Monday, March 26, 2007

Those Good Old Dirty Movies (Part 1)

Over the weekend, with only my right hand and my dick to keep me company, I was thinking about the good old days when I used to frequent the adult movie theaters to get my cheap sexual thrills. Thanks to the wonderful world of video porn (and later internet porn I suppose) those theaters have virtually disappeared from the American scene and frankly I sort of miss them. Between relationships in my ancient past, they always provided a place for me to forget my then current lack of female companionship for a while as I sat in the dark and watched those naked babes up there on the screen and imagined myself slipping the salami to them. I'm old enough to have seen the whole transition from just tits and ass tease (if you were lucky to even see that!) to full hardcore fuck and suck in 35mm wide screen Eastman color! Maybe this personal recollection of mine will bring back a few nostalgic memories for some of you older horndogs and some of you young horndogs may be interested to see what you missed...and I think you really did miss something too! I've talked about the dirty movies before but I think I'll just expand on it a bit since there is not much else going on in my life sexually at the time...well except jacking off of course! That wonderful sport also figures in my story but more about that later on.

Of course I wasn't able to really see any adult movies until I was 18 years of age, except when me and a buddy snuck into a drive in movie to see a double feature of "One Summer of Happiness" and "Garden of Eden" as teenagers. You can read about that little escapade HERE. I was 18 in 1958 and that's when I started hitting the adult theaters regularly. In 1958 little had changed in adult films since the beginning of movies, at least since the beginning of the sound era, and in those puritanical days there was little more to see on the big screen than tits and ass and sometimes you were lucky to even see that. I remember sitting through a boring feature at a drive in in EL Paso called "They Wear No Clothes" that didn't even have any nudity in it...not a bare tit or a bare butt to be seen! It was about models but they were all fully clothed all through the picture. I guess they didn't wear clothes when they took showers...but you didn't get to see that! Damn the bad luck!

There was a self imposed Hollywood censorship board that kept a tight reign on mainstream (major studio) movies by means of a "Motion Picture Code" ever since the early thirties. No nudity or profanity were allowed and there were strict prohibitions on showing or even mentioning any kind of sexuality. Even married couples had to sleep in separate beds! That code didn't apply to the independent adult film producers but the puritanical society we lived in just would not permit anything more than tits and ass to be shown. Shots of pubic hair or genitals and any kind of explicit sexuality were strictly forbidden by law in every community in the country. Fucking and sucking was out of the question except in those illegal 16mm "stag films" which had also been around since the beginning of the movies. The stag films were totally underground though, mainly shown at men's "smoker" parties. No way would you ever see one of those things in a movie theater in those days. Stag films are a separate subject and I'll write about them some too. For now we are just talking about the films shown in adult theaters.

There were several varieties of the adult films that did make it to the adult theaters and I'm going to use a few movie posters to illustrate what some of those varieties were. The theaters themselves were mainly found in the downtown sections of medium to large cities in the country. Few of these films ever made it to the neighborhood theaters or to the small towns. The first category is the burlesque film. That was as it name implies just a filmed burlesque show, sometimes shot in an actual burlesque theater and sometimes in a studio. The girls would do their strutting around and strip down to G strings and pasties. You rarely even got to see their nipples. Sometimes these films even had those awful baggy pants comedians between the strippers. Looking at these flicks today on DVD they look dreadfully dull. Tempest Storm and Lili St Cyr seemed to be the biggest stars of these things as they were the most well known strippers in the country on stage as well as screen.

Then there were the nudist movies. You always hoped that you would see a few "beaver" (genitals) shots and once in a while you would get a glimpse of the pubic area of a babe but those glimpses were few and far between up until the mid 1960's. You did see naked butts and boobs but that was about it. In those days that was better than nothing! Each scene was carefully composed so that no "pickles or beavers" (as dicks and pussies were known in the adult film business) would be visible. Editing in the studio eliminated any pubic shots that made their way into the raw footage. No way any community standards would allow total nudity even in nudist films back then. Isn't that silly?

The "Gone With the Wind" of nudist films was "Garden of Eden" from about 1950, mainly because it was in glorious Eastman color where as the previous nudist films were only in black and white. "Garden of Eden" did have a statuesque female star too who looked mighty fine in the nude. That's the one I saw when we snuck into the drive in movie and it made a BIG impression of me and my young dick. I was disappointed there was no below the waist frontal nudity in that flick though!

There were also many sex dramas and exploitation films dealing with such things as narcotic use and addiction (such as the legendary "Reefer Madness"), adultery, prostitution, unwanted pregnancies (some with graphic scenes of childbirth which shows you how far producers had to go to show some below the waist female skin) and even old hillbilly codgers taking underage brides. These films promised to show you every thing you wanted to see but it was all were lucky to see a bare titty or butt or anything remotely sexually arousing in any of them. The city fathers and cops in small and big cities all over the country were just waiting for some local theater to cross the line into full frontal nudity or real sex. Why bother to film it if it was going to get raided and banned in the first city it played in and you could subsequently find yourself in the slammer?

Many a young stud and old fart wandered into one of these flicks hoping that there would be something to turn him on and make him spring a woody but most of the time they left disappointed and with a limp pecker. I was one of those young studs back then and I speak from experience. Not much jacking off in the adult flicks in those days, unlike in the porn days that were to come later. There was just nothing up there on the screen worth jacking off to! That's all the screen erotica there was back then though and the best you could do was settle for those bare tits and butts and hope that you would someday see something more. It beat staying home and watching "I Love Lucy" and "Ozzie and Harriet" I suppose...but not by very much!

This repressive censorship policy continued into the early 1960's and then one by one the barriers began to fall. In the early 1960's, even long before Playboy magazine showed pubic hair, some 16mm color films with full frontal nudity, called "beaver films" for obvious reason, began to slip into the theaters that had previously only played the black and white "tits and ass" variety of pin up film. I still remember slipping into the Colonial Theater in Sacramento back then, expecting to see the usual boring black and white crap and being amazed to see an occasional lovely babe with a hairy pussy pop up on the screen...and in color too! That historic day was the first time I ever jacked off in a movie theater...well at least since I whacked off in the balcony of the Uptown Theater in Napa while watching Marilyn Monroe and Kim Novak as a horny teenager anyway! More accurately it was the first time I ever jacked off in an adult theater.

The blue noses and cops in various communities tried to ban those flicks displaying full frontal nudity and the battle went all the way to the Supreme Court I believe. The courts eventually decreed that total nudity by itself was not obscene! (Duh!) Hallelujah! Soon even the nudist movies were displaying all those previously forbidden "pickles and beavers" in all their naked uncensored glory for the first time. The sex dramas were also free to go full frontal and did so in the mid sixties. By then the "beaver" films had gone one step beyond just showing pubic hair with gynecological spread leg views of the female anatomy, not exactly to my taste but I suppose a few inexperienced young guys got educated as to just what exactly is "down there" by watching those films. Think the movie version of Hustler magazine. Explicit sex was still totally taboo. All we had now was full frontal nudity but at least it beat just tits and ass!

The sex dramas and comedies which had begun to switch to color after the amazing success of Russ Meyer's 1960 "The Immoral Mr. Teas" (which was just like Playboy magazine come to life...tits and ass, no public hair, without a plot but in full color!) were almost all in color by the mid 1960's. Simulated sex was now also allowed along with the full frontal nudity but explicit sex was still banned. No erections and no penetration of any kind which of course meant no cock sucking, no pussy eating and no real fucking! That was the final censorship barrier which would come down at the very end of the sixties. That's when adult films really started to get good and I'll babble on about that next time!

If you want to see some of these old adult flicks, the good news is that many of the types of films mentioned above are available on DVD, mostly from a cool company called Something Weird Video who scrounged archives and dumpsters alike to save this stuff. The bad news is that most of these things are really dated and boring beyond belief! Except for their historic value, they are almost unwatchable today. I thought they would have some nostalgic effect on me but the ones I've watched failed to hold my interest at all, let alone give me a boner which is the main reason for any of us guys to watch erotica. They never were very good to start with...and they look worse now! Rent 'em if you must but save your money as far as buying them!


Dee's Husband Joe said...

Thanks for the informative history lesson, from a lover of all things porn. I came of age when Seka et al were in their heyday and didn't get to see the evolution of which you wrote here except in the magazines through the 70's and beyond.


Steff said...

I bet you can guess that I'm not a avid porn watcher, but I can't help but wonder if the older porn that left a little to the imagination was more erotic than today's money shots and explicitness.

Mike Stewart said...

You didn't miss too much Joe. The boner inducing erotic gems were few and far between prior to the complete elimination of censorship...actually they were few and far between afterward too...but at least you could see EVERYTHING!
Seka? Now you are talking BABES!!!

Steff you are right that sometimes LESS can be MORE as far as erotica goes. Those lingerie ads I mentioned a couple of posts back are a good example of that. Playboy and Penthouse always did more for me than Hustler in the magazine department. Those old adult movies definitely needed MORE in the sex and nudity department though. As far as modern porn goes...oh don't get me started on that crap!

Anonymous said...

Hi Mike, well thank you for all that. I noticed that you didnt mention when the first bi/gay scenes came about? Then again maybe you didnt see any,,I have been to a few theaters back in my military days in Germany. Live sex shows, a parking garage full of prostitutes, oh those were the days. I am sure it is still on the go there today. Mike, i was wondering if you will be doing a "Bi" post someday? You know about us strange creatures who sit on the fence and jump both sides,,lol. thanks Mike Bi Johnny.

Mike Stewart said...

I'm not really sure about bi/gay scenes in these older pre-hardcore adult movies Bi Johnny. I can't recall seeing any mention of gay or bi themed movies from this era but I suspect that they did exist as a very small minority of adult film output. I believe that there is a documentary that traces the history of bi/gay films from the beginning of cinema but I don't know the title off hand.

Of course in the hardcore era, there were hundreds gay shorts and features made, even theaters that played only them to a dedicated bi and gay audience. Lesbian scenes were certainly very common in straight hardcore films but scenes with explicit male gay sex extremely rare, at least in the hundreds of XXX rated films I sat through. I suspect straight males would just rather watch the babes doing the nasty than the guys. far as doing a Bi post myself, I don't know. It's something I personally can't relate to although I have no problem at all with people who choose the gay or bi lifestyle. It's "different strokes for different folks" Bi Johnny (and both of us are experts at "stroking"! LOL). As I've said before I sort of envy you bi guys because you have twice as many chances of "blasting off" as us straight guys do on Saturday night!