Tuesday, December 6, 2011

Porn to be wild


Weeks ago I mentioned that if you live in Los Angeles, you've brushed up against the porn world. There's literally two degrees of separation, unless you make your home in Irvine, then it goes up to three.

I  might have told this story before but when I was a young copywriter at Abert, Newhoff & Burr I was approached by one of the senior writers. He wanted to know if I was interested in making a little money on the side. That's when he pulled me into the stat camera room (you younger kids can go look that up) and showed me how he supplemented his meager income.

He had hooked up with some porn distributors in the Valley and started writing the copy found on the back of all the VHS tapes (you kids can look those up as well). I never knew why there was copy on the back of the video boxes, it's not like anyone ever reads that stuff anyway.

Exactly, he said, just like the legitimate copy you're writing for the bank ads.

The pay was good, $250 a box, for about 3-4 paragraphs. And the work was easy. Just raid the thesaurus and liberally sprinkle every sentence with words like throbbing, quivering and explosive. It certainly seemed titillating. But I couldn't see myself writing, in what were essence book reviews, for Blazing Zippers, Stalag 69, or Rhinestone Reverse Cowgirl. It was just not a career path I wanted to follow.

Now that I'm married with two daughters, it turns out my instincts were right.

But that never stopped me from participating in a weekly shenanigans with legendary porn star Harry Reems (pictured above with Linda Lovelace, co-star in the iconic Deep Throat). You see, Harry was regular customer at Charmer's Market in Santa Monica. This was a boutique French restaurant/ supermarket. It was very upscale. And at the time, I was employed there as a sous chef in the open-style kitchen located in the center of the store.

Mind you, this was a time when a thick mustache had a very hypnotic effect on young ladies (I can tell you that is no longer the case) and every week Harry made a habit of walking by the kitchen with a different young Wacktress (waitress/actress) on his arm.

We, that is the cooks and the chefs, also made it a habit of clearing our throats as the happy couple walked by. As if that weren't heavy-handed enough, the saucier would feign choking and exclaim, "I think I have something caught in my THROAT."

The joke never got old.
And Harry never failed to slip a $20 bill in our tip jar.
Which was always good for a few extra shrimp in his fettucine.

2 comments:

Jeff said...

One of my jobs after my meteoric rise out of the mailroom was running the stat camera at Wells Rich Greene. They had this ginormous piece of equipment, and me, in a tiny, poorly ventilated room just outside the studio. Because of the developing chemicals, the door had to be closed all the time. Which left me in there inhaling that chemical perfume most of the day. All I'm saying is if I come down with any kind of cancer (and I don't think I have because so far drastic weight loss doesn't seem to be a problem), you'll know where it started.

geo said...

In my college days I was chosen by Playgirl magazine as a "Man of the Ivy League" and I was, therefore, featured in some issue that I think hit the newsstands in late 1981.

It's been 30 years. So I guess it's now safe to tell people.