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May 26, 2011 04:15pm
Flag Shot will Fly Forever
Source: Adult Industry News
by: Bill Margold

Here, in his column Cinema Seen, William Margold shares a letter he received from a Marine in his story about the most famous picture in the Adult Industry, the "flag raising" image.

Dear Friend:

I am a Marine in the Saudi Desert, and I believe in what we are fighting for - Freedom - and I believe in what you are fighting for. My troops and I watch adult videos on base in the States. And being over here you see that these people don’t have that Freedom. So we don’t want to lose that. We want to come back and watch all the adult videos we want to. We have been over here for six months and we want to put a video in and see a beautiful woman, but that is after we do the real thing with our wives and girlfriends. The important thing is the thought of losing a Freedom that people have died for. We can’t let that happen.

Semper Fi
SSgt. Anthony Hairston
Operation Desert Storm


SSgt. Anthony Hairston’s heartfelt sentiments were sent to FOXE (The Fans of X-Rated Entertainment) in February 1991. The original copy of the letter is safely put away among my most treasured possessions, because it inspired the most enduring, dynamic and thought provoking image ever created for the Adult Entertainment Industry - the "Fighting for Your Freedom"/"Freedom Isn’t Free" poster — and its many subsequent incarnations: ranging from t-shirts to mouse pads, and from lapel pins to wall calendar — to the explosive sentiment ("This is your freedom/This is censorship/Get the point?") at the beginning of millions of adult videos and DVDs. But its birth wasn’t as easy as you would think.

I was living with the notorious adult actress, Viper at the time, who had served in the Marines for six years. So when I suggested that I was "going to take the legendary Iwo Jima picture and put five more adult actresses in it besides you" she grinned, politely thanked me for thinking so highly of her, but also matter-of-factly cautioned, "You had better get their (the Marines) permission."

Charged with that mission (although even my most naïve associates fully know that I would have proceeded with plan — permission… or not) I ventured off to the Marines’ offices off of LA Brea Ave. And Rodeo Blvd. near Baldwin Hills.

After wandering around the corridors for a while, with just enough expression on my face to suggest that I knew where I was going, I located a formidable Gunnery Sergeant named Enrique Torres, who just happened to be in charge of public relations.

When I boldly announced, "I’m going to take six adult industry actresses and put them in the Iwo Jima pose," Torres bristled, and immediately all sorts of images from Leon Uris’ "Battle Cry" flashed before my eyes. Hmmm, could a civilian be put on KP? Was there a special stockade for "public nuisances?" Having been refused by the Marines when I tried to enlist in 1960 (because I had been "incorrigible" during my juvenile delinquent days), would I now be forced to serve?

Torres quickly dispelled any of my concerns, by following up his bristle with a smile, and a quick response, "Sure, Sir, and I’ll be happy to help choreograph it for you." After insisting that he call me anything but "Sir"… I told him that I would start rounding up the ladies, and a photographer, and report back to him in the near future.

Realizing that I needed the very best photographer available, and having just become aware of Brad Willis’ striking box covers for a couple of major adult video companies, I contacted him, and rather easily persuaded him to help me create "An image for the ages." of course, he would be "volunteering" his photographic services, and those of his wife, who would function as make–up artist and set director. FOXE would cover all of the other production expenses (film, developing, studio rental, etc.).

It’s interesting to note here that when I dropped my idea on the table of the next Adult Video Association board meeting, I was told not to do it, and in fact, "That it would be unpatriotic." Essentially their resistance guaranteed the project’s completion, as the five most important in the (my) adult entertainment alphabet are R-E-B-E-L.

Finding adult actresses to join Viper in the shot wasn’t very hard, as every lusty lady I contacted absolutely demanded to be part of the project. The only problem was their extremely busy schedules. And I’m talking about a smoldering spectrum of stars including Nina Hartley, Jeanna Fine, Britt Morgan, Ashlyn Gere, Raven, Cameo, and Brandy Alexandre.

As I wanted to premiere the poster at July 1991 Video Software Dealer’s Association convention in Las Vegas, I knew that it to be shot by the end of May, in order to allow enough for printing…which had been volunteered by Michael Warner and Great Western Litho.

Therefore, on the Sunday before Memorial Day 1991, in a tiny studio in Culver City, the six "Freedom" femmes, who slipped into tattered battle garb and struck the powerful pose were (clockwise) Viper, Porsche Lynn, Alicyn Sterling, Taylor Wane, Selena Steele and Ashley Nicole.

The shooting took over seven hours.

Willis snapped off 60 shots.

Gunnery Sgt Torres was on hand, and watched in awe at the enthusiastic desire by the six, as Selena would call them, "Warriors."

It was very hot and extremely uncomfortable… both factors exacerbated by the presence of a smoke machine. Brad’s wife tried to keep the ladies’ spirits up, but the precise posing pressures began to fray the nerves of all involved. Finally, as the atmosphere neared intolerability, Willis announced that he had what he needed.

Driving home in the hazy twilight, emotionally drained, I told Viper that she had just been part of "something great." She smiled and responded, "I hope so." Four days later, she left the adult entertainment industry, driving, as I heart achingly pronounced, "out of history into legend."

And the legend of the flag raising image lives on as well, as it has been 20 years since that sweltering photo session in Culver City, and the radiance of what was rendered that day now glorifies a stunning t-shirt — which, whenever I wear it — never fails to be commented on quite favorably…and is always the topic of "obtainable" conversation.


So… to that extent… the t-shirts are being re-issued through Louie Max’s Custom Imprinting http://www.info@louiemax.com… and should be available for you to wear proudly this summer.

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