FRANK ROSS, The Boss

By Josh Eliot

 

I spent hours at a time staring across the street at a filthy looking restaurant called the Go-Go Kitchen. It wasn’t the restaurant that caught my attention so much, but the exterior door next to it. A door leading to an upstairs apartment where every shade of rabbit fur coat was walking through it, sometimes with a man, sometimes without. It couldn’t have been more obvious. I’m no fool, I saw Dawn: Portrait of a Teenage Runaway starring “Jan Brady” on NBC in 1976. In that movie, Dawn became a sex worker, and she always wore a rabbit fur coat while walking the Sunset Strip in Hollywood. I’m not sure whose name was on the lease for that apartment, but he must have had a lot of “daughters” with a suspiciously similar dress code.

It was 1980 and I was working in the ticket booth at the Screening Room Theater, a place with quite a history. The first full-length adult hardcore feature legally shown in the United States premiered there in 1970, and today there’s a plaque on the building stating so. The film was Alex de Renzy’s Pornography in Denmark: A New Approach. It was billed as a documentary, which helped it avoid legal troubles.

 

Screening Room Theater exterior and plaque

Screening Room Theater exterior and plaque

 

In the 1980s, the Screening Room was a XXX Gay Cinema with live shows on stage. As I sat there analyzing the sex workers' behaviors, I felt two hands begin to rub my shoulders; it was my boss, Frank Ross. In addition to managing the theater, Frank became well known as an actor, producer and director. Some of his features include: Face to Face (aka San Francisco), Black Pack, Black and Bi and Made in the Shade and its sequel. He was a true New Yorker, a bit intimidating, with handsome looks and a tattooed muscular body.

 

Face to Face poster and Made in the Shade VHS cover

Vintage poster for Face to Face (aka San Francisco) and VHS cover for Made in the Shade 1

 

When he interviewed me for the job, he struggled with the idea of whether or not to hire me, because I had just turned 18 the week before. He was very protective of my naivete and took time before exposing me to all the different areas of the theater and its playrooms. As weeks passed and we became more comfortable with each other, he started sharing stories of his sexual adventures. His trysts blew my mind but helped me get more comfortable with accepting myself. I envied my co-worker who was already comfortable in his own skin and would go up to the projection booth and play around with Frank regularly. A dancer named TK, who would talk with me in the booth after the live shows, invited me to go to the Trocadero Transfer with all the dancers. He knew the doorman, so I got in no problem.

 

Trocodero Transfer exterior, Divine's honorary membership card, and a fan dancer

Trocodero Transfer exterior, Divine's honorary membership card, and a fan dancer

 

It was my first time seeing fan dancers, being in a club this size and bonding through party favors with the dancers. At sunrise, we were all at the beach where TK and I went into a cave by the Sutro Baths and played around. Sutro Baths and Lands End Beach are notorious gay cruising spots. When I came into work the next day, Frank had this shit eating grin on his face, like a proud papa. I guess strippers do kiss and tell. Frank totally patted himself on the back for kicking my ass out of the closet, and I guess after months of his influence, he did.

 

Sutro Baths and Lands End Beach images

Sutro Baths and Lands End Beach

 

Frank’s most infamous film as producer was made while I worked for him. He was excited to tell me the details, about a prison guard and convict who are handcuffed together during an escape. “Oh, like The Defiant Ones,” I said, “I love that movie.” He was impressed that I made the connection and invited me to watch them film on the movie set. The shoot was the next day, around the corner at the Bulldog Baths on Turk Street.

 

Bulldog Baths ad and token

 

Bulldog Baths ad and token

 

The infamous bathhouse had a real prison cell set, and he was very excited about it. It was too nerve-wracking for me, so I never went to the set. What a huge mistake! The feature turned out to be Wanted, starring Al Parker and Jack Wrangler. Frank Ross was producing and Steve Scott (Inches, Performance, A Few Good Men, Screenplay) was directing! Let me put this in perspective… this is how I see it: you have Steve Scott who is like the Martin Scorsese of gay porn, Al Parker is the Robert De Niro, and Jack Wrangler is Leonardo DiCaprio. The best of the best for that era, there is no topping that cast or crew. A huge regret not going to that set! FUCK!

 

Wanted DVD cover featuring Al Parker and Jack Wrangler

Wanted DVD cover featuring Al Parker and Jack Wrangler

 

I don’t know if my life would have taken a different direction had I gone to that set or not, but after leaving my Screening Room job in 1981, I wasn’t exposed to the Adult Film Industry again until I was hired at Catalina Video in 1987. Sadly, I recently found out that Frank Ross passed away on May 20th 2021, which made me think back about our time working together. Because we worked on different coasts, he never knew that I ended up working in the same industry as him. I wonder how he would have reacted.

But do you know what the real burning question in my mind is?

Are there still girls going in and out of that door next to the Go-Go Kitchen?

 

 

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.  

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David's Chicago Sexual Underground - 4/22/20

 

David's Chicago Sexual Underground header

 

Greetings P(r)icksters,

You’d think since Touché is closed due to the Covid-19 virus, I would have lots of free time and be on top of things. But it’s just the opposite. I have no set schedule – don’t have to be at work at any set time, don’t have to work so many hours. Just meandering through my days here.

Oh, I have been busy. Taken the time off to do some housekeeping at the bar and at home, just not putting in that many hours each day. Decided I would use this down time to clear out stuff at both places. We literally pulled stuff out of the basement at the bar and are sorting what stays and what goes. You know how it is, you have a piece of wood, an extra light fixture, that backdrop for a staged event from 10 years ago, stuff you might use again and keep. It’s all piled up for the dumpster.

Doing the same at home clearing out closets, stuff under the sink, in this cubbyhole, etc. Got lots cleared out of storage, now just piled up in my living room for me to haul away. I have come across stuff I forgot I had and others that I couldn’t remember where I'd stashed. Like my train set (yes, I still have trains and track I pull out and play with). Though I haven’t found the box with the rest of the tracks and the power supply. Next stop, the basement storage locker.

I should have enough time to get through everything I have stored away. They announced today that Chicago and Illinois coronavirus cases should peak by mid May and with a 2 week waiting period, that would begin our comeback the end of May. It will be a gradual process to reopen businesses with bars way down at the bottom of the list. So I’m hoping for June sometime to get back to work.

The other big part of my day is Facebook. I am a latecomer to FB, I signed up a couple of years ago basically to promote events at the bar and my country dances I have been hosting for years. Mostly I would post an event and invite others, check on my family and friends and once in a blue moon post something that I felt was needed to share.

With this freer time, I have been on FB a lot more than before and reading a lot more comments, news, posts about this Covid-19 mess we are in. Of late, this rash of protest to “liberate” our nation. Now being mindful of purposely feeding misinformation on FB, I just got a video from a friend that just astounded me.

The video was of a woman stating she was in Jacksonville, Florida and she was all upset about the need to stay at home. The case she made was just so, so stupid. She claimed that up in Jacksonville where she was, was safe from coronavirus. They are safe up there because the hot spot in Miami was due to the numerous Mexicans (not Cubans, mind you) in the Miami area. And they all drink Corona beer in glass bottles.

Her logic for Jacksonville was that it is hot there, not the 70 degree hot in Minnesota, but daily 95 temps in Jacksonville that keep the virus at bay. Plus the salt in the water at the beach, that salt keeps things well. And... They drink Natural Light beer in cans. It’s natural beer, and it’s light beer and it’s in a can not a bottle, not imported Corona.

I can’t make this kind of stupid up. What is probably the most frightening thing about this is that this woman not only thinks this (Corona beer & Mexicans are the source) but that she feels good enough about this concept to post it online and that others around her will see this and agree with her. Be proud of her for her complete ignorance, meaning there are many more just as ignorant.

I can stay at home but thanks to FB, I can’t avoid the ignorance out there. Maybe I’ll spend a little less time on FB and watch more porn. I did uncover some more Bijou DVDs I had tucked away. Now I just have to choose who to spend tonight with: Al Parker, Jack Wrangler or Bruno.

Grab my P(r)ick this Week and get shacked up with Joe Gage’s Closed Set. For this plotless film, director Joe Gage invited the entire stable of Gagemen to the studio for an uninhibited orgy. Men. Dozens of them. Hairy, hung, horny men, stroking themselves, stroking each other. Fucking and sucking each other in pairs, threesomes and groups.

Now if you like solo action, my second P(r)ick of the Week is Beat Cop starring the muscular Donnie Russo as beat cop Sergeant Geraldi taking us from one crime and j/o scene to another. The criminals, Tony Lattanzi, Eddie Acosta, Richard DeSantis and Eddie Rodriguez are all uncut and jack-off to an excellent soundtrack.

Enjoy your “captivity” and stay safe with some fun from Bijou Video.

David

To order from Bijou, visit bijouworld.com, call 800-932-7111, or email bijou.orders@gmail.com

 

Closed Set images
Closed Set (D00042) - On DVD and Streaming

Beat Cop images
Beat Cop (D02659) - On DVD and Streaming
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"Brothers" Really Doing it in 1983?

"Brothers" Really Doing it in 1983?

I recently combed through one of my favorite books, The Gay Decades, by Leigh W. Rutledge. I found this fascinating tidbit about some stars from the Bijou Classics collection. On January 15, 1983 (hard to believe that was thirty years ago), quoting Rutledge: 

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Christopher
Okay, but you say nothing of the real brothers/twins that did film together... Namely the O'Brian Twins who are displayed on the h... Read More
Sunday, 26 April 2020 15:12
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