The Prince Of Porn

the films of Gerard Damiano Sr – Restored

Tag: The Golden Age of Porn

Restoring the films of Gerard Damiano Sr. – The Journey Continues

Gerard Damiano Sr. - photo by Jack Hardman

Gerard Damiano Sr.

My sister Christar and I decided the best way to honor our father, acclaimed adult film director Gerard Damiano, would be to restore his best films and complete his biography. On Father’s Day 2015, I began this blog to document the journey. Now a full year has passed, and although the blog had fallen silent for a time, the journey continues. We felt that the best way to tell his story would be using his own words and the words of those that worked together with him. I teamed up with Larry Revene, one of the most highly regarded cinematographers of the genre. He had shot a number of my father’s films in the late 70s and early 80s.

Larry and I had met on the set of “Throat: 12 Years After” more than 30 years before. Together we formed the “Crew of 2” and set out on the road to track down the surviving “Legends of The Golden Age of Porn” and film interviews with them. We left New York City with all of our gear packed into the 2006 Toyota Corolla that my father and I had bought together before he died.

Our first stop was Newport, Kentucky to meet up with legendary burlesque dancer turned porn star, Annette Heinz. Then it was on to Hollywood to meet the “Goddess of the Golden Age” Georgina Spelvin, star of “The Devil in Miss Jones”. We travelled through California, filming porn stars in sleazy motel rooms (a cliché in itself).  At first, I was writing blog posts about each encounter, but as we continued, the adventures came so hard and fast that I couldn’t keep up. Larry did most of the driving while I navigated, worked the phone, and planned the next move. As we drove from one destination to the next trying to track people down along the way, often not knowing where we were going to be the next day, or where we were going to sleep that night.

The Crew of 2 Nationwide. Larry Revene and Gerard Damiano Jr. somewhere in Missouri

The Crew of 2 Nationwide. Larry Revene and Gerard Damiano Jr. somewhere in Missouri.

We sometimes shot two interviews in a day and I found myself preparing questions in the car and literally watching films as we drove. It was all we could do to be in the moment, while planning for the next. After about a dozen posts I quickly fell behind. I don’t understand how some of these bloggers do it.

How do you live your life and write about it at the same time?

By the time we got back to New York we had driven nearly 10,000 miles across 17 states and filmed more than 20 interviews with some of the most important figures of the era. With all the new information that we discovered, I found that the story was much bigger, and the project much broader in scope than I had initially thought. Our adventures on the road were a story in itself. The new material that we shot was enough to produce a short subject on each film. Between the research for the book, the restoration of 10 films, and all the new media that was generated, I was overwhelmed by the enormity of the project. Having fallen more than a dozen posts behind, even the blog added to the weight. It would be easy to lose myself in all this material. Plus, I still had a day job. Real-world obligations and the necessity to raise funds to continue became a priority.

The Crew of 2 Coast to Coast Larry Revene at the Pacific Ocean Photo by Gerard Damiano Jr.

The Crew of 2 Coast to Coast. Larry Revene at the Pacific Ocean. Photo by Gerard Damiano Jr.

I saw the importance of finishing the book. The over-arching story of my father’s life could provide the framework which gives context to the films and other related projects. I brought in some research assistants to help me digest the vast archive of personal writings, press, and film memorabilia that my father had left. But it is a long and painstaking process. Nearly 8 years have passed since my father’s death, and I am anxious to get his films out there to be seen as he had intended. My sister and I have decided to cut to the chase and focus on releasing what our father considered to be his best film. “The Story of Joanna”.

Poster for Gerard Damiano's "The Story of Joanna" (1975)

Poster for “The Story of Joanna” (1975)

“The Story of Joanna” was his dark S/M opus, produced in 1975 at the height of “Porno Chic”. It starred Terry Hall as Joanna, and Jamie Gillis in a role that was tailor made for him. Critics called it “Damiano’s Masterpiece”. The film has not been seen in its original form since the 1970s. It came up often during our interviews across America. When we spoke with Joáo Fernandes, the cinematographer for the film — who had previously shot “Deep Throat”, “The Devil in Miss Jones” and “Memories within Miss Aggie”— he agreed that it was the best work that he had done for my father, perhaps the best work of his adult film career. Annie Sprinkle was NOT in “The Story of Joanna”, but she confessed to me that as my father’s mistress, she was on set and had a lot of behind-the-scenes stories about the film. One of the last interviews that Larry and I shot together was of Juliet Graham, the last surviving cast member, who had some surprising revelations, not least of all about Jamie Gillis.

As the development of the book continues, I will attempt to finish some of the missing posts about the galaxy of stars that Larry and I encountered during our odyssey across America. Their stories were always surprising and often revealing. Our father may always be remembered for “Deep Throat”, but he would have preferred to be known for “The Story of Joanna”. Christar and I hope to screen the restored version of the film in New York City by year’s end.

Gerard Damiano Jr.
Queens, New York,  Father’s Day, 2016

To be continued…

Note: This blog has migrated from theprinceofporn.wordpress.com to www.theprinceofporn.com.

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

The Crew of 2 are back out on the road in search of the Sex Stars of the Seventies…

The Crew of 2 on the American Road Photo by Gerard Damiano Jr.

The Crew of 2 on the American Road Photo by Gerard Damiano Jr.

This past summer Larry Revene and I set out to interview the “Legends of the Golden Age of Porn” and hear about their experiences working with my father, the acclaimed adult film director Gerard Damiano Sr. Our Journey took us from New York City to Hollywood and beyond. Along the way we met up with some of the biggest names of the era, including Georgina Spelvin, Ron Jeremy, and Sharon Mitchell. Their stories were always interesting, often surprising, and I constantly caught myself saying…

“You can’t make this shit up!”

RedwoodResort

The 2006 Toyota Corolla that my father and I bought together, amidst the Redwoods of Northern California.

Once we completed all the interviews that we had set out to do, we realized that our work was hardly finished. It had only just begun. Some of the interviews posed more questions than they answered. We met a lot of people, who introduced us to still more people, and discovered more cast and crew members who might be willing to talk to us. And although we still have not seen the elusive Jody Maxwell, we got a solid lead.

PackedTight

An entire studio’s worth of equipment, tightly packed into the trunk of a toyota.

Once back in New York, Larry and I, recovered, recharged, refueled, and vowed to continue the journey.
Now we are back out on the American Road.
First stop San Francisco.

To be continued…

In Loving Memory Candida Royalle Porn Pioneer

Candida Royalle Oct. 15, 1950 - Sept. 7, 2015

Candida Royalle Oct. 15, 1950 – Sept. 7, 2015

It is with great sadness that I share the news of the passing of Candida Royalle after a long battle with ovarian cancer. She died peacefully in her home in Mattituck New York, surrounded by friends and family. She was a true pioneer in the adult film industry. After acting in a number of porn films in the 1970s, she stepped behind the camera to direct from a female perspective. In an industry that had been dominated by men, making films exclusively for men, she founded Femme Productions to make films that appealed to women and couples. Now considered the mother of Feminist Porn, she gained international recognition and was a sought after speaker on the subject of female sexual empowerment and expression. I feel honored to have known her.

The world is a better place because you were in it. You will be greatly missed.
To learn more about the life and legacy of Candida Royalle visit candidaroyalle.com

Annie Sprinkle… Porn Star, Art Star, Author, Ecosexual Activist, Goddess

Annie Sprinkle Ecosexual Goddess Photo © Julian Cash

Annie Sprinkle Ecosexual Goddess
Photo © Julian Cash

Dr. Annie Sprinkle earned her place as a legend of the ”Golden Age of Porn”, but did not let that alone define her. Her career is not easy to summarize. She has been rightly described as a sex educator, feminist stripper, prostitute, performance artist, post-porn modernist, photographer, and film maker, and her resumé continues. She has the distinction of being the first porn star to earn a Ph.D., and is the author of 5 books. Early in her career she became an advocate for Sex Workers rights, and when the AIDS epidemic broke out, she used her talent and celebrity to spread awareness about Safe Sex. She survived cancer, and turned the experience into art.

When Annie first met my father in an Arizona courthouse in 1973, while “Deep Throat” was being prosecuted. They were both called in as witnesses, (he for writing and directing the film, and she, for merely selling tickets at the Tucson movie theater, where it was showing). They were instantly attracted to one another, and began a relationship which lasted for years. This brought Annie to New York City, where she would live for the next 22 years.

Today she is married to artist and UCSC professor Beth Stephens. Their wedding itself was a work of art, getting married more than 14 times, during their seven-year project, Love Art Laboratory. Identifying as “ecosexuals”, they use their creativity AND sexuality, to raise awareness about critical environmental issues. Their latest collaboration, which is currently in production, “Water Makes Us Wet” draws attention to Water, the lack of which, is a crisis in their home state of California, at this very moment.

Annie Sprinkle in “The Satisfiers of Alpha Blue”

Annie Sprinkle in “The Satisfiers of Alpha Blue”
© 2015 Class X, LLC

We visited Annie and Beth, at their country cottage, in Boulder Creek, California, literally surrounded by Redwood Trees, where they spend time away from their home in San Francisco. Annie spoke to me candidly about her relationship with my father. I learned that she actually worked behind the scenes in more of his films, than she appeared in. We spoke about her cameo in “Throat: 12 Years After”, and her controversial scene with then boyfriend Mal O’Ree, in “The Satisfiers of Alpha Blue”, which is still as hot and edgy today, as it was when it was shot in 1983. My father directed Annie in “Consenting Adults”, a film that she conceived of, in which she documented her friends and their real life sexual escapades, in a kind of hardcore “reality show”. She never pretended to be an actress, but rather let her genuine sexual nature, be captured on film.

#TheCrewof2 with Annie Sprinkle and Beth Stephens at SOMArts Cultural Center

#TheCrewof2 with Annie Sprinkle and Beth Stephens at SOMArts Cultural Center during the opening of “Making a Scene: 50 Years of Bay Area Alternative Spaces”. Photo by Gerard Damiano Jr.

After our interview, Larry Revene and I followed Beth and Annie to San Francisco, to document their performance at SOMArts Cultural Center. The time-lapse video below, shows them performing water rituals, inside and outside of their “Pollination Pod”, a sort of mobile ecosexual laboratory. Currently Annie and Beth are on tour in California.
To learn more about about their project, visit: www.theEcosexuals.org

Visit Annie’s website at: www.anniesprinkle.org
Follow her on Twitter at: @AnnieSprinkle
Follow her on Facebook at: facebook.com/pages/Annie-Sprinkle
L
earn more about the Sexology at: sexecology.org
S
ee Annie and Beth’s latest film “Goodbye Gauley Mountain-An Ecosexual Love Story


Annie Sprinkle
and Beth Stephens perform Water Rituals, both inside and out, of their Pollination Pod at SOMArts Cultural Center
“Shaw ’Nuff” performed by Charlie Parker and Dizzy Gillespie

In the San Emigdio Mountains with Nice Guy Porn Star Eric Edwards

Eric Edwards' headshot

Eric Edwards’ headshot from the 1970s

Known for his youthful charm and good looks, Eric Edwards was often cast as the “boy next door”, in a film career which has spanned 5 decades. His roles run the full spectrum, having appeared in high profile television commercials, as well as some of the most notorious XXX loops ever filmed.  While studying acting at Baylor College, he received a full scholarship to The American Academy of Dramatic Arts, and moved to New York City. Upon graduation he signed with the William Morris agency, and for the next 8 years appeared in Regional Theater and Summer Stock, as well as national TV spots for Gillette, and Close-Up Toothpaste, among others. In the late 1960s he answered an ad in Screw Magazine, which led him to Bob Wolf’s infamous 14th St. studio, where he first met Larry Revene. Larry filmed Eric’s very first loops, and his career in adult film began. He went on to appear in more than 500 films. By 1985 he made the move from in front of the camera, to behind it, directing 50 films. He has worked in all aspects of film production, writing, producing, shooting, editing and everything in between.

Eric Edwards in

“This is my curse… and I will revel in it”  Eric Edwards as Lucien Blair in “Night Hunger” (1983)

Larry and I travelled north from LA, into the San Emigdio Mountains, where we found Eric, living in a small town, together with his 2 sons. He is truly one of the kindest, gentlest spirits, in the adult industry. Eric had first worked with my father on the 1974 classic, “Memories within Miss Aggie”, which is as much a psychological thriller as it is a sex film. We watched “Memories” together, and also spoke at length about his role in “Night Hunger” (1983), where he was cast against type, as the insatiable satyr, Lucien Blair. In this film, he performs a sex scene with no less than 5 women, and relies heavily on his acting ability to portray the dark and brooding character. The first time that I met Eric, was on the set of “Throat: 12 Years After”, a film which both Larry and I worked on, more than 30 years ago. He also worked for my father in “Who’s Fantasy is it Anyway?”(1983), and “Slightly Used” (1987).

Although plagued by tragedy in his personal life, and some health issues in recent years, Eric is now happily retired, and content to be a celebrity at his local duck pond, where his daily appearances draw crowds of waterfowl, who recognize the sound of his approaching vehicle, and literally flock to him. You won’t find Eric on Facebook or other social media. However, there is a 30 year old Eric Edwards on Facebook, who is probably wondering why so many “Porn Stars of the Golden Age” want to be his friend.

Next we head to Northern California in search of the elusive Sharon Mitchell…


1970s Close Up Toothpaste Commercial featuring Eric Edwards

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”

In Hollywood with the most recognizable porn star in the world… Ron Jeremy

Ron Jeremy

Ron Jeremy

Ron Jeremy is not only a “Legend of the Golden Age of Porn”, he is, literally, the most recognizable porn star in the world. More popular today, than he was while at the peak of his adult film career, which spans 4 decades, Ron has starred in more than 1,400 films, directing 182 of them. He is known for his quick wit, and the rare ability to perform autofellatio on his 10-inch member. AVN (Adult Video News) has ranked him No.1, on its list of the Top 50 Porn Stars of All Time. Ron has found new generations of fans as a reality star, appearing in “The Surreal Life”, and he has appeared in dozens of mainstream films, including “Ronin” with Robert DeNiro, and the cult classic “Boondock Saints.” He can also be seen in music videos by Guns N’ Roses, Sublime, LMFAO and many, many, more.

I first met Ron in 1983, on the set of “Who’s Fantasy Is It Anyway?”, which was Gerard Damiano Sr.’s first shot on video feature. He appeared in 4 films for my father, including “Consenting Adults” and “Inside Everybody”.  In 1985, he starred in “Flesh and Fantasy”, and was given top billing, which was very unusual for a male porn actor at the time. My father shot this comedic retelling of his “Devil in Miss Jones” at Adventure Studios in Queens, and on location in upstate New York. It featured Ronnie as “Mister Jones”, whose bargain with the devil goes awry. Larry Revene and I both worked on this film.

Ron de Jeremy

Ron de Jeremy
“The Adult Rum”

We caught up with Ron in a seedy motel in Hollywood, which served as our soundstage. He regaled us with stories of his career, which he delivered with impeccable comedic timing, in a pure “stream of consciousness” flow, punctuated by licks on his harmonica. He ran down all of our batteries, filled up all of our memory cards, and kept us biting our lips to keep from laughing out loud and ruining the take. One thing that I was surprised to learn about Ronnie, is that he, too, was born and raised in Queens, New York.

Ron was the subject of the documentary film “Porn Star: The Legend of Ron Jeremy”, and has told his own story in the New York Times best-selling autobiography “Ron Jeremy: The Hardest (Working) Man in Showbiz.” Recently he has lent his name to a brand of rum called Ron de Jeremy.

You can find Ron online at ronjeremy.com. Follow him on Twitter @RealRonJeremy, and like his fan page at facebook.com/TheRealRonJeremy

with Ron Jeremy, Hollywood California, July 2015

with Ron Jeremy, Hollywood California, July 2015

In search of Jody Maxwell…

Jody Maxwell courtesy of Jody's Facebook page

Jody Maxwell
courtesy of Jody’s Facebook page

Known as “The Singing Cocksucker from Missouri”, Jody Maxwell made her very first film “Portrait”, with my father in 1974. She then established herself as an adult film star of Porn’s “Golden Age”. 7 years later, she appeared in “The Satisfiers of Alpha Blue“. I have not seen Jody since I was 15 years old, while working on the set of that film during pre-production.

When we arrived in Kansas City, Missouri, none of our leads panned out, and we were forced to get back on the road, without finding the elusive “Singing Cocksucker”. I will continue the search for her, as she was one of my father’s favorite performers, and I would love to hear what she has to say about her experiences with him.

Next stop, Hollywood California, to see the Queen of them all, Ms. Georgina Spelvin.

(To be continued)

The Crew of Two

To tell the story of my father, in the most accurate way, I feel that it is important to speak with all the surviving cast and crew members who had worked with him. I decided to set out on the road, to film the “Legends of the Golden Age of Porn”, and hear their stories, while they are still able to tell them. In order to prepare for this, I consulted with Larry Revene, to decide on which would be the best camera and lighting package to bring along. Larry had an impressive resume of shooting film and television, long before he became one of the he most highly acclaimed cinematographers from the “Golden Age”, He was responsible for such films as “Roommates”, “Wanda Whips Wall Street”, and “Raw Talent”. He definitely has stories to tell. So much so, in fact, that his memoir is in 2 volumes (“Wham Bam $$ Ba Da Boom!” and “Life in a Film Can” ), with a third one on the way.

Larry Revene photographed on location in Guyana 2006, for the film

Larry Revene photographed on location in Guyana 2006, for the film “Rainbow Raani”.

I first met Larry back in 1984, on the set of “Throat: 12 Years After”. As a kid I had worked behind the scenes on many of my father’s films, painting sets, making props and doing pre-production work. For “12 Years After”, my father felt that I was finally old enough to join him on the set. I was hired as a Production Assistant (PA), the lowest position on any set. What my dad like to call a “Gopher”, as in “Go for coffee, Go for cigarettes”. On that day, my education in film production began in earnest. The Director on a film set is like the voice of God, when he speaks, everyone stops and listens. But the one person that the Director listens to, is the Director of Photography. I remember many times throughout the shoot, the two of them conferring on the best shot to convey the action in a scene, and specifically, where to place the camera. I have had a lot of respect for Larry ever since.

When I told Larry what I was trying to do, he was so enthusiastic, that I asked him on the spot, if he wanted to come along to shoot it. I explained that there was very little money involved, but that I would provide camera and sound, and cover all of the travel expenses. He would bring the necessary lighting and grip equipment. This would not be the first “no-budget” adventure Larry had ever been on, and he figured that at the very least, he might get to see some old friends along the way. He agreed, and the “Crew of Two” was formed.

To gear up for the trip, we headed to Woodstock, New York, where Larry stores all the equipment he has accumulated over the years. The Mole-Richardson lights, that we picked up, had actually come from the infamous Adventure Studios in Queens, and were the very same lights used on “Throat: 12 Years After” more than 30 years before. The tripod that we got, was used to shoot the documentary “Gerard Damiano’s Consenting Adults”. We packed everything into the 2006 Toyota Corolla, that my dad and I had bought together before he died, and set off on the American Road…

(to be continued)