8 Is Enough on Sunsex Blvd

By Josh Eliot


Living and working in Hollywood / West Hollywood in the 1990s for Catalina Video was very different from shooting movies at the studio we had in San Francisco in the 1980s. Most tourists come to town hoping for a sighting of their favorite celebrity when they purchase a “map to the star’s homes” from a  vendor on the border of WeHo and Beverly Hills. I know I was a little star struck when I had celebrity sightings that happened quite by chance. Once in the Century City mall, my friends and I spotted Michael Nader (Dex Dexter from Dynasty 1981-1989) after the show ended production. In LAX the timing was just right for me to pass Elizabeth Taylor, being pushed in a wheelchair on her way to the gate. I positioned myself just right to get close to her as I passed. I started my stare, and when our eyes locked onto each other I said, “I love you, you're fabulous,” and she replied, “Thanks sweetie.” It was a moment for sure! Helen Hunt used to be a regular for breakfast at Hugo’s Restaurant, and Shelley Winters pulled up and parked her ass at our table one morning for breakfast at the Silver Spoon. It started when she asked us to use our ketchup, then when she finished her meal and her friends left, she sat at our table and chatted with us. Cell phones and selfies weren’t a thing yet, and how I wish I had a photo!


Vintage image of a young woman selling maps to stars' homes


Working with Catalina and shooting on location opened itself up to some close encounters – not with celebrities, but with their homes. Fatty Arbuckle was a silent film actor at the top of his career with Paramount, earning three million dollars over three years to star in eighteen silent movies. In the summer of 1921, he was accused of slaying 25 year old actress Virginia Rappe at a gin party in a suite at the St. Francis Hotel in San Francisco. Finally acquitted after three trials and his career in ruins, he worked behind the scenes directing under the name William B. Goodrich and died of a heart attack at age 46 on June 29th, 1933. Somehow, Scott Masters got us access to one of Fatty’s previous homes in the Hollywood Hills to shoot the movie The Bite, Directed by Chi Chi LaRue and starring Jon Vincent. I swear the people occupying the place were squatters, because there was little to no furniture, sleeping bags in an upstairs room and we needed to use generator power. It was a bit sketchy, but the character of the gothic interior was perfect for the vampire theme, and a little creepy at the same time.


Headline: Arbuckle Faces Gallows, Fatty Arbuckel mugshot, and Virginia Rappe

Fatty Arbuckel and Virginia Rappe


The show Eight Is Enough starring Dick van Patten and Betty Buckley ran from 1977 to 1981 and I remember watching it loyally while in my teens. When Masters and I went to scout the location, I was thrilled to see the front of the house (the inside, not so much) where the cast stood in the opening credits. I found out later that they also used the house exterior for episodes of Murder She Wrote (as a mortuary), Quantum Leap and the Rockford Files. For the Scott Master’s movie Reunion (1992) starring Cody Foster, we shot the main sex scene right there on the front porch, showcasing this famous house that was unfortunately bulldozed in 1996. Cody passed away from liver cancer in 2007, but lived a tumultuous life once leaving the industry in 1995. He had numerous run-ins with the law, ending up with a four year sentence in Jefferson County, Colorado for retaliating against a person he had victimized. He was a bit of a loose cannon on the sets and could turn on a dime. I was glad that Scott Masters was directing him, not me. We heard at some point that he’d been arrested for shooting a gun at the State Capitol in Colorado. I have no way of knowing if that was true or not. He returned to the industry in 2000 and 2001 in a couple of bondage movies from Grapik Art Productions.


Reunion cover and Eight Is Enough house

Reunion cover and Eight Is Enough house


On a lighter note, Orson Welles  had a beautiful home just a block or two up from Hollywood Blvd. We shot the Brad Austin movie Sunsex Blvd (1993) there with Zak Spears as Norman Desmond, the Gloria Swanson role. Brad worked for some time as the personal assistant to Ms. Swanson prior to coming on board as my right hand man and head of the crew. This movie was very personal to him and a huge success. We cast Max Stone as the character Max, Norma(n)’s driver, as he was a dead ringer. Scott Masters had connections and we rented another one of Groucho Marx’s vintage automobiles for Max to drive Norman in. We had previously rented a different vintage car formerly owned by Groucho for my movie Object of Desire. The reenactment of the shooting scene with the William Holden character falling in the pool and the scene of Norman coming down the stairs for his “I’m ready for my close-up” cum-shot were brilliantly shot in black-and-white. It’s a fun movie to check out!


Sunsex Blvd cover and Orson Welles' house

Sunsex Blvd cover and Orson Welles' house


Last but certainly not least was shooting in Sharon Stone's previous residence. We shot Revenge of the Bi-Dolls there, and from the grand staircase to the humongous master suite, this place was divine! The rooms were so large that we had echo problems with the audio, but the look of the place made our low budget movie look like a million bucks. Chi Chi LaRue and Sharon Kane perform their incredible duet which opens the movie throughout the many rooms of the mini-mansion. I’ve attached a link so you can watch it!


Sharon Kane & Chi Chi LaRue singing in Sharon Stone's home in Revenge of the Bi-Dolls

Sharon Kane & Chi Chi LaRue in Revenge of the Bi-Dolls


Well, that’s my little contribution to the Hollywood Babylon-esque world where porn and the Hollywood elite had six degrees of separation.



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

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