Parting Glances: Shirley Temple who?

By |2018-01-16T07:25:22-05:00May 2nd, 2003|Uncategorized|

I’ve no firsthand knowledge of the profession, but I imagine being a porn star isn’t everything it’s cracked up to be, not by a long shot.
Somebody’s got to do it. (I’ve got a bad back, a trick knee, carpal tunnel issues, and no gift for small talk. It’s not stage presence or acting talent I’m short on, it’s ability to project convincingly — and modestly.)
I fault no one for making an IRS-auditable living. And I confess I’ve spent many catatonic hours watching the endless supply of showoffs eager to cavort naked in front of the camera — moon, moan, and tastefully dilate — making what Shakespeare calls, with a touch of poetic lumbago, “the beast with two backs” (usually overly tattooed).
The Spring 2005 Adams Gay Video Directory gives bio, pix, and data on 500 films, 200 performers, 62 kinky categories, 75 distributor companies, and five national award hostings. Royal Oak’s Chosen Books carries 8000 titles, says resident porn baron Gary Baglio, who recently returned from an Adult Video Convention — intact and reasonably unsullied.
Not all X-rated wand waivers sizzle. Many are fire cracker duds. Some are so baroquely muscled it’s freaky. Like everything in Show Biz, it’s 15 minutes of fame, fortune, and fluffer-induced infatuation. Here I am world. Don’t you think I’m sexy? Lights! Camera! Action! Hip! Hip! Hooray! Gay for pay.
But five-star billing often sucks. Queer today; gone tomorrow. There’s always someone waiting in the wings to peacock strut with cheeky nom de plume: Lance, Chance, Divet, Rivet, Dash, Cash, and my all-time favorite, Sparky O’ Toole (long exiled — if still O-tooling around — into the steamy mists of pre-condom oblivion).
Knowing when to quit is smart — and healthy. Ten videos, a dozen gay bar celeb tours, several well-oiled magazine spreads, and it’s out the revolving door. Time to fake a serious Temp Help resumŽ (unless you’ve got a good head for marketing, and strike it rich in production, distribution, replica toys, and low-carb dinner theater — like stud-meister Jeff Stryker.)
But some diehards just plug away. Mark Mann, for one. A native Detroiter, Mark — who married to please parents and inherit the business — loosing shirt in a nasty divorce when wife found out he was violating the Mann Act with her best friend’s not [un]willing husband — is still going full-tilt-Viagra at 72. His flicks find a ready market with antique road show buffs and geriatric social workers desperately in need of a dissertation topic.
Some ex-pornos go big-time vanilla. Like Harry Reams, costar with Linda Lovelace, of the legendary 1972 “Deep Throat”. (I saw this tonsil teaser that’s grossed $600 million to date with other ENT specialists at the Family Theater in Downtown Detroit. The place actually caught fire and closed for good that memorable night.)
“I’ve been clean and sober for years,” Reams says. “I’m happily and faithfully married, and I love my wife dearly. I’ve been blessed with a tremendous amount of success selling real estate. God is shining His light on me; I don’t think He did it for a number of years.” [Note: Check with National Council of Churches and Electrical Workers Union.]
Harry adds (with a curtsy to kitsch): “You could call me the Shirley Temple of adult films. Take an X film and make it R because I have a PG body.” Harry’s also been porn, er, born-again. Not bad for a PG 69-something or other, now doing Heaven knows what. (Seems you can teach an old dog new tricks.)

About the Author:

Charles Alexander