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On this episode of The Rialto Report, we’re joined by Bob Chinn – director of the Johnny Wadd series of films starring John Holmes, as well as the man behind films such as Candy Stripers, Little Orphan Dusty, and Hot & Saucy Pizza Girls.
We’re also pleased to welcome Jill Nelson – author of John Holmes: A Life Measured In Inches, and Golden Goddesses: 25 Legendary Women of Classic Erotic Cinema as our guest co-presenter.
This episode running time is 98 minutes.
When Paul Thomas Anderson was asked which ten films influenced his break-out movie Boogie Nights, he mentioned films by Scorsese, Kurosawa, Altman and Truffaut.
And Bob Chinn’s The Jade Pussycat (1977).
Of course he did.
Whilst a number of people claim that characters in Anderson’s film were based on them, in reality Boogie Nights borrowed most heavily from Bob Chinn’s experience making the Johnny Wadd series of detective films with John Holmes.
Anderson even copied some of the scenes directly from Bob’s films.
Bob was one of the first directors to work with Holmes and he’s still best known for the series of successful films they made over the best part of a decade. But there’s much more to him than just this.
He was there in the 1960s, making clandestine beaver girl loops to support his family in the late 1960s.
He was there in the 1970s and 1980s, making hugely profitable feature length films in LA, San Francisco and Hawaii with stars like Rene Bond, Desiree Cousteau, and Jesie St James.
And he was still there at turn of the century making films with yet another new generation.
Bob Chinn’s a walking encyclopedia of the West Coast adult film scene over these decades, and one of the most self-effacing people you could meet. And maybe that’s been to his detriment – as he’s always preferred to remain in the background and let others do the talking.
Fortunately that’s about to change with his soon-to-be published autobiography, which finally tells the story from his own perspective.
On today’s show, I’m pleased to be joined by my co-presenter Jill Nelson – an expert in the golden age of adult films who has written extensively on the subject.
Please support Jill by buying her books and following her at –
John Holmes: A Life Measured In Inches (out in hardback soon!)
John Holmes: A Life Measured In Inches – Blog
Golden Goddesses: 25 Legendary Women of Classic Erotic Cinema
A brief extract from the podcast interview with Bob Chinn:
Do you remember first meeting John Holmes?
Yes I do. He came into our office one day looking for work as a gaffer, but my three-man crew was already set and I told him I didn’t have a job for him. Then he told me that he was also an actor.
What were your first impressions of him?
He was tall and skinny and his hair was done up in an Afro which seemed totally inappropriate for him since it gave him a sort of goofy appearance. I really didn’t see any potential in using him as an actor until he lowered his pants.
How did the situation arise for you to see how well endowed he was?
As I said, I didn’t really see any potential in using him as an actor but we were obligated to be gracious so I had my partner Alain take his application and finish the interview while I went back to work in the next room to finish editing a trailer that had to be done before the end of the day.
After a few minutes my partner came out and said, “Bob, you got to see this guy’s dick.”
I said, “That’s about the last thing in the world I want to do – look at some tall skinny guy’s dick.”
But my partner insisted so I humored him and went back in the room. John had pulled up his pants at that point but when Alain said, “Show him,” he let them down again, and I was suddenly staring at what happened to be the biggest cock I had ever seen in my life. The guy was hung like a horse.
Well, I didn’t have to think twice. I said something like “Maybe we can fit you into the shoot this weekend. You free on Sunday?” He replied, “Sure I’m available. But I’m never free.”
I said, “Oh, so we have a comedian, do we? We pay fifty dollars a day.” He pulled up his pants and said, “Well I get seventy five.”
We were making these films on a $750 budget and every buck counted so I said, “No way,” and he came back with “That’s what everybody pays me. I won’t work for less. Besides,” he continued, “I can do four sex scenes in one day.” After quickly calculating that if he did four sex scenes I could save money by not hiring another actor I said, “Ok, Bro – seventy five it is, but the Afro’s got to go.”
Was he ambitious?
He was interested in working. He showed up at the location on time and ready for work. I think, like us, he liked to make money.
But he was, in the beginning at least, very serious and professional about what he did.
Did you become friends?
We gradually became friends after getting to know each other but we weren’t close friends. We would go on trips to Las Vegas together, things like that, but he was never invited to my house. I’ve always preferred keeping my personal life and my professional life as separate as possible.
an astonishing and epic interview! there’s too much historical detail to wrap my head around after one listen, and the ending – with bob expressing his dissatisfaction with his work – is almost poignantly sad. to hear all of these tales, his recollection laser-sharp and utterly free of cant, is quite simply historically priceless. i hope bob comes to realize, despite his dissatisfaction, the massively important role he played. given all of the paths he crossed (from manuel conde and carlos tobalina to freeway films and alan colberg (and what was his association with nick millard?), i can’t wait for his autobiography.
the Report just keeps blowing my mind! i was riveted for the last hour and a half (!!!) and can’t express enough thanks….
A pleasure to hear Bob Chinn talk about his career.
What a genuine fellow who so often embodies what is
the very best we have to offer as people! His sensitivity,
his earnestness, his essential goodness is one more of
the great ironies to emerge from the tales of those
who peopled The Golden Age of Pornography.
Thanks for having him on.
Can’t wait to get your book!
This was a joy to listen to. Thank you to the Rialto team.
After years of second-rate film review websites, you consistently deliver original content by letting the featured stars speak instead of promoting your own writing.
Please don’t stop!
Great podcast. Chinn’s a national treasure of American Film history,
I USE TO LOVE GOING TO THE PUSSYCAT WITH MY BUDDIES ON A SATURDAY NIGHT BACK IN THE 70’S,AND WATCHING SOME SKIN FLICKS I WOULD SEE THIS ASIAN GUY SOMETIMES MAKE A BRIEF APPEREANCE IN THE MOVIE.HE NEVER HAD A SEX SCENE SO I ALWAYS WONDERED WHO HE WAS?
NOW I KNOW,AND THIS WAS A VERY GOOD INTERVIEW ON THIS MAN “BOB CHINN” AND BEING A PIONEER DIRECTOR,HE SHOULD BE REMEMBERED AND PRAISED!
[…] debut films were softcore roles in Britt Blazer, In For Life, possibly Sexus in Paradise, the Bob Chinn-directed Hawaii-filmed mockumentary, and her hardcore debut was in I Want You. […]
Fascinating and emotionally involving.RR does it again.
Back in the day,Chinn’s work fairly commanded the
screen.Even his one day wonders were different from
so much of the dross that poured out of the smut
pipeline then.The more interviews like this that you
offer up,the more we’ll need to hear.Well?What are you
[…] tales of Brooklyn beginnings, San Francisco in the 70s, the Cockettes, 8mm loops, John Holmes, Bob Chinn, John Leslie, New York in the 80s, Chuck Vincent, Larry Revene, Femme Productions, learning how […]
this was great. i couldn’t stop listening to it. i find it sad that bob isn’t proud of his films. i personally think they helped define what we now called “the golden age of adult cinema”. for someone like me, who is discovering these classics today, i find his contribution an important part of cinema in general.
i hope this (if anything) helps make him see a positive side to what he gave us.
thanks bob chinn (and thanks to rialto report)
Mr. Chinn is a legend in adult cinema. I remember seeing his “China Cat” at the Torrance Pussycat theater in the late 1970’s. His films had storylines and were much better than the stuff that is now digitally recorded. His films are classics and he should be proud of his work, given the tight shooting schedules and equally tight budgets. He is a real gentleman and a great professional!
Bob mentioned his wife Deborah Chinn; it was a movie that he directed and she wrote, Hard Bound, that introduced me to high quality couples porn. A funny, beautiful older woman/younger man romance with Nina Hartley and Dale DaBone, Hard Bound was just the perfect women’s erotic film–and I’m thrilled (and not surprised) to learn that Deborah is a feminist!
I checked out Prisoner of Paradise today. I was always a fan of those softcore Ilsa movies so I wanted to see if this measured up. This kind of filth is better left to Jess Franco.
It’s not bad for a porno. The direction and cinematography are good. I just don’t like looking at John Holmes at all. He’s revolting to me. The broads are cute and they engage in some lesbianism so I just watched a bit of that and then forwarded to the non sex scenes to avoid seeing Holmes and his disgusting nakedness.
I am 70 years old and have always been a great fan of Candy Samples. All the Way In! is a wonderful film, capturing her extraordinary talent and beauty. I recall one scene in particular. A dark, dimly lit bedroom with Candy wearing a black teddy, laying on her back. The shadows and dim lighting perfectly captured the erotic sensuality of Candy’s enormous breasts, slim hips, and tiny waist. I don’t know anything about the technique of film making, but this to me was brilliant cinematography and lighting. I still watch it, enjoying every bit.
Thank you, Mr. Chinn for this beautiful tribute to an astonishing woman.