“Deep Throat”, a ‘First Adult Movie’ Experience

I have a friend I will call “Rhonda”, who works casting actors for SAG gigs here in Los Angeles; commercials, shows, independent films, etc… When we met in 2005, and I told her that I used to do adult movies, she relayed a story to me that I had her retell so I could post it here. It’s not just a ‘first adult movie’ experience from someone with no other ties to the adult industry, it’s also about the 70’s and it’s a perspective from a native Los Angelina, which is a fairly rare thing around here. The year was 1974.

It was an interesting time, according to my friend. She settles into her half couch (she’s in the middle of moving and only has the cushion part of it propped up against the bare wall), and fingers her dark, curly hair fixed up into a loose ponytail as she recalls the time, “I was sixteen. I went to private school. Grew up in Brentwood. I grew up at the beach, and uh… we were pretty rotten,” she laughs. Rhonda is dressed comfortably and seems to take on even more of that ‘beach life’, relaxed, Southern California drawl that natives have, as the conversation unfolds. “You could do anything you wanted without any repercussions. We were kids, and we were kids that came from money so we could really do whatever we wanted to do. We did drugs some, but not a lot. We also would have adventures and do things like…” she thinks for a second, “like, we’d all go to a Grateful Dead concert in Santa Barbara and take acid or something like that.” I interrupt her to talk about the fact that porn stars mingled with mainstream stars at The Starwood.

“The Stawood was this punk club at Santa Monica Boulevard and Crescent Heights. We came into town a lot to hear music at The Troubadour or at The Starwood, which is where John Holmes hung out a lot. He was famous in L.A. Everybody knew who he was. Everybody knew who… the two women, Marylin Chambers and um… um…” She can’t remember but we discover later that she’s thinking about Linda Lovelace. “Everybody knew who they were. The other thing was that in the newspaper, when we were growing up, they had an X-rated movie page.” I raise my eyebrows at that. “Yeah, so when you were looking in The Calendar Section, in The L.A. Times, and you were looking to see… first, it was concerts and shows, and then it was the regular movies and then it was a page of X-rated movies. So, you could see what was playing because you had to go to a movie theater to see them. Or somebody had to have a projector. There was no… god, this is making me feel old [laughs], there was no…” I interject, “There was no VHS tape and renting…” She says, “There was no quarter-inch tape [more laughs], there was no tape! Um… Deep Throat got to be such a big deal and everybody got pretty famous from it and it was also one of those things that was always in the paper because it was making a lot of money. In New York all the celebrities were going to see it, you know what I mean? So, I had this friend and he and I would have these adventures. He was a really funny guy.” She stops to think and then begins again, slowly, for punctuation, “He got arrested once for sneaking back into his house. [we laugh] He was that kind of a ‘always out for it’ person.

“My mother had a BMW Bavaria and it was beige. I don’t know how it started, but we decided that we were going to go and see an X-rated movie because we’d never seen one before. I mean, you know, we’d seen our friends… at a party… but we’d never seen that. The Pussycat Theaters were the chain. I think there’s only one left in town. The theater we went to, I think it’s called Studs now? Across from the Pleasure Chest?” I say, “In Boy’s Town,” referring to the gay area of West Hollywood. Rhonda’s comedian roommate looks up to nod that I’m correct, having been quiet for the evening, so far, while nursing his glass of red wine. Rhonda continues, “Yeah. In Boy’s Town. It wasn’t a gay theater then, it was a creepy…” she pauses and I laugh and help her, “…dark, smelly…?” She laughs more, “…dark… weird… thing to do, when you’re sixteen years old… but you’re like, ‘Okay…’ … So we got into my Mom’s BMW and Ronnie drove and we drove like crazy.” I asked, “Was it during the day?” and she says, “No,” in such an incredulous tone that I have to laugh. “We went late at night.” “Right,” I respond, still laughing. “We snuck out to do this. We didn’t know anything.” I cut in, interested in the fashion at the time, “Do you remember what you were wearing?” “Oh, probably I had on jeans and an embroidered Mexican shirt and a sweater because I was a hippie kid. And he probably had on Levi’s and a Brooks Brothers shirt. I probably had Frye boots on. I have no idea, I know I probably had my purse from Tijuana that was woven… if I took it. And it was yellow and pink.

“So, we got in the car and I had no idea where we were going. I mean, I had no idea where the theater was. We were so nervous, and then he walked up to the window and we were giggling… and I don’t know, it was like, five bucks maybe? And we went in and it looked like a regular movie theater. And then it was giant on the screen, that weird funny doctor guy, telling her that she had…” she pauses to laugh, “a second clitoris in her thr…” she shakes her head as I’m laughing. “… in her throat, and I’m like, ‘Huh?’ And there are these weird men sitting in the movie theater and we… just started laughing. People were going, ‘Shhh shhh,’ and we were laughing. And he says, ‘I’m gonna go get popcorn,’ and I’m like, ‘No, you can’t leave me here.’ [giggling] And we couldn’t stay through the whole thing. It’s actually really funny and the guy that plays the doctor is… Harry Reems is the guy. He was a big porn star at the time, I guess. And remember, you’re not watching it on a t.v. screen or on a computer, you’re watching it in a movie theater, and it’s HUGE.” She’s opens her arms wide for emphasis, “everything is HUGE.” “Close shots, too,” I say. She agrees. “In your face!” I say, “I love those 70’s films, though, because they seem so cute, to me. They seem so much more innocent and sort of… adorable.” Rhonda adds, “Well, you know, they tried to tell a story. This one tried, and you know, now I know more about it. I did a little research and I saw the documentary, so I know a lot more about it than I did then. All I knew then was that there was giant things… happening [more laughter from me] on the screen that I had never… viewed before… and I thought it was the funniest thing I had ever seen in my entire life. And I think we got really stoned.” I ask through my laughing, “Before you went?” “Probably after, and… drove home, and… didn’t tell any of our friends.” “Really?” “We kind of told a couple of people and they were like, ‘Do what?’ ‘Where’d you go?’ It was such a funny time. They [the movies/movie creators] actually tried to tell a story.” I said, “All of those movies did, I think. And they really went out of their way to make them entertaining.” Rhonda says, “Well, that guy Harry Reems, was funny. He was funny-looking, and he was funny. You’re right. And the stories were like, goofy bad movies. Goofy, bad like 70’s independent films, which is actually what they were. It was the whole experience. You can’t go to a theater and see a goofy porn film. Back then you had to go to a movie theater to see it, that was the only way.”

Boogie Nights is one of my favorite movies,” I say, “I don’t know. The 70’s look like they were probably a lot of fun.” Rhonda says, “Everyone wore Land Rover jeans and Mexican embroidered shirts and ribbed turtlenecks…” About that time Rhonda’s dog, Harry, starts humping my leg. Maybe the conversation is just finally too much for him. “Harry. Stop it,” she says sweetly. “Come here.” I continue, “I talked to someone once who said that the 70’s were great because you could have everything you needed and still live within your means.” Rhonda agrees, “Everything was cheap, you could have anything you wanted, fuck whoever you wanted, drugs were everywhere… I was in High School, we did whatever we wanted to do. There was a freedom. You could go see a Stones concert, cheap. For like, you know, fifteen bucks, and your parents didn’t have to drop you off, and you went with a gang of friends and you had this freedom to be these people who would, you know, sneak out of your window to go… see a porn movie in the middle of the night.” We giggle. And again, as if adding his own two cents to the conversation, Harry proceeds to hump my leg again. It goes with the theme, I guess. Rhonda graciously pulls him off of me, yet again. “Do you still know this person?” I’m speaking of her friend, Ronnie. “There’s a group of us that run into each other every few years. Or someone plans a get-together because most of them live in The Palisades. And now with FaceBook, the groups are re-finding each other. We’re all in our fifties. It’s really bizarre,” she laughs. “But there’s a close-knit group of us that have kept in touch and if I wanted to find Ronnie it wouldn’t be hard.” She drifts back to the story. “It was a fun thing to do. I had hair as long as yours then.” I ask, “That was the style then, right?” She motions with her hands, “Parted down the middle” then pulls her hands from her face directly to the back of her head, “then pulled around like that.” “That’s great,” I say. “So, how’s that, is that okay?” she asks, referring to the tale. “That’s perfect. Thank you very much.” “You’re welcome very much.” No final thoughts from Harry.

– Julie Meadows

31470cookie-check“Deep Throat”, a ‘First Adult Movie’ Experience

“Deep Throat”, a ‘First Adult Movie’ Experience

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5 Responses

  1. Wow. That’s really interesting. Ha! Did you make the connection when you first began distributing the energy drink? That’s a very cool story, Dirty Bob. Maybe I should be interviewing you at some point. I love a good story.

    I should really interview South, too, but he writes his own stuff. Any hints on good stories to prod out of him would be appreciated. ;D

  2. you want some good stories….in addition to DB talk to Dr X, Tim Case, Harry Weiss, JimmyD, Midori, Melissa Hill, Felicia Fox, Lindsey Lovehands just for a few….

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