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Since the filmmaker Radley Metzger passed away earlier this year, we’ve received a lot of email asking if we have a podcast interview with him.
In the last few years, we recorded several commentaries with Radley in which he spoke about his ‘Henry Paris‘ films in some detail – so instead of going over the same ground, we wanted to do something different.
We decided that, rather than listen to Radley in recent years, when his film career was behind him and he’d had chance to reflect on it, we wanted to go back and hear from him when he was in the middle of making movies, back when the culture and times were so different.
The year we’ve chosen to re-visit is 1971.
This podcast is 53 minutes long.
Radley Metzger on ‘The Merv Griffin Show’
By 1971, Radley Metzger had already directed and distributed a number of highly successful films, such as Camille 2000 (1969), Carmen Baby (1967), and Therese and Isabelle (1968). But despite this track record, he still wasn’t getting the recognition he deserved as a filmmaker.
His latest film, The Lickerish Quartet (1970), had come out, so he set out to raise his profile, appearing on a number of notable television and radio shows.
One that interested us from the time was a guest appearance on ‘The Merv Griffin Show’ which was one of the most popular late night talk shows of the time. Radley appeared on the show in January 1971 with the actress Eva Gabor. We wanted to include that interview here, but sadly after extensive investigation, the episode appeared to be lost. This is not unusual: It was common practice in the television industry that, after an initial broadcast, the network would erase the tapes so that they could be reused for new programming. It was done as a cost-saving measure as tape was pretty expensive.
We grew hopeful when we learned that several episodes of ‘The Merv Griffin Show’ were recently found in the private collection of Richard Nixon. But apparently, Nixon would only tape TV shows featuring anyone he regarded as an enemy. Which means that unless Tricky Dick thought that Radley Metzger or Eva Gabor were a danger to the country, he’s unlikely to have recorded this particular episode – so it appears to be lost forever. We were able to find still photographs from the episode, and they can be seen below.
While ‘The Merv Griffin Show’ was a dead end, we did find two fascinating and rare 1971 interviews that we’re sharing. The first is an appearance by Radley on ‘AM New York’ – a lighthearted local breakfast TV show on WABC-TV, which served as the genesis for what eventually became ‘Good Morning America’.
The second is a more serious, and antagonistic, interview for a program called ‘The Movies.’ The interviewer is Joseph Gelmis – a film critic for the Long Island newspaper, Newsday. Gelmis was a huge fan of Stanley Kubrik, and had written a book about him called ‘The Film Director as Superstar’ published the previous year.
However Gelmis was known not to have the same admiration for Radley’s work – in fact the rumors were that Gelmis felt that Radley’s films weren’t even serious enough to review, and that he was annoyed at having to give Radley any airtime at all. If this was true, well… it comes across in this sometimes combative interview.
In both interviews, Radley is at times attacked in different ways for the sexual content of his films, and it’s interesting to see how he defends himself. And this was still years before he became Henry Paris and started making hardcore films.
In the podcast, we’ve also interspersed some radio spots from films that Radley made or distributed. These weren’t part of the interviews but add more color from the time.
John Bartholomew Tucker, host of AM New York, interviewing Radley Metzger
Radley Metzger, Merv Griffin, Eva Gabor
David R. Reuben – a psychiatrist and self-professed sex expert, Radley Metzger, Merv Griffin
AT LAST….!!!! ;))
I know you people have done a superlative job with Radley articles over the last few months (and I mean SUPERLATIVE), there is no substitute for hearing the voice of the great man himself. I’m clearing the rest of my day and sitting down to listen.
Thank you very much for this.
Frankly I’ve been disappointed by the quality of tributes since Metzger died – lots of fawning and adoring fan kids gushing in blogs about his “elegant erotica”……………. and contributing nothing new.
Good to see Rialto brings new value just about every time.
A M A Z I N G ! ! !
If anything, the more overtly friendly host, John Bartholomew Tucker, was worse, due to his smarmy pearl-clutching act. “We could only show one minute and 15 seconds of the 90 minutes of LICKERISH QUARTET on television!” Now there’s some bullshit. THE LICKERISH QUARTET had a gothic, almost Twilight Zone feel (and ending) to it. Scene after scene goes by with no clothing being discarded.
As for the second interview, Joseph Gelmis comes across as one of the earliest Neo-Cons. His extensive, out of nowhere mentions of all-male stag films is … curious. And just about par for the course among Neo-Cons.
Vintage pioneers of erotic entertainment.
You learn something new every day.
The best part about erotic entertainment is no politics.
Every other form of entertainment has been ruined by this curse upon mankind.
My heart sank when I saw this: “another podcast of people talking about Metzger”.
Fortunately I shoulda known better, it’s good to hear this,.
Just hearing the names John Bartholomew Tucker, Bill Buetel and Roger Grimsby brought me back. WABC in the 70’s!
That said, thought Radley did a commendable job of defending himself. Am I wrong in thinking there was some grudging admiration for Metzger’s technical craft in Gelmis’ comments, if not for the overall quality of the movies themselves?
Another great piece of history preserved by the masters of the golden XXX biz. I never cease to be amazed at what you uncover and offer freely here…………..! Have you ever thought about donating everything to the Library of Congress or the Kinsey Institute eventually…? You are amassing a goldmine, and it deserves to be recognized.
I had the same reaction. Listening to this was like a time capsule.
I also agree that Gelmis softened towards the end of the conversation and even seemed a little sheepish at the conclusion.
Once again, excellent job. My one small complaint is that I wish Ashley would EQ his microphone a bit differently, it’s SO trebly and sibilant its almost painful.
A master class, honestly. This is one of the greatest conversations on criticism and discussion I have ever heard.
Was it J. Gelmis who reviewed the film version of "Naked Came The Stranger", the erotic novel scribed by other people on the Newsday staff?
Or was it even reviewed at all?!
Win bar bets by challenging other drinkers to name the two Doctors who appeared on Hollywood Squares. They may guess Joyce Brothers. They will falter on David Reuben.
There’s a lot of lines of dialogue at the start of Naked Came The Stranger that seem to parody Gelmis’s world view and perhaps even his adoration for Kubrick, no matter how boring the actual content. Anyway, wonderful podcast. Be good a some point to hear RM looking back on his career as well. In fact, anything else you guys want to do on him is bound to be great.