A Film that Changed AmericabyBakeboss©
Gather around all you young people and let me tell you about a film that changed America. Almost by itself, this one movie took our middle class who were hopelessly mired in the bible belt of the fifties into the swinging seventies and eighties. You see while the youths and the hip people escaped into the sixties, the middle class would not allow itself to make that big of a leap into freedom. Long hair, weird clothes, and drugs among other things would not yet fit into their stalwart lifestyle. As much as they longed for the sexual freedom of the era, they could not accept the other liberties that seem to go with it.
In 1972 that was all about to change. That was the year that Jerry Gerard whose real name was Gerard Damiano, released his pornographic comedy or 'pornedy' if you will, called 'Deep Throat'. There was nothing special about this film, just low budget porn. Unlike most porn of the day it did have what you could call a plot but its unique aspect was that it also had a few laughs in it. The plot was simplistic consisting mainly of the star, Linda Lovelace, unable to achieve orgasm except by giving oral to men with large members. The lovely Ms. Lovelace had the physical anomaly of having her clitoris deep down her throat instead of her vulva. Once she learns this, she searches for the man of her dreams, that is a man with at least ten inches, or in other words just your typical 'girl meets boy' plot. The total cost of the movie was under fifty thousand and though that sounds unbelievable today it was not that unusual back in the seventies. It opened slowly in the typical porn palaces of its era. Yet within a year, it exploded on the scene to become one of the highest grossing films of all times and some have estimated it profits as much as 600 million dollars. Most think that number a little high but even conservative numbers are around 100 million.
How did this film become the little prono that could is a question of the ages. Deep Throat showed the power of 'word of mouth' to be the best advertising tool in the world. Let me give you a personal example here, I would sneak off to watch pronos by myself praying that I could avoid the embarrassment of someone catching me. These films were considered vulgar, which they were, and if you went to see them you were some kind of a deviant. Just by chance, one night I ended up watching Deep Throat and found myself not only titillated by the great sex scenes but laughing aloud as well. If fact it was just funny enough, that I got the idea that I could get my wife to watch it. Lucky for me by then it had started to be shown in a few of the art houses as I don't think I could have got her into the place where I went to see it (you know the kind, full of men with overcoats on).
She was against it right from the start and I had to beg, plead, and drag her to go see it. You can imagine the shock on her face when the opening scene shows the star, Linda giving a man a blow-job. Somehow, I got her to stay and watch the rest and she ended up laughing harder than I had. When we got home she called her friend and talked her into seeing it with her husband and well you can guess where this is going, soon almost everyone we knew had seen it.
As situations similar to ours happened all over the country, Deep Throat skyrocketed into a media event. First, it was a joke or two on Carson (you do know whom Johnny Carson is, don't you) and of course, only the people who had seen the film understood the jokes. Next, it was on the news, questioning the morality of America and all this did was make the name more familiar and added to the people wanting to see it. I know you've seen this with TV shows, movies, even commercials, people around the water cooler (as they said back then) would talk about Deep Throat and the ones who hadn't seen it felt left out.
The important aspect as to the movie changing sexual mores in the United States was that it opened up discussions about certain sexual acts that at the time were considered perversions and actually illegal in many states. Many people in this country were disgusted by their own private fantasies. However, here was Deep Throat showing on screen these same fantasies. Do you have any idea what a thrill it is to finally work up the nerve to discuss a sexual fantasy with your mate and then find out you share the same fantasy.
As we see in the seventies and eighties middle America did ease into the sexual revolution and once there enjoyed it immensely. Even the nightmare that is aids would be worse if we did not have the openness for sexual discussion acquired with the help of Deep Throat. If we still swept sexual things under the table there is no telling how bad it would have become. Without the media's help in getting out the story on aids there would surely be many more victims than we have now.
On a final note, I understand Linda Lovelace, whose real name was Linda Boreman was, at the very least not treated fairly and according to her changed testimony later in her life she was abused the whole time they were filming. There is testimony from some who were on the set at the time, that does not support her accusations, so we may never know but everyone agrees she only received fifteen hundred dollars for her performance and that is a crime for she did a stellar job. She alone makes the film worth seeing.