1970s & 1980s Porn Directors on Porn Filmmaking

 

posted by guest blogger Miriam Webster

 

Jack Deveau:
[Credits include Left-Handed, Drive, Ballet Down the Highway, Good Hot Stuff, Wanted: Billy the Kid, A Night at the Adonis, Rough Trades, Sex Magic, Fire Island Fever, Dune Buddies, Times Square Strip]

 

"We were looking for a while to describe the porno movie because it doesn't really relate to anything else. it is only starting to find its milieu, or genre, whatever you want to call it. It's a musical comedy, but now instead of singing, they fuck. Now that I've been able to make that generalization I think, well, are they going to sing a happy song now or a sad one? What condition is this character in? And then we try to structure the sex in those terms... Good or bad, gay or straight, this is becoming a literature that you can't ignore. Now there are 40 films in our library and there are a number of other organizations or companies who have the same thing. There are magazines in Europe who are devoting whole issues every other month to critiques of the erotic cinema. Eventually this will have to become a literature." -- Soho Weekly News, 1975
 

Jack Deveau
Jack Deveau on the sets of Ballet Down the Highway and Sex Magic
Jack Deveau shooting Ballet Down the Highway & Sex Magic


Peter de Rome:
[Credits include The Erotic Films of Peter de Rome, Adam and Yves, The Destroying Angel]

"I think that we've barely scratched the surface of pornography in filmmaking, and that it has become a sort of mandatory thing in sex films to show a positive view of sex and all of the sex is supposed to be the ultimate, the pinnacle of excitement and life simply isn't like that. It seems to me that sometime we've got to get honest about sex and admit to ourselves that very few sexual encounters do work out agreeably or are compltetely successful. I think we can learn from our failures as from our successes. I have a very simple if not simplistic attitude toward sex films, and that is that sex is just as much a part of life as living, eating, breathing, sleeping. It's just another function of life and I don't see why it can't be depicted dramatically just as those other functions are and as honestly, too. And I think we have to show every aspect of sex in films before we can really say we are making sex films."
 

Peter de Rome
Peter de Rome directing the stars of The Destroying Angel

Peter de Rome directing the stars of The Destroying Angel



Michael Goodwin:
[Credits include The Goodjac Chronicles, Goodjac Too]

"Filmmakers have prettied-up and candy-coated male sex so much that most people who do get off on it don't think that they're worthy of being photographed or seen. That's a real putdown of the community. I don't think it was planned that way, but everybody just got on the bandwagon. Good-looking sex and tantric moments are going on with people who have pot bellies, have hair in the wrong places, or don't have hair in the right places. I believe people want to see that kind of good sex... I'm stepping into this the way those people stepped into those rockets: they believed in what they were doing, they believed it was for a good cause, they believed it would do some good for people, and they just stepped in and did it." -- Mandate, 1986

Goodjac series logo
Michael Goodwin shooting The Goodjac Chronicles
Michael Goodwin shooting The Goodjac Chronicles


Al Parker:
[Credits include Dangerous, Therapy, Head Trips, One in a Billion, Rangers, Oversize Load, Strange Places Strange Things, High Tech]

"Surge is a small company - very small. People are amazed when they find out that Surge was basically two people, my lover, Steven [Steve Taylor], and me. When you think of a studio, you think of M-G-M or Warners, but all of our sets were built in our living room in the house at Hermosa Beach, which was a 1500 square foot house that had a wonderful cathedral ceiling. But if you pulled up my carpets, my floors were ruined. I mean, there were nail holes everywhere. We trashed that house - but that house was our studio. And all of our successful films from One in a Billion to High Tech were done in that house." -- Manshots, 1990
 

Al Parker on the set of Strange Places Strange Things
Al Parker on the set of Strange Places Strange Things


Steve Scott:
[Credits include Track Meet, Rough Cut, Twelve at Noon, Gemini, Inches, Wanted, Games, Turned On!, A Few Good Men, Screenplay, Non-Stop]

"We're trying to create an erection. Now, to me, that's a feat in itself. It's a harder job than legit films. A lot of people may talk down porno, but I'll stand up to David Lean, to all of 'em, because what we do, in the limited time we do it in... Why, we're now doing 70 to 75 minutes on Inches for maybe ten, twelve thousand dollars. That's unheard of! That's lunch! So, it's an undertaking, and what we've done to date we're proud of, and hopefully we'll go on making milestones. And we don't like to cheat the audience. At least when they come out of the theatre from watching one of our films they're satisfied, they're entertained, and they don't feel like they're ripped off... and they may come back to see the next one." -- Skin, 1980
 

Steve Scott filming Twelve at Noon
Steve Scott filming Twelve at Noon
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RetroStuds of the Past: Focus on Dave Connors

Dave Connors

Connoisseurs of retro gay porn are perhaps familiar with Dave Connors because of his starring role in One in a Billion, enjoying his big balls and big dick. (In fact, I can't think of another stud's privates who one could so aptly call “meat.”) In the movie, big businessman Dave can magically hear what others are thinking, which add some flavor to a day of kinky adventures. All seem to want to taste what is really magic, his meat.
 

Dave Connors in a buisiness suit

Dave Connors' huge cock

Art can reflect reality, and in an interview for Stallion magazine, Dave jokingly admits there are disadvantages to being “super hung:”

Connors: People have used any ploy and every ploy to get me into bed.
Stallion: How did they find out about what you were packing?
Connors (laughing): People talk! It's not something I can keep secret.
 

Dave Connors interview in Stallion magazine

According to the interview, Dave was born in Florida, and he was inhibited as a child. He came out at the ripe old age of twenty-one:

“I finally came out at twenty-one in the Marine Corps. I had a lot of friends – and I could never understand why now, I know, at least I know what I missed – although I did have some very nice encounters in the service.”

But the path to pornhood was not smooth for Dave, as he claims he lost that Marine-induced “self-discipline” to drugs, and then gained it back in prison. Yes, prison.

By the age of 39, Dave had already made several porn movies, but he claims his experience in One in a Billion was enlightening, as it was his first experience with sync sound. And Dave did not have to lie on the casting couch to obtain his meaty part in that movie; he asked Al Parker, Parker had an idea, and voila!

Now, for a country boy from the sticks of Florida who looks like naturally strong, like he could wrestle a couple of alligators, he certainly fills out a business suit well. His career climaxed in the yuppie eighties, and in some ways he embodies that look: clean-cut, chiseled jaw, a “dirty blond” with just a hint of bad frat boy now grown up to dominate board rooms.
 

Dave Connors at 35

Some of the more famous films he made include The Biggest One I Ever Saw by Giant Films and Dirt Bikes for Falcon.

Tragically, at the time he was shooting what was to be his last film, Wakefield Poole's One, Two, Three, Dave succumbed to AIDS.

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Luck be a "Lad" Tonight

 

Mega Millions lottery ticket

It seems like every month there's a megamillions or powerball lottery ticket craze, and even though the chances of winning are apocalyptic odds (I think it was one in three million), people buy tickets. I bought one, which was miniscule compared to the many who play every day and calculate odds and pick numbers using esoteric formulas. 

Ultimately, it's a matter of luck, who archetypally has been characterized as a woman, the Roman Goddess Fortuna. She is related in function to the Greek Three Fates, who determine the course of events by the slightest thread, literally, as they are depicted as spinners. Clotho spun the “thread” of human fate, Lachesis dispensed it, and Atropos cut the thread (thus determining the individual's moment of death). These figures eventually became the Lady Luck many invoke as they gamble at casinos! 
 

Statue of Fortuna

These goddesses were so powerful that even Zeus, king of the gods who became the source of law and order and justice, submitted to Fortune and the Fates. 
 

The three fates

The Hebrew YHWH, like Zeus, supposedly the source of justice, tells Job, who thinks he is the victim of a horrible fate he does not deserve, that basically the way the universe works is a mostly violent mystery, and gives images of a nature “red in tooth and claw” such as sea monsters and lions. 

Maybe those who think they can somehow beat the odds are influenced by science and mathematics rather than superstition, because I've heard that the “numbers don't lie.” Well, maybe in a math problem in itself, but even though scientists have discovered certain inexorable natural processes, like gravity (thank you, Isaac Newton), someone like Einstein came along to blow the “God is in his heaven, all's right with the world” Deism apart with this theory of relativity. 

On the social level, our obsession with celebrity feeds into our desire to beat those supposedly insurmountable odds. So many think they are talented and want to be discovered, and shows like American Idol with its elaborate (and public) audition process are part of that explosion of “everyone can be famous,” and everyone can be famous if his or her youtube video goes viral. These seekers of fame and fortune may think they are beating the odds, but I think it just emphasizes that a person is one in a multitude in the cyberuniverse, which changes by nanosecond. 
 

Lana Turner at a soda fountain

Gone are the days when someone like Lana Turner (a Hollywood sex goddess of the 1940s and 1950s) was discovered at a soda fountain, when a discovery was really a one-of-a-kind event, which I think made the Susan Boyle phenomenon, who blasted into fame on Britain's Got Talent, so different and thus more exciting in our age of one-second, often meritless fame. 
 

 

Susan Boyle singing on Britain's Got Talent

And speaking of breaks, just think about how some of the most famous gay porn stars of the past made their way in a genre that didn't enjoy during that time a wide public audience. The pioneering directors and producers like Arch BrownSteve Scott, and Toby Ross were discoverers themselves, not just of talent, but of expressing a sexuality that has been so long hidden. 
 

 

 

 

But the gay porn stars of the past, like many of the Hollywood legends, often came from humble, obscure origins but got that break (of course, they were, and again, a matter of luck, a generous endowment granted by the Fates). Al Parker worked as a butler and an aide to Hugh Hefner before making his debut in Brentwood's Challenger and going on to become a porn superstar and, later, director and producer. 
 

Images from One in a Billion

 

The Al Parker-directed film One in a Billion, in which Dave Connors gets a lucky day of sexcapades after he flips a coin that lands on its side in a billion-to-one chance!

In many cases, the desire may not have been, hey, I want to be a porn star, but if one has a great body and a certain size dick, and is stripping in a club (likeJamie Wingo and Scorpio), maybe that venue would be the “big break.” In fact, Scorpio tried to get into modeling, but his stripping gig, according to him, killed his chances. 
 

Scorpio in bathtub

Yet Fortune, capricious, is still inexorable, and AIDS decimated so many of these men. Science and medicine discovered the cause, while a culture of homophobia claimed the virus was God's justice and blamed the victims. Both interventions were too late for so many. Since then, as in so many other crises, we've changed the future (we are so close to a cure), but at the tragic cost of the past. 

Never again, we say, about so many natural and human evils, but ultimately, but even what turns out to be good is often a chance discovery. 

All I can say, is, may luck be a “lad” for you, as was the case with me, when I met my late partner totally by chance in a bar, and that night I wasn't even there to meet anyone. He actually went home with someone else, but the next day he called me, and the rest for both of us became our history.

 

 

 

 

 

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