The ALL-MAN Magazine Interview: The Man Behind Catalina Video

By Josh Eliot


I didn’t give interviews often, back in the day. Not because I was opposed to them but because Mike, our general manager, started alienating the company from the competition. There was a time when he stopped running advertising campaigns, taking part in industry functions and even shunned the critics and award shows. It was like pulling teeth at one point to get him to submit screeners to the committees for award consideration. Luckily for us, Chi Chi was all up in the industry business and she would get whatever they needed from the warehouse and into their hands. We were all at a loss as to why he suddenly became Kim Jong-il and treated the company like South Korea, closing it off from the rest of the Industry. Only he knows why, and thank goodness he eventually pulled the hair that was stuck up his ass and started embracing the industry again. I was working at David Weiss’s House One duplicating facility, making titles for an upcoming movie. They had much superior editing equipment and if Tab Lloyd wasn’t using the equipment they’d let me go over and use it to create cool titles and effects. It was on that day that Ethan Clarke showed up to question me for All Man Magazine. If I had known he was going to take a picture of me that day, I wouldn’t have worn just a white t-shirt to work. Not the best look for a photo. But the cigarette, that was a staple - a bad habit that stuck with me from working on all those shoots with John Travis. Luckily, I quit that habit a few years later.


November 2003 All Man Magazine cover and Josh Eliot photo
November 2003 All Man Magazine cover and Josh Eliot feature

ETHAN CLARKE: How long have you been working for Catalina Video?

JOSH ELIOT: I started working at Catalina in October 1987, so it’s been sixteen years. Due to some legal technicalities, at the time, they could not shoot gay adult videos in Los Angeles, so Catalina set up a studio in San Francisco, where I was living. I applied for a job as a still photographer because I was going to school studying film and video production. (laughs) Actually, I took some photos that a friend had taken to go along on the interview with Scott Masters and John Travis and presented them as my own, thus bullshitting my way into the job. I did later tell them all about it an we had a good laugh. I was interested in doing video camerawork and directing, but they were only looking to hire someone for still photography. So, I took the job that was offered, agreeing that eventually it would parlay into doing camerawork. The stills I took the first couple of times weren’t that great! But you know, timing is everything. The head of their production (Dan Allman / Cameron Leight) was getting ready to retire. They liked me and made me the second cameraman and hired a new still photographer. When Dan Allman retired about six months later, I was bumped up to head of production. I was totally trained by the best. John Travis or Scott Masters would tell me everything they needed for a shoot. We’d build the sets and one of them would fly up to San Francisco and we’d make a video. Eventually John Travis trained me to direct.

ETHAN: Well you learned from the best.

JOSH: Yes, I did! He’s great, a real sweetheart.

ETHAN: How long did you stay in San Francisco?

JOSH: Since Catalina’s main headquarters was in Los Angeles, when it was legal to shoot there again, I moved down to L.A. It was a major change to find a place to live and find a new crew. Photographer Jeff Burton was the first person I hired, and he stayed with us for about thirteen years. Scott Masters and John Travis moved on to found Studio 2000.

ETHAN: How long did it take you to get used to living in Los Angeles?

JOSH: You know, I came kicking and screaming, but it really didn’t take that long. It was really an easy transition, you can’t beat the weather, and I did live in the heart of west Hollywood. But it did take me a while to get used to the slower pace.

ETHAN: What was the first production you worked on for Catalina?

JOSH: I did stills for BULGE: Mass Appeal with Kevin Glover and Kurt Bauer. The first feature I directed is Runaways starring Jake Corbin and Danny wade. Scott Masters watched everything I did from a monitor in his office and gave me advice. He taught me a lot.

ETHAN: And what is your most recent video?

JOSH: His Terrible Twin, with Andy Hunter in a dual starring role. There are two versions - the two hour VHS and the DVD special director’s cut with a behind the scenes documentary and other bonuses. Last year my big movie was Boy Band; we included a music video in that one.

ETHAN: Who taught all those models their fancy footwork in their dance routines in Boy Band?

JOSH: (Laughs) Well, we taught them about three steps at a time and then would cut the camera, re-position the angle and start filming again, reminding them, “You ended up with your legs crossed. When the camera roll, uncross your legs, spin around and point to the stars.” Cut together, it looks great, as if they did the entire music video from beginning to end without stopping.

ETHAN: You also did the Rascal series.

JOSH: Yeah, we just finished the sixth and final episode, The Rascal’s Graduation Gang Bang, directed by Peter Romero. I directed the first four of the six and had enough! Catalina used to produce two videos a month, but with the emergence of DVDs we shoot one movie a month and re-release a remastered DVD version of an older movie with lots of bonus scenes and photo galleries. They look really good and they’re not just direct linear transfers. Viewers are getting their money’s worth.

ETHAN: Who are Catalina’s current exclusive models?

JOSH: Steve Rambo, Ray Harley and Maxime Cannon who can be seen in our newest release, Super Sized! And he is, with a 12” dick. He’s the epitome of what you want in a performer. The dick goes up, stays up and fucks like nobodies business. He lives in Canada, but I told him if he moved here he would be in every single movie we shoot! Ray Harley’s new movie with Anthony Holloway is Junior’s Nude Cleaning Service from our new Generation Gap Series. Besides those guys and Rambo, we had Chris Champion, Hank Sterling, Ty Fox (for a five picture deal) and Matt Powers. I just talked to Matt the other day. He’s on the East Coast now, teaching martial arts.


Catalina Exclusive models Ray Harley, Ty Fox, Steve Rambo, Chris Champion and Matt Powers

Catalina Exclusive models Ray Harley, Ty Fox, Steve Rambo, Chris Champion and Matt Powers


ETHAN: What do you think about the new influx of talent coming into the gay adult industry compared to guys fifteen years ago?

JOSH: We used to shoot a lot of straight guys in the beginning. It was often like pulling teeth to get what we needed. There weren’t that many guys doing video work then and many of the models were “gay for pay.” I’m very happy with the selection now. The sex is more aggressive and the models all know what to do! It wasn’t like working with the straight guys who had to be told how to proceed move by move. I love the new breed of models like Jesse Cooper, Tommy Saxx, Jack van Dean, Brad McGuire, Blake Harper and Jason Branch. Blake was going to play the lead in His Terrible Twin but got a mainstream gig.

ETHAN: How much fun was it shooting Pillage and Plunder on a ship? As well as Cockpit 1 & 2 involving airplanes?

JOSH: The ship we shot Pillage and Plunder on was older than the S.S. Poseidon. It was a good video, but you can be sure as shit that I will never set foot on that boat again! The Cockpit videos directed by Brad Austin were great fun. The highlight of the first one was the plane crash, the debris and all that jazz. Cockpit 2 was shot mostly in Yosemite, California. We had a wonderful and secure shooting location on a huge ranch.

ETHAN: What was your all-time favorite movie you directed?

JOSH: Definitely it would be a tie between Revenge of the Bi Dolls and Score.

ETHAN: I’m sure your fans will be anticipating all of Catalina Video’s releases and particularly a reunion of Chi Chi LaRue and Sharon Kane in an upcoming project. Some other of Josh’s movies are: CatalinaVille, Cat Men Do!, Easy Riders, Getting Off in Palm Springs, Jawbreaker and Thrill Me!

It’s funny. Now, re-reading this interview after all these years, I see quite a few subjects mentioned that I recently wrote blogs about. It’s good to see that the details and specifics match and my memories are holding up to the test of time.


Bio of Josh Eliot:

At the age of 25 in 1987, Josh Eliot was hired by Catalina Video by John Travis (Brentwood Video) and Scott Masters (Nova Video). Travis trained Eliot on his style of videography and mentored him on the art of directing. Josh directed his first movie, Runaways, in 1987. By 2009 when Josh parted ways with Catalina Video, he'd produced and directed hundreds of features and won numerous awards for Best Screenplay, Videography, Editing, and Directing. He was entered into the GayVN Hall of fame in 2002. 


You can read Josh Eliot's previous blogs for Bijou here:

Coming out of my WET SHORTS
That BUTTHOLE Just Winked at Me!
DREAMLAND: The Other Place
A Salty Fuck in Saugatuck
Somebody, Call a FLUFFER!
(Un)Easy Riders
7 Years with Colt Model MARK RUTTER
Super NOVA
Whatever Happened to NEELY O’HARA?
Is That AL PARKER In Your Photo?
DOWN BY LAW: My $1,000,000 Mistake
We Waited 8hrs for a Cum Shot... Is That a World Record?
Don't Wear "Short Shorts" on the #38 Geary to LANDS END
How Straight Are You Really?
CATCHING UP with Tom DeSimone
Everybody’s FREE to FEEL GOOD
SCANDAL at the Coral Sands Motel
RSVP: 2 Weeks Working on a Gay Cruise Ship
VOYAGER of the Damned
Diving into SoMa/Folsom: A TALE OF TWO STUDS
My 1992 “Porn Set” Diary
Out of Print
There’s a Gloryhole WHERE??!
LUNCH HOUR: When the Big Boys Eat
IN and OUT and All ABOUT
UNDER the COVERs with Tom Steele
8 Is Enough on Sunsex Blvd
Steve Rambo & Will Seagers For Breakfast
The Many Faces of Adult Film Star SHARON KANE

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