F.M. Bradley: Hiding in Plain Sight – Podcast 113

F.M. Bradley: Hiding in Plain Sight – Podcast 113
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Let’s admit something: as much as the so-called golden age of adult film was a glamorous era, where sex movies competed with Hollywood blockbusters in theaters across the country, it wasn’t the most racially diverse workplace for a male performer.

There was Johnnie Keyes, the African American star of Behind the Green Door in the early 1970s. There was Billy Dee, an accomplished mixed-race actor, who became a well-known face in the late 1970s.

And then… that’s about it. Which is striking for a new industry that employed hundreds of people and made millions of dollars.

In the 1980s, this trend continued. Which made someone like Field Marshal Bradley stand out.

The Field Marshal, who went by the name F.M., was a towering presence. He looked like a black superman. A striking figure of strength. He displayed a muscular, cut body that always seemed shiny. He was the number one star of color, when that should have meant a lot more.

Over the years, I’d heard stories about F.M. Bradley. He was the eternal bad boy, living out a wild life. He’d occasionally turned up at conventions saying he was about to make a comeback in the business. He didn’t seem to have a permanent address, and no one had his contact details. Many doubted he was still alive.

And then I heard he’d been spotted – in a convalescent home in Vegas. Struggling with ill-health. He wasn’t even well enough do an interview. But we kept talking over several years, and eventually recorded an interview. 

Now this particular convalescent home wasn’t well-equipped for interviews with stars of the X-rated film industry, and so our conversation took place with the TV in the background, and people coming and going. We’d get interrupted constantly – such as when it was time to for F.M. to give his dinner order.

I wanted to know what it had been like to be one of the few male performers of color in the 1980s. Where had he come from, and what was he doing now? And why was this one-time Superman now in a home?

This is April Hall – and this is The Rialto Report. It’s not every day I get to interview a Field Marshal.

The episode running time is 88 minutes.
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F.M Bradley

F.M. BradleyHigh school graduation

 

F.M. Bradley

 

F.M. Bradley

 

F.M. Bradley

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

  • Posted On: 28th November 2021
  • By: Ashley West
  • Under: Podcasts

60 Comments

  1. A.D. · November 28, 2021 Reply

    THANK YOU – this is an incredible “get”!

    Really excited to listen to this!

    • April Hall · December 5, 2021 Reply

      Thanks A.D. – hope you got to hear it!

      • Robert A. · December 29, 2021 Reply

        April,

        Thank you so much for this interview. Your work as the interviewer is first rate. I never knew F.M. was so articulate. You brought out the best in him.

  2. Jay · November 28, 2021 Reply

    Once again, the best film site of them all delivers………

    This is a quite wonderful interview, and yet another example of someone whose role in film history would have disappeared without a trace were it not for the Rialto folks.

    • Tyrone Thorpe · November 28, 2021 Reply

      Thank you for letting me know the man is the man. And is ALIVE. This man is a forerunner and made many inroads for Black men in XXX.

      And seeing folks who look like you doing it and showing what pleasure being owned is always a plus.

    • BDR · November 29, 2021 Reply

      Awesome to hear from FM! I saw him in the pillow man back in the 90’s and he’s been a favorite ever since. I remember Adam Carolla talking about him back in the day too on love line. Thanks for tracking him down

    • April Hall · December 5, 2021 Reply

      Thanks so much Jay!

  3. Tim N. · November 28, 2021 Reply

    There has been precious little good quality coverage of African American performers to date and this is a welcome addition.

    There was an academic book out a few years ago but it contained little evidence that the author had spoken to many of the participants/pioneers, and this is why it is so good to have the Rialto Report to provide this.

    The real story, the real voices.

  4. Jeff Robertson · November 28, 2021 Reply

    FM Bradley Was Totally Amazing Badass Hollywood Actor Keep Up Good Work Article And Podcast

  5. Lyle W Ahrens · November 28, 2021 Reply

    What a delightful interview with an articulate gentleman!

  6. Mark Savage · November 28, 2021 Reply

    FM comes across as a straight-up, sincere, self-aware nice guy, and it’s sad that he’s had some serious physical issues. Incredible life, so much resourcefulness, and a beautiful heart.

    Thank you once again, April, for a wonderful interview. The two of you have effervescent chemistry.

    Rialto never disappoints (Pulitzer-level journalism).

  7. Zack · November 28, 2021 Reply

    Fascinating story. I had no knowledge of his his roles in the industry, but like so many actors, his contribution is not well known. Is his real name Claude James? Thanks for a great interview and I hope he has a steady recovery.

  8. Brian K. · November 28, 2021 Reply

    This is an excellent interview. Ms. Hall took the time to learn Mr. F.M. Bradley as a multifaceted human being, not just a “black buck” or Mandingo. He has lived a full life and he has done a lot of things.

    Thanks for uploading. Kudos on the music (R&B during the late seventies/ early to mid eighties.

    ***** (5 out of 5 stars)

  9. Scott H. · November 28, 2021 Reply

    All the best to FM. I’m glad he has a good attitude and I wish him well
    In his recovery.

  10. Philip Cramer · November 29, 2021 Reply

    Once again, to use a baseball term, You hit it out of the park. What a wonderful interview. F.M. seems like a genuinely kind person and his family history is straight out of the jazz age. Thank you for being so persistent in what can only be described as “your calling” It’s just such a joy to get lost in the R R archives. Thanks again sincerely Philip

  11. Michael Perry · November 29, 2021 Reply

    Is there a place where I could forward some practical financial help to “a hero or the Adult Revolution”?

    Also — obliquely mentioned: the life of Jack Baker who actually also played “Sticks” a Black drummer in Happy Days
    and; an unfortunate husband who got help from an unwanted a “stunt cock” in Kentucky Fried Movie (perhaps a case of Art imitating REAL LIFE); AND, amazingly also in a children’s show called The Croft Supershow!

    Baker a dark brother who shot with The Dark Brothers had a career that was born at the end of the “shot on film era” and died with the advent of video movies.

    I’m a big fan of your ongoing documentary work. Please continue with your labor of love as long as you can.

    The humanisation of the whole human race begins with the recognition that the most “outlaw” among us have stories too.

    And that all “social outliers” are “in-liers”somewhere.

    • Jeff · November 29, 2021 Reply

      Jack Baker’s performances add a lot to the entertainment value of the Dark Brothers films. As good as he is in the office scenes in New Wave Hookers, he probably had his best role as Lois Ayre’s guide through hell in Devil In Miss Jones 3 and 4.

      • J. Walter Puppybreath · December 1, 2021 Reply

        ‘Jack Baker’s performances add a lot to the entertainment value of the Dark Brothers films.’

        I think his legacy is his measured work in ‘Wonderbug’.

    • April Hall · December 5, 2021 Reply

      Thank you Michael!

  12. Jeff · November 29, 2021 Reply

    Thank you again for all of your work. I have followed the website since 2014. Thanks is also due to F.M. Bradley for a fascinating interview to listen to, and I share Scott H.’s feelings in wishing him well in his recovery. The movie that introduced me to his work was Satisfaction Jackson.

    On the subject of black adult performers, Desiree West would be a good interview. A recent re-watch of Babyface (what a crazy movie!) reminded me of how unique her stature in the the 1970s adult film world was.

  13. mike · November 29, 2021 Reply

    April nailed it again! Great podcast

  14. Richard · November 29, 2021 Reply

    FM was a trailblazer! Glad to hear the rest of the story. Congratulations to Rialto, another winner!

  15. Keith J. Crocker · November 29, 2021 Reply

    LOL…April, I’ve said it before and I’ll say it again, you’d make a great therapist! Could be a third career for you!

  16. WillyO · November 29, 2021 Reply

    Great interview, you seemed to thoroughly enjoy talking to him!

  17. J. Walter Puppybreath · November 29, 2021 Reply

    You’re doing God’s work, RR!

  18. Christopher Brooks · November 29, 2021 Reply

    Really informative interview. Mrs. Hall conducted a really good interview by being engaged. She has a wonderful voice that conveys a trust factor. It makes the person being interviewed comfortably relaxed.

  19. Craig S. · November 29, 2021 Reply

    Wow! What a terrific interview. F.M. sounds like a man who is at peace with the World and would hop back into the saddle if fate allows him to do so. I appreciate what you do and would ask if you can track down Annette Haven and interview her.

  20. Bearcat Wright · December 1, 2021 Reply

    Another great podcast! I’m glad you chose someone from the 80’s and also that you chose someone black. Thanks again!

  21. Tony Flow and the Majestic Masters of Mayhem · December 2, 2021 Reply

    Holy cow, you found and interviewed F.M. Bradley!! Friggin Awesome!!!!

    Im a big fan of the 80’s performers. I was renting VHS tapes in the San Diego area starting in 1985.
    Without fail, it was always be the same guys working with all the babes. Tom Byron, Marc Wallice, Peter North, Steve Drake, Randy West and Mike Horner. At least one (most every time more) of these guys were in a movie I rented.
    I remember seeing F.M. for the first time in a movie called “The Touchables.” I saw him in several more films after that.
    He worked several times with some of my favorites such as Nina Hartley (loved her tan lines and tight buttocks), Elle Rio (seemed like a total nympho and had legs for miles) and Tiffany Storm (so cute and great natural breasts).

    This is my favorite interview on the site (Tom Byron is a close second). F.M. had me cracking up many times. He wasn’t even trying to be funny, he is just a natural and super charismatic.

    Great questions by April. I always like it when you ask the subject about what fellow performers they liked to hang out with. Very cool that you asked about Ray Victory and got some background on this cat who sadly died a few years ago from a heart attack.

    F.M. trying to recruit talent from the Red Onion nightclub (and getting slapped a few times for it) cracked me up and brought back a lot of memories. The Red Onion was a string of nightclubs in SoCal and a big time hooking up spot for men and women. I went several times and the women were gorgeous, dressed to kill, and more importantly, looking to get laid! Those were the days!

    Keep up the great work, April and Ashley. This site is amazing

  22. dave · December 5, 2021 Reply

    great job as always. btw nice production value – you’ve got a laugh track now! lol

  23. JACKSON AXE · December 6, 2021 Reply

    Thoroughly enjoyable listen.
    Bradley is a great speaker and I found zero issues with the audio.

    I’m glad Jack Baker was mentioned.
    I was floored when I once googled Jack’s IMDb page.
    The list of popular TV shows and films Jack is credited for was beyond my imagination.

    Here’s a couple of the lesser heard names of old I’m sure many of us would love an update on.
    Sherrie St.Claire, Nikki Knights, Gina Carrera, Aja, Angel…

  24. Rik_K · December 6, 2021 Reply

    As to why there were so few performers of colour back in the 70s-80s, I think there was an industry attitude of “well, we have one or two good ones already, so why do we need any more right now?” Today there are a lot more performers of colour, but as far as I can see none of them are *stars* of the calibre of F.M. Bradley or Angel Kelly. Not even close.

    Nowadays there seems to be a distinction between light-skinned and darker-skinned performers of colour, with much fewer of the latter. Again, that old industry attitude seems to still be around.

    F.M. Bradley and I seem to have one thing in common: an admiration for the intelligent and charming April Hall. No one else could’ve done such an in-depth and engaging interview with Mr Bradley.

    • Jake Webster · December 6, 2021 Reply

      Have to admit you’re right Rik.
      April is an unusual combination of warm and witty and knowledgeable.
      I despair at the commentaries of Vinegar Syndrome which try oh so hard to be academic and learned… and suck out any interest that I thought I had in the film in the first place!
      Each Rialto podcast is a thing of perfection – music, humanity, history, humor, and intelligence.
      Sheer class. Lucky to have them.

  25. Dark Brother · December 8, 2021 Reply

    Another great interview, April! F.M. Bradley is an 80s legend, to be sure!

    I’m pleased FMB is alive to share his experiences with us but also saddened by his current health issues. Let’s hope for a speedy recovery!

    Some of the first 80s porn movies I ever watched featured FMB. ‘Girls of the A Team’, ‘Yankee Seduction’, ‘Doctor Blacklove’ and ‘Moving In’ come vividly to mind.

    I remember an unintentionally funny moment of flubbed dialogue in a scene from ‘Double Black Fantasy’ with F.M. Bradley, Elle Rio, Frank James and Scott Irish:

    Director (off screen): “That’s it. Next line.”
    FMB: “Well, it is MY party, guys! Can I join the party?”
    Scott Irish: “I’ve got a bright idea.”
    Frank James: “What’s that, F.M.?”
    FMB: “Nothing now…” lol

    Hopefully, there will be more upcoming interviews from POC porn stars about their perspectives working in the adult industry during the 80s era. My potential interviewees list would include Sahara, Elle Rio, Kristara Barrington, Jeannie Pepper, Purple Passion, Nina DePonca, Mauvais Denoir, Ebony Ayes, Sade and Tiffany Storm, just to name a few (and sadly, there were not many more during this era.)

    April & Ashley, hook a Dark Brother up!!

  26. Maven · December 9, 2021 Reply

    Re black male adult film performers in the ‘80s, both Jack Baker and Ray Victory were quite prominent for several years and many films.

  27. Eric · December 11, 2021 Reply

    So much fun listening to the interview. F.M. is such a great “bad” guy. All the best for him and of course for the Rialto Report. I appreciate your work very much since years…

    Eric from Düsseldorf, Germany

  28. Orlando Murray · December 17, 2021 Reply

    Now if we could just find “King Paul”… Last I heard he was living in North Carolina..

    • Robert A. · December 29, 2021 Reply

      That is a question we would all like to have the answer to. I hope he is still alive. He was the best.

  29. Anthony "A-Log" LoGatto · January 8, 2022 Reply

    Glad to hear that F.M. Bradley is still alive. Sorry to hear that he’s poor health, but glad to know that he’s fighting to regain his mobility. I also like his voice; reminds me a bit of Dizzy Gillespie. Which is appropriate, known his family’s jazz history. I wonder if he’d be interested in doing voice work? I’d like to discuss with him about that.

  30. Tom · January 16, 2022 Reply

    What a gift this was. Impossible not to walk away in love with the interviewer, and the interviewee.

    Mr. Bradley comes across as so genuine, humble, honest…and nothing short of inspirational.

    Fantastic work April. As always, thank you and Ashley.

  31. Cherry Wilde · January 17, 2022 Reply

    This was an awesome resort and April is an incredible interviewer. I’m an older trans-F and back in the day, watching FM, King Paul and Ray Victory taught me I never want any other man than a Black man. And my life has pretty much turned out that way, in part, thanks to these wonderful Black men on film with beautiful cocks that like fucking White Women like me!
    Is there any way to contact or route a note or push some cash his way? It could become the biggest Gofund me ever, revealing that, hey, maybe we aren’t so racist. One can dream, right? Good work folks, I appreciate it
    Cherry Wilde

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