Marty Hodas: King of the Peeps
Podcast 38

Marty Hodas:  King of the Peeps <br />Podcast 38
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On this episode of The Rialto Report, we tell the story of the legendary Marty Hodas – ‘King of the Peeps’ – with his only audio interview since the 1970s.

Marty introduced peep show machines into Times Square – creating the basis for the adult film industry, and changing the face of New York in the process.

His remarkable story is one of sex films, obscenity busts, police harassment, mob heat, Times Square, and millions of dollars. In quarters. Lots and lots of quarters.

This episode running time is 52 minutes.

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Marty Hodas never directed an adult film. And he never appeared in one either.

But he played an important role in creating the sex film industry.

He did this by introducing peep shows with sex films into adult bookstores in New York in the 1960s.

Marty HodasAlong the way, he took risks. He set laws. He upset the city. He angered the mob. And he made millions.

He changed the face of New York as well; transforming Times Square overnight into a place The New York Times called as “a cesspit of filth – the nation’s centre for the new sex trade”.

For a time Marty was all-conquering. He was splashed over the national newspapers. He was described as King of the Peeps. The Merchant of Sleaze. Lord of the Loops. Even Public Enemy Number One.

Newspapers in New York reported that he earned $13m a year at his height.

Not bad for a poor Jewish kid from Brooklyn.

Along the way, he made sex film loops that gave a start to actors such as Linda Lovelace, Harry Reems, Jamie Gillis, and Darby Lloyd Rains.

So how was one man responsible for all this? How did he build this empire? And what happened when the forces of law and order and the mob both started closing in him?

 

On this episode of The Rialto Report, we hear from three people who tell the remarkable story of Marty Hodas and the transformation of Times Square :

Marty Hodas
Marty Hodas owned a coin operated adult movie machine empire in New York in the 1960s and 70s. He was dubbed ‘The King of the Peeps’. 

With over 200 adult venues, Times Square became the nation’s first retail porn center.

Anthony Bianco
Anthony Bianco is one of America’s most experienced and versatile business writers working for BusinessWeek for 27 years; he is author of ‘Ghosts of 42nd Street: A History of America’s Most Infamous Block’ (2004).

Kat Long
Kat Long is the author of ‘The Forbidden Apple: A Century of Sex and Sin in New York City’ (2009) – the first book to explore more than 100 years of sexual history and social science in the city that never sleeps.

 

 

Peep show machine Ad for a coin-operated movie machine from Urban Industries Inc. – the company that supplied Marty Hodas

 

Martin Hodas Jamie Gillis Larry ReveneJamie Gillis, Marty Hodas, Larry Revene (2009)

15 Comments

  1. Martin Hernandez · June 29, 2014 Reply

    I’m listening to this right now – and loving every minute. This is quite simply an exceptional and important story – very well told. Please keep these coming!

  2. Joomla Jaz · June 29, 2014 Reply

    Marty deserves his own documentary – and it’s thanks to the Rialto that I’d even heard of him. Probably more important and interesting than all of the other RR podcasts so far, I hope folks aren’t put off by him not being a major film star – because this is really good.

  3. Hank Rose · June 29, 2014 Reply

    What a shocking exclamation point Marty’s loss was for this fascinating podcast. In this peep show tough guy’s story, lies the genesis of why New York’s 42nd St. was the center of the porn universe for so long. Out west the only equivalent was the Sunset/Western district of East Hollywood which in the 70s was lined with many smut shops where I studied to become Joe Porn Star. Today, like in Times Square, there’s nothing left but ghosts of the past.

  4. P.I. · June 29, 2014 Reply

    Wow…. truly sensational…. I love this more than most of the actress / actor interviews.

    It’s sad to hear of his passing, but what a life he had.

    I’d love to hear interviews with folks that owned theaters, worked at magazines, designed publicity materials, book publishers, etc.

    Mr. West, you need to get funding, and make a series of documentaries… AND a book…..

  5. Pete Davidson · June 29, 2014 Reply

    Hi guys,

    This was Exceptional! Very emotional at the end too.

    One of the great parts of the show is the music you select – and there always seems to be a reason why a particular piece was chose. So…. what’s the story behind the opening and closing jazz music..?!?!

    • Ashley West · June 29, 2014 Reply

      Thanks very much for your comments!

      And the music is by John Coltrane – chosen because he is buried in the same cemetery as Marty on Long Island… and because we love them both.

  6. Ron S · June 30, 2014 Reply

    Big things come from little things… like lots and lots and lots of quarters.

    Excellent podcast about a person outside the limelight that had a huge impact. Like others have said here, this is important history that the Rialto Report is recording. Yes, the interviews with the actual porn stars are wonderful but I’ve found the ones you’ve done with people like John Amero, Bob Chinn, Larry Revene– and Jonas MIddleton and the amazing Ray Hoersch– to be even more interesting in way, because they reveal more about the mechanics of the early industry. Good stuff.

    Any chance of an interview or article about Harry Mohny? I’d love to find out more about his life. And Gail Palmer and that crowd.

    My condolences on the passing of your friend.

  7. Fuzzy · June 30, 2014 Reply

    Pulitzer Prize over here please.

  8. Perry S · June 30, 2014 Reply

    As always a great interview. The history of 42nd street is so interesting. I remember the Black Jack book store when they still had the 8mm loops. Black Jack was pretty wild place back then. Sorry to here of Marty Hodas passing. Keep up the great work and looking forward to your next podcast.

  9. Frank F · July 2, 2014 Reply

    Beautifully done podcast, right down to the music chosen. Especially the way the three audio interviews were intermingled to tell this story. Condolences to Marty Hodas’ wife and family. I concur about the current 42nd Street being a Disneyfied obscenity, with no particular identity. When I first encountered 42nd Street/Time Square in 1983, the area had a vitality and identity all it’s own, and a carnival type atmosphere. Now, it’s about as exciting as a mashed potato sandwich on white bread. (Sigh…..).

  10. roy karch · July 4, 2014 Reply

    Ah yes… the fellas from 42nd St. Nuttin’ quite like ‘em. It’s where I started my own journey in this sinful thing we do in 1970.
    Thank you Ashley for your own personal touching post-script; so sorry you lost a good friend, as we all did.

  11. k marshall · July 4, 2014 Reply

    Yes. Yes. Indeed. The Dark Knight of The Deuce. As I
    watched Times Square morph from one decade to
    another (the 60′ through the 90’s),those porn princes and
    provocateurs became less inscrutable and ever more
    exotic.Those to whom excessive attention was paid,paid.
    Some,like Goldstein,endured,others,worn down,bailed.
    On one particular excursion to the Deuce,I found myself
    emerging from the subway at 42nd St.,only to be
    caught in the middle of a plainclothes bust ,snub noses
    drawn,perps face down,of a veritable army of pickpockets.
    It was this kind of everyday thing that grew out of the wild
    west atmosphere of Times Square of the time. One
    wonders how Marty squared his world with the world
    that (d)evolved from it. Certainly the whore strolls,
    shooting galleries and the like added to the illicit
    aura of THEN. But,this being NOW, one…wonders.
    Another matchless piece,this. To the chorus of requests
    for MORE, I contribute my raincoat pocket,full of Show
    World tokens……

  12. Charles Silverman · July 15, 2014 Reply

    Really loved this episode! Love the podcast! THANK YOU!!

  13. J. Edgar Gonzalez · August 12, 2014 Reply

    Decades before I became internationally known as “the Hef of MILFS” and the founding editor-in-chief of Nasty Housewives Magazine, I was a pimple-faced, pud-pulling mook who plunked more quarters into peep show booths owned by Marty Hodas than a bus load of senior citizens cashing out their social security checks in Atlantic City. What surprised me about this Rialto Report interview is that all of this time I thought it was Reuben Sturman, the classiest gent to ever emerge out of Cleveland, who had invented and popularized the peep show booth. Arguing as to whether Sturman or Hodas deserve credit for that spunky invention is like arguing which farts from two homeless bums smells better. If there is a heaven, I known that Sturman and Hodas are setting up shop right now, with a neon sign pointing the way to the chlorine-scented booths where the floors are forever sticky with used condoms.

  14. Tony F · August 12, 2014 Reply

    Yeah baby, I loved this one! What a character. I could listen all day to guys like Marty Hodas and Larry Revene. Not to mention the countless others that have yet to be featured. I really like the people behind the industry that you spotlight. I wish he would have felt free to discuss his business arrangements with respect to the mob.
    I would love it if you could get along with Shaun Costello long enough do a feature on his prodigious amount of work or maybe Bob Wolfe. Those two were like factories churning out the porn for the peep booths that kept Marty in all those quarters. My condolences to Mrs. Hodas and yourself Ashley. Thanks for sharing.

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