As seen in Vanity Fair: A rollicking, funny, raunchy, and moving oral history of the adult film industry–from Deep Throat through today.
As a recent New York Times Magazine cover story pointed out to average Americans, the adult film industry is a $10 billion–per–year business. It has infiltrated the American mainstream, with its stars showing up as mainstream TV hosts, making guest appearances in Hollywood feature films, and gracing the CD covers–and arms–of rock stars and Hollywood actors alike. But what most people don't know is how the porn industry got started–with a $22,000 Mafia investment in a film called Deep Throat–or how it mushroomed over the next quarter–century despite efforts by politicians, the FBI, and others to bring it down.
The Other Hollywood tells that story, through hundreds of interviews by the people who lived through it. In the riveting oral–history format that made his first book, Please Kill Me, one of the most memorable accounts of 1970s underground culture, Legs McNeil now pulls back the grimy satin sheets on one of the most astounding success stories in the history of American business. Careening back and forth between two groups–the actresses, directors, and others who made the films and the shady underworld figures who financed them–The Other Hollywood offers scores of never–before–told stories, all in the voices of those who lived them.
Witty, always compelling, and ultimately moving, The Other Hollywood is a Hollywood Babylon for today.
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About the Author
Legs McNeil is the coauthor of Please Kill Me: The Uncensored Oral History of Punk, a book widely hailed as a classic of its kind. A founder of the seminal magazine that gave punk its name, he is a former editor at Spin and Nerve, and wrote Marilyn Chambers's comeback film, Still Insatiable. He lives in Pennsylvania.
Jennifer Osborne is a journalist and researcher who lives in Los Angeles.
Peter Pavia is a freelance writer who lives in New York City.
Read an Excerpt
The Other Hollywood
The Uncensored Oral History of the Porn Film Industry Chapter One The Sword Swallower
And in the beginning, of course, you didn't dare show pubic hair. An L.A. vice squad cop told me, "If we see pubic hair, then it's pornographic and that gives us an excuse to pick up the print."
It wasn't until probably 1968 that we began to show pubic hair. And the first nudist camp picture to show "pickles and beaver" was Raw Ones.
BUNNY YEAGER: As nudity became more acceptable, nobody wanted to buy my beautiful bikini shots anymore. The men's magazines wouldn't buy from me anymore. They said I was old-fashioned. They wanted explicit nudity, and I didn't want to shoot it.
DAVE FRIEDMAN: The heyday of the nudie-cutie was 1967, 1968, 1969, and 1970. Those were the years I was turning out Brand of Shame, The Head Mistress, Lustful Turk, Trader Horny, Thar She Blows, Starlet, and The Erotic Adventures of Zorro some of the greatest films of the genre. Classics that still live today, ha, ha, ha.
BUNNY YEAGER: We stopped making our movies because all the distributors were calling and saying, "Make it more sexy!" Pornography was becoming legal.
We liked making our movies and I didn't see anything wrong with nudity. But I guess there was a certain morality that we didn't want to cross. Pornography is a whole different bag. There's a reason for it, and there's probably a place for it, and I mean, everybody's got a right to do what they want to do. But I had no reason to get into that world. I didn't need it. I didn't want to be makingit: in stills or movies.
So I laid down my camera for about ten years, till the time came again when I could sell sexy glamour photos without being crude. By the time the 1980s were over, my work was well-accepted again.
DAVE FRIEDMAN: Even though they killed off burlesque and killed off girlie shows at carnivals the nudie-cutie films were the answer to the showman's prayer. Because he no longer had to worry about live talent, which was always a problem.
Now, of course, instead of the voyeurs staring at some tired old burlesque broad up there, live, onstage they were suddenly looking at gorgeous, young, blond, tan California girls, in all their pristine glory, with their beautiful little breasts, and their pert little nipples, and their dimpled little behinds in Technicolor on screens forty feet wide and twenty-five feet high.
Where would you go?The Turkey Raffle
CHUCK TRAYNOR: I wanted to own a topless bar because I wanted to be around topless girls, and that's a great way to do it.
I was making good money flying first crop dusting as a pilot for Minute Maid Orange Juice and then for the Ocean Reef Club. But bars were expensive, so I ended up buying an old raunchy beer bar on North Miami Beach, at 123rd Street. I think I paid maybe $2,000 for it. It was a real wreck.
LINDA LOVELACE (PORN STAR): I was getting on the Taconic State Parkway in New York, coming out of second gear it was raining. And this big Chrysler came over the hill; I could see he was going into a skid and coming across the highway. This all happened in two seconds, and then it was over. My forehead and face hit the windshield; part of one eye was hanging down, my jaw was broken, and my lower front teeth were sticking through my chin. The steering wheel broke my ribs and lacerated my spleen and liver. This was followed by a leaking of my intestine and peritonitis.
CHUCK TRAYNOR: We painted up the place, put in colored lights, I hired some girls, and called it the Las Vegas Inn. It was a topless beer bar. But because I was catering mostly to bikers and construction workers, it soon became a nude beer bar. I mean, my girls would be totally nude when they weren't supposed to be, but they'd do it with the door locked, and luckily they never did it with any ATF agents in the place.
LINDA LOVELACE: When they released me from the hospital, I went back down to Florida to live with my parents to recuperate, and my mother was really rough on me. "You have to be in by eleven o'clock. Call me, when you get there so we'll know where you are and who you're with." And if I came in one minute after 11:00 p.m., she would smack me in the face. I had just turned twenty-two.
CHUCK TRAYNOR: I had a big, two-story house, with three or four girls living with me downstairs, and upstairs was a room we just used for screwing around.
Then a friend of mine, Warren, broke up with his old lady, and said, "Chuck, I need a place to stay for a few days."
I said, "Okay, come stay with me. Stay upstairs."
LINDA LOVELACE: My mother would even look up my date's driver's license to make sure he had no violations or anything. And most of the guys I'd go out with had to borrow their parents' car, and my mother would ask them if they had a bank account and how much they had in their savings. You know, like, whoa, too many rules and regulations.
CHUCK TRAYNOR: I don't think Linda was a prostitute before I met her, and she really wasn't one after I met her, either. But she was not an inexperienced little farm girl from northern New York like she'd have you believe.
When I met her, she was dating another married guy a biker who used to come in my bar all the time. He kind of told me about her. She was kind of a hot-to-trot, sleep-around kid.
LINDA LOVELACE: My best friend Patsy is actually the one that introduced me to Chuck Traynor. He told her he was looking for bathing suit models or something. Patsy didn't go out with him, but she had danced in his topless bar. That didn't bother her at all. But I never would've done it...The Other Hollywood
The Uncensored Oral History of the Porn Film Industry. Copyright © by Legs McNeil. Reprinted by permission of HarperCollins Publishers, Inc. All rights reserved. Available now wherever books are sold.
Most Helpful Customer Reviews
I am only 3/4 of the way thru this book while writing this review but WOW what a book. For anyone with an interest / curiosity in the other side of Hollywood, this book is an in depth look and quite the attention holder! It is a straight to the facts book. A great read by far!!!
If you ever wondered what went on behind the scenes of the porn industry and it's history in the U.S., this is the book for you.
Basically, if you're loooking for titillation, you have the wrong book. It is a no-holds-barred history of the pornographic film industry, and what it does not cover is probably not important: from the beginnings of the porn industry ('Deep Throat' and organized crime) to the New York pornographic industry to the California assembly line pornography. Also covered in detail are the Wonderland Murders and the changing nature of the business. An excellently researched book, filled with interesting, and sometimes frightening, revelations of a fascinating industry.
I did not think, at first, that this book would hold my interest for more than a month or two. I STAND CORRECTED! Everything about this book captivated me. The front cover! The back cover! The text! This book will stay in my water closet for many, many days.
This captivating book enthralled me. It brought me to new heights...literally. I loved it. I can't wait for my own movie to be made as I am an active sexual person.