t have to know what your sexual fantasies are. We are different people in this world. We are different people when we go to work. In a straight job, around the water cooler, you can’t say, ‘Oh yeah, we did this and that’ because it’s going to haunt you. Our generation, we just wanted to be free and live the way we wanted to, but that’s not how life works."

"The best thing that’s ever happened to me is my daughter. To be a Mom is the best thing in the world. You know, that’s all I ever really wanted to do after I had finished doing films."
Golden Goddesses: 25 Legendary Women of Classic Erotic Cinema,1968-1985 © 2012 Jill C. Nelson

Saturday, April 5, 2014

Graphic Thrills by Robin Bougie - Review

Eight years ago, after having been intrigued and inspired by a couple of films, my life took a sharp detour. I became a part-time writer. As my husband has jokingly pointed out on several occasions, I didn't choose to write about birds. Far from it. My subjects -- considered by some to be unprincipled and deviant, are women and men that decided to take a similar u-turn from a linear life track, to form a community of people that would eventually define the golden era of erotic films. By choosing to become a part of an erotic film society, these individuals dared to embark upon a career that was creative, rebellious, illegal, titillating and enduring. More than forty years ago, many believed that films depicting sex would not sustain the test of time, or hold infinite appeal for those outside of niche groups. No one could have predicted the longevity these films have enjoyed, or the lasting connections made between fans and the various stars. 
     The personalities and players identified and branded by the X-rated film industry have inspired not only burgeoning biographers like myself, but also professional writers, reviewers, academics, filmmakers, historians, journalists, porn archeologists, curators, preservationists, documentarians, illustrators and graphic artists. People such as my co-author and friend Jennifer Sugar, who started her own ball rolling back in 2004 when she decided to pen the very first 'serious' biography profiling a legendary porn star. There are others: Heather Drain, Ashley West, Laura Helen Marks, Jeremy Richey, Denise LaFrance, Adam Wilcox, Mike White, Rob St. Mary, April Hall, Lee Jones, Casey Scott, Steven Morowitz, Dimitrios Otis, and many more have left indelible marks by continuing to honour and pay tribute to these talented artists through various mediums. In a symbolic way, a new tribe of outcasts has risen up to reclaim, document, provide commentary and preserve the integrity and vistages of one of the most significant and compelling eras in cinematic history.
     Last year, it came to my attention that fellow Canadian, comic artist, former writer for Fox and Screw magazines and long time creator and publisher of Cinema Sewer magazine, Robin Bougie, was in the process of developing a coffee table pictorial. Bougie's project was promoted as a paperback dedicated to the X-rated theatrical movie posters designed to attract audiences to pornographic releases. With his focus centering on the golden years between 1970-1985, I was excited to see the finished product. In January of this year, GRAPHIC THRILLS American XXX Movie Posters 1970 to 1985, was published by FAB Press, located in England. I am delighted to share the news that Robin Bougie has produced a remarkable work.
     In his book's introduction, Bougie provides an engaging, informative, and thoroughly researched back story behind the evolution of the erotic film industry, which serves as an excellent Porn 101 crash course, not only for scholars, but also for those who are new to the genre. Robin has incorporated an amalgamation of insights and analyses from various people who were there, and whose recollections are invaluable. Bill Margold, Bob Chinn, Carter Stevens, Paul Johnson, Vanessa del Rio, Jody Maxwell, Veronica Vera,Shaun Costello, and several other notables from the golden era have furnished Bougie with anecdotes and dialogue, which serve to enhance the select films highlighted within the book in the provision of behind-the-scenes information and inspiration.
     The genesis and meat of the publication of course, are the film posters. Each page is a glorious gift, an artistically crafted and beautifully illustrated original artwork. Layouts are themed to articulate sensual and sexual promise using succinct and inventive designs. The exquisitely decorated posters, shown in vibrant colour, practically swallow an entire page. Bougie has supplemented accompanying text; his own evaluation of the films portrayed, often incorporating explanations and offerings supplied by his interviewees to augment the synopses.
     The posters' titles and subtitles deftly communicate an atmosphere of passion and pleasure, insinuating insatiable odysseys and erotic journeys in the company of bad girls, dirty boys, nymphos, girls-next-door, studs, well endowed ladies and well hung men. All parties appear eager and ready to embark on an unforgettable and arousing adventure enticing observers to come along for the ride.
     These are the overriding messages emblazed and embedded within the imagery of the original artwort that mostly depicts sexy, scantily dressed curvaceous women (sometimes, but not always, the stars themselves) beckoning movie goers to dare to go beyond the realm of sexual boundaries.
     Some of the art designs for the films are more subtle, with illustrations of sensual, sinewy female figures peeking out seductively from behind a veil or reclining in a suggestive pose, intimating an aura of mystique and mystery as the unsuspecting and curious awaits. Other images are more explicit, forgoing all pleasantries to encourage movie goers to get down and dirty, along with the stars. 
     Interestingly, but not surprising, is Bougie's revelation that many of the original artists --those affiliated with the movie posters and/or films are unknown or deceased. Others were uninterested or unwilling to be approached to offer their stories or impressions about their involvment with the productions. That's unfortunate, but the concern to potentially comprise one's reputation by going public about having participated in the evolution of an industry still considered taboo by society is consistent with what many authors, documentarians and historians have found. Paradoxically, the forbidden element and renegade allure associated with golden age filmmakers and adult performers stimulates fans, and provides a muse for writers and artists alike.
     "Graphic Thrills" is a major contribution and undertaking. The amount of work, put forth by Bougie in order to bring this project to fruition is commendable and worthwhile. It is obvious from spending time with the publication that a book of this magnitude could not have materialized if it weren't for Bougie's own dedication, respect and passion for the era that is concisely and visually portrayed in the book. I would encourage those with even a glimmer of interest in this fascinating and compelling cinematic period, or with a genuine appreciation of exceptional art expression exemplifying two revolutionary decades of film, to order a copy of "Graphic Thrills." 
     Signed copies of the limited hardcover edition of the book can be purchased here: FAB Press The softcover version can be purchased here: Graphic Thrills Amazon This is the link for Robin's online store: Cinema Sewer
     Congratulations, Mr. Robin Bougie.
    
    

Sunday, March 30, 2014

Spotlight on Rhonda Jo Petty

Courtesy of Rhonda Jo Petty

Rhonda Jo Petty might not quite have achieved the status of elite female performer as some of her contemporaries like Seka and Ginger Lynn, but she has clearly etched out a place as one of the sexiest and most provocative "B" female actors of the Golden Era. Her fan base continues to mushroom.
     In recent years, since I first interviewed Rhonda for Golden Goddesses, Rhonda has been actively rebuilding her life. Due to positive influences and care from her children, family members, friends, and her beloved rescue dogs, Rhonda is stronger than ever and has never been better. I am proud to call her a friend.
     In honor of Rhonda Jo Petty’s 59th birthday today, I would like to re-share excerpts from her chapter in the book, titled Rhonda Jo Petty, Roller Girl.

     **A Chatsworth, California native, Rhonda Jo gained notoriety as a Farrah Fawcett clone during the promotion of her first starring role in Disco Lady (1978) because of the remarkable resemblance she bore to her Hollywood counterpart. Petty quickly magnetized a cult fan base who appreciated her inclination for some of her raunchier onscreen activities that became synonymous with her name after her second adult feature Little Orphan Dusty (1978). Petty has wrestled with her share of demons, and in recent years, she has worked on making peace with her past as she still feels the lingering effects of a traumatic childhood. Petty is proud of her reputation as a pioneer and she remains one of the industry’s most noteworthy and personable feature female stars. Although it was difficult at times for Rhonda to share certain painful memories during our interview, her candor is palpable and sincere:

"The first time I was busted in junior high, I had taken some downers and I ended up passing out in class. When I woke up, everybody was gone except for the teacher sitting at her desk. She said, ‘Rhonda?’ I said, ‘Oh shit.’ I took off running into my locker – I don’t know why but I was really messed up, and had taken too many downers. Next thing I know, the principal is in my face, the teacher is there, and there’s security. They dragged me into the office and they called my mother. They called the police and I’ll never forget the principal sitting there with a pencil telling me to follow the pencil with my eyes. My mom picked me up and brought me home. It was my father’s birthday. She paced back and forth in the living room and kept saying, ‘Your father’s going to kill you.’ It was at that point that I couldn’t take it anymore. This was going to be a really big beating. I thought, ‘I don’t care anymore. ‘That was the day that I disconnected -- I cut my head off from my body. I mentally just disconnected. It’s funny down the road when I did films I was able to do that."

"You know, I always felt when I was working that a lot of the girls were there to prove their sexuality. It would just be the biggest turn-off to me. I couldn’t stand it. Some of them were really screwed up. They just couldn’t wait to work and they loved it, and they were just idiots in my eyes. I saw it as a job and you were there to work. I always had a good reputation for showing up on time. I was always a good worker and there was never a problem. I did pride myself on that fact -- I always suited up and showed up. My dad instilled really good work ethics in me.

"I view myself as a person who has her own opinion, and who has had her own experiences. This is who I am. I took a serious approach to the business and I liked the money. I think another reason that I got into the business is because of my attitude. My parents were not there for me at all. I feel like I got dropped off at the end of the world. By the time I left the house, they didn’t give a shit if I went to college. There were no offers like, ‘Oh, Rhonda, what are you going to do with your life?’ I thought to myself,‘Fuck my dad. I’ll show him. I can take care of myself.'"

“My mom is the sweetest thing in the world. She has never judged me; she is very religious. She’s always been supportive of me and had an open door. My dad was angry in the beginning, of course, but nowadays he’ll make comments that surprise me. One time he said, “Oh, Rhonda, me and Uncle Bobby were on the internet and I told Bobby you were in Debbie Does Dallas (1978). Weren’t you in that movie?” It blew me away because it has been something we don’t discuss. Here he was coming off as if he was a little bit proud of me. He knows that I made it big in the industry and he’s made a couple of comments here and there to let me know.”

"I’ve had to deal with the bad side of it and the good side of it. But I’m fine with it, today. I did make a name for myself, and I have a real good reputation in the business. They finally put me in the Hall of Fame."
 
"Today I'm very moralistic. It's funny because I shock my psyhologist. He said, 'I can't believe that someone like you, who did what you did, would become as moralistic as what you are, Rhonda.'
I don't worry about people judging me. If I did, it would drive me crazy. I've always been very private, and have been very careful about who I have around me. If people show up and I'm not comfortable with them - you're not coming in my house. I don't need to be judged because I know what I did. I've had to deal with the bad side of it and the good side of it, but I'm fine with it today. I wouldn't change it for the world because it's a part of who I am. It's made me who I am.
 
It's been one hell of a ride."

 


 

Sunday, March 9, 2014

Kay Parker: Goddess of Light

 


Kay Parker - Photo by Kenji
I've often said that one of the nicest things to have come from co-writing and authoring a book are the new friends I have met throughout the process. When developing a writing project, it's not something you purposely set out to do, but when you connect with someone on a deep level, it's a gift. I am fortunate and blessed to consider Kay Parker a dear friend. Since Kay and I first spoke in late fall of 2009, we have remained in touch via email, and we have also had a few opportunities to meet up in person in Los Angeles. As many of her friends and fans can attest, during her time as an actress, and since officially leaving the erotic film industry several years ago, Kay has been immersed in a personal spiritual journey that has enabled her to achieve a greater understanding of the universe, enhanced her intuitive spirit, and bestowed her with even greater wisdom. It is no surprise that Kay has incorporated her metaphysical knowledge within her ongoing work as a counselor and mentor, using her special tools to help guide, transform, and uplift those seeking insight, depth, and understanding. Using intelligence and grace, Kay instructs seekers yearning to understand how our past influences our present. Kay is a firm believer that love has the power to heal all emotional, psychological, physical, and spiritual maladies once people are willing to open themselves to new possibilities.  
     Recently, Kay shared a greeting of hope, light and love which can be viewed at her website: Kay Taylor Parker. Her powerful book, Taboo, Sacred, Don't Touch can also be purchased there as a digital download. Today, Rialto Report features Kay Parker in a brand new interview podcast you won't want to miss: Kay Parker - Rialto Report
     2014 promises to be another exciting and fruitful year for Kay Parker as she continues to embrace new opportunties while integrating ongoing, enriching experiences into her unique life. Soon, Kay hopes to share some very exciting news about an innovative project currently in the works, so please stay tuned.
     I am grateful to have had the opportunity to feature Kay in Golden Goddeses. As a treat for fans, and possibly others who are new to Kay and her extraordinary work, today, I am re-publishing excerpts from her chapter titled "The Conduit" which I posted on this blog a few years ago. Enjoy.

Born and raised in Britain during post World War 11, Kay Parker’s memories of her formative years in Birmingham are at times grim. As an asthmatic sufferer, Parker welcomed the occasional reprieve when her father, a Navy man, brought his family to the lush islands of Malta (meaning “honey sweet” because of its diverse bee population), where he was periodically stationed during her school days. At age twenty-one, Parker transplanted to New Mexico, “The Land of Enchantment,” where she was hired to work in an upscale boutique at the La Fonda Hotel in Santa Fe. Although Kay had excelled during her previous work experience as an au pair in Germany, and was fluent in the German language, she was ready to broaden her horizons. After remaining in New Mexico for a couple of years, Parker eventually found herself living in San Francisco at the height of the sixties revolution, and continued to expand her employment options which included managing a small rock band. In 1976, at age thirty two, the curvaceous natural beauty appeared in her first film depicting sex, and later gained notoriety for portraying a woman who embarked upon a sexual relationship with her adult son (played by Mike Ranger) in Taboo (1980). Kay believes that her sensitive approach to the subject of incest, in a highly acclaimed performance, was an empowering experience that has helped to facilitate immense personal spiritual growth and development. She does not subscribe to coincidence or accidents.

Kay Parker: "Taboo is the one film I am best known for which makes it ironic that it was an incestuous role. Again, obviously, I pondered deeply and looked at the prospect of playing that character from many different facets, and I had to deeply reckon within myself when I took the role because I had known women who had experienced incest. I knew how prevalent it was and that it is a very sensitive issue. First of all, we should make the statement, and this is the feedback that I have received from many individuals, is that people don’t take the storylines of these films seriously. However, for me it was a serious issue, and I looked inside and I talked to my guides and I said, ‘Why would I even consider this?’ And then I realized that somebody was going to do it so why not me? I could at least bring some consciousness and sensitivity to it. Now, a lot of individuals who have an issue, and who have the scars would say, ‘That’s a fine excuse'. All I would say is that I was guided to do it, and because of that I have an even bigger platform today to do my spiritual work and healing, so that was just a path that my destiny took me down. I’m totally responsible for it, and yet, that movie was a very defining point in time for a lot of reasons. I wrote about it in a chapter of my own book, Taboo, Don't Touch: An Autobiographical Journey Spanning Six-Thousand Years.
      My guidance for anyone considering entering the adult entertainment business has always been, ‘Think very carefully.’ It’s like with children; they’re going to do what they’re going to do. The more you tell them not to do something it’s more than likely their impetus to do it. It’s not an easy industry. Filmmaking is filmmaking. It’s grueling and it’s long and it’s tedious. If you’re going to do it, you’re going to do it, but women need to thing doubly or triply about it because it takes its toll on the emotional body. This is where a lot of people have that idea about women being objectified and abused. That’s where it comes from because if you take a young lady, a little babe, who has been scarred in some way, and put her in front of a camera, and you pump her full of ideas of success and stardom, it can be extremely damaging, in addition to the damage that’s already there. We have seen that and I think we still see it, but I think it is part of any industry. It happens in Hollywood.

     The career was a piece of my past that brought me to this point with wisdom and understanding. In terms of sharing it with neighbors that don’t know about that – it’s not necessary. Sometimes it comes up, but it’s like with my family in a sense. At that time, they would not have understood, and it wasn’t necessary to expose them to that. It was my path to go down and for me to deal with, not for them to deal with. I didn’t want to impose that upon them and would not impose it upon certain people. Then there are other people – a lot of individuals that I’ve counseled, and I’m speaking in terms of the male populous -- have known about the past. For some reason it has been a plus and I’m absolutely clear with people that my work is strictly spiritual counseling. If they have an issue and they want to heal and they’re willing to do the inner work, then certainly, I’ll do the work with them. If they’re coming to me thinking that we’re going to do some kind of hands on work, sorry. That’s not what I do. But there are times when just because of my past and because they know I’ve gone down that road, it somehow gives me an opening, that other therapists wouldn’t be able to attain.
      What I’m doing today is assisting in the uplifting of consciousness on the planet. That’s it, in a nutshell; anything that I can do and anyway that I can do it. God’s already using me to do this. I’m here to join the ranks of the other amazing souls on the planet who are working towards this end. I interact with some very profound individuals who are involved in global consciousness. I don’t believe that this planet, third dimensionally, will ever attain peace because the collective ego is still too involved. But, we’re moving toward a time of planetary ascension, meaning a dimensional shift, and, at that point, those who are spiritually ready and equipped will move forward and they will experience peace. It’s a good time to be alive – it’s not an easy time but it’s what we came to do."

Golden Goddesses: 25 Legendary Women of Classic Erotic Cinema,1968-1985 © 2012 Jill C. Nelson

 

Sunday, February 23, 2014

Remembering Barbara Mills



In memory of Barbara Caron Mills, who would have been sixty-three today, I have reposted this excerpt from our interview in June 2010 which appeared in Barbara's chapter (2) of the book titled 'Eat, Read, Live.'

A well respected sexploitation actress, in 2010 Barbara Mills reflected on her history in adult pictures with an air of indifference and bemusement. She is best known for her exceptional thespian work in The Love Garden (1971), Blue Money (1972) and Gabriella, Gabriella first released in 1972.
Shortly after turning seventeen in 1968, Barbara left her home in Massachusetts and ventured to Venice Beach, California. Eventually, she established permanent roots there, along with her husband of more than forty years, Frank Mills. Drawn to its bohemian vibe and idiosyncratic lifestyle, Mills flourished in the relaxed beach community and continued to develop her artistic skills while accepting occasional work doing nude modeling and acting. Augmented by her long brunette mane and classic appeal, beautiful Barbara considered her employment in adult films a stepping stone that enabled her to pay the bills so she could focus on her primary love, painting.
At fifty-nine years old on December 15, 2010, Barbara Caron Mills passed away peacefully at her 'spa' home in Koh Samui surrounded by Frank and her loved ones. I interviewed Barbara in the summer of 2010 while she and Frank were visiting their daughter Carly in Venice, CA.
With beguiling charm, Barbara fondly reminisced about her life and years in adult entertainment and valued the charm of the era in which she worked. The following is a short excerpt from our interview.
      Venice Beach has really always been an artistic community ever since its conception. Being that most of the streets were canals when they first built the city and then it was the Gay nineties and the Roaring twenties, and bathing beauties and muscle beaches started. It was crazy. There were a lot of poets: Ginsberg and Laura Lee Zanghetti lived down here and it evolved, but it has always stayed bohemian. So it’s a very comfortable place to live. It’s cold sometimes with the wind coming in off of the Pacific, but other than that, it’s a good place to be.”
      “In the beginning, I worked at Woolworth’s behind the soda fountain. It was horrible. I was just a messed up kid and I knew I had to go back to Massachusetts. I told my mother I wanted to come back. She was worried about me even though she let me go and we decided I was going to go to hairdressing school, so that’s what I did.”
I was back at home until my mother died in March. At that point, things got crazy. My grandparents were too old to take care of us. We were very close to my grandparents [my mother’s parents]. My father’s parents died young, when I was a baby, so I never really got to know them. My aunt and uncle were almost at the point of being too old to take care of us at the time, so they hired a housekeeper.
      “I met my husband Frank in 1969. Shortly after my mother died, I came out here and met him. He tried to meet me in Massachusetts; he was from Massachusetts too. He came back to Massachusetts to his brother’s high school reunion. Our mutual friend thought we’d be perfect together so Frank called me on the phone, and he sounded so pompous, you know. He did imbue me for a few years with ideas and some lofty intentions, but now he was in California trying to get into the film business. I didn’t want him to come to my dinky little town just to meet me. I ended up moving in next door to him three months later.
I looked at him and I said, ‘God damn, he looks like John Lennon.’
      “Frank got me work and he got me an agent. One of his neighbors, I forget her name, got me into modeling. I did quite well strictly modeling – and then came the Sexploitation films. It all started when the United States was allowed to show X-rated films, which was around 1968; right when I started. Hal Guthu was my agent’s name. He was a sweetheart. The last time I actually saw Hal was in 1972.”
      “I thought Chain Gang Women (1971) was really funny because it’s not my voice. They dubbed it. It was Christmas time and we had plans to go back to Massachusetts to visit our families so it has someone else’s voice and it’s really funny.”
      “Actually, sometimes I can remember things from back then and sometimes I can’t. I didn’t willingly hold onto any memories. There are some things in my past where I say, ‘I’ve got to remember this and I do.’ It was a job, after all. It wasn’t a career move; it wasn’t an art form per se. It was a job and it paid well and it left time for living. I enjoyed the people. And it wasn’t sexual.
I wasn’t crazy – I was completely nude in my film appearances but no penetration, no genitalia and no oral sex. That would have been stupid. If you’re going to sell it, you might as well keep your anonymity. They never tried to get me to do more.”
      “When I remember my former work in films, I believe we left behind a really free spirit. We weren’t condemned for what we did. We were sometimes greatly appreciated for our work. It was interesting. It was an innocent time, it wasn’t considered real.”
Golden Goddesses: 25 Legendary Women of Classic Erotic Cinema,1968-1985 © 2012 Jill C. Nelson

Saturday, February 22, 2014

Golden Goddesses coverage by What Up Hollywood

The following is an article posted at What Up Hollywood which includes one hour of video footage from our Golden Goddesses reunion event at Larry Edmunds bookshop last October. The evening featured appearances by Ginger Lynn, Kay Parker, Rhonda Jo Petty, Georgina Spelvin, Kitten Natividad, writer Raven Touchstone and adult film historian William Margold. Huge, heartfelt thanks to What Up Hollywood for covering and taping this event, and posting it on your website and youtube. :)

 

Sex Sirens of the Swinging Seventies Sign in at Famous Larry Edmunds Bookshop in Hollywood

Devil in Miss JonesRemember all those great adult movies of the 1970s, like “The Devil in Miss Jones”? If you didn’t ever watch movies “like that“, better skip this posting. But if you ever wondered whatever happened to those stunning ladies of yesteryear that you spent so much time watching in your miss-spent youth, then you should have been at Larry Edmunds Bookshop when a bevy of stars from adult film history came in to talk about their careers and their lives.

Ginger Lynn
Ginger Lynn

A long discussion, led by author Jill Nelson, introduced 5 of what Jill calls “The Golden Goddesses”, the super stars of sex. Also on hand was Raven Touchstone who wrote screenplays for over 400 adult films. They all had actual stories, she insisted, although I have personally never met a guy who ever remembered much of the story line. The girls, yeah, they remember every luscious inch of them. Star Ginger Lynn remembers the hours she spent with Raven, creating the sex fantasies that made her films so appealing. Face it, you gotta have a script, a story that will tease, build tension, and then deliver the goods, just like any other movie. Raven Touchstone is the Queen of adult screenplay writers, with a boundless imagination.

Kitten Natividad
Kitten Natividad

The ladies signing Jill Nelson’s book “Golden Goddesses“, included Rhonda Jo Petty, Kay Parker, Ginger Lynn, Kitten Natividad, and the legendary Georgina Spelvin. Also on hand to speak was Bill Margold who writes the great back page “Cinema Seen” for LA X…Press. Margold’s reviews of adult films are a hoot, he has covered the sex industry for decades, and he is one of the most entertaining chaps in Hollywood. He knows everyone, writers, producers, directors, all the girls, the guys, and most of all, the stories. As Nelson points out, behind the camera, when the filming is done, these guys and gals are mostly regular folks, with all the same drama, happiness, and challenges that we all face in life. Well, maybe a tad more drama.

GoldenGoddessesFront200A lively crowd listened to Nelson read some excerpts from her book, stories about each of the ladies who were present. Questions came from the audience, and memories and laughter from the film stars. Also on hand was Jim Dawson, local author, and national film reviewer for Velvet Magazine. He is also a spokesman for XRCO, the X-Rated Critics Organization. His great book on Bunker Hill is a must read for anyone who is interested in Los Angeles film history.

So you missed the event on October 16th? Couldn’t come up with a good enough excuse to slip away from the significant other for a couple hours? No problem, just strap yourself into the What Up Hollywood time machine, and watch the entire event. Larry Edmunds still has copies of “Golden Goddesses”, so get your copy before you go blind. At least you’ll have your memories….

Click Here to watch the event directly on youtube.

Click Here to go to Larry Edmunds website and blog.


Saturday, February 8, 2014

William Margold Remembers Gloria Leonard in Cinema Seen

The following tribute is written by William Margold, adult film historian and long time friend, comrade and admirer of Gloria Leonard. The Cinema Seen piece will appear in the Feb 13, 2014 edition of L.A. Xpress. Bill sent his reflections along this morning and granted permission for this article to be posted here.

02-13-14
CINEMA SEEN  By William Margold
 
Death takes the life out of us.
I offer up this sobering thought because my own life has just lost an irreplaceable element of vitality by the name of GLORIA LEONARD.
She passed away from the ravaging effects of a massive stroke a few weeks ago, unforgivably alone in the relatively unpopulated paradise that is the west side of Hilo, Hawaii.
    The wondrous woman who was worthy of an audience 25 hours a day, didn’t even have a cat or a dog to lick her face when her body gave out, and she unceremoniously collapsed in her tiny house, and was left unnoticed for over 24 hours to dwindle away in the eerie experience of watching her life flash before her eyes.
    I suggest this concept only because I had a searing slice of something similar when the Pacific Ocean slammed me onto a shore in Malibu, and then its riptide took me for an unnerving yet illuminating ride way under its waves in the summer of 1965.
    But while I only glimpsed a short subject, and then was spit back onto the shore, I suspect that Gloria got to see a double feature, the news, and even a couple of cartoons!      
    If anyone ever fulfilled the sentiment “Bigger Than Life”---it was the force of nature that reigned supreme as an Adult Entertainment Industry Icon for well over three decades.
She essentially brought her own stage with her wherever she went, and she could spellbind an audience into a state of awe when she spoke.
   The luminous lady, whose laugh conjured up the image of a percolating volcano, was without a doubt the single most impressive human being that I’ve ever known.
And with that being said, it is going to take the rest of my existence---and most likely beyond, if there is such a place--- for me to even remotely try and qualify my feelings for---and about---her.
    Historically, from her sex screen debut presence in 1976’s “The Opening of Misty Beethoven” the most lauded adult film of all-time, to her various marketing endeavors as the publisher of High Society, to her incomparable leadership on the Boards of The Adult Video Association and The Free Speech Coalition, Gloria was a dynamo of dedication to the cause of Free Speech…and to speaking freely.
    And for all those reasons, but in particular for her choosing to champion “speaking freely”…she was justifiably  honored (in January 2002) by Larry Flynt with a block of cement that now sits in front of his Hustler store in West Hollywood.
    And as the frivolity of fate would have it, I was chosen to “be cemented” as well that chilly evening, in what ranks as the proudest moment of my carnal cinema career because of having the opportunity to escort Gloria Leonard into the edifice of/for eternity. Gloria Leonard & Bill Margold Hustler Hall of Fame Inductions
     I’ve been agonizing over a way to reluctantly end this page, and then it dawned on me that the very best I could do was dedicate (donate) my own extremely controversial/unique business card (God Created Man…William Margold Created Himself) to her, so that she can hand it out (God Created Woman…Gloria Leonard Created Herself) wherever she winds up holding court.
end

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