April 17, 2009 12:37am
Marilyn Chambers: A Cut Above the Rest
Source: Cinema Seen
by: William Margold
It was a miserably cold and foggy night in San Francisco. Being used to the relatively balmy climate of Southern California, I had only brought along a flimsy jacket that did little to ward off the elements that were causing me to shiver.
I had been commandeered by Mike Steele, the tyrannical owner of Spectrum West (an artistically pretentious adult entertainment publication based in Los Angeles for which I wrote various columns) to join him on this late evening foray in August 1972 to help in the process of collecting the money from, and then restocking, our newly established news racks in the hilly, windswept environs of ''Frisco.''
All of a sudden, Steele, who was taking the quarters from me, and then handing me the papers to place in the racks, screamed, ''You are getting blood all over the place.'' I looked down and discovered that apparently a coin slot had made quite a deep cut into my right thumb, and that my blood was now mixing freely with the considerable amount of dirt that I had collected off of the racks. But since my hands were numb, I hadn’t felt the wound being inflicted. However all Mike, totally indifferent to the fact that I might really be hurt, could do was continue to express his concern for the state of his precious papers. At that point I decided that my news rack servicing days were over. I told him to take me back to the hotel that we were staying in, and that I would make my way back to Los Angeles at my own expense.
I didn’t get very much sleep because, although I had done my best to clean up the cut, the gaping wound was throbbing like a piece of barbed wire had crawled into it and was gnawing at my nerve endings.
Discovering that the first available and most reasonably priced flight back to LA wouldn’t be until very late in the afternoon, I scanned the local paper looking for a movie house that I could escape into, and noticed that a film called ''Behind the Green Door'' was going to be shown ''For Free'' at the O’Farrell Theater.
And that’s what led me to seeing Marilyn Chambers on the screen.
And once the beautiful lady appeared in all of her glory, a throbbing elsewhere in my body took my mind off the pain in my thumb.
And when the imposing ebony entity of Johnnie Keyes boldly assaulted Marilyn’s Ivory Soap girl’s innocence, I smiled sardonically as America’s Morality was rent asunder. And I writhed wantonly in the knowledge that the world would never be the same again.
Hardcore filmmaking was here to stay.
And I sensed that I had found my own destiny.
Little did I realize however, that I would eventually wind up becoming one of the keeper’s of its flame as well as a highly regarded chronicler of its shattering impact on society’s nervous system.
Marilyn Chambers’ tragic death last week made a great deal more than my thumb hurt.
I struggled painfully for a few days--- fielding e-mails and calls from an aching army of Adult Entertainment Industry associates and XXX fans who desperately needed someone to share their misery with.
I knew however that I would eventually have no choice but to spill my own tears… and you are reading them now. (Note: I am quite thankful that I was given the blessing of Carnal Comics to accompany my words with a number of their images from the three-part history series that I helped them to compile in 1995.)
I did not have the honor (and I’m sure what would have been the pleasure) of working sexually with Ms. Chambers. But I did have many opportunities to pay homage to her---including staging a ''Broast'' for her at the 2005 FOXE (Fans of X-Rated Entertainment) event during which Johnnie Keyes made a surprise guest appearance.
Inducted into every Hall of Fame that the Adult Entertainment Industry has ever created---her true magnitude was immediately validated when I was coordinating the Legends of Erotica playing card deck (a work still in progress, and one that may well never come to fruition), and Marilyn was ''without a doubt'' accorded the Ace of Spades position by the late Jim Holliday.
John C. Holmes (''The King''), the most important man in X…died 21 years ago. And now, Marilyn Chambers (''The Queen''), the most important woman in X… has joined him. Together…they will reign over the Carnal Cinematic Court that they so magnificently and monumentally helped to create…forever.