March 21, 2004 12:01am
The Real John Holmes
Source: Bob Ellison
by: Bob Ellison
Honest Abe Lincoln fibbed.
All men are not created equal.
Some are born with physical advantages.
Then check these edges:
In sports, Abdul-Jabbar's height and agility; Michael Jordan's hang time. And don't forget swimmer Mark Spitz's extra-powerful kick, courtesy of virtually double-jointed knee action, which helped him win seven Olympic gold medals.
In the arts, classical pianist Van Cliburn's fingers are so long
they rival the wingspan of a 747. Thus, he can massage more of the ivories than most others.
Then there's John Curtis Holmes, the King.
He, too, had a physical bonus.
The jury's still out on whether his, umnnnn, astronomical appendage was a blessing, or a curse.
Probably a bit of both.
His fame, and notoriety, was measured in inches.
Just a tickle under thirteen, inflated.
Boys always have pet names for their manhood.
Jack Nicholson calls his, The Stinger.
Robin Williams' -- Mr. Happy.
For the King, though, Godzilla is perfect.
In a career that spanned two decades, John Holmes [AKA Johnny Wadd] appeared in 2,274 porno pix, and reportedly had sex with more than 14,000 women [see, he had a night job, too -- hustling].
Indeed, Phallus in Wonderland.
But it was not all milk and honeys.
Although he walked softly, and carried the biggest stick, the Holmes saga is more a cautionary tale than a story of lust run amok.
Sure, that primrose path he wallowed through was studded with an unlimited supply of flora and fauna, all eager for plucking. But it also was spiked with giant potholes, pitfalls, and land mines.
And his start down that rocky road began simply enough in the late 1960s -- but not like that flaccid bore of a Boogie film says.
"No, he was not discovered washing dishes," said Pornmeister Bill Amerson, who was to become Holmes' closest friend and partner. "I had an office at the Crossroads of the World on Sunset, and we ran an ad. John answers the ad, goes into a room to undress, I go in a few minutes later, took one look, and --"
Amerson thought he had hit the lottery.
"And during that time," Amerson continued, "he was a nice guy, too. Not very bright, kinda simple, but nice."
Others have said the same thing about John, "nice guy -- but no rocket scientist."
Years ago, Playboy pinup legend June Wilkinson, while discussing a mainstream actor who was similarly endowed -- but dumber than
a starlet who thinks Hollywood couches are to sit on -- had the perfect explanation for the irony:
"To support something that large," she laughed, "all the blood rushes from the brain."
Yesssss -- what the Lord giveth in one area, He taketh away in another.
Nevertheless, John Holmes had a unique form of validation.
And the Lanky Lug would be a cash cow, earning as much $3,000 a day, and more than $500,000 in some years.
But it wouldn't be too long before a lot of that was going up his snout.
* * *
Contrary to folklore, John Holmes was not born in a manger. More like Pickaway County, Ohio, on August 8th, 1944.
As a kid, he reportedly had flawless attendance at Sunday school for a dozen straight years.
Yet the religious vaccination evidently didn't take because at the tender age of 12 his virginity went south -- courtesy of one of his mother's friends -- a 36-year-old vamp who liked Boy-Toys.
At 16, he left home, lied about his age and went into the army for three years. After that, a lot of odd jobs -- selling furniture, shoes, Fuller brushes, and later driving a forklift. He was even hooked on the Save the Whales campaign, ironic for a guy who was a walking harpoon.
Then came porn.
In the late-late '60s he started by doing stag films, and 8mm arcade loops. In 1970, though, he became Johnny Wadd, a series breakthrough character lewdly based on Dashiell Hammett's classic Private Eye, Sam Spade.
It was still porno, but with a major difference -- there was character development, and plot.
No longer was he just a lug with a glandular problem, or merely the ultimate catnip to size freaks.
There were stories, and even some acting involved, however anemic.
As his popularity rose, so did demand for his incomparable services. He reportedly also was turning tricks from L.A. to New York to Europe, switch-hitting, giving both the girls and boys what they wanted. For a price, of course.
In the mid-70s, Holmes discovered drugs.
To meet that hunger, and pay for it, he began stealing -- stealing anything he could. During a shoot in private homes, he'd scour closets and drawers for money, jewels, anything of value.
He'd break into cars, rip off old friends and lovers, even run up a tab of $30,000 on his wife's credit cards, then sell the merchandise for cash.
And he forced his girlfriend to hook.
Boogie omitted all this.
By 1978, his out-of-control life in the fast lane began to take its toll -- episodes of impotence began to hit.
John's snoozing salamander was on the nod.
Those damn drugs.
Reptilicus was rising to the occasion less and less often now, rapidly losing his slither.
Think about that!
A Super Swordsman's saber often turning into silly putty.
And it got worse.
Suddenly all the magic went out of his wand. His baton could no longer conduct carnal concerts.
Then his rooster simply died.
A helluva crisis, for sure.
It was a dilemma more psychically damaging than if Marv Albert couldn't bite.
It was a career disaster more shattering than if Sharon Stone couldn't uncross her legs.
It was a catastrophe even worse than if Tiger Woods couldn't find his balls.
So what's a fella to do -- huh, what?
If you're John Holmes, and drowning in chemical dependency, you become an errand boy, a flunky, for a Drug Kingpin, *jiand a heavy user. Enter, Mephistopheles -- Adel Nasrallah, AKA Eddie Nash, the devil incarnate, according to law enforcement.
And this where the story gets vicious.
Holmes owed money to a gang of druggies -- and to Nash.
Money-Money -- he needed it, pronto. So he became the planner, and point man, for a robbery of Nash's home.
It was a heavy score: More than $100,000 in cash, jewelry that was later fenced for $150,000, plus a cornucopia of drugs -- including eight pounds of cocaine.
Nash wanted revenge.
It's now July 1, 1981. Five people are partying in the house at 8763 Wonderland Avenue: Joy Audrey Miller, William Ray Deverell, Ronald and Susan Launius, and Barbara Lee Richardson.
But the party ended abruptly.
The Cops would later refer to the scene as The Four on the Floor murders. Four people slaughtered.
Brains bashed in. Blunt instrument. Blood everywhere.
Only one survivor, Susan Launius, who could not identify the killer, or killers.
Holmes, after a lengthy jail stay, went to trial -- but was acquitted of the murders on June 26, 1982.
For not talking, though, he was jailed an additional 111 days for contempt.
He got out of stir on November 22, 1982. All in all, he'd been behind bars a total of eleven months.
Boogie missed all of that as well.
That period, though, away from drugs, apparently did him some good.
He now had periodic resurrections for his erection.
There were a few more on-camera roles, including his last appearance in The Rise and Fall of the Roman Empress.
But the really bad news hit in the summer of 1985.
Holmes had AIDS.
John Curtis Holmes died on March 13, 1988, penniless.
The King was dead.
There would be no successor.
"He was the Elvis Presley of porn," said Private Eye Nils Grevillius, La-Land's #1 peeper.
If there is a moral to the story, it's a simple one:
As novelist Bruce Jay Friedman once cracked: "Don't let that little frankfurter run your life."
Live by the schlong, die by the schlong.