‘Centerfold Fever’ (1981): Behind the Scenes of an Adult Movie

‘Centerfold Fever’ (1981): Behind the Scenes of an Adult Movie

Regular readers of The Rialto Report will know that we occasionally like to pick a golden age film and deep dive into how it actually got made. This time, we’re taking a look into the 1981 film, Centerfold Fever.

Centerfold Fever had one of the best cast lists in XXX history – including Samantha Fox, Tiffany Clark, Kandi Barbour, Ron Jeremy, R. Bolla, Marc Stevens, Jill Monroe, Lisa Be, David Morris, Roy Stuart, Sue Nero, Alan Adrian, Veri Knotty, Marc Valentine, Annie Sprinkle, Jake Teague, Bobby Astyr, and Joey Silvera. It was shot in October 1980 – and directed by Swank editor Richard Milner, in his adult-only film.

Our review of the movie was greatly assisted by our recent acquisition of the archives of Richard Milner, as well as the photographs of Marco Nero, a frequent still photographer on adult film sets in the 1980s.

_______________________________________________________________________________________________

1. Centerfold Fever – Pre-Production

Richard Milner:

I’d been reviewing adult films for Stag magazine, and got to know everyone in the business and enjoyed their company, so it was relatively easy for me to set up interviews or picture shoots. After I’d been working on Stag as managing editor for a while, I was getting a little tired of it and wanted a fresh challenge, so in 1980, I approached my boss and pitched the idea of a new magazine, Porn Stars.

 

‘Porn Stars’ was published as an offshoot of Stag magazine, which in turn was part of the Swank stable. Here are two drafts of articles written by Richard Milner while working at Stag magazine:
(click on page to view full documents)

 

The first issue of ‘Porn Stars’ was an impressive debut – featuring “exclusive photos and interviews” of Nancy Suiter, Desiree Cousteau, Seka, Serena, Bambi Woods, Marlene Willoughby, Gloria Leonard, Vanessa Del Rio, Annie Sprinkle, Samantha Fox, Jennifer Welles and others. However successful the first issue of ‘Porn Stars’ was, it was six months before the second edition saw the light of day in November 1980.

By this time, Richard had been working on a new project, an explicit sex film, with a large cast featuring many of the biggest names from the adult film scene in New York.

Noticing the success of Distribpix and their star vehicles, which included Inside Jennifer Welles, Inside Gloria Leonard, and Inside Annie Sprinkle, Richard selected one of newest stars to break into the business, Kandi Barbour, and tentatively called his film, ‘Inside Kandi Barbour’:

Kandi Barbour

 

Richard’s ‘bare-bones budget’ was $50,000 – $70,000, and he set about building a business case for potential investors – as outlined in the following letter:

Richard Milner

 

The original draft storyline, as outlined in the document below, was a romantic comedy involving the mob and the adult film industry.
(click on cover to view full document)

 

The story underwent considerable development as actors were attached to the project – as can be seen in this subsequent draft.
(click on cover to view full document)

 

One of the first actors to sign on was Tiffany Clark, girlfriend of Fred Lincoln, veteran adult film performer and sometime manager of Plato’s Retreat and live shows at Show World:

Tiffany Clark

A publicity shoot was arranged with the movie’s star, Kandi Barbour:

Kandi Barbour

 

Kandi Barbour

 

Kandi Barbour

 

With the funding secured, a production company – Bradford Productions Inc. – was set up, and a distribution contract with Distribpix was signed.
(click on cover to view full document)

*

2. Centerfold Fever – Production

Production of ‘Inside Kandi Barbour’ took place over the last weekend of October 1980. The fact that the shoot took place over a weekend was no coincidence – film equipment costs could be high, and a weekend shoot enabled the production team to film for four days while only paying for two days of rental charges.

The crew was assembled, which included top cameraman, Larry Revene:

Centerfold Fever

 

The required equipment was listed in detail.
(click on cover to view full document)

 

The locations selected were all in Manhattan – and included a couple of venues arranged by Marc Stevens, who also starred in the production. The first day was shot in Marc’s apartment (and on his terrace) and the final day’s shoot was at Le Trapeze, a nightclub where Marc often organized parties.

Centerfold Fever

 

Richard Milner:

Marc was a good friend, and I did a lot with him. He was the ultimate gossip in real life, so we created a column for him in the magazine to share his stories about what was going on in the porno business.

In fact, part of ‘Centerfold Fever’ was a parody of his existence as ‘Mr 10 1/2’ and he features with his girlfriend, the transsexual Jill Monroe. He considered this film his comeback after a few years out of the industry. One of the scenes called for his penis to be measured by a journalist, played by Kandi Barbour, to verify that it was truly 10 1/2 inches long. When the scene shoot started, Marc asked to speak to me in private – and revealed that he wasn’t actually 10 1/2 inches. He wanted me to create a new, fake measuring stick that would show him to be the full length – and he asked me to make it myself so that no one would find out.

The next problem was unexpected: Marc started out the scene erect, but the more that Kandi gave him a blow job, the more his erection failed. Marc took me aside again, and this time confessed he was gay, and wasn’t able to get excited any more with a woman. I was a first-time director, and couldn’t believe what I was having to deal with. When I looked at the scene with my editor in the cutting room, I realized we had a problem as Marc’s performance issues were there for all to see. Luckily I had a brain wave: we reversed the sequence, and lo and behold Marc went from being soft to hard over the course of the scene. Disaster averted.

 

At this stage, the film’s working title was still ‘Inside Kandi’, as evidenced by the cover of the script.

Centerfold Fever

Centerfold Fever

Centerfold Fever

 

However once the production started, it became apparent to Richard that he had another problem. And that problem was his star, Kandi Barbour.

 

Richard Milner:

Kandi Barbour was a total airhead, but she photographed like a dream. I wanted to make her the subject of ‘Inside Kandi Barbour’, but she proved to be so flaky that I knew it was going to be difficult. The moment I advanced her any money, she’d go off and buy drugs and disappear. In the end, I had to hire Tiffany Clark to follow her around and make sure we knew where she was. Tiffany was responsible for picking Kandi up in the morning and bringing her to the set.

Halfway through the shoot, Kandi disappeared altogether so I had to change the title and the plot. In the first half of the movie, you see her being interviewed for a job, and then she disappears from the movie in the second half. It proved to be a lucky break because we got Samantha Fox and Tiffany Clark instead, and they were great. After that Kandi rapidly fell out of favor because no one could trust her. Nobody wanted to take a chance on her.

Sadly she died a homeless bag lady. Very sad.

 

The sudden absence of Kandi meant that changes had to be made to the script – which were hastily scribbled on the reverse of each page.

Centerfold Fever

 

The script included detailed descriptions of the sex required.

Centerfold Fever

 

Frantic production notes from the set:

Centerfold Fever

 

Continuity picture from Day 1 of the shoot (showing Marc Stevens, Tiffany Clark, Ron Jeremy, and Kandi Barbour):

Centerfold Fever
*

3. Centerfold Fever – Production Stills

Marco Nero was on set throughout the production of ‘Inside Kandi Barbour’. He lived and worked with director Chuck Vincent throughout the late 1970s – until Chuck passed away in 1991.

Marco took photographs of the events unfolding on the set of the movie – and these photographs have been unpublished and unseen for almost 40 years. This is a small selection of his pictures:

Ron JeremyRon Jeremy, on Marc Stevens’ terrace

 

Richard MilnerRichard Milner, with (from left to right) Bobbie Feilen, Lisa Be, Susaye London, Sue Nero, Kathy Harcourt

 

Sue Nero

 

Jake TeagueJake Teague, Bobby Astyr (face obscured), Annie Sprinkle, Joey Sprinkle

 

Kandi BarbourKandi Barbour expresses surprise at how long it takes Susaye London to get ready

 

Susaye LondonSusaye London unzippers her mouth, while Ron Jeremy looks on

 

Susaye LondonRon Jeremy and Samantha Fox tend to Susaye London

 

Lisa BeLisa Be

 

Ron JeremyRon Jeremy, Samantha Fox

 

Lisa BeLisa Be, Tiffany Clark

 

Ron JeremyLisa Be, Colette Connor, Ron Jeremy

 

Ron JeremyRon Jeremy, Lisa Be, Richard Milner, Tiffany Clark, Colette Connor

 

Samantha FoxSamantha Fox

 

Annie SprinkleRichard Milner, Annie Sprinkle

 

Samantha Fox

 

Ron FeilenTiffany Clark, Ron Feilen

 

Ron JeremyKandi Barbour, Ron Jeremy, Colette Connor, Tiffany Clark, Jahn Gold

 

Samantha FoxSamantha Fox

 

Marc StevensMarc Stevens, Tiffany Clark

 

Centerfold FeverSamantha Fox, David Morris

 

Richard MilnerTiffany Clark, Richard Milner, Ron Jeremy

 

Tiffany ClarkRichard Milner, Tiffany Clark – outside of the Gaiety

 

Annie SprinkleAnnie Sprinkle, Ron Jeremy, Samantha Fox

 

Robin SaneJahn Gold, Robin Sane, Marc Valentine

 

Samantha FoxSamantha Fox

 

Samantha FoxJake Teague, Ron Jeremy, Samantha Fox, Annie Sprinkle, Richard Milner

 

Samantha FoxSamantha Fox

 

Ron JeremyRon Jeremy

 

Marc Valentine

 

Canterfold Fever

 

Centerfold FeverMarc Valentine, Colette Connor, Richard Milner, Lisa Cintrice, Ron Feilen, Roy Stuart

 

Larry ReveneLarry Revene

 

Joey SilveraAnnie Sprinkle, Joey Silvera

 

Jake TeagueJake Teague, Annie Sprinkle (and Joey Silvera)

 

Samantha FoxSamantha Fox, Ron Jeremy

 

Kandi BarbourKandi Barbour, Richard Milner

 

David MorrisDavid Morris

 

Marc StevensMarc Stevens, Tiffany Clark, Kandi Barbour

 

Richard MilnerAnnie Sprinkle, Richard Milner

 

Annie SprinkleAnnie Sprinkle, Ron Jeremy, Samantha Fox

 

Annie Sprinkle

 

Samantha FoxRon Jeremy, Samantha Fox

 

Kandi BarbourMarc Stevens, Kandi Barbour

 

Kathy HarcourtKathy Harcourt (R.I.P.)

*

4. Centerfold Fever – Post-Production

As the plot of ‘Inside Kandi Barbour’ changed to accommodate the absence of the eponymous star, it was obvious that film’s name had to change as well. These notes show the options that were considered – before the final title of ‘Centerfold Fever’ was decided:

Centerfold Fever

Post production equipment was hired through Chuck Vincent, from Laumic Co. Inc. in New York:

Centerfold Fever

Centerfold Fever

 

One of the important tasks in post-production on any adult film are the over-dubs (including “1 min slurps for bj…”):

 

The draft credits were decided:

Centerfold Fever

Centerfold Fever

 

A trailer for the movie was cut:

Centerfold Fever

 

And ultimately it was decided that Tiffany Clark would replace Kandi Barbour as the face of the movie, so a photo shoot was arranged to produce a picture for the one-sheet:

Tiffany Clark

 

Tiffany Clark

 

Tiffany Clark

 

Tiffany Clark

 

The shot that was selected for the poster:

Tiffany Clark

 

After the shoot wrapped, director Richard Milner received feedback – both positive and negative – from a couple of the featured actors.

Jake Teague wrote to Richard to express that he’d felt used on set, because he was not compensated sufficiently for being used in more scenes than he had agreed to:

Richard Milner

 

Richard replied to Jake, justifying his actions:

Richard Milner

Alan Adrian (aka John Mozzer) had a more positive impression of working on the film:

Richard Milner

For the title song, Richard engaged the services of Michael Korie, a well known librettist and lyricist who went on to achieve acclaim for his work on the musicals Grey Gardens, Far From Heaven, Harvey Milk, and The Grapes of Wrath. His works have been produced on Broadway, and his lyrics have been nominated for Tony Awards.

Michael composed ‘Beautiful Forever’ and was credited as ‘Michael Twice.’

The song was sung by Linda November – the queen of commercial jingles in the 1960s – 1980s, including being the voice of the singing cat in the Meow Mix commercials.

Richard Milner

 

‘Centerfold Fever’ trailer – with ‘Beautiful Forever’ title song:

*

5. Centerfold Fever – Release

The first screening of ‘Centerfold Fever’ took place in early 1981 at the Preview Theater on Broadway, an event that was strictly by-invitation only:

Centerfold Fever

 

The scribbled note below shows the names of some of those invited to the initial screening, an event that was followed by a party at Magique, arranged by Marc Stevens:

Centerfold Fever

 

A draft pressbook was developed.
(click on cover to view full document)

 

A subsequent screening was held for adult film reviewers to ensure that the film’s release would have maximum press coverage:

Centerfold Fever

 

Quotes were selected from early reviews for use in promotional materials:

Centerfold Fever

 

The final version of the pressbook was produced.
(click on cover to view full document)

 

Finally ‘Centerfold Fever’ was slated for release in the Distribpix Fall-Winter 1981-82 schedule:

Centerfold Fever

 

‘Centerfold Fever’ premiered on November 11, 1981 – over a year after it had been shot:

Centerfold Fever

 

Never-before-seen photographs from the premiere of ‘Centerfold Fever’:

World Theater

 

Centerfold Fever

 

Centerfold Fever

 

Centerfold FeverSamantha Fox, Bobby Astyr, Lisa Cintrice

 

Centerfold FeverJill Monroe, Annie Sprinkle

 

Tiffany ClarkTiffany Clark

 

Centerfold FeverMarc Stevens, Annie Sprinkle

 

Samantha FoxAnnie Sprinkle, Samantha Fox, Marc Stevens, Jill Monroe

 

Tiffany ClarkR. Bolla, Tiffany Clark, Richard Milner

 

Fred LincolnMarc Stevens, Fred Lincoln

 

Robert KermanVeronica Vera, R. Bolla

 

Ugly GeorgeEven Ugly George was in attendance

 

‘Centerfold Fever’ was widely reviewed in the adult media:

Centerfold Fever

Centerfold Fever

Centerfold Fever

Centerfold Fever

 

Tiffany Clark made public appearances in support of the film’s release, handing out signed promotional photographs of herself:

Centerfold Fever

Centerfold Fever

Centerfold Fever

*

5. Centerfold Fever – The Aftermath

After all the effort he had invested in making the movie, Richard Milner wasn’t happy with the way that Distribpix released ‘Centerfold Fever’ – and he wrote a letter to company head honcho, Howard Farber, to complain.

Richard’s main issue was that his film was paired with the Joe Sarno film Silky – an effort he described as “the worst clunker of the year” (“I have never seen such squirming and utter boredom during a screening”). He was particularly peeved about the financial arrangements in place for the movie’s distribution:

Distribpix

Distribpix

Distribpix

 

Despite the disagreement, Richard continued to promote his film, which included a trip to Los Angeles for the 1981 Erotic Awards Convention:

Centerfold Fever

 

In 1982, Centerfold Fever was nominated for an AFAA award for best song for ‘Beautiful Forever’.
(click on cover to view full document)

 

Richard traveled back to Los Angeles for the ceremony – and returned home with the trophy:

Centerfold Fever

 

Centerfold Fever had a long and successful life, released with success on VHS and LaserDisc:

Distribpix

Kandi Barbor

Centerfold Fever

 

Distribpix

Distribpix

 

Centerfold Fever

  • Posted On: 17th November 2019
  • By: Ashley West
  • Under: Articles

33 Comments

  1. Brad Goff · November 17, 2019 Reply

    FANTASTIC insight into how a XXX film is made. How do you find this stuff….!!????

    Keep it coming baby!!!!!

  2. Henry Windsor · November 17, 2019 Reply

    When I stop and pause to think how much I have learned about golden age films through this magnificent site, I am blown away to think how much history would’ve been lost if you hadn’t done this work.

    Gloria Leonard, Jerry Butler, R Bolla, Johnny Keyes, Candy Samples, Candida Royalle…. so many who have passed…. but who got the chance to tell their story here first.

    Now for Centerfold Fever – and a story that would have got lost completely in the mists of time.

    THANK YOU!!~

  3. Some Guy · November 17, 2019 Reply

    Love Kandi Barbour – so sad…

    Tiffany is beautiful too.

    • Jose Verschaffel aka jose Duval · November 17, 2019 Reply

      Love all those great ladies, was lucky enough to work with some of them.Nice to see those nice bushes!

  4. james brummel · November 17, 2019 Reply

    8 lights and ONE c stand? And I don’t see a single sand bag in the package. Amateurs.

  5. J. Verscaffel aka jose Duval · November 17, 2019 Reply

    Its great to see all those friendly faces, it was a few years before I did my first movie but I was in the NY scene and meet most of those people, thanks to Marc Stevens to put me in the busness !

  6. Just Kent · November 17, 2019 Reply

    Loved Kandi since the first time I saw her smile. Such sadness at her fate. Still have all the Stag magazines with her columns.

  7. Justsayin' · November 17, 2019 Reply

    ‘Marc asked to speak to me in private – and revealed that he wasn’t actually 10 1/2 inches. ”

    Hilarious, every boy wants more, even those that already have it.

  8. Steve Jackson · November 17, 2019 Reply

    Thanks for an interesting article. Love the old newspaper ads and I never get tired
    of seeing scenes of Manhattan. Samantha Fox was one of my favorites so it’s nice to
    see lots of pics of her. .. So many years ago, eh?

  9. Cathy Gigante-Brown · November 17, 2019 Reply

    Wonderful comprehensive piece. Just so happens that “Suzaye London” owns the house next door.

  10. dc · November 17, 2019 Reply

    The scholarship (and work) here is stunning.

  11. Guest · November 18, 2019 Reply

    Tiffany Clark was gorgeous in this film, such a beauty and a great star for that era! Jake Teague was mad about the pay? I would have been much more upset at that silly toupee he had to wear in that film! It almost looks like he is wearing a stuffed animal on his head? Jake was a good actor and a solid performer, why not just let him go with his natural bald head?

  12. Mykole Mick Dementiuk · November 18, 2019 Reply

    I’d be there jerking off, what do you think the other porno theater connoisseur’s were doing?

  13. Christopher Bell · November 18, 2019 Reply

    Thanks so much for this revisit! I had forgotten about this movie. What interested me is this… As a teenager, I was a frequent guest over at that apartment where Marc Stevens lived. Annie Sprinkle was down the hall, and she always brought sandwiches and snacks for us. While there was definitely a seedy underbelly there, I always felt completely safe and amongst friends. Marc would host those parties at Magique over on 1st Avenue as well – I got to hang out with people I never thought I’d meet (Grace Jones, Tiny Tim, Carol Channing). Watching this movie again, and seeing that apartment again was like going back to 1982/83 – when it was still innocent and everybody was having a good time. I still talk to Annie on Facebook. Sadly, many have left us. Thanks again.

  14. Richard · November 19, 2019 Reply

    Rialto with another masterpiece! Keep up the great work guys.

  15. Al · November 20, 2019 Reply

    God, I love these behind the scene stories you painstakingly put together! In the early 80’s, a friend of mine started working the night shift at a Le Sex Shoppe Adult bookstore. He liked having a familiar face around and let me look through the magazines and use the booths for free, just for hanging around. Kandi Barbour was one of the reasons I went out and spent $900 on a VCR, since my friend would let me take home any of the vhs cassettes of adult videos in the early years of the VCR. Sad to hear about her tragic ending. I think I read on Lukeford, that the San Francisco coroner keep her on ice for almost a year, because they couldn’t find a next of kin, so they did a cremation and spread her ashes in the bay. Hopefully, that wasn’t the case. Once again, a most excellent article, Rialto Report!

  16. Mark · November 22, 2019 Reply

    Thanks once again. I remember really enjoying this movie, particularly Annie Sprinkles boob dance, when I saw it in a theater in Philadelphia.

    A few years later, I moved to New York, and started visiting Times Square for the live shows. Susaye London was my favorite live performer. When I rented the VCR tape for a trip down memory lane, I was thrilled to discover that she had a bit part in the movie.

    So I remember the movie fondly, and it’s great to learn about what was happening behind the scenes.

  17. F. Cold · November 26, 2019 Reply

    Nice touch having the VHS video box pictured! 🙂 As usual, there is a high quality of writing and putting the article together. Looks like Richard Milner put in a lot of sweat and work into this feature and its promotion. I hope he was able to recoup some money from CENTERFOLD FEVER over the course of time.

  18. Michael Rudolph · November 29, 2019 Reply

    Wonderful history lesson on set and behind-the-scenes of an early 80’s feature. As a teenager Kandi Barbour was my dream girl – had heard she had a tough time of it and passed a number of years ago in San Francisco. So it was especially interesting for the look into Kandi as well as the bigger picture of feature film. The Rialto Report continues to do fantastic work in bringing incredible content to light.

  19. Rob · November 30, 2019 Reply

    Another fantastic, meticulously researched article with some great pictures. Thank you. Samantha Fox was adorable and so talented.

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