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On this episode of The Rialto Report, we speak to Herschel Savage, the veteran adult film actor who entered the business in New York in 1976 and recently appeared in Paul Thomas’ The New Behind the Green Door.
Tales of Mr Mustard, Sharon Mitchell, performing in live shows at Show World, Debbie Does Dallas, Joe Davian, Jamie Gillis, Marlene Willoughby, Times Square, Carter Stevens, and much more – all on this episode of The Rialto Report.
This episode running time is 93 minutes.
If you had to name a prolific New York actor from the golden age of adult film, you might think of Harry Reems, Jamie Gillis, or Eric Edwards, who between them acted in a total of almost 1000 films.
But what about Herschel Savage – who acted in more films than all three of them put together?
Herschel started out in the industry making loops in 1976, and was a regular actor until – well, he’s still going strong. He turns 61 in a few weeks time, and he’s just appeared in Paul Thomas’ remake The New Behind the Green Door.
Over the course of his career, he’s worked with everyone, and even appeared recently as Gerard Damiano on stage in The Deep Throat Sex Scandal, where he received excellent reviews.
Yet he remains a man of contradictions.
He’s a shy, troubled kid from Brooklyn who felt more comfortable on stage in a theater.
He’s a New York Jew who’s now a Buddhist living in California.
And he’s a loyal adult industry regular who has some surprising views on the business itself.
In the last few years work has slowed down, so what happens now? What does someone who has spent most of his working life having sex in front of a camera do when he’s finally aged out of the business?
On this episode of The Rialto Report, Ashley West and April Hall are joined by the man himself, Herschel Savage, to talk about an eventful life, a personal philosophy, and an uncertain future.
Herschel Savage in pictures
Wow! VERY much enjoyed listening to the show tonight. There was just so much about Herschel’s life that I
had no idea about. We crossed paths only very briefly during our careers . . . but after listening to this show, I felt like it was really my loss. I wish I could have listened to him being interviewed like this back in the early ’80’s. Ashley, April — where were you? You guys were late!
Better late than never. Thanks for yet another great show. Who knows, Mr. Savage, maybe we can share a stage or something further on down the road. I’d really look forward to the backstage conversation, too.
Thanks Herschel – for a great career and the most refreshingly honest interview I’ve heard in years.
You are to be commended for your wit, insight, and truth.
There aren’t many people who have emerged from such a long career with such an acute sense of perspective.
The Daddy of them all speaks! This is THE interview with THE man – and it doesn’t disappoint. Mr Savage has been overlooked for too long – unfairly in the shadow of other great actors. He deserves better and this 90 minutes in his company is a complete joy. Give this man his own radio show – he’s entertaining, funny, sharp and has lived an incredible life.
Another splendid podcast from The Rialto Report. Great work by Ashley West and April Hall on their interview with Herschel Savage. A superb Raconteur of Porn’s Golden age, Mr. Savage gives an unflinching account of the personal and economic strain of being an adult film star. In the many Adult films and videos He performed in, Mr. Savage brought both humor and humanity to the characters He played. I wish that Mr. Savage had realized his lifelong dream and crossed over into non-adult film and television roles, as some porn stars have done. In any event, Herschel Savage definitely made his mark in the adult film world. I express my appreciation for his work, and I wish him happiness and success in his future endeavors.
Thank you for all you’ve contributed to the adult world. There needs to be more Hershel Savages around who not only perform but ACT as well.
Manischewitz… Herschel’s inteview is great! What a great story, and even though he shoots from the hip, Herschel still manages to be the nicest guy around. Forget the big NY accent – this is a sensitive and intelligent man. Good luck in the future Herschel ‘Fuckin’ Savage!
He could totally play Mitt Romney in “Obama Jammin 2012”. With Ron Jeremy as Herman Cain
He could play ‘Mel’s if they ever did a porn version of ‘Alice’.
He has proud D.O.M tattooed on him in his performing in plot-based roles that’s been consistent since my seeing him perform in ‘Eleven’ up to ‘Young and Anal 18 (?)’
Talk about a guy crossing over to different decades!! Herschel was in the 70’s classic Debbie Does Dallas. In the 80’s he worked with the top stars like Tamara Longley, Angel, Amber Lynn and Gina Valentino. In the late 90’s he got to screw the beautiful polish import Alexandra Nice and Kiki Morgan
Perhaps the most painfully perceptive Rialto Report yet.
Ashley is a master at “polite probing”…and he gets the best of the worst or the worst of the best from his guests.
I’ve known HERSCHEL for over 30 years and have always felt that he was looking down his nose at our world while at the same time realizing that he was trapped looking up at it from the gutter.
William, your comment is the one that most strongly resonated with me on my own impression of Herschel and his experiences on this podcast and I guess there must be some truth to it as you’ve known him for so long. At times, I thought, “Herschel is my kinda of guy, I am so glad he is a kindred because some of the earliest porn videos I saw featured him” and at other times I thought, “Why be so snobby Herschel? Surely you are wise enough to know better!”, However I am grateful he gave an interview and for a lot of hot scenes which I enjoyed so thanks Herschel.
Anyway seeing as this is my first comment after listening to almost all of the podcasts, I want to thank everyone who is involved with this website, offering insights and personal commentary especially to Ashley and April who seem to be the guts of it, I am a long term fan from Sydney, Australia who was very happy to get behind the scenes as the industry contains my movie stars unlike the mainstream cinema scene.
I am also delighted to see that Roy Karch is here as a member, the first film I saw, “Like A Virgin #2 (1985)” was directed by him, I love that film, Roy is a great director and provided the best moments of my teenage years.
I remember Herschel did a film where he boned Sherie St Clair in a wedding dress and also had the black seductress Sahara. I have no idea what happened to Sherie but remember reading Sahara had an art business in Vegas. By the way, anyone know anything about Tiffany Clark? she was a natural beauty, read somewhere she moved to Florida
Herschel was great in 1986’s Dr Penetration and so was Melissa Melendez as Barbara the Lobster woman, I had no idea that Melissa was that funny. But Herschel’s scene with Stacy Donovan had no heat at all, you could tell Stacy just wanted her check and Melissa didn’t like working with Dick Rambone in that film, something about him creeped her out, they had no chemistry
Teddy J., I agree 100% that Melissa Melendez was a hoot as Barbara the Lobster woman. The way her hands became lobster claws (opening and closing) all through the video. She was also quite good in Pretty Peaches 2, playing an “Oriental” and ends up in a scene with the subject of this post, Herschel Savage.
I wish Melissa had more opportunies to show humor in her performances. She was also not a bad singer. In the Jamie Gillis video “Women in Uniform”, Melissa sings “Gloomy Sunday”, and does very well. Had that video on a VHS bootleg, now long gone. Would love to see that video again, if only to hear Melissa sing……
I hear you Frank F! Melissa Melendez was the total package, she had amazing beauty (no plastic surgery) a great body, and great comic timing when given comedy roles. I remember reading she didn’t want to work with Field Marshall Bradley even though he wanted to work with her. What was up with Melissa and John Holmes in Marina Vice, she was having sex with the largest cock in the industry and she looked like she was about to fall asleep in the scene!
When Melissa was dating music producer Rick Rubin he put her in the LL Col J video going back to Cali, if you watch it on youtube you will recognize Melissa’s amazing natural boobs on the rooftop scene. Melissa came back in 1991 and was heavier with a scar on her lower stomach, did she have a kid? I wish Rialto Report would do an interview with Melissa
I still have no plastic surgery and the scar was from a tubal preganacy. I was married twice no children. Yes I was chunky when I came back but I was kicking drugs. My hair is totally gray and my boobs are pretty much the same. I turned 50 in August.
Ive been through a lot after losing my beautiful sister Lisa Melenfez. I still miss her a lot. The reason I did not work with Mr Bradley was a personal reason that both agents told me not to do.
I just watched Lady Sings The Blues. I can relate to Ms Holiday a lot. I had similar issues after I left the industry. I now live alone with 2 cats. I am in training to become a cat lady.
Most fun when I got to work with Mr Savage. You still look great Xo.
So there you have it. An update. Thank you for the kind words.
Melissa, you were my absolute favorite actress! I agree with the comments about your beauty, body and the rest, but there was a playful personality that came through your performances. We could tell that you were a real person, not a silicone mannequin. There was a cute smirk that was just too sexy.
Yes I did fall asleep when working with Mr Holmes. Kimberly Carson was screaming so much and I had taken a muscle relaxer someone gave me and passed out.
Mr Holmes was very funny. He told me I was the only person that ever fell aleep while having sex with him.
You are right about Mr Rambone he took two hours to get that thing up he did not let me help him. By the time we got to start we all were pissfed off. He was sent back home to wherever he came from.
Love you Mr Savage and again thank you for all the kind words. Xo
I agree, an interview with Melissa Melendez is on my wish list.
Most humorous podcast yet. I met him when he got his star at Hustler Hollywood. Ginger Lynn was present as were a lot of industry players, Larry Flynt too, of course. I asked him what he was going to do with “that award you got there”. “Gonna put it on the back of my toilet.” Cracked me up.
Meat master Herschel and almost the whole male cast did a personal Golden Age fave Cindy Shepard in California Valley Girls. I wish Rialto Report could find her for an interview. She only did a handful of movies but she was the rare hot real deal. Brief fleeting career women of sexual showbiz can be the most elusive, mysterious or fascinating.
Cindy Shepard was the ultimate Valley Girl! She had the whole Valley Girl accent down in that movie, not to mention Cindy looked amazing in that cute val babe skirt. Cindy only did a handful of films but you can find hardcore mags of he on ebay where she has sex with a well hung black guy. I wish Crystal Breeze could have been in that film too but it was shot in 1983 Crystal didn’t enter until 1984. Also Kimberly Carson did a great Valley Girl accent in that film
I AM A FAN OF 70’S ADULT MOVIES AND THIS MAN HERSCHEL SAVAGE WAS PRETTY COOL! HE NEVER SEEM TO HAVE A LEAD ROLL BUT,I SEEN HIM BED DOWN SOME OF THE BEST LADIES IN THE BUSINESS,AND I ALWAYS WONDER WHAT HAPPEND TO THESE ADULT STARS OF THE 70’S.I’M GLAD HE’S DOING OK….PEACE AND BLESSINGS HERSCHEL!
Herschel had great chemistry with the leggy Tamar Longley, a beautiful young porn star that never seemed to get her due
Always a sensitive and warm partner and a lovely actor, working with Herschel was a joy.
And, happily we still run into each other now and then.
I’m holding the dream for you my dear – you DO deserve to finally accomplish your original
thespian aspirations. It’s never too late.
He appeared in a very little-known and unrecognized film which should by all rights be considered a Golden Age
masterpiece called “White Fire”……dark, moody, and intensely atmospheric, it should be placed
on the same high pedestal as “Misty Beethoven” or anything Henry Paris did. Directed by Roger
Colmont, starring Lisa Marks as a woman married to Savage, who in allowing herself to be seduced
into a monogamous relationship, finds herself haunted by the memories of their former swinging years, in which their love was free from hypocrisy and jealousy. Set in a snow-bound and isolated country house, the film is suffused with regret and melancholy, and has an extraordinary sense of fatalism, tortured eroticism, and social criticism. I believe it was one of Mr. Savage’s very first adult films, and one of his finest.
The scene you and Herschel did together in Nasty Nurses certainly felt warm, compassionate and loving beyond the suggestive music score, It’s good to know that the vibes I picked up as a viewer are generally confirmed by the Rialto Report podcasts, It’s just goes to show that when someone fakes it, they are generally only fooling themselves.
Kay, I want to thank you so much for providing me with some of my best teenage memories, I watched, “Chorus Call (1978)” over and over again, I’m not sure that I have had as big a thrill as seeing you eloquently remove your robe in the dressing room scene with Bethanna, I could not believe that life could be that wonderful at that moment and the preceding scene accompanied by the sensual, lovely music score became my central happy dream for years to come.
Thank you from Australia
As a classic porn enthusiast, I’ve always felt that if anybody would succeed in crossing over to mainstream film it would be Herschel Savage. Thank you for the humor, pleasure, and genuineness you brought to your performances throughout these many years.
Also thank you, Ashley and April, for an excellent and entertaining interview. Well done!
I enjoyed chasing him about in the film, “Hypersexuals” a Robert Houston sex comedy. Always knew his character and lines . Love ya 🙂
Coffee Tea or Me (1983)… Somehow I got ahold of a copy of this when I was a young teenager. Not only was Herschel’s scene with a lust-crazed flight attendant incredibly erotically charged, but I was also introduced to Jamie Gillis, Paul Thomas, Billy Dee, Erica Boyer–and, most astounding: Aunt Peg; Juliet Anderson. Man, was she something! Also, the kink scene with Jamie, the all-girl punk band in the flight attendant lounge, the beautiful absurdity of it all!
Thank you, Rialto Report, Ashley and April, for this important work you do preserving this amazing and overlooked time in film history.
Thanks so much Maximos!