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.
McGrady At Newsday, there was something of a negative reaction. We invited Bill Moyers, who was the publisher, to write a chapter. He made a huge face and gave us the book back. Harry Guggenheim, who owned the paper, was characterized in the book by Bill McIlwain. He wrote about a 104-year-old newspaper publisher in a wheelchair who gets seduced.
Aronson Right away, people were saying they're gonna make a movie. We talked to Carl Reiner at one point. It winds up being written by a bubble-gum song writer, the guy who wrote "Sugar Sugar."
The '70s: Deep Throat And Beyond
Linda Lovelace My total involvement in the pornographic industry was two weeks. There were a couple of eight-millimeters done with me, and then Deep Throat. I have never seen it. I saw part of it in the courtroom. They were trying to convict a girl who sold popcorn and the manager of a theater for showing pornographic material. And they decided it was necessary to show the movie. And they had a recess. Before, there was maybe 10 people there. After the recess, the place was packed. And I thought that was pretty sickening.
Goldstein I made Deep Throat successful. Suddenly, because of me, it became chic. The New Yorker wrote about it. Linda said she was raped, she was forced. She blew me I have photos of my dick in her mouth. She was a hooker in Florida and she said she was forced to do it. I mean, I like Linda. She was a stupid cocksucker, but a good one.
Radley Metzger All my Henry Paris movies were all done in a period of 23 months, 1974-75. It turned out that this was at the peak of porno chic. We simply did what traditional films did but extended the love scene a little further. We filmed The Punishment of Anne, whose original title was The Image, in Kings Point. It was beyond a mansion. The people that ran the place said that, based on their research, this was the physical place F. Scott Fitzgerald was describing in The Great Gatsby. The Image was a French book. We were very faithful to the book. It wasn't so much as a transition to hardcore as it was the subject matter of a master/slave relationship. No one had really seen that before. The Story of O came out around the same time, but ours was more explicit. Then we were approached by the people who owned Naked Came the Stranger.
McGrady We arranged a world premiere in Times Square. There were quite a few of us. Unfortunately, we brought our wives and it was a hardcore movie.
Aronson The movie doesn't follow the book at all. All they used was the title. During the movie, she starts sticking her fingers, her toes, into every aperture and the editor Tony Insolia jumps up and yells "Author, Author!" And we all stood up. After seeing the film, I couldn't believe that the actors would show themselves in public.
Metzger I had heard that there were some people that were kind of shocked. But the theater where it played was the prestigious house of porn in America. I don't know what they were expecting.
The '80s: Reality Bites
Lovelace I came to Long Island 'cause I was pregnant with my son Dominic. I was with Larry Marchiano from Bellport. The people of Center Moriches helped me out wonderfully. I was kind of living in seclusion. Nobody knew who I was. I was a class mother, I was an assistant teacher's aide. One day I was watching Donahue, and Susan Brownmiller made a comment like "LL did this to become famous in the movies." And it just made me angry. And I said, "I'm writing the book."
McGrady Linda was living on welfare, opening a can of dog food for an occasional meal. We got 33 rejections for the book. We went back to Lyle Stuart and he published it in 1980. People didn't want to believe her. Guys would come up to me and say, "She was lying. She loved sucking cock." Yeah, right. I did put her through lie-detector tests to see if she was telling the truth, and she was. When I met her, she was in desperate fear that the Mafia would find her. The minute sightseers found out where she was, they would come around. The first book took six months to write.
It was the most exhausting writing job I ever had, including Vietnam. I was writing it at home in Northport. I would do interviews with her at the office of her lawyer in Bay Shore. An hour a week taping her. It was emotionally very gut-wrenching. I couldn't believe the shit she was telling me. The beatings. If you look at Deep Throat, take a look at the bruises on most of her body. They used to run a short of her having sex with a dog.
Lovelace Michael McGrady was the first person that I ever really told what happened to me. It was pretty powerful. But it was good therapy for me. 'Cause I couldn't trust doctors or anybody else, psychiatrists. There was something about Michael.
Until the book came out, no one knew the real story. When the book came, people in the neighborhood reacted by thanking me for my courage and my strength. The lady across the street who I thought was really not even going to talk to me anymore had two daughters and she said "the book really helped me with my two girls."
I really didn't think things like this happened. They got to know me first, and then they learned of the LL thing. Before Ordeal, most people thought pornography was two consenting adults and normal sex. And it opened people's eyes that it's not like that at all.
When I needed my liver transplant, they had a fundraiser. They all chipped in. And my friend Matty went to all the video stores in Mastic Beach and they removed Deep Throat and they never rented it again.
I work in user support for an investment company in Denver and I have a part-time job at night where I clean office buildings. I'm up at five o'clock every day. I have thought about auctioning off my dresses on the Internet. I live in a condo that's less than 1,000 square feet and I have a grandson and my son just got married and she has a child from a previous marriage. I'd like to have a place where they could all visit. I miss Long Island. I miss everybody there, and I miss the ocean.
The '80s: A Studio Grows In Queens
Phil Goldmarx In Queens in the '80s there was an outfit called Adventure Film Studio. It's just off the No. 7 train, near the end of the line in Corona.
Carter Stevens All of us made our money on loops eight-millimeter stag films back in the '70s. We were doing eight loops a day. We shot one day a week, every week for years. We did thousands of loops and they would go right into the peep shows. What went into making a loop? Two people, a bed, a cameraman, an assistant and 10 minutes of film. There was no plot at all. There was a set-up and then people screwed.
At Adventure, there were apartments upstairs, so shooting there during the day was fine. But the place was really not soundproof. After about 3 o'clock in the afternoon all the kids came home from school. And you had quite a bit of noise over your head. Nine times out of ten the residents did not speak English.
Even back in the '80s, it was underground. You were always afraid of being busted. We were outlaws, and we were having a ball being outlaws. Nobody made much money. Half the time you had no idea what part you were playing. If you were lucky they told you what suit to bring. You learned your lines sitting in the green room. We came in, they gave us our dialogue, if it wasn't completely improv. I got a lot of work because I could improv, not because I looked like Robert Redford.
You also found out who you were having sex with after you were there. At one point I started to feel like I was married to Marlene Willoughby. Every time I showed up on set, we wound up working together. I'm chunky. I'm built like a barrel, not as bad as Ron Jeremy, but even at my best I've never been svelte. She's tall, thin, model-style. No spare meat on her bones. To put us in a scene together was like watching Laurel and Hardy fuck. As a producer I could never understand it. But as an actor I shut my mouth and did my job.
In Crack of Dawn, I played a character who was a rip-off on Willard Scott Dillard Twat. Scott Baker, who was also in it, has done some of his weirdest videos for me. I have a video of him dressed up as Mr. Clean and we had him screwing a refrigerator, a stove and a sink. We had him saying things like "Defrost, bitch." It was hard to keep the crew from ruining the takes with their laughter. He did a masturbation scene in a room full of blow-up dolls. In Crack of Dawn, Scott played a 100-year-old woman and I'm interviewing him on his birthday. It was hysterical.
Scott Baker Crack of Dawn was shot at Adventure in 1989. It was a big-budget extravaganza. In the big, big, big scene we had cowboys, cowgirls, a rock band. Nowadays, it's more like open-heart surgery, a close up of genitalia. The local cops and the fire department would come by and say hi to the girls. It wasn't illegal by any stretch of the imagination. It was naughty. I think the law was you could not have alcohol while porn was being shot. It was a little factory, a converted auto shop. Chuck Vincent was a very talented director and writer whose stuff still pops up on the Playboy Channel. He loved the comedic side of stuff and turned out some really, really remarkable stuff, softcore as well as hardcore. I had a great time, I have to admit. Working with Veronica Hart was always terrific.
Veronica Hart I was in about 22 of Chuck Vincent's films. When I made films, I did not go into it for a career. I liked to have sex and to act and to get paid. It was great. Back when films were made in New York, it was wonderful people trying to make movies. Back then, we used film. The lighting had to be right, the right film. You had to know what you were doing. People were practicing to go on to other things. Now, any guy can turn out a movie. I don't think it's filmmaking.
Baker Chuck worked on a very, very tight schedule. I've seen people who would work as a bit player, and be the lead in the next. No coffee allowed on the set, no scripts on the set one would pop up in the corner of a shot. He would take you and nurture you. You would really, really learn about making movies from Chuck. He was a major employer for a lot of us. He was a good guy. His nickname to everybody was Uncle Chuck.
Gloria Leonard Chuck made some of the finest films in the business. In the days when porn was being made on the East Coast, it was a rather small family. When there was a new face on the scene, word spread quickly. We had a large contingent of actors that worked in the mainstream. We actually had scripts. Now, there's little or no plot. It was a different time. We felt like we were putting on a show that just happened to have sex in it. There was a certain porn chic in the air. Now, it's porn cheap. The women had certain styles. I find the current crop interchangeable. There were no condoms. AIDS was not even a word.
Sharon Mitchell I made 175-250 films between 1976 and 1984 in a warehouse in Corona. It was like making any other feature film. There was rehearsal, and it was shown in lots of theaters. Now, any asshole with a hard-on and a camera can make a movie. That warehouse was musty and smelly. It smelled like mold. At one point, there were Roman columns. The next minute it would be set up like a jail cell. For one performance, I played Marie Antoinette in Hell. I think I had sex with Jack Wrangler. For another scene, I gave a blow job through a chain link fence to an actor who looked a lot like me. He could have been my brother. I was a wild child. I wanted to rebel against everything. On Friday nights, I performed a choreographed dance routine at Plato's Retreat. We did a striptease and had sex. When I started, I was working as a runway model in the garment district, doing some commercial game-show stuff.
Stevens I can't remember a single porn actor who didn't think they were going to break into the legit side. They were going to go from porn to soaps, from Humping Miss Daisy to Driving Miss Daisy. Unfortunately, the truth is the other way around. We were young and stupid and had overactive hormones.
Mitchell I guess I was a pretty successful actress. I never had to sling hash. I blacked out a lot of my career. I was addicted to heroin for 16 years. I was real lonely inside. I don't attribute my addiction to the porn business. I had my own issues. But the adult industry probably enabled me to continue my addiction because I had so much money.
The '80s: California, Ho
Bill Margold The very first day I met Ron Jeremy was in the spring of '79. It was during the making of Olympic Fever. Anyway, we wake up and it's snowing. In LA. That afternoon, Ronnie comes up on a motor bike. He gets off the bike and he's absolutely blue, frozen. He has icicles literally hanging off him. He looks like something out of a Dickens nightmare. I asked one of the fine ladies to take this man to the shower and warm him up. He comes out of the shower all pink and furry. I said this man looks like a baby hedgehog. This is how he got his nickname. He's proud of it. He tells the story to everyone. The next morning he's going down on himself, putting on a show for Seka.
Leonard The business had made a rather large exodus to the West Coast. It was the promise of great weather, palm trees, a lot cheaper rent and outdoor sets.
Goldmarx Production studios had to pay rent and it's just very, very hard in New York. Real estate values just kind of drove the business out, so they had to look for a place that was cheap. The San Fernando Valley one or two people tried it out and they liked it so they told other people, "Why don't you move out here?" The weather is nicer and the real estate is reasonable.
The '90s: Meanwhile, Back On LI...
Mark Pulver I grew up on Long Island and I still live here. It's pretty tough to be in the business. I get a lot e-mails from guys on Long Island saying it's really cool that there's a guy like you on Long Island. I was discovered in a bar in the city, the Lure. It took a while to get my foot in the door. I get paid about $1,500 a scene. A scene takes nine to 10 hours. It's not all fun, believe me.
I have to fly back and forth to the coast. I fly out for a day shoot, a day of stills and a day of promoting. They are paying my expenses. But I guess if you have what it takes, you can do it. I have a son and I have a business. If not, I would be out to California in a heartbeat. But I actually see it coming out here. More studios are forming out here, in Manhattan. But most models are on the West Coast.
Jim Gunn Locations are very hard to come by in the East. Back in the '70s, there were people shooting Vanessa Del Rio in the city, things like that. After that, 'til the early '90s, there was very little going on here except fetish-type stuff. There are a few amateur people, but there is no infrastructure. The talent pool in New York is poor. And the kind of people walking around New York aren't open to it. They are more suspicious. Less open to manipulation, so to speak. For me to walk into a strip club in New York and get a girl for my movie, I would get my ass kicked by the bouncer.
We found a lady who owned a nice big house in the Hamptons. It had a hot tub, big yard, tennis court, outside deck. She let most of us stay in the house when we were making Strap-On Sally movies in 1997-98.
There was a video convention in Atlantic City in October. After the convention, we got a caravan of cars out to the Hamptons. It was a good shoot. I remember one funny story. Out on the Island, there's a lot of deer. One of the husbands of the actresses was an outdoor type. He was running up to the local 7-Eleven and he witnesses another car hit a deer. He comes back to the house and asks for some garbage bags, then leaves. He comes back with a blood-dripping plastic bag full of prime deer. So we pulled out the barbeque and had venison. It was great.
Tanya They have filmed movies out here recently. Tiffany Mix and Van Damage did one for Ona Zee and Seymore and Shane Playing with Fire was done in Elmont. That was the infamous one that that fireman got fired over.
Seymore Butts Isn't this the famous moment of porn on Long Island? It's certainly the one that got the most notoriety. It was the first time I left Shane alone with the camera and she kind of tried to impress me.
We didn't go looking for that particular firehouse or that fireman. She went off to do some sightseeing and was lost. She wound up at Elmont Engine and Hose Co. 2 and offered to give this guy a blow job and film it.
Shane My girlfriend and I walked up to the firehouse and asked to use their phone. One thing led to another and before long I was giving him a blow job on the fire truck. He was totally up for it. He needed no convincing. I've always had a thing for firemen, so this was great for me.
Butts The resulting hullabaloo deterred me from shooting again in New York. We got a call from an attorney, then I saw a story on A Current Affair. I thought everything about it was great publicity, except the word "sue." Nothing ever came of it though. It was just from all the good people in Elmont who never wanted anything like that in their town. She also did other things on that trip, like when she bartered a cup of coffee for a blow job.
Postscript: After the Climax
Metzger When I'm in the video store, I'll peruse the adult section. And it seems to be a complete retrogression to pre-1970s, pre-Deep Throat. I haven't really seen many of them. It looks like they just rented a motel room.
Wishman I'm making a video called Dildo Heaven. Oh, I'm not going to tell you the story. It has some unusual scenes. I think it's very commercial, hopefully.
Goldstein There's Penthouse and Hustler with pissing photos, fuck photos. Now I'm the most conservative guy in the business. Usually the creators of a revolution are devoured by the revolution. That's what happened with me. We're struggling. 'Cause my advertisers are being picked up by you guys, and I'm not as dirty as I should be.
But here's the excitement for me even the local yokels in Mineola can visit us, 'cause of the Internet. Technology has broken me out of my porno ghetto. I have an apartment in Holland and I'm going to be moving there permanently when I turn 65. 'Cause I don't need a mommy or daddy telling me I can't smoke a joint or I can't go to a topless club or I can't whack off.
Politicians give whores a bad name. All of them. Giuliani is driving everything to Long Island and to Harlem. Long Island is like New York used to be. You have swing clubs, you have topless places. You haven't been totally fucked-up yet.
Doris Wishman The grandmother of sexploitation films. Shot Bad Girls Go to Hell (1966) and Double Agent 73 (1978), starring Chesty Morgan, in her native Forest Hills.
Al Goldstein Founder and publisher of the ground-breaking tabloid Screw.
Joe Marzano Rockville Centre native who directed sexploitation romp Venus in Furs (1967) in Blue Point.
Mike McGrady Longtime Newsday writer and columnist who was ringleader of the trashy novel-by-committee Naked Came the Stranger (1969). Author of Linda Lovelace's best-selling exposé memoirs Ordeal and Out of Bondage. Now lives in Washington state, where he's writing a Mafia comedy screenplay.
Harvey Aronson Newsday senior editor for content and development who, along with McGrady, compiled Naked Came the Stranger.
Linda Lovelace Porn's first crossover superstar. Star of Deep Throat lived in Center Moriches and Bellport as Linda Marchiano in the late '70s. Now known as Linda Boreman, she lives near Denver. She works for an investment company and cleans offices at night.
Radley Metzger One of the most prolific directors of the porno chic era. Shot what many call one of the best erotic films ever, The Punishment of Anne (1975), in Kings Park. Directed the movie version of Naked Came the Stranger (1975). Often worked under the name Henry Paris.
Phil Goldmarx Former critic for Adult Video News who lives in Merrick.
Scott Baker Porn star in Crack of Dawn (1989), filmed at Adventure in Corona, and Broadway actor. Now lives in Manhattan.
Veronica Hart One of the most prolific female porn stars at Adventure. Now a producer and publisher in Los Angeles.
Gloria Leonard Porn star from 1976-84. Went on to become phone-sex innovator and publisher of High Society magazine from 1977-91. Formerly of Manhattan, now lives in Los Angeles.
Sharon Mitchell Former porn actress. Now an administrator for Adult Industry Medical Healthcare, which provides HIV testing and counseling for the porn business.
Bill Margold Dubbed the "Renaissance Man of Porn," he has been an actor, director and guardian angel for all X-rated players in connection with Protecting Adult Welfare and Free Speech Coalition. Lives in Los Angeles.
Jim Gunn Director who made Strap-On Sally 9, 10, 11 and 12 on the East End in the late '90s.
Tanya Former manager of Sinderella in Brentwood, the first peep show/Triple X video store on Long Island, established in 1993. Now owner of Sugarbush in Bohemia.
Seymore Butts Prolific porn director whose portfolio includes Seymore and Shane's Playing With Fire.
Shane Porn actress who arranged the infamous hummer in an Elmont firehouse, as seen in Seymore and Shane's Playing With Fire.
Mark Pulver Gay porn star from the North Shore. Star of Palm Springs Orgy and Tyson's Big Dream.
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