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Deep Throat director six feet under
October 30, 2008 6:29 AM   Subscribe

Back in 1972, there was a fellow who had a novel idea for a porno flick. But when his producer objected to the movie's title, fearing no one would understand it, Gerard Damiano reassured him: "Don't worry, "Deep Throat will become a household word." And indeed it did. Now, 36 years after the infamous and influential film's release, director Gerard Damiano, aka Jerry Gerard, has gone on to that deep, deep throat in the sky.

Deep Throat opening credits and first few minutes. Dig the groovy soundtrack, it's like a garage band Booker T and the MGs. Who are they? Unknown artists. Damn.

Previous FPP featuring link to a very interesting article about Deep Throat actor Harry Reems.
posted by flapjax at midnite (73 comments total) 3 users marked this as a favorite

 
So you're saying that producer had to eat his words then?
posted by gomichild at 6:39 AM on October 30, 2008


Worth mentioning: Deep Throat: The ASCII version!
posted by dunkadunc at 6:40 AM on October 30, 2008 [2 favorites]


Yup. And I reckon he swallowed.
posted by flapjax at midnite at 6:41 AM on October 30, 2008


Do you think if I write a really emotional letter to google they would be willing to permanently destroy any records of the search query "Ascii Penis" that originated from my IP address?
posted by Divine_Wino at 6:42 AM on October 30, 2008 [4 favorites]


. .
posted by Senator at 6:42 AM on October 30, 2008


'Jerry Gerard'? Seriously?

That sounds like more like a porno-name than the ficticious one the used for his credit.

"That's Jerry Gerard, From Joisy."
posted by vhsiv at 6:44 AM on October 30, 2008


Ah, another legend of Mafia-funded pornography passes on. Why must all the good ones die this year? WHY?

*runs to the beach, crying*

Do you think if I write a really emotional letter to google they would be willing to permanently destroy any records of the search query "Ascii Penis" that originated from my IP address?

Next time, try CustomizeGoogle, and go to the Privacy entry.
posted by Marisa Stole the Precious Thing at 6:47 AM on October 30, 2008


Ahhhh, preview ruins my nbsp work! Screw this, I'm leaving to go watch porn.

Y'know, in memoriam.
posted by Lemurrhea at 7:03 AM on October 30, 2008


... .... .
posted by chillmost at 7:03 AM on October 30, 2008


.!.
posted by louche mustachio at 7:03 AM on October 30, 2008 [7 favorites]


dammit
posted by chillmost at 7:04 AM on October 30, 2008


:-O=w=8
posted by fleetmouse at 7:06 AM on October 30, 2008 [9 favorites]


Too bad the film is such an unfunny and unsexy piece of shit that is now better known as a document of abuse suffered by Linda Susan Boreman at the hands of her husband than for being a good film.

I have nothing against 70s porno -- a lot of it used sex to explore social anxieties, and there were some clever satires from the era, and some of it was pretty sexy. But this is a miserable film and I have never understood why it was the crossover hit it became.
posted by Astro Zombie at 7:20 AM on October 30, 2008 [11 favorites]


The cause was complications of a stroke
I'm not sure what technique he was using but I gotta be more careful.
posted by Sailormom at 7:21 AM on October 30, 2008 [6 favorites]


No periods, please. The man shot pornography at gunpoint. He deserves to be thrown to wolves.
posted by Pope Guilty at 7:23 AM on October 30, 2008 [5 favorites]


I have never understood why it was the crossover hit it became.

Obviously, it was the garage band Booker T and the MGs that played as the opening credits rolled.
posted by flapjax at midnite at 7:23 AM on October 30, 2008


"Flying at half staff"
   |
|
\
| \
|\ \
|~\ \_
| \_/ )
| (__/\
| \_/
| .
| .
(sometimes I embarass even myseslf)
posted by pardonyou? at 7:26 AM on October 30, 2008 [2 favorites]


Astro Zombie and Pope Guilty have it right. It's so bizarre that this man is seen as a freedom fighter in any sense of the word. He was a kidnapper, a rapist, and an overall scumbag.
posted by allen.spaulding at 7:30 AM on October 30, 2008 [3 favorites]


Deep Throat — whose $25,000 budget was covered by Louis "Butchie" Peraino, the son of a made man in New York City's Columbo mob family — went on to earn tens of millions of dollars. Maybe more: the 2005 documentary Inside Deep Throat puts the take at an extremely improbable $600 million.

mind, er blowing.

Long before home video, it took the recently legalized porn films out of the gutter and into the mainstream. It was the Citizen Kane of porn.

Didn't know that.

(Lovelace's bedroom trick of controlling her gag reflex so she could perform glottal fellatio — a glo-job). ha!

Sometimes it takes a smart softie to make a hardcore phenomenon.


♂ ☼
posted by nickyskye at 7:36 AM on October 30, 2008


Thanks, Catharine MacKinnon.
posted by Sijeka at 7:41 AM on October 30, 2008


Damaino's real masterpiece was not Deep Throat IMO but The Devil In Miss Jones. Written by Damiano in a single weekend and obviously inspired by Sartre's No Exit (seriously), this film created a star in Georgina Spelvin and has a classic soundtrack besides.

From the Guardian link: 'I liked to cut my films to music,' says Damiano, a sprightly 78-year-old, long-retired from the sex trade and living in Florida. 'Each scene had to start in one place, build to a crescendo then move on with a kind of ebb and flow. So I would often get a piece of music ahead of time and cut to it.'

If you see only one Damiano film in your lifetime, try & see TDIMJ. It is serious where DT is silly and looks accomplished where DT looks cheap. Avoid the sequels.

Also: One of the most notorious pornos ever made - Waterpower, based on the real life exploits of the Enema Bandit - was marketed as being a Gerald Damiano film due to his name value on ads. It was actually shot by Shaun Costello (who also shot the Harry Reems roughie Forced Entry), and this is a great series of comments made by Costello on the making of porn at that time.

RIP Mr. Damiano.
posted by stinkycheese at 7:44 AM on October 30, 2008


Actually, my complaints about the film are aesthetic -- I think it's a bad film. I read Miss Lovelace's autobiography, and, while she herself became an anti-porn activist, the narrative pretty clearly lays the blame for her abuse at the feet of her husband Chuck Traynor. She acually describes Chuck getting thrown off the set when his abusive behavior became obvious, and other performers offering to help her get away from him. When she writes about the other performers in the film, and other sex workers she met, she often describes them in a way that suggests they're in it for their own reasons, and not because they have been kidnapped or coerced (except, perhaps, by economics.)

I'm not defending Gerard Damiano -- I don't know enough about his biography. Perhaps he was a rapist and kidnapper. I just don't know enough about him. He did produce one really interesting adult film, The Devil in Miss Jones, which starred Georgina Spelvin, who really did represent the porn chic of the era, and was certainly not forced into the industry by an abusive relationship. I've always wondered why that film never had the sort of cache that Deep Throat did; there was a time when Deep Throat was almost treated as being respectable.
posted by Astro Zombie at 7:44 AM on October 30, 2008 [3 favorites]


Ah, Stinkycheese, I can see we're on the same page.
posted by Astro Zombie at 7:45 AM on October 30, 2008


Boy. Gosh. Darn. Shucks.
posted by cjorgensen at 7:47 AM on October 30, 2008


Obviously, it was the garage band Booker T and the MGs that played as the opening credits rolled.

Playing Ode to Joy, Beethoven's 9th Symphony, no less.
posted by chococat at 7:47 AM on October 30, 2008 [1 favorite]


Playing Ode to Joy, Beethoven's 9th Symphony, no less.

I was wondering who was gonna notice that!
posted by flapjax at midnite at 7:48 AM on October 30, 2008


AZ, Thanks for the er, heads up. Went to read about Linda Boreman on Wikipedia. That Chuck Traynor guy she married, truly a monster. My god, she had such an incredibly tragic life.

May she rest in peace, at last.

.
posted by nickyskye at 7:52 AM on October 30, 2008


Going to save my condolences for someone who wasn’t involved in a mafia-backed rape film, thanks.
posted by tiger yang at 7:53 AM on October 30, 2008 [2 favorites]


Back in the 70s we were all involved in mafia-backed rape films. It was a weird time for America.
posted by Astro Zombie at 8:04 AM on October 30, 2008 [4 favorites]


Huh. You're not wrong about that soundtrack. I love that the 'Ode to Joy' became a pr0n soundtrack. In retrospect, I suppose we could have seen that one coming.

But, as others have mentioned, what could be a moment of campy sleaze awesomeness if kind of fucked up by the fact that the film is an extended rape. So, you know, see you in hell fucker.

On a better note, does anyone know where I can get a recording of that soundtrack?
posted by stet at 8:08 AM on October 30, 2008


Ebert's review.
posted by Knappster at 8:09 AM on October 30, 2008 [3 favorites]


He did produce one really interesting adult film, The Devil in Miss Jones... I've always wondered why that film never had the sort of cache that Deep Throat did; there was a time when Deep Throat was almost treated as being respectable.

It did have that sort of cachet; in fact, in the '70s it was considered more respectable than DT. I know, I was there and knew a lot of people who did not normally go to porn movies but went to see it. (I was also friends with a porn projectionist, which was fun and educational.)
posted by languagehat at 8:14 AM on October 30, 2008


I was also friends with a porn projectionist, which was fun and educational.

That reminds me of my favorite scene from the David Friedman nudie cutie Starlet, in which an actress looks approvingly at an actors groin and then declares "Just by looking at you, I can tell you're a projectionist!"
posted by Astro Zombie at 8:16 AM on October 30, 2008 [2 favorites]


That Chuck Traynor guy she married, truly a monster.


In her autobiography, Linda claims that she and Chuck spent a lot of time debauching with Sammy Davis Junior, watching porn in his darkened home theater, while she performed alternately on both men. Sammy began to express interest in the bio-mechanics of the operation, and with some coaching from Linda, Sammy learned about technique.

Then one day, when Chuck was kind of out of it in the darkened room, Sammy switched places with Linda, and took over for her. She stood off to the side eagerly watching for what Chucks reaction would be, when he came to realize what was going on.

She said she forever savored that moment and the look on his face, and that it was one of the only times she extracted effective revenge from Chuck.
posted by StickyCarpet at 8:22 AM on October 30, 2008 [4 favorites]


No periods, please. The man shot pornography at gunpoint. He deserves to be thrown to wolves.
posted by Pope Guilty at 10:23 AM on October 30


Astro Zombie and Pope Guilty have it right.

well, Astro Zombie does, Pope Guilty does not. the unfortunate fact is that Linda Boreman's story has changed rather dramatically during the 4 autobiographies she wrote, and this has made it difficult to determine precisely what the circumstances of her involvement in these movies was. There's little doubt that Chuck Traynor was a monster who abused her, but there's ample reason to believe that Linda's treatment by everyone else in the production was fair, and that the coercion she suffered was neither on the set, nor by Damiano. Further complicating things is the fact that she only ever claimed to have been raped during the production of that movie after having had extensive contact with Andrea Dworkin, whose position on pornography is that all porn is rape. The end result, unfortunately, is that Linda Boreman's life story for that period in her life is clouded by reversals and questions about the influence other people have had on her perceptions. That she endured inexcusable abuse at the hands of Traynor is undeniable. The rest of the details will probably never be fully known. It's a shame that she suffered as she did, and that the running theme of her life would seem to be her being used by the people close to her, even after she left the porn industry.

As for Gerard Damiano, however:

.
posted by shmegegge at 8:32 AM on October 30, 2008 [4 favorites]


(Any comment made by StickyCarpet in this thread is automatically eponysterical.)
posted by rokusan at 8:35 AM on October 30, 2008


Are we sure this isn't some kind of gag?
posted by Kabanos at 8:43 AM on October 30, 2008 [1 favorite]


better known as a document of abuse suffered by Linda Susan Boreman at the hands of her husband

See also: Linda Syndrome.
posted by Civil_Disobedient at 8:49 AM on October 30, 2008


Yeah, this is an obit thread for Gerald Damiano, not a thread about what an abusive jerk Chuck Traynor was, thanks.

Perhaps he was a rapist and kidnapper.

No one, including Linda Lovelace, ever accused Damiano of rape or kidnapping. This kind of speculation, even for a (horrors!) pornographer, is kind of gross in an obit thread (I'm not picking on you specifically, AZ).

What was that about Metafilter doing sex threads well again? Sheesh.
posted by stinkycheese at 8:51 AM on October 30, 2008 [1 favorite]


No one, including Linda Lovelace, ever accused Damiano of rape or kidnapping.

So sex at gunpoint isn't rape now?
posted by Pope Guilty at 8:55 AM on October 30, 2008


Please find me anything - anything - that backs that accusation up, PG.
posted by stinkycheese at 8:56 AM on October 30, 2008 [2 favorites]


It's a shame that she suffered as she did, and that the running theme of her life would seem to be her being used by the people close to her, even after she left the porn industry.

This is an interesting point. One of the oddest things about Linda Boreman's first biography is that she includes multiple scenes if Chuck Traynor interacting with other women who simply will not be bullied by him. There is a long sequence in which they drive across the country together and pick up a female hitchhiker. Traynor is prostituting Boreman at this time, and the hitchiker gets in on the act too, not because she is being threatened by Traynor, but because she's just bumming around the country balling guys anyway, and figures why not make some money at it.

After Boreman got away from Traynor, he married another porn actress, Marilyn Chambers, and they were married for a decade. Chambers has never reported anything like the abuse Boreman suffered. (Not to say she never suffered abuse; I don't know if she did or not, but Traynor himself once said in an interview that he had no problem slapping women.)

This is not to suggest that Boreman herself is responsible for the abuse she suffered at her husband's hand. But I suspect he was like a lot of bullies in that he was terrible to the people he considered weaker than him and dialed it back when he was with people he didn't think would let him bully them. And Boreman's powerlessness around Traynor was very real -- he separated her from her family and friends and created a circumstance where she was unconditionally reliant on him. I recall from reading Ordeal that one of the benefits of doing porn was that it finally gave Boreman the opportunity to extricate herself from Traynor once she began making her own money and her own friends.

It's a sad, strange, ugly story, and an awfully complex one. And it in certainly a tale of abuse. It's just not as simple as "porn is nothing but a world of abused women" narrative that anti-porn activists latched onto in the 80s.
posted by Astro Zombie at 9:00 AM on October 30, 2008 [2 favorites]


Are we sure this isn't some kind of gag?

Finding it all a little hard to swallow?

I'm not a student of this genre, but I'm looking at some online obituaries and wondering why they don't make him out to be a bad guy if it's so obvious that he was.
posted by pracowity at 9:04 AM on October 30, 2008


shmegegge: you just rock, man.
posted by cowbellemoo at 9:06 AM on October 30, 2008


I'm looking at some online obituaries and wondering why they don't make him out to be a bad guy if it's so obvious that he was.

Because he wasn't.

Because some people here cannot differentiate between Damiano and Traynor, and/or just want to express their disgust at porn?
posted by stinkycheese at 9:08 AM on October 30, 2008


(astro zombie already knows he rocks)
posted by cowbellemoo at 9:09 AM on October 30, 2008


Back in 1972, there was a fellow who had a novel idea for a porno flick.

Wouldn't a novel idea in porn be no fucking and actual acting, plot, budget, etc...?

Long before home video, it took the recently legalized porn films out of the gutter and into the mainstream.

Porn left the gutter? When was that? Sure a lot of people saw Deep Throat, but that isn't "mainstream." A lot of people drank in the 20's too. A lot of people read blogs, but they aren't the "mainstream" media are they, nor are they necessarily not the gutter?

It was the Citizen Kane of porn.

No, no, surely at best it was the Birth of a Nation of porn.
posted by Pollomacho at 9:18 AM on October 30, 2008


.
posted by Zambrano at 9:19 AM on October 30, 2008


And the guy even brought down Nixon... how do you top that off in a career?
posted by crapmatic at 9:20 AM on October 30, 2008


...that deep, deep throat in the sky.

I'm, uh, not sure I want to believe in the afterlife anymore.
posted by kittyprecious at 9:22 AM on October 30, 2008


All I can say is, porn watchers in the 70s sure had a lot of patience.
posted by fungible at 9:33 AM on October 30, 2008 [2 favorites]


Wouldn't a novel idea in porn be no fucking and actual acting, plot, budget, etc...?

You're confusing "novel" for "contradictory."

Good acting, plot, budget, etc. would certain make for a better product, but no sex would be like making a horror film in which nothing scary happens or a musical in which nobody ever sings.
posted by Astro Zombie at 9:36 AM on October 30, 2008


Ebert's review.

I hope that's a thumb.
posted by Inspector.Gadget at 9:38 AM on October 30, 2008 [1 favorite]


It's true, Dude, industry standards have fallen.
posted by shakespeherian at 9:43 AM on October 30, 2008 [1 favorite]


Metafilter: a horror film in which nothing scary happens.

sorry...
posted by Pecinpah at 9:49 AM on October 30, 2008


a musical in which nobody ever sings.

You mean like [popular musical that is not appreciated critically]

Thanks! I'll be here all [length of time] Please, try the [food we have too much of]
posted by SpiffyRob at 9:52 AM on October 30, 2008 [2 favorites]


Nobody has done this? Fine I'll do it: THIS POST SUCKS!

get it?
posted by spicynuts at 11:26 AM on October 30, 2008


No, can you give me a hand.
posted by spaltavian at 11:34 AM on October 30, 2008


It takes a great debater to win over my opinion while technically defending a rapist. *terrorist fist pound shmegegge*
posted by tehloki at 12:09 PM on October 30, 2008


This was a guy a head of his time.
posted by Senator at 12:25 PM on October 30, 2008


It takes a great debater

A master debater.
posted by SPrintF at 12:39 PM on October 30, 2008 [1 favorite]


To those of you who are just using this thread for a series of purile and infantile oral sex jokes, I hope you choke on them.
posted by Astro Zombie at 12:43 PM on October 30, 2008 [4 favorites]


For pron with a sense of art to it, I prefer Cafe Flesh. Devil in Miss Jones is something I should revisit though.
posted by Ber at 1:42 PM on October 30, 2008


“I have never understood why it was the crossover hit it became.”

I saw something on A&E (at the gym, so intermittent sound/ attention so forgive me if I’m wrong in the particulars) generally saying that it was the right time and place and the film had a more playful tone and culturally people were ripe for it. Given the sexual revolution and whatnot. I guess folks were really repressed before that. On the broad social level, I mean. Individuals varied (thinking of Kinsey).

I think it’d be kind of funny to bring a modern internet savvy 16 year old back to comment on those times.
“What, she’s just giving him head. This is boring, she’s not even crying! No analz?” etc.
Then, deep throating was nearly unknow. Now there’s a slew of web sites dedicated to sub and subsub-variations of it.

It’s been not only a sexual more shift but a transformation of medium, several I think (vcr, etc.), since then. Not to mention communication.
I mean you can talk to, and watch in real time, someone masterbating in Japan.

I think ‘Deep Throat’ type of porn is as (relatively speaking) trite as those Victorian finger books, y’know?

Where you’d stick your fingers through holes and pretend they’re ladies bare (gasp!) legs?

Very hard indeed to see what all the fuss was about from here, how one finger book might be considered ‘better’ than another regardless of their intrinsic quality.

But I understand lust (sometimes plus alcohol) often clouds judgement on quality.
posted by Smedleyman at 2:13 PM on October 30, 2008


I haven't read any of the links, if they explain the premise of the movie bear with me, for those who haven't seen DT supposedly Linda Lovelace's character was born with a clitoris in her throat instead of in the usual place, so the only way she could experience orgasm was by, uh, deep throat sex.

So I had a girlfriend back in the 70s who told me this joke:

Did you hear they're making a sequel to Deep Throat? It's about a woman who's clitoris is in her ear. The name of the movie is Come Again?
posted by Restless Day at 2:39 PM on October 30, 2008 [2 favorites]


It takes a great debater to win over my opinion while technically defending a rapist. *terrorist fist pound shmegegge*

...

I have... no idea how to respond to this. help?
posted by shmegegge at 3:18 PM on October 30, 2008 [1 favorite]


I think it’d be kind of funny to bring a modern internet savvy 16 year old back to comment on those times.
“What, she’s just giving him head. This is boring, she’s not even crying! No analz?” etc.


just to be clear, there is totally analz in Deep Throat.
posted by shmegegge at 3:18 PM on October 30, 2008


Well, yeah, but not in the first 10 seconds.
posted by Smedleyman at 4:06 PM on October 30, 2008


Well, yeah, but not in the first 10 seconds.

Good point. Hell, that slamming wah wah guitar doesn't even enter until 55 seconds in!
posted by flapjax at midnite at 4:21 PM on October 30, 2008


I want to say something really clever and meaningful about this, but then the thread won't have 69 comments anymore.
posted by drjimmy11 at 6:48 PM on October 30, 2008 [3 favorites]


One of the reasons for the films financial success was the way it was released. The mob maintained complete control of the receipts by renting a theater, installing their own cashiers, and carrying in one of just a few 35mm prints. It traveled from city to city as the press reaction and general scandal snowballed. So it was an "event" when it showed in your city, and there were lines and new editorial scandals in each city as it arrived, so: 5 prints, free advertising and cash receipts, enviable conditions that have never since been equaled.
posted by StickyCarpet at 7:04 PM on October 30, 2008


Yeah. I don't know why I am so surprised. When has something ever become an artistic or financial success purely on the basis of it being great art?
posted by Astro Zombie at 9:21 PM on October 30, 2008


Thoughts on the passing of Gerard Damiano by those who knew him.
posted by stinkycheese at 12:47 AM on October 31, 2008


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