For the last three decades, the AVN awards have dominated the adult film industry.
But long before there were the Adult Film Association of America (AFAA) Erotic Awards hosted from 1977 until 1986. Georgina Spelvin affectionately referred to the AFAA annual event as ‘the company picnic’.
In theory, the AFAA award ceremonies were the chance for the often-beleaguered industry to come together publicly and receive a healthy dose of positive mainstream attention. Performers arrived in style – by limo, on a chariot, in a motorcycle cortege, on a tank, even on an elephant – and were greeted by fans and the media. The evening’s entertainment often included comedians, dance troupes, and a musical show. And over the years, the ceremonies attracted celebrities such as ‘The Godfather’ director Francis Ford Coppola, singer Stephen Bishop, gonzo journalist Hunter S. Thompson, comedian Jackie Gayle, and singer Jaye P. Morgan of The Gong Show.
But away from the glitz and glamor, the truth was less harmonious: East coast producers regularly protested to the west coast-dominated organizing committee that their films weren’t receiving enough credit. There were regular accusations of corruption when the AFAA committee favored films made by their own committee members. Organizers fought against displays of sexual permissiveness during the ceremony (perish the thought…). And crowds of religious protesters were a regular feature – the event was even delayed one year when a smoke bomb was detonated in the auditorium.
Criticism continued, especially when the film Virginia won best erotic scene in 1984, which led to the founding of the X-Rated Critics Organization and its Heart-On Awards. Ultimately the principal role of adult film awards was supplanted by AVN, whose awards launched in 1984.
We look back at the history of the AFAA award ceremonies – starting with the first four years.
Please note the quality of pictures is variable as they’ve been taken from a variety of sources.
1977 – First Annual Erotic Film Awards
presented by Marilyn Chambers
|The Opening of Misty Beethoven
Nominee: Count the Ways
presented by John Holmes
|Jennifer Welles (Little Orphan Sammy)
Nominee: Annette Haven
presented by Georgina Spelvin
|Jamie Gillis (The Opening of Misty Beethoven)
Nominees: Harry Reems (Sex Wish), Tyler Reynolds, Carl Lacy, Ken Turner, John Holmes
|Best Supporting Actress:
presented by Tyler Horn
|Georgina Spelvin (Tarz & Jane & Boy & Cheeta aka Ping Pong)|
|Best Supporting Actor:
presented by Annette Haven
|Carlos Tobalina (Tell Them Johnny Wadd Is Here)|
presented by Liz Renay
|Henry Paris (The Opening of Misty Beethoven)|
|Best Screenplay:||Henry Paris (The Opening of Misty Beethoven)
Nominee: Portrait of a Seduction
|Best Foreign Film:||Les Félines (France)|
|Best Musical Score:
presented by Sharon Thorpe
|Les Félines (Vladimir Cosma)|
presented by Sharon Thorpe
|‘Sammy — Fast and Slow’ (from Little Orphan Sammy) – Dave Wolff & Art Resnick|
|Best Set and Art Direction:||Les Félines (Andre Gillette)|
|Best Cinematography:||Alex de Renzy (Femmes de Sade)|
|Best Costume Design:||Carol Maniscalco (Femmes de Sade)|
|Best Editing:||Henry Paris (The Opening of Misty Beethoven)|
|Best Trailer:||Little Orphan Sammy (D. W. Productions)
Nominee: The Double Exposure of Holly (Ronan O’Casey)
|Best Advertising Campaign:||Les Félines (Nancy B. Grant)
Nominee: The Double Exposure of Holly (Ronan O’Casey)
|Deep Throat Award for box-office success:||Plymouth Films (producers of Deep Throat)|
|Best Adult Film 1955-60:
presented by Sherry Mann
|Tonight for Sure (Francis Ford Coppola)|
|Best Adult Film 1961-65:
presented by Frank Mazzone
|Not Tonight, Henry! (Ted Paramore)
Nominee: Sinderella and the Golden Bra
|Best Adult Film 1966-70:
presented by Linda O’Brien and Dick Aldrich
|Trader Hornee (David F. Friedman)
Nominee: Starlet (David F. Friedman)
|Best Adult Film 1971-75:
presented by Maria Tobalina
|Sometime Sweet Susan
Nominee: The Devil in Miss Jones
|Literary Man of the Year:||Prof. Arthur Knight (film critic, historian, University of Southern California film school)|
The Adult Film Association of America (AFAA) was the first American association of pornographic film producers. It was founded in 1969 in Kansas City, with Sam Chernoff of Astro-Jemco Film Co. as the initial president. Future presidents included film producer David F. Friedman, elected the third president in 1971, and re-elected four times before becoming Chairman of the Board. AFAA fought against censorship laws, and attempted to defend the industry against prosecution for obscenity.
The AFAA had the idea of an annual awards ceremony since the early 1970s, but it had been controversial. Many AFAA members advocated keeping a low profile and argued that money would be better spent fighting the increasing number of legal battles they faced. Dave Friedman however was insistent that the business needed to elevate itself: “If we are to move towards more a general acceptance, then we need to start at home: We must take ourselves more seriously and give ourselves the respect we deserve. The establishment of the AFAA awards is an important step towards this.”
The first awards ceremony was held July 14, 1977 at the Wilshire Ebell Theatre in Los Angeles. The evening was presided by master of ceremonies, John Regis (who described himself as the “porno Bob Hope”), while the evening’s light relief came from comedian Jackie Gayle, who’d been an opening act for performers like Frank Sinatra and Tony Bennett, and a regular on The Dean Martin Celebrity Roast. Gayle would become a regular at future AFAA award ceremonies.
Adam Film World commented that the venue “was generally associated with arty, noncommercial theatricals, dramatic readings by unheard-of poets, and little old ladies in tennis shoes. This strange locale for the first annual assemblage of fuck and suck stars and their producers and directors caused comedian Jackie Gayle to stare around him in disbelief and quip, “I don’t think this place was ever new!””
AFAA President Virginia Ann Perry justified the off-beat location saying it provided ‘neutral ground’. She explained that several owners of local porno palaces had offered use of their more modern facilities, but due to the fact that they exhibited films that were nominated, and since awards were a powerful shot in the arm to box office business, some skeptics might suspect favoritism.
“We need to be seen to be impartial,” she said, “and for this reason it has been decided to stage the event outside of industry territory.” (It’s interesting to note that Perry’s film ‘Count the Ways’ was runner-up in the Best Picture category, Chairman of the Board Dave Friedman’s film ‘Trader Hornee’ won Best Adult Film in the 1966-1970 category, and AFAA Secretary Maria Tobalina’s husband Carlos Tobalina (in picture, receiving his award from Annette Haven), won the Best Supporting Actor award. So much for impartiality.)
There was last minute controversy when the management of the Wilshire Ebell Theatre threatened to cancel the show up until 4:30pm on the day of the event. They had thought, when the reservation was made, that ‘adult movies’ were educational films. When they realized their mistake, they insisted that all hardcore sexplicit action was cut from the film clips of the nominees. As a result, the censored footage showed nothing more daring than a handshake.
There was conflict outside the theater as well, where religious protesters picketed the event, as they would several years thereafter. “These feverish protesters are such a familiar part of the ritual, they really should be listed in the program,” sex news magazine Cheri stated.
Bill Margold covered the event for the Hollywood Press, and commented on the protestors: “A splinter group of religious zealots appeared on the scene with placards: “Smut Out – Bible In”. One of the picket-packing pinheads sidled up to me and mumbled something about the “second coming of Jesus Christ.” I said, “if he can come twice, we could use him in one of our films.”
The 1977 awards were determined by a vote of the “association’s membership of more than 700 producers, distributors and theater operators.” Some of the key players failed to show – including award winners Radley Metzger (Annette Haven accepted the award in place of ‘Henry Paris’), Jamie Gillis, and Jennifer Welles. But many did turn up, as Bill Margold wrote:
“John Holmes arrived with Sharon Thorpe (shown presenting Best Music awards in photo) and Desiree. Annette Haven climbed out of her limo in a skintight white dress and was accused of being the Virgin Mary by one of the rabblettes. Mary, maybe, but virgin, hardly. Georgina Spelvin showed up looking much closer to the Virgin Mary image. Tyler Horn, John Seeman, Kathy Kaufman, Claire Dia, Liz Renay, and Carol Connors all made their way into the auditorium.”
During the three hour program, the lucky winners climbed onto the stage to accept the Erotica Awards, a golden statuette in the form of a shapely nude woman holding high a rampant spear in an obvious attitude of erotic excitement. While most award winners gave thanks to anyone they could think of, Georgina Spelvin accepted her award for the film ‘Ping Pong’ (the re-titling of the movie, ‘Tarz & Jane & Boy & Cheeta’) by saying, “I don’t know how to tell you what this award means to me, because I’m not sure what it means. To tell you the truth, I don’t even remember which film ‘Ping Pong’ was!”
The ceremony was dominated by ‘The Opening of Misty Beethoven’ – which took home five awards, including Best Picture, Best Director, Best Actor, and Best Screenplay.
Several of the adult film community performed songs on stage, including Jack Wrangler who delivered ‘Little Orphan Sammy’ (“he looks better than he sings” – Bill Margold), and Carol Connors (in photo) who sung ‘Thoughts of You’ from the nominated film ‘Count the Ways’ (“she was better in Deep Throat, when she was using her mouth for matters other than singing”, Bill Margold comments again.)
Board chairman Dave Friedman said the AFAA was “much too busy fighting legal battles” in previous years to hold awards ceremonies, so he wanted to give special awards to to the best films from adult film history to make up for not having presented them in the past. Retroactive awards of merit were given to five movies considered best from 1955 to 1975: Francis Ford Coppola’s ‘Tonight for Sure’, ‘Not Tonight, Henry!’, Friedman’s own ‘Trader Hornee’ and ‘Sometime Sweet Susan’. ‘Deep Throat’ was also honored as one of the top-grossing of all movies, including mainstream films.
John Holmes told the crowd, “In the not-too-far distant future, we will proudly say that we were pioneers.”
A recent photo of the Best Direction award presented to Henry Paris at the 1977 ceremony
1978 – Second Annual Erotic Film Awards
presented by Marilyn Chambers
|Desires Within Young Girls
|Best Actress:||Georgina Spelvin (Desires Within Young Girls)|
presented by Gerard Damiano
|Jamie Gillis (A Coming of Angels)|
|Best Supporting Actress:
presented by Georgina Spelvin
|Annette Haven (A Coming of Angels)|
|Best Supporting Actor:
presented by John Holmes
|John Leslie (A Coming of Angels)|
presented by Gloria Leonard
|Alex de Renzy (Babyface)|
presented by Bill Margold
|Desires Within Young Girls (Edward E. Paramore III & Ramsey Karson)|
|Best Foreign Film:||Bel Ami (Sweden)|
|Best Musical Score:||7 Into Snowy (Mayloo Music)|
presented by Annette Haven
|‘Once Upon a Dream’ (from 7 Into Snowy) – Antonio Shepherd|
|Best Set and Art Direction:
presented by Rick Lutz
|Desires Within Young Girls (Brent Barrydown)|
presented by John Seeman
|Babyface (Alex de Renzy)|
|Best Costume Design:
presented by Tyler Moore
|Babyface (Carol Maniscalco)|
presented by Kay Parker
|Babyface (Richard Chasen & Bill Westwick)|
presented by Jesse Ames
|Babyface (Alex de Renzy)|
|Best Advertising Campaign:
presented by Candida Royalle
|Eruption (Chet Collom)|
|Men of the Year:
presented by Maria Tobalina and Joesph Rhine
|Larry Flynt (publisher of Hustler, who was shot on March 6, 1978, in Georgia)
Gene Reeves (the attorney with Flynt when he was shot)
|Literary Man of the Year:
presented by David F. Friedman
|Best Media Man:
presented by Arthur Knight
|Bruce Williamson (Playboy magazine)|
The second year awards ceremony relocated to the venerable Hollywood Palladium, and took place on July 13, 1978. Jack Genero was project coordinator and chairman of the show, while Dave Friedman and Ann Perry wrote and co-directed the proceedings. Once again, two dozen sign-carrying Crusaders for Christ shouted slogans full of fire and brimstone at those who crossed the picket line, but 500 industry people made it into the auditorium unscathed.
According to Adam Film World, once the house lights dimmed and the band took up a disco overture, The Doug Rivera Dancers, appearing for the second year, “writhed sensually on stage in a fiery production number.” AFAA President Ann Perry, “stunning even in a room full of beautiful women, delivered a brief welcoming address and handed the affair over to John Regis.” Despite tepid reviews the previous year, John Regis was back as master of ceremonies (sample line: “Harry Reems is not here tonight. He did 14 retakes and they had to rush him to the hospital for penis surgery”), as was the comedian Jackie Gayle (sample review: “Gayle did 35 marginally funny minutes of pale-blue material from the old school of comedy. He badly under-estimated the sophistication of a porno audience, and his humor was that of a lecherous old man.”)
Handing out the Eroticas were porn superstars Marilyn Chambers, Georgina Spelvin, Terri Hall, John Holmes, Gerard Damiano, film critic-historian Arthur Knight, and Miss Nude America Shadowlyn Neva. Marilyn Chambers presented the best picture award to ‘Desires Within Young Girls’ (Cheri magazine reported that her appearance “set off so many flashbulbs, I thought someone had set off a strobe”), but the loudest and longest applause was reserved for Georgina Spelvin who received the Best Actress award for the same film. “There’s really no such person as Georgina Spelvin. She’s a composite of all her co-workers. Thanks a whole much,” said Spelvin.
Five awards went to San Francisco filmmaker Alex De Renzy for his feature ‘Babyface’. Gloria Leonard presented De Renzy’s award for Best Director, though one review described De Renzy as looking “distinctly uneasy, not to mention uncomfortable” as he collected his Eroticas for editing, photography, and directing.
Gerard Damiano presented Jamie Gillis with his Best Actor award, won for the second year in a row. Georgina Spelvin presented the Best Supporting Actress award to Annette Haven, who commented that ‘A Coming of Angels’ was made during a blizzard – and she was still shivering. John Holmes presented Best Supporting Actor to John Leslie.
Scott Mansfield and Delilah Shark sang the nominated songs from ‘7 Into Snowy’ and ‘A Coming of Angels’. Joseph Rhine, counsel for the AFAA (and husband of AFAA President, Ann Perry), spoke about the present and future legal challenges facing the adult film industry, and joined AFAA Vice President Maria Tobalina in presenting the joint Man of the Year award to Hustler publisher Larry Flynt and his attorney, Gene Reeves. Both men were shot outside a Georgia courthouse and Joseph Rhine declared “the attack on Larry Flynt is an attack on all of us.”
The audience were entertained by a selection of musical numbers from the nominated films: Steven Ziplow, described by Cheri magazine as ‘a cross between Buddy Holly and Kinky Friedman’ performed ‘Get Your Nose Out Of My Panty Hose’, a 1950s style song from his film ‘Breaker Beauties’, and Joe Soldo’s orchestra performed music from the Rene Bond film ‘Do You Wanna Be Loved?’. Carol Connors performed a spectacular, wildly erotic dance to the song ‘You Make My Heart Fly’ from the feature ‘A Coming of Angels’. Connors reportedly wanted to do the number nude but producers, apparently wary of a police raid, persuaded her to don a revealing bikini. Carol Connors said “Gerard Damiano got me my start in ‘Deep Throat’ when I was 18. My father is still looking for him.” Antonio Shepard was awarded the Best Song statuette for writing ‘Time Dream’.
Screw publisher Al Goldstein was named Literary Man of the Year, and accepting his award from David F. Friedman, he rattled off a list of words that he was told not to say on stage: “Dave Friedman told me not to mention pussy because this group is composed of faggots. And he told me not to be crude. ‘Don’t say cock-sucking, say fellatio’ he told me. ‘And don’t say lapping pussy, say cunnilingus.'” Goldstein went on to say, ” I’ve never been before a group with more indictments than I have. In passing, I want to thank my mother, who made it all possible. Thanks for spreading your legs mom.”
Arthur Knight, who presented the Media Man of the Year Award to Playboy’s Bruce Williamson, had won the Literary award the previous year. He was reported to be “not terribly pleased” by the recognition given to Goldstein.
Dave Friedman, Marilyn Chambers
1979 – Third Annual Erotic Film Awards
|Best Picture:||Legend of Lady Blue
Nominees: Sex World, Take Off, Bad Penny, Candy Stripers, China Cat, Debbie Does Dallas, Deep Roots, Dirty Lilly, Erotic Adventures of Candy, Fiona on Fire, Girls of Pussycat Ranch, Hot Skin, Little Girls Blue, Little Orphan Dusty, Pretty Peaches, Skin Flicks, Sweet Savage, The Health Spa, The Other Side of Julie
|Best Actress:||Desireé Cousteau (Pretty Peaches)
Nominees: Abigail Clayton, Carol Connors, Samantha Fox, Amber Hunt, Gloria Leonard, Sharon Mitchell, Tamara Morgan, Rhonda Jo Petty, Maurene Spring, Serena, Sharon Thorpe, Bambi Woods
presented by Gloria Leonard
|Aldo Ray (Sweet Savage)
Nominees: John Leslie, Richard Bolla, Wade Nichols, Jess Chana, Joey Silvera, Eric Edwards, Don Fernando, Robert Girard, John Holmes, Tony Hudson, William Margold
|Best Supporting Actress:||Georgina Spelvin (Take Off)
Nominees: Beth Anna, Lauria Cloud, Carol Connors, Colene Davis, Annette Haven, Arcadia Lake, Gloria Leonard, Molly Malone, Pat Manning, Kay Parker, Liz Renay, Sharon Thorpe, Eileen Wells
|Best Supporting Actors:||Roger Caine (Bad Penny), John Seeman (Sweet Savage)
Nominees: Ed Canon, Alan B. Colberg, John Holmes, Mike Ranger
|Best Director:||Armand Weston (Take Off)
Nominees: Beau Buchanan, Bob Chinn, Jim Clark, Gerard Damiano, Norm de Plume, Alex de Renzy, Clair Dia, A. Fabritzi, Ja Jaacovi, Gail Palmer, Ann Perry, Anthony Spinelli, Ken Schwartz, Mark Ubell, Johanna Williams
presented by Gail Palmer
|Legend of Lady Blue (A. Fabritzi)
Nominees: Easy, Jack ‘N’ Jill, Misbehavin’, Proball Cheerleaders
|Best Foreign Film:||Librianna, Bitch of the Black Sea (Russia)
Nominees: Sensational Janine, Sex Roulette
|Best Musical Score:||The Ecstasy Girls (Ronni Romanovitch)
Nominees: For Richer For Poorer, Frat House, Libriana, Bitch of the Black Sea, Ms. Magnificent, Telefantasy
|Best Song:||‘This Time We Might Make It’ (from The Ecstasy Girls) – Ronni Romanovitch
Nominees: ‘Leonard’s Theme’ (All About Gloria Leonard), ‘One Page of Love’ (Two Sisters), ‘Small Town Girls’ (Small Town Girls)
|Best Set and Art Direction:||SexWorld (Bill Wolf)
Nominees: Candy Stripers, Captain Lust, Erotic Adventures of Candy, Health Spa, Legend of Lady Blue, Girls of Pussycat Ranch, Skin Flicks, Sweet Savage, Take Off
|Best Cinematography:||Take Off (Joao Fernandes)
Nominees: Captain Lust, Erotic Adventures of Candy, Hot Skin, Legend of Lady Blue, Little Girls Blue, Pretty Peaches, Sweet Savage, The Health Spa
|Best Costume Design:||Take Off (Alexis Blassini)
Nominees: Candy Stripers, Captain Lust, Erotic Adventures of Candy, Health Spa, Little Girls Blue, Pretty Peaches, Star Babe, Sweet Savage
|Best Editing:||Legend of Lady Blue (Vilmos Vasquez)
Nominees: Bad Penny, China Cat, Deep Roots, Erotic Adventures of Candy, Here Comes the Bride, Hot Skin, Little Girls Blue, Pretty Peaches, Sensual Encounters, Sex World, The Health Spa
|Best Trailer:||Little Girls Blue (Johanna Williams)
Nominees: Candy Stripers, China Cat, Chorus Call, Debbie Does Dallas, Dirty Lilly, Deep Roots, Erotic Adventures of Candy, Health Spa, Legend of Lady Blue, Little Blue Box, Little Orphan Dusty, Sensual Encounter, Skin Flicks
|Best Advertising Campaign:||Pretty Peaches (Les Natali)
Nominees: Debbie Does Dallas, Deep Roots, Erotic Adventures of Candy, Girls of Pussycat Ranch, Here Comes the Bride, Legend of Lady Blue, Little Blue Box, Little Orphan Dusty, Sensual Encounter, Sweet Dreams of Mona Q, The Health Spa, The Other Side of Julie
|Literary Man of the Year:||Dr. Wardell B. Pomeroy (Institute for Sex Research)|
The third annual awards returned to the Hollywood Palladium, where they drew a crowd of some 600 porn-people plus several hundred hard-core fans. The attendees were served a roast beef dinner and were entertained by comedian Jack Carter. Once again, Bible-pounding picketers, tagged ‘The God Squad’ by AFAA chairman David Friedman, protested outside the venue carrying signs such as ‘Porno is Sin’ and ‘Down with Smut’. (Gloria Leonard made reference to the demonstrators’ charge that the evening’s festivities were ‘indecent’. ” I don’t know about indecent” she said “but if it’s in deep enough and long enough, then it’s in decent.”)
The 1979 officers of of the Adult Film Association were listed in the press release for the annual awards, and described as follows:
– Ann Rhine, president for the third consecutive term, head of Evolution Enterprises, an actress in early ‘nudie-cutie’ films like ‘The Ruined Brain,’ producer of the film ‘Count the Ways’
– David Friedman, chairman of the board, president of Entertainment Ventures, Inc. ‘the oldest firm in the exploitation business’, producer of ‘Trader Hornee’
– Maria Tobalina, West Coast vice president, owner with her husband of the Mayan theater, downtown Los Angeles, and the X theater on Hollywood Blvd, also producer and distributor
– Les Baker, West Coast vice president, president of Gail Co., Las Vegas, a firm that distributes erotic films
– Joe Steinman, West Coast vice president, president of Essex Distributing Co., Los Angeles, one of the largest business in the country dealing in sexual films
– Ron Sullivan, East Coast vice president, owner of Scope Pictures, New York, producer of ‘Double Exposure’
– Dick Cosby, Midwest president, owner of a chain of theaters in Indiana that plays both sexually explicit and regular commercial films
– Joe Spiegal, Southern vice president, owns X-rated theaters in Houston, TX
– Ted Paramore, secretary, head of the Filmmakers Group, Los Angeles, which made early bare breast movies like ‘Not Tonight, Henry’, and now produce sexually explicit ones like ‘Desires Within Young Girls’
– Dick Witte, treasurer, a buyer and booker for Pussycat Theaters, Los Angeles
The awards were once again voted by AFAA’s membership of producers, distributors, and exhibitors of adult movies – but this did not stop controversy around the Best Picture award which went to ‘The Legend of Lady Blue.’ New York producers threw up their arms suggesting that ‘Take Off’ (and other films) were more deserving.
Perhaps the “most glaring lack of any validity” was shown by giving the best actor award to Aldo Ray, a familiar face in Hollywood, and veteran of such mainstream epics as ‘Battle Cry’ and ‘The Green Berets’. It was Ray’s debut in an X-rated film, and he announced that it was also his last. He won the award over porn veterans John Leslie, Richard Bolla and Wade Nichols, and was not present to accept his award. In the words of Cheri magazine: “The Erotica Awards are supposed to be presented to sex-film performers who both ‘act’ well and ‘perform’ well. In ‘Sweet Savage’, not only did Aldo Ray not ‘act’ particularly well — his part was simply gratuitous…he never even performed at all. The fact is he never even took his clothes off.”
Perhaps Also Ray’s award had something to do with the fact that Anne Perry Rhine, president of the AFAA (and who attended the award ceremony with her husband, teenage son, and twenty year old daughter) had produced ‘Sweet Savage’ in the Superstition Mountains of Arizona through her company Evolution Enterprises. Or maybe it’s just that, as Adam Film World noted, Ray’s award “was not surprising considering that one of the announced functions of the AFAA and its annual awards is to upgrade the image of the adult film industry in the public eye.”
Carol Connors won no Erotica awards, although she copped two nominations, but stole the show with a hot impromptu striptease that had flashbulbs and eyeballs popping. AFAA officials had promised the Palladium that their awards ceremony would be sedate and respectable so they were none-too-thrilled about Carol Connors flashing bare beaver from the stage. But outrageousness and offensiveness come with the territory and Carol was determined that the newfound respectability of the porn impresarios wouldn’t spoil her chance to have some fun. The AFAA later issued a bulletin describing her performance as “unnecessary, unrehearsed and unauthorized”.
In other highlights, Gail Palmer, who presented the award for Best Screenplay to A. Fabritzi for the Legend of Lady Blue, told the audience about her recent appearance on the Tom Snyder television chat show. “I told him we were improving the quality of our screenplays. And he said, ‘you really have those things?'” Accepting her Erotica for Best Supporting Actress, Georgina Spelvin said “there may be others who are better at what they do but nobody enjoys their work as much as I do.” Nominated songs were performed by Jack Wrangler, Johnny Keyes, Laurien Dominique and others.
The keynote speech was delivered by Ann Perry-Rhine’s husband Joseph Rhine, attorney for the Adult Motion Picture Association, who chided mainstream studios for considering sex ‘a threat’. “So much money is involved that everyone wants to get on the gravy train. Even the Dallas Cowboys have to get into the scene. They get worried that here are the Dallas Cowboy cheerleaders in a sex film called ‘Debbie Does Dallas’ and this football team wants to make money out of your field.” Rhine cited a whole list of litigants who were suing sex-film producers hoping to grab a few crumbs from the pussy pie, such as Warner Brother’s lawsuit against ‘Superwoman’, which he described as an attempt by the majors to knock the porn industry out of the box office.”Even Cheryl Ladd is suing for millions of dollars” he continued, citing a recent suit by the television show ‘Angel’ against the film that was advertised as starring a “Cheryl Ladd look-alike”. Joseph Rhine warned that the major studios were the greatest foes of adult films.
Al Goldstein, a mere shadow of his former self thanks to a life-saving radical diet, amused everyone when he dropped his pants and revealed a stars-and-stripes crotch.
Ceremony Host Jack Carter
Gloria Leonard, Vanessa del Rio
1980 – Fourth Annual Erotic Film Awards
|Best Picture:||Babylon Pink
Nominees: Easy, The Ecstasy Girls, Fantasy, Jack ‘N’ Jill, Pro Ball Cheerleaders
|Best Actress:||Samantha Fox (Jack ‘N’ Jill)
Nominees: Lesllie Bovee, Gloria Leonard, Candida Royalle, Serena, Georgina Spelvin
|Best Actor:||Jamie Gillis (The Ecstasy Girls)
Nominees: John C. Holmes, John Leslie, Turk Lyon, Jack Wrangler
|Best Supporting Actress:||Georgina Spelvin (The Ecstasy Girls)
Nominees: Lisa De Leeuw, Gloria Leonard, Georgina Spelvin (Easy, Fantasy)
|Best Supporting Actor:||Bobby Astyr (People)
Nominees: Jamie Gillis, Frank Hollowell, John Seeman, Paul Thomas
|Best Director:||Henri Pachard (Babylon Pink)
Nominees: Anthony Spinelli, Robert McCallum, Gerard Damiano, Jack Genero
|Best Screenplay:||The Ecstasy Girls (Bill Aaron & Ted Paramore)
Nominees: Bad Penny, Dirty Lilly, Erotic Adventures of Candy, Girls of Pussycat Ranch, Hot Skin, Little Girls Blue, Little Orphan Dusty, Sweet Savage, Sex World, Take Off, The Health Spa
|Best Foreign Film:||Joy of Fooling Around (France)|
|Best Musical Score:||SexWorld (Berry Lipman)
Nominees: Candy Stripers, Deep Roots, Erotic Adventures of Candy, Legend of Lady Blue, Little Orphan Dusty, Sex Flicks, Sweet Savage, Take Off, The Health Spa
|Best Song:||‘Take Off’ (from Take Off) – Elephant’s Memory
Nominees: ‘Six Tits In A Row’ from Chorus Call; ‘It Hurts’ from Candy Stripers; ‘Lonely Without You’ from Deep Roots; ‘Long After I’m Gone’ from Disco Lady; ‘Candy’ from Erotic Adventures of Candy; ‘The Ranch Hand’ from Girls of Pussycat Ranch; ‘Skin’ from Hot Skin; ‘Little Blue Box’ from Little Blue Box; ‘SexWorld’ from SexWorld
|Best Set and Art Direction:||The Ecstasy Girls (Valdesta)
Nominees: All About Gloria Leonard (Howard A. Howard), Fantasy (P. Reisenwitz/G. Damiano), For Richer For Poorer (Gerard Damiano)’ Small Town Girls (Ektor Carranza)
|Best Cinematography:||The Ecstasy Girls (Mike Stryker)
Nominees: Fantasy, Jack ‘N’ Jill, People, Proball Cheerleaders
|Best Costume Design:||Chopstix, the Motion Picture (Foreign Delights)
Nominees: Ecstasy Girls, Libriana, Bitch of the Black Sea, Ms. Magnificent, Proball Cheerleaders
|Best Editing:||Jack ‘N’ Jill (Martha Ubell)
Nominees: Chopstix, Ecstasy Girls, Fantasy, Misbehavin’, Proball Cheerleaders
|Best Trailer:||Easy (Terry Chiappe, Cal Vista)
Nominees: Ecstasy Girls, Fantasy, Frat House, Jack ‘N’ Jill, Proball Cheerleaders
|Best Advertising Campaign:||Babylon Pink (Win-Van)
Nominees: All About Gloria Leonard, Easy, Ecstasy Girls, Jack ‘N’ Jill, Proball Cheerleaders
|Media Man of the Year:||Jim Harwood (Daily Variety)|
The fourth annual Erotic Film Awards took place in July 1980, once again at the Hollywood Palladium, and Jackie Gayle returned as the comedian. (Sample line: “I have a big sex drive – my girlfriend lives in Sacramento.”) The Hot Flash Dancers provided additional entertainment.
Jack Genero, the Awards chairman, was delighted with how the awards had grown in just a few years: “One of the myths of our industry is that we work underground, that we are ashamed to show our faces,” he told the audience. “Now, again, this year, we disprove that.” He added that porn movies catered to 3,000,000 customers a week in the U.S.A., and that 800 theaters were now taking in over $500,000,000 a year in box office receipts.
Hordes of autograph seekers were reported to be in attendance, craning for glimpses of their favorite X-rated stars, and they were joined outside the venue by the usual phalanx of pickets. Screw publisher Al Goldstein arrived in a tank to get past the protestors, whom Video X magazine described as “a group of scurvy Jesus freaks waving neatly painted banners – more for the benefits of the cameras than to try and ‘save’ those attending.”
The perception in advance of the awards night was that New York was at last receiving recognition and breaking what was becoming a west coast hold on the awards. This was partially borne out by Ron Sullivan’s ‘Babylon Pink’ winning Best Picture and Best Director. But ‘The Ecstasy Girls’ also did well leaving with four awards.
Controversy was never far away however, and some of it was caused by the decision to advertise a limited number of tickets to the general public in the Los Angeles Herald Examiner. The ad claimed that certain porn celebrities would be present – but their names were used without their consent. Some took exception to this, and threatened a boycott – though they were placated at the eleventh hour.
There was more serious dispute around the voting process, as Video X magazine explained: “The controversy is not rooted in the show, but in the AFAA nominating process, which has proven unwieldy and unfair. Though members of the AFAA indeed nominate their ‘favorite’ films and performers, each nomination must be accompanied by a check for $25. Hence the problem is that the nominations for any given film are generally made by that film’s producer, which doesn’t do much for the credibility of the awards. It has been widely rumored, for instance, that the producer of ‘Easy’ (Sidney Niekerk) does not see eye to eye with its star Jesie St. James, and was therefore unwilling to nominate her for best actress. On the other hand, the producer of ‘Pro Ball Cheerleaders’ (AFAA Awards Ceremony Chairman, Jack Genero) was more than willing to spend a little money to get his film nominated, and it was – in 14 different categories. The fact that ‘Pro Ball Cheerleaders’ won hardly anything at all suggests that it might not have been deserving of all those nominations.”
Jamie Gillis won his third Best Actor award in four years (“I’m very happy to be in this fucking business”), and Samantha Fox was reported to have burst into tears when her award for Best Actress was announced. Bobby Astyr got the Best Supporting Actor award, saying that he hoped it would be a springboard to an Academy Award.
Once again, attendees were asked to be respectful and not-overtly sexual – something that Annie Sprinkle seemed to overlook:
‘How I got Kicked Out of Porn’s Biggest Bash Just For Showing My Tits’, by Annie Sprinkle in Partner magazine:
A not-so-hot steak dinner was served to those who paid their $60. Then the show began. It was entertaining yet uneventful. There was a full orchestra, professional jazz dancers, the great saloon comedian, Jackie Gayle, and some vocalizing from members of the porn community. Pairs of porn stars took turns reading the nominees for each category, and handing the awards to the winners. Marc Stevens had the best line when he came on stage to present the award for best trailer, and said, “I can’t believe there are so many of my friends in here that still have their clothes on.” Film clippings were shown which were carefully edited not to show any sex.
I presented the award for Best Foreign Film and got a bit carried away for the photographers. I did what I always do, and what I’m expected to do when I go to a party or event. I pulled out my boobs for some photos. The lovely and exotic Mistress Antoinette came over and did some poses with us. She happened to have her slave, Scott, with her and we got him involved in the photos with us. After about three minutes of fun posing, the Awards Chairman came over to us yelling, “Stop! Stop! What are you doing? Stop! Are you crazy?” He called over the security guards.
I didn’t want to ruin his show but at the same time I was shocked to find out how uptight the fuck filmmakers really were.
I was being myself, a sexual exhibitionist that makes movies only because I like fucking on camera. I don’t want to be a ‘straight actress.’
But the attitude at the Erotic Film Awards seemed to be that “we want to be legitimate, we want respect, we want to be Erotic Film Makers, not pornographers.” By saying this, they are only reinforcing the idea that people have of the illegitimacy and unrespectableness of sex films.
Does this make sense to you?
The evening’s festivities continued afterwards at the Brown Derby, and an exclusive few slipped away to the Playboy Mansion for a midnight buffet hosted by Hugh Hefner.