One of the best known of the so-called ‘Golden Age of Porn‘ films ‘Debbie Does Dallas‘ was made in New York nearly 40 years ago.
When it was first released in late 1978, it had a hugely successful theatrical run before going on to sell 50,000 copies on videotape and becoming the most successful video release of a porn film at the time.
This summer The Rialto Report re-visited two of the main locations in Brooklyn; the Pratt Institute where the library scenes were shot, and Brooklyn College where the sports field scenes took place.
Of course The Rialto Report’s April Hall was on hand to re-enact some of the scenes.
Please use the interactive slider below to see the locations in 1978 and in 2016.
The plot of ‘Debbie does Dallas‘ focuses on a team of cheerleaders attempting to earn enough money to send title character Debbie to try out for the famous ‘Texas Cowgirls’ squad in Dallas. The fictional name ‘Texas Cowgirls’ was a take on the real-life Dallas Cowboys cheerleaders who were very popular at the time.
The film was produced, directed and written by David Buckley (using the nom-de-porn Jim Clark), under his company Schoolday Productions, Inc. David Buckley had formed a film distribution and production company in 1974 with his two brothers, Jim (co-founder of Screw magazine with Al Goldstein) and Frederick, who had distributed ‘Flesh Gordon‘ (1974) and the Italian sex-arthouse hit, ‘Bambina‘ (1974).
Whereas many adult film producers of the era were quick to distance themselves from any links to organized crime, the Buckleys were quick to recognize their debt to the mob – who booked their films into theaters throughout the country.
In a newspaper interview from 1975, David Buckley asserted, “We’re very pro-mafia around here.” Jim Buckley spelled out some of the reasons for their preference: “Mafia guys keep their word. When they make a deal, they stick with it, and they pay you upfront. We’ve been waiting eight months for $10,000 that a major theater chain owes us. Nobody in the mafia owes us money.”
When we interviewed Al Goldstein, he remembered how Mickey Zafferano had been instrumental in helping distribute ‘Debbie Does Dallas’.
Part of the huge success of ‘Debbie Does Dallas’ is attributed to the publicity it attracted at the time – due to the well-known locations that Buckley used, and also a copyright infringement lawsuit brought by the Dallas Cowboys football team.
‘Debbie Does Dallas’ also made a star out of the lead actress, Bambi Woods. The Rialto Report tracked down Bambi Woods recently but has not been able to secure an interview as of yet. We live in hope.
Bambi Woods as ‘Debbie Benton’
1. Debbie Does Dallas – Pratt Institute
Pratt Institute is a private, nonsectarian, non-profit institution of higher learning located in the Clinton Hill neighborhood of Brooklyn, New York. It originated in 1887 with programs primarily in engineering, architecture, and fine arts.
Over the years, the campus has been used in a number of film such as ‘Jacob’s Ladder‘ (1990), Robert De Niro‘s ‘The Good Shepherd‘ (2006), and many episodes of ‘Law & Order: Special Victims Unit‘. Even The music video for Billy Joel’s song ‘The Longest Time’ was filmed in its entirety at Pratt Institute in 1984.
However none of these shots caused anywhere near the uproar that resulted from when ‘Debbie Does Dallas’ was shot there on Independence Day, 1978. According to Joseph Azzinaro, a vice president at Pratt at the time, the college authorities were tricked into letting the filmmakers use the library for a hard core sex scene when it was closed for the holiday.
“They told us they wanted to make an educational film on the library – how it is operated, how the reference library works, and so on”, Azzinaro said. “It took us by surprise and naturally we’re terribly embarrassed.”
Asked if he had seen the film, Azzinaro admitted he had been to the theater to watch it, but added, “Technically I’d have to admit that they made a professional movie, but the contents are not to my taste.”
Merle Michaels and Jake Teague
Jake Teague as ‘Mr. Biddle’
Merle Michaels in ‘Debbie Does Dallas’ in 1978 – and The Rialto Report’s April Hall in 2016
The Pratt Institute library in 1978 – and unchanged in 2016
Merle Michaels in ‘Debbie Does Dallas’ in 1978 – and The Rialto Report’s April Hall in 2016
Merle Michaels and Jake Teague
Herschel Savage in ‘Debbie Does Dallas’ in 1978 – and The Rialto Report’s April Hall in 2016
Jake Teague, Herschel Savage and Merle Michaels
Merle Michaels as ‘Donna’
2. Debbie Does Dallas – Brooklyn College
Pratt Institute was not the only group offended by ‘Debbie Does Dallas’.
The marquee of the Pussycat Cinema, the Manhattan theater which premiered the film, claimed that the film’s star, Bambi Woods was an “X-Dallas Cowgirl” – alluding to the famed cheerleaders of the Dallas Cowboy’s football team. Suzanne Mitchell, director of the Dallas cheerleaders, issued an immediate statement denying that Woods had ever been a member.
Worse was to follow.
The Dallas Cowboy cheerleaders brought a legal case against Schoolday Productions, Inc. and the Pussycat Cinema arguing that their uniforms were mimicked by the film’s producers and used in advertising.
Mitchell appeared in court and described how she became ill and wanted to cry when she saw the film. She showed an example of the Dallas cheerleader uniforms, and said that, “After feeling a little sick, I came to the realization that these people had no right to do this. This was our uniform, our property and they had stolen it from us.”
The defense argued that uniforms were strictly ‘functional’ items, but the court found that “if the design of an item is non-functional and has acquired secondary meaning, the design may become a trademark even if the item itself is functional.”
The Pussycat Cinema was enjoined from showing the film under the Lanham Act which relates to trademarks. In affirming the district court’s decision in favor of the Cheerleaders, the United States Court of Appeals for the Second Circuit described the movie as “a gross and revolting sex film”.
A new college building has been built since the 1978 film
Rikki O’Neal as… ‘Rikki’
Christie Ford as ‘Roberta’
Georgette Sanders as ‘Lisa’
The Brooklyn College football field in 2016
Interesting piece. Ever think about doing a book featuring all of these stories?
Lovely pictures and incredible to think how so little has changed!
Do you guys have any idea where Mr Hardwick’s shop scenes were filmed?
I love these location pieces you guys do. Thanks.
You managed to contact Bambi Woods..>!?!?!?!>!>!>!?
So she’s alive? Please share the backstory to this!
If she wants to stay out of the limelight, maybe she should be left alone…
Alan’s got it – as of now she wants to stay out of the public eye. We hope one day she’ll reconsider but until then we’ll be respecting her privacy. Thanks for the interest!
While an interview with Bambi would be nice, I’d prefer to have a podcast featuring Merle Michaels. Any possibility?
Definitely Merle Michaels. She did a lot of New York porn and would fit right in with the subject matter here.
Hope you get in touch with her at some point!
Thanks for setting the record straight about the director of “Debbie”.
It has erroneously reported that it was actually Jim Buckley.
e.g. the DVD Drive In reviewer stated: “Jim Clark (widely known as being former Screw Magazine co-editor Jim Buckley, who disappeared after selling his share of the magazine to Al Goldstein.
Wrong and wrong!!
It WAS David Buckley (see all the court records relating to this case….) and Jim Buckley did NOT disappear (he just stopped working on Screw).
Jeeze….. thank goodness for these Rialto reports to set the record straight.
Amen to that.
AAA+++ as always.
Another good report , thanks
Wow so Bambi Woods is still alive! I thought she passed from a drug over-dose in the late 80’s, I guess she wanted to disappear from the industry, oh my that would be phenomenal if you guys could get an interview with her! I always loved this movie and wish they still made porn movies like this nowadays. Great job on finding the location spots…a rare and interesting find! Your show rocks!!
No one played the creepy old man better than the late Jake Teague, he was especially good in this film. I just wish Jake got to have sex with Bambi Woods instead of R. Bolla
Seeing April Hall ‘re-enact’ Merle Michaels scene in the library is hysterical…. maybe this can become a regular feature…! “Scenes we’d like to see April Hall replicate” perhaps?
April says that as long as the requests are for the non-sex scenes as she’s not nearly as brave as the women of the era, she’s game!
Sounds great! 🙂
What a treat for a gloomy Sunday – and who knew the mafia were such decent and upstanding guys? 😉
X-cellent work, as always!
Another fantastic location article for one of the most popular adult films from the Golden Age! Great job Ashley and April!!
April, you are an adorable stand-in.
So crazy! I went to Brooklyn College, graduated in 1999, but never knew about the DDD connection! That being said, I was not into classic porn back then. I would walk across that field nearly every day to get to the B49 bus on Ocean Avenue.
Great to hear from a ‘Debbie Does Dallas’ graduate…!
Christie Ford…oh my.
I also love her!
The Rialto Report tracked down Bambi Woods? Amazing sleuthing skills. Perhaps you should have a go a finding the final resting place of Jimmy Hoffa.
Great review….I too thought ms. Wood dies of a drug overdose back several years.
Congratulations on a great story. Are Jake Teague and Robert Kerman still alive?
Yes Donna – both are alive. You can find a report with Robert Kerman on the site. As for Jake Teague, we’ve been in touch with him and hope to bring you his story at some point.
Another outstanding Rialto Report feature! Is it okay that I got a little hopeful when I read that April Hall would be re-enacting some of the scenes from the film??? Great location report on a beloved film from the Golden Age, The Rialto Report always delivers!
Just Curious, have you been able to track down & interview any of the other cheerleaders in the movie besides Bambi Woods? The “Debbie Does Dallas Uncovered” doc didn’t have any luck with that. I understand the wonderful Arcadia Lake is sadly deceased, but if the others are still around I’m sure they have interesting stories as well.
Funny you should mention the cheerleaders… we’re in the midst of an interview with one of them right now. We hope to bring it to you soon.
Excellent work, as usual! I’d love to see how Bambi and Jake are doing these days. Fingers crossed.
As usual another great job by The Rialto Report. I heard from a good source that the location that was the sporting good store was Models on 42st.
Great reportage as always! Although credited to another actress (Sharon Sanders) on IMDB I think Bambi Woods starred as the title character in the 1977 film SHARON. Any thoughts on that?
P.S. Anything up and coming on the early adult film actress the lovely Linda McDowell?
I love the detective work The Rialto Report does too! It’s like seeing old friends again that you lost touch with over 25 years ago. I would love to see them do stuff with 80’s stars like Melissa Melendez and Kimberly Carson. Also Nikki Randall, Nikki came out of retirement after years away to be in the John Wayne Bobbit film then went away again.
Jake Teague is still alive? I’m glad to hear it. IAFD has his death listed as April 25, 1983
Yes – he turned 89 this year and is alive and well. He was gracious in sharing his memories with us.
Jake Teague’s still alive? Holy mother of crap! I’m still wondering if he’s got the acting bug in him; maybe he’ll have a comeback doing English dubs for hentai!
I was always a big Jake Teague fan! I always thought what a lucky guy he was to have sex with hot stars in their 20’s. I just wish Jake had stuck around a few more years (1985-1987). It would have been great to see Jake do scenes with the new video stars of that era Tamara Longley, Sheri St Clair, Gina Valentino, Kari Foxx, Crystal Breeze and Amber Lynn!
Another great piece by TRR – it has been common knowledge that ‘Bambi Woods’ is alive and living a quiet life for some time, however confirming this on TRR must surely be the scoop of the century.
Given the respect that TRR gives to the era, the work and it’s participants, it must only be a matter of time before Ms. ‘Woods’ tells her story, which must surely be one of the most important and compelling personal stories of the entire Adult film history of the 70s/80s.
Looking forward to more compelling work by this brilliant web team …..
Supposedly Bambi Woods was found and gave at least one interview back in 2007. I’ve since read that wasn’t her and/or the whole thing was fake. Can you speak to that at all? It would be great to know more about the mysterious Bambi, but I understand her reluctance. Supposedly she’s still (or was) recognizable, so one can imagine what that would be like day after day. Thanks for another great piece!!
PS: Please track down Nicole Noir/Black. 😉
Tony, I remember the supposed interview with Bambi Woods back in 2007. I read it carefully, and noticed that there were numerous instances of “Bambi” using British wording/slang in the interview, even though “Bambi” claimed to have been living in the USA all the years since the film was released. Busted!
I read it all – the whole thing was fake – the interviewer was duped, and it was exceptionally poor ‘journalism’ to say the least.
‘BW’ deserves her privacy and peace of mind, although I think we’re all intrigued to hear her thoughts about it all, after over 30 years of reflection ….
Great report. I read a request from Tony St. James regarding Nicole Noir/ Nicole Black. I too would be very interested in any information you have on her status. Does she have an Instagram page, etc.? I noticed that this article is from 2016. Thanks 😊.
Wow, great info and press clippings, and the then-and-now photos. I had no idea some (all?) of this classic was shot right in my backyard in Brooklyn! Question though – in the Los Angeles AP clipping, it says the producers took out 1 1/2 minutes of the film that showed Debbie in the Cowboys outfit (or what was supposed to be that). Is the version we all know the original uncut version, or are there some scenes of Debbie in the garb that no one has seen since 1978?
Some trivia – Robyn Byrd and Barry Manilow were something of an item in the very early 90’s, and his band gave him a copy of “Debbie Does Dallas” for his birthday during that time as a joke.
Can somebody tell me what the HMS on the cheerleaders uniforms stands for?
Another great piece by TRR – have you been able to track down & interview Jenny Cole and Sherri Tart?
Any news on Georgette Sanders?
Can anybody tell me the location of the sports store where Mr. Greenfield did Debbie?
I’ve never seen anything about Kasey Rodgers. Have you guys been able to reach her?