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The pioneering adult film, Deep Throat, was shot 50 years ago today.
The scene was south Florida, and it was Super Bowl Sunday, January 16th, 1972. The local Miami Dolphins were playing, and so the streets of the city were deserted, meaning it was a perfect time to make a film when you didn’t exactly want to draw attention to what you were doing.
The filmmakers were a group of New Yorkers who’d made the 1,300-mile trip south to film an explicit sex film. Nothing special was expected. After all, this was a time when no one was sure quite just how legal this was.
It was a reasonably ambitious production for the standards of an X-rated shoot. This film had a plot, a script, its own musical soundtrack, and was being made by a crew who had some experience. The film’s budget was rumored to have come from the mob, but given that it was enough for them to travel down to Florida for the week in the middle of a cold New York winter, who needed to ask questions?
What happened next is history: ‘Deep Throat’ was the porn film that went mainstream. It became a genuine sensation, one of the most profitable films – of any kind – ever made, costing a few thousand dollars and bringing in a whopping three hundred million, five hundred million, six hundred million dollars. You take your pick. No one knows for sure.
But ‘Deep Throat’ was more than just a runaway financial success. It had a genuine cultural impact, responsible for ushering in the era known as “porno chic,” middle-class respectable types getting hardcore about hardcore. For a short while, you couldn’t escape it. The New York Times featured long articles about it, Johnny Carson and Bob Hope made jokes about it, and the crowds of people who lined up to buy tickets included Truman Capote and Jackie Kennedy Onassis. When the Watergate story broke, the biggest political scandal of the 20th century, it seemed normal that one of the protagonists was given a nickname taken from the film’s title.
Not bad for a film about a sexually frustrated woman, whose psychiatrist discovers that her clitoris is located in her throat, and so offers to help hone her oral sex skills.
So who was responsible for this hugely successful and influential film? The answer surprised many back in 1972.
It all came down to one man, Gerard Damiano, the film’s director. But he wasn’t the type of person you might expect to be making a porn film.
Gerard Damiano (right) with David Davidson
He was no counter-cultural rebel like many who were throwing themselves into sex films at the time. Gerard was raised as a Catholic, and was a family man with a wife and two children.
He wasn’t a mobster like other Italians in the business either. Gerard ran a beauty salon in Queens.
And he wasn’t a sleazy, sex-obsessed smut hound. Gerard was an aspiring filmmaker, albeit with little formal training and no contacts in the mainstream film industry.
In short, Gerard Damiano was an unlikely pioneer.
Given that, how did ‘Deep Throat’ ever get made? Despite its popularity, many questions still remain fifty years later.
In this unpublished interview conducted shortly before Gerard passed away in 2008, he speaks about his life before ‘Deep Throat’ – as well as his experience making ‘Deep Throat’. He talks about the truth behind where the money for the film came from, as well as the claim from Linda Lovelace that she was forced to perform in it.
This is how Gerard Damiano remembered the whole experience decades after it took place.
This podcast is 50 minutes long.
Awesome Article And Podcast Keep Up Good Work Wishes To Happy Birthday Danni Ashe
Unbelievable!!!!!!!!!!! I have to give to you guys! After nine years of new, fresh, unpublished interviews – you come up with the best-ever interview with GERARD DAMIANO????
Will this unbelievable flow of original, ground-breaking, history-defining research ever end??
Thank you, just thank you.
We so appreciate that Flak – really!
Listening now and already know this is going to be THE last word on the subject.
Gerard is a witty and engaging interviewee, I never realized this. What a shame he’s not around today to talk, he would be a hit on the podcast circuit. I’d love to have read an auto-biography when he was still alive.
This is wonderful however.
Thank you so much Karl!
It’s fitting that the Dolphins were playing the Washington X-skins in that Superbowl in 1972.
Please don’t leave us hanging too long for the remaining gruesome foursome articles.
Keep up the great documentation work.
Echoing the comments above. I see many sites just recycling old pictures, or quotes, or second hand memories.
Thank goodness for ORIGINAL material here.
Thank you Sam!
“The Greatest Porn Story Ever Told!”
Finally, we get to hear from Damiano’s side. You’ve already heard from Linda Boreman who made herself out to be a victim and got a book deal because of it even though she lied about having a gun pointing on her head during the making of “Deep Throat”. She reveled in the infamy and the controversy in a controversial industry. As most of us know, it was true that she was abused by Chuck Trainor, her abusive husband at the time, but he was not somebody who worked on the set that qualified as an abuser in the industry. It was good to hear from his son Damiano jr. Who worked with his father the same way Brian Henson work with his famous Father Jim. Sunday tradition from me as I’ve said before, listening to The Rialto Report over coffee.
Keep them coming!
Thank you, Ashley. This was great.
The droll, “Just the facts, ma’am”, FBI report written after agents saw the film in an adult theater in Connecticut will stand as a watershed of perfunctory & ineffectual gubamint attempts to legislate morality.
It’s interesting that Lou Campa was the road that lead to Rome…Joe Marzano, Carter Stevens and Gerard Damiano all started out working with him…he’s an unsung hero in many ways…
Tremendously informative interview. I heard there was going to be a documentary about Gerry, but that seems to have bitten the dust… Thank goodness The Rialto delivers because so many others start and fail.
Looking forward to the all the rich and varied content for the Deep Throat @ 50 that you’ve got planned! Can’t wait!
And still you provide more NEW and UNPUBLISHED information relating this much neglected industry!
I had high hopes for an ‘Official Facebook Page’ for Damiano that started years ago, but other than the occasional quote and picture, it is a disappointment and provides little of value.
Bring on the rest of the year of DEEP THROAT!
I love what ‘Throat’ inspired.
A standard Hong Kong actioner was released stateside as ‘Deep Thrust’, and a Euro-western was titled ‘Deep West’!
What a fabulous insight to the pioneers !
Well done Rialto.
…and the apple pie sweet at the end of the discourse, was just Wow!
“Reflections of my life” By Marmalade
Just top class.
Jaw dropping to come across this new interview. Simply superlative.
(Especially remarkable when you see the half-assed attempts by GD’s family to shed any new light or value to DEEP THROAT. Oh lord.)