By Alex Distefano
By Scott Snowden
By Anna Merlan
By Steve Almond
By Jena Ardell
By Jon Campbell
By Alan Scherstuhl
By Tessa Stuart
Before porn moved to California to become a mass-produced, straight-to-video industry, most of the money shots were made in New York. While the epicenter of the biz was at 42nd and Broadway, the ripple effect took the skin trade out to Queens and Long Island, where beachfront locales beckoned and inventive minds oiled up their palms to get a piece of the action.
Lots of people have gotten into the action even a fireman in Elmont. And the locales have ranged all the way out to the Hamptons. Now with the big formerly bad city cracking down on peep shows and strip joints, the world's most famous porn stars have made Island clubs some of their most important tour stops.
Through it all, there's been plenty of Long Island skin on celluloid.
The '60s: In The Beginning
Doris Wishman There was a nudist picture in 1954 called Garden of Eden, which I had seen and thought was quite interesting. I decided that I would produce a nudist film. Nudity was still not really risqué; it had nothing to do with sex. My first film was Hideout in the Sun in 1960, which takes place in a legitimate nudist camp. After I made a nudist film, many others did and it was not a novelty anymore. And most of them, other than mine, were bad.
Al Goldstein In the early '60s, pornography to me was on Eighth Avenue, all these nudie shows. They were shot at nudist camps and people were playing volleyball. And the places were packed.
Wishman But there was no sex. When you made a film, you had to go to the censor board. And they decided what should be deleted. It was very serious. I made my films with love and care. They were not made in Eastman color, they were made in Wishman blood. I felt I wanted to go on to bigger and better things. I decided to start with Sex Perils of Paulette in 1965.
Joe Marzano The guys never undressed back then. The big scene was if a girl showed her titties. The prologue to my film read, "Any man who has experienced the delicious pain inflicted by a beautiful woman knows the evil truth of Venus in Furs." The story was about a character who had Warhol-like parties and orgies out on Long Island to drive an obsessed man crazy. We filmed at a big house near Coram that we rented for a week. Just imagine, a 70-minute movie done in five days. We would do one take and that was it. Later it started getting heavier. By the late '60s it was all-out.
Wishman I lived in Forest Hills in a place that was large enough to film in and it was quite luxurious. I shot part of Too Much, Too Often! there in 1968. It's just a story about two gangsters who are planning to kill a foreign diplomat who's in an apartment adjoining the one that I shot in. And that is occupied by three girls, and the gangsters come in and tie them up and blah, blah, blah, blah. They weren't really adult films. I don't know where I got that reputation from.
Goldstein I started Screw in 1968. I was a walking hard-on. I believe my hard-on is the greatest gift to the world. Here I am, growing up in the streets of Brooklyn realizing a disparity between my lustiness and the society arresting hookers, busting Ralph Ginzburg, and the ultimate horror of all, busting Lenny Bruce. My first arrest was in Mineola, too. I was charged with child porn. There was a pedophile looking for children through the magazine. I would no longer accept that kind of ad, but we're talking 1969. I never went back to Mineola. My claim to fame is that I was aware of the secret world that existed. The world of prostitution, masturbation.
The Late '60s: Naked Comes The Newsday Staff
Mike McGrady Pornography, even in the late '60s, was nothing like it is today. All there was was really softcore, like Valley of the Dolls. In 1968, I interviewed Harold Robbins and Irving Wallace, two of the worst writers who ever lived. But they were making millions. It was driving me crazy that there were so many decent writers who couldn't make a living. I do remember saying, "Hey, we can do this if we each wrote a chapter." There would be an unrelenting emphasis on sex.
Harvey Aronson Mike decided that we could make money if we had 25 people write a book. I always thought it was fun. He posted a memo. One line I remember was "Any attempt at good writing will be quickly blue-penned into oblivion." Naked Came the Stranger, by "Penelope Ashe," was a story about Billy and Gillian Blake. I wrote the glue that held the disparate chapters together. Each person had been given a marriage to destroy. She catches him with another woman and she tries to get even. They move into King's Neck, a fictional town. We had Bob Greene, who's now head of Hofstra's journalism school, writing about a Mafia lord she seduces. I remember watching him, in the days when we could drink in the office, sitting there with a six pack and he was really enjoying himself. I remember being at a party and Jim Bouton, the Yankee pitcher, came up to me and asked, "Who wrote the ice-cube chapter?" It was like a national sensation. We were on TV shows, David Frost, Life. It's in Trivial Pursuit to this day. It's in the World Book Encyclopedia. The hoax was the big thing. I don't think it's that dirty. What do we know? We were a bunch of suburban househusbands.