The Rialto Report
The Rialto Report
Ashley West
Audio, photo, and documentary archives from the golden age of adult film in New York, and beyond. Established 2013.
F.M. Bradley: Hiding in Plain Sight – Podcast 113 – Reprise
F.M Bradley died last month just a few weeks shy of his 70th birthday. I can’t say I was surprised – Bradley had been in a nursing home ever since I found him in 2021 after years of looking. He was bedridden, and we had a few false starts before we finally settled down for our interview due to his ill health. But even though he was unable to walk, whenever we’d video chat it was easy to see the handsome, strapping man who’d made hundreds of films and loops back in the 80s. After our interview, we kept in touch. I’d occasionally send him the Chips Ahoy chunky chocolate chip cookies he loved. He wore an expression on his face more like that of a young man at the beginning of life versus a patient on the precipice of his end. Bradley talked about making an adult film come back when he got out of the care facility, convinced he would in fact get out and get back. He had someone he called his lady friend who visited him regularly even as his Russian roommate blared his TV 24/7. Bradley had his down days, but mostly he was a man of hope – just as he’d been all his life. I often start a Rialto Report excited to hear how someone felt and what they thought when they got into the adult business, but soon become even more interested in their life now – how they’ve carried their choices and experiences and make sense of them today. It was no different with F.M. Bradley. We titled his interview ‘Hiding in Plain Sight’ because while nobody seemed to know where he was, Bradley certainly wasn’t trying to hide. In fact he occasionally attended adult events, trying to launch his comeback.  We may not be able to see Bradley now, but we can always remember him. So let’s do that. -April Hall The episode running time is 90 minutes. _________________________________________________________________________________ F.M Bradley Let’s admit something: as much as the so-called golden age of adult film was a glamorous era, where sex movies competed with Hollywood blockbusters in theaters across the country, it wasn’t the most racially diverse workplace for a male performer. There was Johnnie Keyes, the African American star of Behind the Green Door in the early 1970s. There was Billy Dee, an accomplished mixed-race actor, who became a well-known face in the late 1970s. And then… that’s about it. Which is striking for a new industry that employed hundreds of people and made millions of dollars. In the 1980s, this trend continued. Which made someone like Field Marshal Bradley stand out. The Field Marshal, who went by the name F.M., was a towering presence. He looked like a black superman. A striking figure of strength. He displayed a muscular, cut body that always seemed shiny. He was the number one star of color, when that should have meant a lot more. Over the years, I’d heard stories about F.M. Bradley. He was the eternal bad boy, living out a wild life. He’d occasionally turned up at conventions saying he was about to make a comeback in the business. He didn’t seem to have a permanent address, and no one had his contact details. Many doubted he was still alive. And then I heard he’d been spotted – in a convalescent home in Vegas. Struggling with ill-health. He wasn’t even well enough do an interview. But we kept talking over several years, and eventually recorded an interview. Now this particular convalescent home wasn’t well-equipped for interviews with stars of the X-rated film industry, and so our conversation took place with the TV in the background, and people coming and going. We’d get interrupted constantly – such as when it was time to for F.M. to give his dinner order. I wanted to know what it had been like to be one of the few male performers of color in the 1980s. Where had he come from, and what was he doing now? And why was this one-time Superman now in a home? This is April Hall – and this is The Rialto Rep...
Dec 10, 2023
1 hr 30 min
Flesh! The Untold Origin of the Findlays and the ‘Flesh Trilogy’, Part 2 – Michael’s story
Michael Findlay was a young New Yorker, fascinated with film and the mechanics behind it. Julian Marsh was his alter ego, a movie director possessed with a singular twisted vision. Richard Jennings was a sadistic, deranged movie character, one-eyed, confined to a wheelchair, and hell bent on revenge. The films Michael Findlay made seemed to be so single-minded, unique, and personal, that they begged the question, how much were these three characters actually the same person? And what role did Roberta, Michael’s wife and partner, play in making the movies? In the last episode, I spoke to Roberta to find out how her early life shaped her. Was there anything in her background that explained the Flesh trilogy, the black and white 1960s sex and sadism films that they made? I learned of her insular Jewish upbringing, a violent father, pressure to become a concert pianist, and an abusive relationship with a psychologist. Roberta minimized her actual involvement in the films, insisting that any role she had was somewhere between coincidental and non-existent, but questions remained. So who was Michael Findlay? What shaped him, what was the damage in his past that Roberta referred to, what caused it, and how much of it resulted in the films that he made? This podcast is 36 minutes long. ————————————————————————— Someone once said that if you want to reveal the truth, you write fiction. But if you want to tell a lie, you write a biography. So how do you start to tell someone’s story who you’ve never met and has been dead for almost fifty years? How do you get to know them, understand them, and get inside their aches, drives, and desires? Start with the basic facts. Establish an overview of a life like a chalk outline of a dead body at a crime scene. A silhouette profile that establishes what is already known. Michael Findlay was born in 1937 in New York. He made a number of notorious 1960s low-budget movies that combined sex and violence in imaginative and sadistic ways. And he died in 1977 when he was decapitated by a helicopter on the roof of the Pan Am Building in Manhattan – a grotesque end that could have come straight out of one of his films. After the basic facts, dig deeper into echoes of the past. Chase memories, the architecture of our identity. After all, the life of the dead is placed in the memory of the living. So seek the survivors, anyone who guards recollections that may reveal deeper truths. In Michael’s case, few people remain who knew him in his formative years, and some of those who still live choose to preserve their silence: many years have passed after all, and for them, the past is a silent setting, a place of reference not a place of residence. But keep looking, ask enough people, and a story emerges. * Michael Findlay was born in Manhattan on August 27, 1937, just a short distance from Roberta, his future wife’s childhood home in the Bronx. In truth, it was a million miles away from her airless, bookish, piano-playing, indoor Jewish upbringing. Michael was the product of a Celtic union: his father, James Findlay, was a Scot, a tall, good-looking bear of a man, born in Aberdeen in 1900, and product of the local, hard-scrabble shipbuilding yards on the cold, eastern coast of the land. Findlay senior, charming, outgoing, and popular, had little schooling but was keenly intelligent, a reader, and a collector of intellectual ephemera. Later in life, Roberta remembered him polishing off the daily New York Times crossword in under ten minutes,
Dec 3, 2023
36 min
Flesh! The Untold Origin of the Findlays and the ‘Flesh Trilogy’, Part 1 – Roberta’s story
Sex and violence have been part of movies since the very beginning. Ever since Thomas Edison made and exhibited ‘The Kiss’ in 1896, an 18 second clip of a couple embracing, moviegoers have been shocked by onscreen depictions of lust. The outrage over ‘The Kiss’ was understandable: it was one of the first films ever shown commercially to the public, and kissing in public was prosecuted at the time. The Catholic Church knee-jerked instinctively, and said it was a “serious threat to morality and humanity”, and the film was met with the first demand for movie censorship. Fast forward seventy years, and heaven knows what they would have made of Michael and Roberta Findlay. The Findlays made a series of low budget films in the 1960s that combined sex with violence in a way that had rarely been seen. Sure, filmmakers like Russ Meyer or Herschel Gordon Lewis had already achieved success with exploitation flicks that mixed fornication with ferocity. But their visions gleefully and comically satirized the genre. Michael and Roberta were different: theirs was a more shocking, sadistic vision that left an altogether different impression. More than with any of their peers, you find yourself looking beyond their work, instead wondering more about the filmmakers than the films. In short, you start to ask, “What kind of people made these movies?” Over the last few years, I’ve tracked down and spoken to friends, family members, collaborators… in fact, anyone who knew Michael and Roberta back in the 1960s – including Roberta herself – to dig deeper into who the Findlays really were and where they came from. The new information I found was surprising, unnerving, and sometimes disturbing – and it changed the way I view the films themselves. This is Part 1 of ‘Flesh: The Untold Origin of the Findlays and the ‘Flesh Trilogy’’ – Roberta’s story. This podcast is 36 minutes long. ———————————————————————————————- Roberta Findlay walks into a midtown Manhattan bar. Unruly dark mop, giant black sunglasses, scowling bad attitude. She looks like Bob Dylan in ‘Don’t Look Back.’ Or a microwaved Anna Wintour. “I don’t like people,” is her opening gambit. “Especially not those who watch my sex movies. These people are creepy. With deep psychological problems.” I’m lucky, I guess. I’ve known Roberta for years, and she insists I am one of her two favorite living people. I’m flattered until I learn that Dick Cheney is the other: “I like arrogant men who mistreat me” is her explanation. Dick Cheney mistreated you? I ask. “I can dream,” she grunts. Today Roberta has decided to cement our friendship. She gifts me the copy of ‘Hollywood Babylon’ that sat at the bedside of her long-deceased husband, Michael. I’m strangely moved. This 1959 collection of crime-soaked, sleaze-boiled gossip from Hollywood’s golden age underbelly had been an inspiration to him when he first became a filmmaker in the 1960s. Their film titles bore the evidence: Satan’s Bed (1965), Take Me Naked (1966), The Ultimate Degenerate (1969), and the infamous Flesh trilogy (The Touch of Her Flesh (1967), The Curse of Her Flesh (1968),
Nov 19, 2023
35 min
Lisa Cintrice: Not Being Afraid, Part 2 – Podcast 133
In the first part of The Rialto Report&#8216;s conversation with Lisa Cintrice, we heard about her colorful upbringing, from a mobster father, to becoming pregnant as a teen, and then a shotgun wedding to the brother of a notorious New York strip club manager. All of a sudden, she found herself at the heart of the New York adult film business, and what’s more, starring in a movie, The Starmaker (1982), while fielding offers to appear in many others. There was only one problem: Lisa had already signed up to join the army and was about to be conscripted, and the army wasn’t interested in letting her go easily. A desperate situation called for a desperate measure. Lisa’s time in porn had highs and lows, living with Fred Lincoln and Tiffany Clark, partying with Jamie Gillis at the Hellfire club, and bumping into Richard Dreyfuss at Plato’s Retreat. But it also brought with it a drug habit that risked her life. As a result, Lisa did the only thing she could to survive: she fled New York and hid for over 30 years, terrified of having her past exposed. Trouble was, during that time, she got a recurring part in the TV series, &#8216;Star Trek: Voyager&#8217; – a franchise well-known for its obsessive and curious fans. To make matters worse, the internet happened &#8211; and suddenly her adult films were available to a whole new generation. And then in 2015, The Rialto Report tracked Lisa down and contacted her for an article about her life – not realizing how she’d done everything to hide her porn past from prying eyes for several decades. Lisa panicked: this was her worst fear, and it risked collapsing her personal, family, and professional life. Fast forward to the present day, and Lisa is now ready to talk about it all in this candid and personal interview. She’s even decided to write a book. The second part of her life is even wilder than the first. This is concluding part of Lisa’s story.  This episode running time is 56 minutes. &#8212;&#8212;&#8212;&#8212;&#8212;&#8212;&#8212;&#8212;&#8212;&#8212;&#8212;&#8212;&#8212;&#8212;&#8212;&#8212;&#8212;&#8212;&#8212;&#8212;&#8212;&#8212;&#8212;&#8212;&#8212;&#8212;&#8212;&#8212;&#8212;&#8212;&#8212;&#8212;&#8212;&#8212;&#8212;&#8212; Lisa Cintrice &#8211; Her XXX life &nbsp; &nbsp; &nbsp; &nbsp; Lisa, with Richard Milner &nbsp; &nbsp; &nbsp; Lisa, with Sparky Vasc &nbsp; &nbsp; <a href="https://www.
Nov 5, 2023
56 min
Lisa Cintrice: Not Being Afraid, Part 1 – Podcast 132
Lisa Cintrice had a colorful life: for a start, her father was a New York mobster who was related to the most famous Italian priest of all time, Padre Pio, a man so terrified of God that he manifested stigmata, the same wounds in his hands and feet that Jesus suffered when he was nailed to the cross. And for much of her adult life, Lisa was afraid too – largely because of her career in adult film. In actual fact, she appeared in only a handful of movies in 1981 and 82. But what made her career particularly notable was that when she started, she’d already signed up to serve in the armed forces and was about to be deployed. She changed her mind at the last minute, choosing instead to make sex films, but getting out of the army contract wasn’t easy. And the way that she dealt with the problem was novel and controversial, and received a splash of publicity in the New York tabloids of the early 80s, when she turned up at the army recruitment center in – where else, Times Square – and promptly stripped off for the many newspaper photographers in attendance.  Lisa’s time in porn had highs and lows, living with Fred Lincoln and Tiffany Clark, partying with Jamie Gillis at the Hellfire club, and bumping into Richard Dreyfuss at Plato’s Retreat. But it also brought with it a drug habit that risked her life. As a result, Lisa did the only thing she could to survive: she fled New York and hid for over 30 years, terrified of having her past exposed. Trouble was, during that time, she got a recurring part in the TV series, Star Trek: Voyager – a franchise well-known for its obsessive and curious fans. To make matters worse, the internet happened &#8211; and suddenly her adult films were available to a whole new generation. And then in 2015, The Rialto Report tracked Lisa down and contacted her for an article about her life – not realizing how she’d done everything to hide her porn past from prying eyes for several decades. Lisa panicked: this was her worst fear, and it risked collapsing her personal, family, and professional life. Fast forward to the present day, and Lisa is now ready to talk about it all in this candid and personal interview. She’s even decided to write a book. This is part 1 of Lisa’s story.  This episode running time is 62 minutes. &#8212;&#8212;&#8212;&#8212;&#8212;&#8212;&#8212;&#8212;&#8212;&#8212;&#8212;&#8212;&#8212;&#8212;&#8212;&#8212;&#8212;&#8212;&#8212;&#8212;&#8212;&#8212;&#8212;&#8212;&#8212;&#8212;&#8212;&#8212;&#8212;&#8212;&#8212;&#8212;&#8212;&#8212;&#8212;&#8212; Lisa Cintrice Little Lisa celebrating Christmas &nbsp; Lisa with her mom and brother &nbsp; Lisa&#8217;s wedding day &nbsp; Lisa&#8217;s father walks her down the aisle &nbsp; Lisa and her husband &nbsp; Lisa in her first photo layout &nbsp; &nbsp; Ken Yontz and Larry Levenson, with Lisa &nbsp; Lisa in The Starmaker &nbsp; &nbsp; &nbsp; &nbsp;
Oct 29, 2023
1 hr 1 min
R.I.P. Herschel Savage (1952 – 2023)
Seventy is no age to die. Especially not for a man as decent and good as Harvey Cohen. But last week, Harvey, who used to be the adult film star known as Herschel Savage, passed away in his home in Los Angeles. Despite his performing pseudonym, Harvey was a gentle, sweet man, who’d chosen his nom de porn in an attempt to combine the nerdy New York Jewish self that he was with that of the sexual stud he pretended to be. Over the years, I saw him frequently – we’d eat out at Musso and Frank’s on Hollywood Boulevard. Often, he was by himself, sometimes with his best friend and fellow porn veteran, Paul Thomas. Outwardly he looked great, in fact I always thought he looked better than he did back in the 1970s and 80s. But in other respects, time hadn’t been kind to him. He’d developed a series of health complaints, and last year suffered a serious heart attack – something he was keen to keep hidden from all but his closest friends. He was always entertaining, repeating George Carlin’s routine on the language of aging: you become 21, turn 30, push 40, but you reach 50, make it to 60, if you’re lucky you hit 70. In fact, Herschel was 70 when he died. He’d struggled financially as well, and always berated himself for not being motivated to do something with his life. The heart attack had been a wake-up call. “I need to get creative with how I earn some money,” he said. “Life is difficult when you’re poor. Not to mention boring.” He talked about a new one-man show that he was working on titled “Rich Man, Porn Man,” but in truth, he was struggling to make things happen anymore. I interviewed Herschel for this Rialto Report podcast almost exactly 10 years ago to the day. Neither of us really knew what we were doing. I was still new to the podcast game, and Herschel wasn’t used to being asked personal questions about his life. And, as it turned out, it got us both into a little trouble. Herschel more trouble than me. You see, Herschel had been interviewed by a Harvard University student a few months before for a project that a student been doing for her degree course. Turns out, Herschel and she had become friendly and had started a relationship. She’d found Herschel to be far from the coarse, crude, misogynistic porn star she’d expected to encounter, but rather an intelligent, cultured, and sensitive man – who’d practiced Buddhism for the previous forty years. And then we did the Rialto Report interview that you’re about to hear: in it, Herschel is frank, unfiltered, and brutally honest about his life and thoughts on the adult film business. When his new girlfriend listened to it, she was shocked. She called him as soon as she heard it and expressed how upset and disappointed she was. This wasn’t the Herschel she knew, she said. I didn’t want Herschel to suffer as a result of having done an interview with me, so I bought him an air ticket to visit his girlfriend so he could have the chance to explain and repair the relationship. It was to no avail: Herschel took the flight, but no amount of sweet talking could fix the situation, and they split shortly afterwards. Not one of The Rialto Report’s proudest moments. Over the last few years, I would hear from Herschel on a daily basis. He would send news articles to me on WhatsApp, declaring he was my news and literary concierge. He would often add a comment about why he wanted me to read the article. Ten days ago, Herschel unexpectedly sent me photos. Tens of them. From all stages of his life from when he was a boy through to recent pictures. “You can use these on The Rialto Report soon,” he said. The last article I received from him was on the day before he passed: “I want you to read every word of this,” he wrote next to a link. The article was entitled: “How to life a long and happy l...
Oct 15, 2023
1 hr 37 min
Cop Porn: When the NYPD made a Porn Film – Part 2 – Podcast 131
In the 1970s, New York was a city on the edge: it was on verge of bankruptcy, beset by a crime wave, and overrun by the rampant sex industry that was taking over Times Square. Different people reacted to the city’s critical state in different ways. Some, like Phil Russo, an idealistic cop in the Public Morals Squad, were hellbent on reversing the trend, doing everything they could to identify and prosecute the criminal perpetrators, and restore law and order. Others like Varla Romano, one of the only female detectives in the NYPD vice squad, worked hard and diligently, but faced uphill battles of her own just to be accepted in what was a traditionally alpha male world. And then there was Michelle Lake, the daughter of distant immigrants, who desperately sought a role in life for herself that would give her validation, purpose, and a way of supporting herself – and found some hope in stripping at the Melody Burlesk. Three very different people. Each trying to find their way on their own terms. Their paths would cross in the summer of 1977, and their lives would be changed forever – and, when the dust settled, in some ways, part of New York would be changed too. This is Part 2 of Cop Porn: When the NYPD made a Porn Film. (Listen to Part 1 here.) This episode running time is 50 minutes. &#8212;&#8212;&#8212;&#8212;&#8212;&#8212;&#8212;&#8212;&#8212;&#8212;&#8212;&#8212;&#8212;&#8212;&#8212;&#8212;&#8212;&#8212;&#8212;&#8212;&#8212;&#8212;&#8212;&#8212;&#8212;&#8212;&#8212;&#8212;&#8212;&#8212;&#8212;&#8212;&#8212;&#8212;&#8212;&#8212; April 1977, Public Morals Squad If the first half of the 1970s had been a difficult period for New York, things got a whole lot worse in 1977. One evening that year, two lightning strikes just north of the city led to a massive blackout. Instantly the light-filled city became a black pit of lawlessness that symbolized the city’s problems. For the next 25 hours everything stopped. Elevators stalled and subways ground to a halt. Looting and arson broke out, over a thousand fires were reported burning down much of the Bronx, and almost 2,000 stores were damaged or ransacked. Added to that, you had the city’s financial downturn, rising poverty and inequality levels, not to mention paranoia about the Son of Sam serial killer, and you were left with a city in a critical state. Inside the Public Morals Squad, detectives continued their impossible fight against pornography. Bob Cantwell – captain to thirty-two of the Vice Squad’s finest, including detectives Phil Russo and Varla Romano – had been at the heart of that battle since he joined the squad. He remembers: “We managed to indict a few of the porn wholesalers, some of whom we believed were at the lower echelon of organized crime. But I’m sorry to say we hadn’t laid a finger on what we considered to be higher level mob figures. Sometimes we got them into court, but they had heavily priced legal talent – and they rang rings around us. All in all, it was a very difficult area for New York City law enforcement.” Cantwell regularly aired his frustration, so Phil felt sure he’d have a willing audience for his pitch on how they could develop an undercover operation. Over the course of a week, Phil and Varla mapped out what they’d need to make their unorthodox concept work. First, they figured the operation would take four cops. The two of them, plus two fellow detectives they already had in mind: the first was a veteran tough guy on the force called Irwin Cardona, who everyone called ‘Lefty’. The second was Patty Kehoe, one of the only other women in the division, a detective who was an undercover specialist with good instincts. Next, they worked out logistics: they’d need to incorporate their oper...
Aug 6, 2023
50 min
Cop Porn: When the NYPD made a Porn Film – Part 1 – Podcast 130
In 1970s New York, hardcore sex films and adult bookstores raged across Times Square like a forest fire. It was great for the sex business, but it also depressed tourism and commerce, and emboldened organized crime in an already deeply beleaguered city. The cops fought back, busting theaters and sex shops on a regular basis. It had little effect: most of the sex operators just paid the fixed fine and re-opened the next day with no further consequences. For a police force already laid low by the city’s financial crisis, it was a demoralizing and losing battle. And so, in 1977, the Public Morals Squad, a division of the New York Police Department, came up with a novel idea: what if they set up an undercover porn production company and pretend to make their own adult movies so that they could infiltrate the shadowy alliances that connected the pornographic movie theaters to the mob-controlled film distributors? What resulted was a law enforcement operation that was as unprecedented as it was brash and secret. Secret that is, until the story leaked to the press, and a nationwide scandal erupted. Over the last ten years, The Rialto Report wanted to know more about this unusual police operation. I tracked down many of those involved – from all sides of the story – to establish what actually happened. We’re going to focus on three characters: Phil Russo, the cop who set up the undercover company to tackle the sex industry. Michelle Lake, the inexperienced adult film performer at the heart of the story. And Varla Romano, an NYPD detective who worked on the case. As for the rest, most names have been changed to protect the innocent – and the guilty. This is the inside, untold story of Cop Porn. This episode running time is 51 minutes. &#8212;&#8212;&#8212;&#8212;&#8212;&#8212;&#8212;&#8212;&#8212;&#8212;&#8212;&#8212;&#8212;&#8212;&#8212;&#8212;&#8212;&#8212;&#8212;&#8212;&#8212;&#8212;&#8212;&#8212;&#8212;&#8212;&#8212;&#8212;&#8211; When Michelle Lake slept, she dreamed of being weightless. She floated in clear, azure oceans, the warm water embracing her, washing away her anxiety and fear. She was surrounded by dolphins &#8211; kind-eyed, smooth-skinned, and accepting. They circled her silently, and she felt safe in their presence. She smiled back at them. But when Michelle woke, the dolphins disappeared, and her heart sank back down into her chest with blunt dread. She faced reality with unease. When Phil Russo slept, he too was haunted by mysterious creatures that lived beneath the surface. But these were different beasts. Phil’s dreams were of mole people: society’s rejects that inhabited the dark, labyrinthine passages in the subway beneath the streets of New York City. They scavenged and stole to survive, rarely venturing above ground, their faces caked in grime. In sleep, as in life, Phil was a cop, patrolling the tunnels looking for lawbreakers. Sometimes he found them. Sometimes they found him. Phil usually saw the whites of their eyes first, a split second before they attacked, pummeling him to the ground beneath a blur of blows. He woke in a cold sweat, before relief slowly washed over him. He faced reality with foreboding. Dolphins and subterranean dwellers. The complexities of life often reside beneath the surface. * August 1977. A hotel room at JFK Airport, New York. Apart from their recurring dreams, Michelle and Phil had little in common. They were from different backgrounds and generations. But at this moment, they were standing face-to-face in a beige airport hotel room. Michelle was in her early 20s, attractive, and fresh-faced. She was nude, dripping with pheromonal sweat. She smiled with a glow that betrayed the energetic sex she’s just performed with a faceless young buck still stretched out on the bed behind her, casually lighting a cigarette. Phil was a long decade older. He was perspiring too,
Jul 30, 2023
51 min
Neville Chesters R.I.P: How Jimi Hendrix’s Roadie became a Porn Producer – Podcast 77 (reprise)
As we were preparing this weekend&#8217;s post, we received news of the passing of Neville Chesters, legendary figure of the 1960s UK music scene, adult film producer (using the name Neville Chambers), and friend of The Rialto Report. As a tribute we are reprising our 2018 interview with him, in which he talks about his remarkable life. R.I.P. Nev. (25 June 1945 &#8211; 27 April 2023) * This story begins with a single photograph, taken in 1967. It’s a photo of Jimi Hendrix, and it shows him sat on a table in his familiar hat and rock star jacket. Jimi is smoking, and he looks relaxed and happy. He seems to be sharing a joke with a man sat on a chair in front of him. I first saw this picture in the early days of the internet, and became fascinated by it. And what struck me about it was this: The photograph shows Jimi Hendrix, one of the great guitarists of all time, and someone everyone wanted to hear play. But it’s the man in front of him who’s playing the guitar, not Jimi. And I didn’t recognize this person as any other guitarist I’d ever seen. Who in earth would be in a picture with Jimi, where Jimi wasn’t the one playing a guitar? I did some digging around, and found that the person Jimi was with in the picture was actually one of the legendary roadies of the 1960s London music scene. It turned out he’d started in Liverpool in the era of The Beatles, and had worked with The Who, the Bee Gees, The Merseybeats, Cream, Lemmy, Mick Jagger, Apple Records, Robert Stigwood, Emerson Lake and Palmer, and many others, not to mention The Jimi Hendrix Experience. I found out that the roadie’s name was Neville Chesters. I wondered what happened to him, but apparently, he’d left the music industry abruptly in the early 1970s and disappeared from London. I spent years wondering about his life on the road with many of the greatest legends of music history. Years later, I was talking to a friend about the adult film industry in New York. We were talking about the 1990s. This was a few years after the so-called golden age, and it was the last gasp of the New York pornography business. At this stage, scenes were being shot cheaply on video largely for compilations that were sold for bargain basement prices. My friend told me that one of the centers of the business at that point was called the &#8216;New York Fuck Factory&#8217;. This was a notorious loft on 38th Street where multiple shoots would take place. I found that the owner of the Fuck Factory was an Englishman. He produced films using the name Neville Chambers&#8230; but his real name was Neville Chesters. Apparently, there were rumors he’d once been involved in the music business in London. Was this possible? And if so, how did a 1960s roadie with the Who and Jimi Hendrix in London become a porn producer in the 1990s in New York? On this episode of The Rialto Report, we track Neville Chesters down to hear about life in the swinging 60s, when he had a front row seat to witness some of the most momentous music ever made. And we also hear about how he re-emerged in New York years later as an adult film producer, of series such as <a href="
Apr 30, 2023
1 hr 49 min
Svengali – The Chuck Traynor Story: Part 5, Deep Throat Explodes (and so does Sammy Davis Jr.)
On the previous episode of Svengali – The Chuck Traynor Story: When budding film director Gerard Damiano saw Linda Traynor/Boreman giving head, he stopped shooting the short sex loop he was planning then and there, choosing instead to make a feature-length movie around her unique talent. Linda had her doubts, but her husband Chuck was all in on the idea, loving the $1,200 payment that came with the role, and its potential to further inject him and Linda into the heart of the sex industry. But when the movie production started, Chuck was less pleased with the generous attention Linda received on set, and with what he perceived was the disrespectful way he was treated by the movie’s crew. While Linda never wanted to be in the film, she did find a measure of relief making the movie. The kindness she was shown by cast and crew was reassuring, even if it was accompanied by Chuck’s anger. As filming wrapped, the crew returned to NY for post-production work on Deep Throat (1972). And Chuck and Linda began thinking about their next steps &#8211; as both manager and performer as well as husband and wife. You can read or listen to the previous episodes here. This episode running time is 63 minutes. &#8212;&#8212;&#8212;&#8212;&#8212;&#8212;&#8212;&#8212;&#8212;&#8212;&#8212;&#8212;&#8212;&#8212;&#8212;&#8212;&#8212;&#8212;&#8212;&#8212;&#8212;&#8212;&#8212;&#8212;&#8212;&#8212;&#8212;&#8212;&#8212;&#8212;&#8212;&#8212;&#8212;&#8212;- 1. &#8216;Deep Throat&#8217;: From Production to Premiere When production of ‘Deep Throat’ wrapped in January 1972, Chuck was primed to return to New York and resume working in the adult film business &#8211; with the help of his wife, of course. But on the way back, Chuck told Linda he wanted to make a stop in North Carolina to visit his mother. Chuck and Elaine By this time, Linda knew Chuck’s backstory &#8211; or at least what he’d allowed her to know. He had shared how his mother, Elaine, had been young and unwed when she got pregnant with him, and that he was raised by his grandparents. How as a kid, contact with his mother had been almost nonexistent. It wasn’t her fault, Chuck said, she’d wanted to raise her son herself but her parents wouldn’t let her. His grandparents meant well, and Chuck loved them, but he had lost a lot of time &#8211; time that Elaine and Chuck were now determined to make up. Linda felt a glimmer of hope at the prospect of visiting Elaine. Maybe she’d be able to understand Chuck a little more after meeting his mother, and maybe that would help her manage the relationship. Maybe she could even forge a bond with Elaine that would encourage Chuck to treat her better. But as Linda later shared, the trip did little to help improve the couple’s dynamic: “It didn’t take me long to realize that Elaine wouldn’t be my ally. Chuck was the apple of her eye; he could do no wrong. When he was with his mother, Chuck became the perfect gentleman. As long as we were under her roof, he was even polite to me. His mother was obviously crazy about her son. She was proud of his having been a Marine, a pilot, and a man in business for himself. “Chuck’s mother was fifty-ish, black-haired, and heavily made up: she favored pale blue eye shadow and black drawn-on eyebrows. She told us stories going back to the time when Chuck was a little boy and she had left his father.
Mar 26, 2023
1 hr 2 min
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