The Prince Of Porn

the films of Gerard Damiano Sr – Restored

Tag: Odyssey: The Ultimate Trip

The Crew of 2 revisits Porn Star Phd. Sharon Mitchell in Santa Cruz

Miss Sharon Mitchell Santa Cruz 2015 Photo by Larry Revene

Miss Sharon Mitchell 2015 photo by Larry Revene

When last we saw her earlier this summer, Dr. Mitch was still suffering from injuries sustained when a deer darted out in front of her motorcycle. Now having fully recovered she looked remarkably well, and took time out from an International HIV lawsuit in which she was testifying as an expert witness, to speak further about her experiences working together with my father, Gerard Damiano Sr. Having appeared in 7 of his films made during the “Golden Age” we had a lot to talk about, which necessitated this second visit.

I was curious to hear about “Odyssey The Ultimate Trip”, the first film that she ever did with him. Released in 1977, the film was later renamed “Odyssex” by a distributor who thought that working the word “SEX” into the title would boost box office sales and perhaps avoid confusion with the classic by Homer.

Sharon Mitchell and Tony Mansfield in “Odyssey” (1977)

Sharon Mitchell and Tony Mansfield in “Odyssey The Ultimate Trip” (1977)

In it, Sharon has a rather unusual “Double Drag” Scene together with Tony Mansfield  dressed as a woman, while she is dressed as a man. We spoke about the scene in New York City at the time and about Tony, who I hope to meet up with before my own odyssey is complete.

Sharon Mitchell and George Payne in “Throat:12 Years After” 1984 © 2015 Class X, LLC

Sharon Mitchell and George Payne in “Throat:12 Years After” (1984)

We also talked about her work with George Payne, who she appeared with in both “Throat: 12 Years After” and “The Satisfiers of Alpha Blue”. In “Alpha Blue”, my father hired her for a “non-sex role”, which is a testimony, not to her well known talent as a performer, but to her talent an actor.

To be continued…

Miss Sharon Mitchell interviewed by Gerard Damiano Jr. Photographed by Larry Revene

Miss Sharon Mitchell interviewed by Gerard Damiano Jr. photographed by Larry Revene

A divine appointment with Miss Sharon Mitchell on the streets of Scotts Valley, CA

Dr. Mitch

Dr. Mitch

Sharon Mitchell (known by her peers as “Mitch”), acted Off-Broadway, and toured with the Martha Graham Dance Company, before starring in her first adult film, “That Lady from Rio”, in 1976. During her career, she has appeared in more than 600 films, and directed 18. By the 1980s Sharon’s lifestyle had taken it’s toll on her. She became a heroin addict, and suffered from a number of STDs. in 1996, following a brutal assault, by a crazed stalker which nearly killed her, she quit drugs and went back to school. She earned both an MA and Phd, and in 1998, she founded the nonprofit Adult Industry Medical Healthcare Foundation (AIM), which provided testing for sexually transmitted diseases, and drug and psychological counseling for porn actors. In 2011, an information leak led to a lawsuit, and the clinic’s closure.

Sharon Mitchell in “The Satisfiers of Alpha Blue” (1980)

Sharon Mitchell in “The Satisfiers of Alpha Blue” (1980)

Sharon had a powerful screen presence. She was one of my father’s favorite performers, and he used her in at least 6 of his films, including a non-sex role in “The Satisfiers of Alpha Blue”. When I first met Sharon Mitchell during the production of “Throat: 12 Years After”, I was only 19 years old, but well aware of who she was. She was not like any of the other porn stars of the day. I could relate to the street smart, Italian looking, Jersey girl, who was small in size, big on attitude, and totally HOT. In the film, she played a scene within a scene, in which she recounts one of her earliest sexual experiences, a kind of school yard fantasy. The performer playing opposite her, had never been in a porn film before, and was hired for his youthful appearance. He was not much older than me. His role required him to put his erect member through a chain link fence, while Sharon, on the other side (in a cheerleader outfit no less), gave him head. Later that night, after we had wrapped for the day, I joked with my father, telling him that whatever that kid was getting paid for the scene, I would have done it for half.

I had a very hard time tracking Sharon Mitchell down. Word in New York was that she had begun using again, and was living on the street. Knowing her checkered past, we feared the worst, and had all but given up on finding her. Once in Hollywood, I was given a cell number, from a mutual friend, but was cautioned that no one had seen or heard from her in weeks. When we finally connected by phone, Sharon sounded surprisingly well, and we made plans to meet outside of Santa Cruz. Days later, as we exited off Highway 17 to Scotts Valley, the phone rang. It was Sharon, who had called to say that she was out walking her dog, and wondered when we would be arriving. We were stopped at the first traffic light off the highway, and as I listened, I noticed a woman talking on the phone and walking a dog past our car. I rolled down the window and yelled out “Mitch?!”. The dashboard cam caught a glimpse of our divine appointment with Sharon, in the time-lapse video, shown below.

We were happy to find her in good health, perhaps a little worse for wear from a motorcycle accident she had recently suffered, when a deer darted out in front of her. Despite the knee brace, she appeared to be in remarkable physical shape. After catching up a bit, and confirming plans to film in the morning, we offered to drive her, and her dog, back home. After driving for miles, up and over a mountain, on a very steep, twisting road, I was amazed to think that she made this walk, down and back, at least once a day, everyday. Larry and I were tired out just from the drive. Once in front of the camera, we spoke about her experiences working with my father on films which include “Odyssey“, “Skin Flicks”, “Consenting Adults” and “Night Hunger”.

Today, “Dr. Mitch” works as an expert witness in H.I.V./A.I.D.S. criminal law. She is earning her certification as an EMT, so that she will be qualified to do disaster relief work.

with Miss Sharon Mitchell

The Crew of 2 with Miss Sharon Mitchell, Scotts Valley, Californian July 2015

Herschel Savage …a nice Jewish boy from Brooklyn, who made it BIG in Porn

Herschel SavageWhen Herschel Savage arrived on the scene in the early 1970s, he brought more than just impossibly good looks, but considerable acting chops, having studied under Uta Hagen, as well as renowned acting teacher Stella Adler. Though reports online vary greatly, Herschel, by his own account, has appeared in more than 1,500 films, over his 40 year career. You may have seen him in the Golden Era Classic “Debbie Does Dallas” (under the name Bill Barry).

Larry Revene remembers shooting loops with him in Bob Wolf’s 14th St. studio as early as 1973. We met up with Herschel in L.A., where I had the opportunity to talk with him about working with my father on “Odyssey: The Ultimate Trip” (aka “Odyssex”), “People”, “Skin-Flicks”, “For Richer for Poorer”, “Beyond Your Wildest Dreams”, and “Forbidden Bodies”.

Herschel Savage in “The Satisfiers of Alpha Blue” 1980

Herschel Savage in “The Satisfiers of Alpha Blue” 1980

I was most interested in speaking about the Sci-Fi Sex Pic “The Satisfiers of Alpha Blue”. I worked on this film in 1980. Still too young to work during the actual filming, I painted sets and created some of the props, earning a credit for “prop design”. Hershel plays opposite R. Bolla (another nice Jewish boy from Brooklyn, with formidable acting skills), as the two debate “Love vs. Sex”, against the backdrop of a future in decay. Herschel chose his stage name while joking around with Jamie Gillis, trying to combine a “porn name”, with one that was distinctly Jewish. This draws attention to a trend in actors of the “Golden Age”, as nearly every major male star was a Jew born in New York City. The list includes Harry Reems, Ron Jeremy, Jerry Butler, R.Bolla, Bobby Astyr, and Jamie Gillis himself. Honorable mention goes to Marc Stevens (b. Delaware), and Carter Stevens (b. Newark, NJ).

Today Herschel is still active, preferring to appear on the stage rather than on the screen, has actually portrayed my father, a role that he is quite proud of. He hosts a weekly comedy show on xxxpornstarradio.com every Thursday night, from 6:15-8:15 PM (Pacific Time). You can call in at 1.484.352.2598. Follow Herschel on Twitter at: @pornicon, and friend him on Facebook, at www.facebook.com/herschel52

Herschel Savage and R.Bolla on location in Flushing Meadow Park, Queens, NY. Site of the 1964 World’s Fair.

Herschel Savage and R.Bolla on location in Flushing Meadow Park, Queens, NY
(Site of the 1964 World’s Fair), while filming “The Satisfiers of Alpha Blue”