ADULT FILM ADS OF 1976
A close look at those classic XXX movie ads from New York City and Los Angeles in 1976
Hi everyone, THE PHANTOM here! Kids of the 1970s will remember seeing those mysterious ads for those forbidden "x-rated" films that we were not allowed to go see. At a time when the popularity of pornographic films was constantly rising, the porno ads in newspapers were often even placed right alongside mainstream film ads. Here we take a look at some unique and fun XXX advertising.
- THE PHANTOM
Besides the magazines we may have had hidden away, the XXX movie ads in the newspaper were the closest thing we had to any real x-rated films. Of course, adults were the target audience and it's interesting to see how the ads tried to pull the crowds into the theaters (theaters!).
This ad for "Expose Me, Lovely" uses a typical Hollywood routine, urging patrons not to "reveal the ending!" Jennifer Welles was particularly hot in the '70s, as in very popular. "The Joy of Letting Go" is on of the more famous mid-70s XXX films, using a bunch of quotes a'la major releases in its ad. Al Goldstein's quotes are often used a lot as he had decent clout, especially behind his "Screw" magazine (interestingly seen as "S Magazine" in this ad).
Goldstein of course is having a quote used for "The Journey of O," as he reveals it takes a rare film to "turn him on." This is a good example of how the X films were often placed right next to the mainstream films in the advertising.
"Tarz & Jane & Boy & Cheeta" was one of those goofy parody films that were often a lot of fun, with Georgina Spelvin, riding a wave of popularity. This ad for "The Journey of O" is forced to inform that you should not confuse this film with "The Story of O." This association ploy to fill the seats failed in this case.
"The Taking of Christina" promises a very unimaginative selling point of "incredible adult movie experience" while "One of a Kind" was filmed in the key of X! Can you control yourself when the music starts?
Now, as far as "Anyone But My Husband" goes, we can only imagine why one actor is named "Dr. Hook." And if you can't catch Jennifer Welles in "Sweet Cakes," do not fret, starting Monday "Low Dry" premieres. What better way to get you to go see "Low Dry" than a drawing of a hair dryer?
Who doesn't want to see "a super sexy China girl hotter than an erupting volcano?" And two classics from three and four years ago keep bringing them in. In Brooklyn, two theaters showcase two of the popular male stars. It was not uncommon for John Holmes to simply be advertised as "Johnny Wadd." And Jamie Gillis was already popular by '76.
Al Goldstein gives "Through the Looking Glass" some high praise. The incredibly beautiful Laura Gemser portrayed Emanuelle is a bunch of films. And three great features at playing at various theaters, including "Easy Alice" with Annette Haven and Linda Wong.
Many times you would see cheap motels advertised right alongside the X movie ads. Not particularly too romantic, the main purpose was to cater to men patronizing the working girls in the area, usually right around the theaters. X films, color TVs, waterbeds, even steam baths were all selling points. They knew no one was looking to go on vacation, as we see the Players Motor Hotel (love the name) advertise $5 per hour, and two hour minimum. These places obviously specialized in "short stays" as well as overnights and business was usually always steady.
To get you in to see "Hot Summer in the City," one theater is offering a free paperback of the film. "Teenage Twins" features real twins, who did four films together. Eric Edwards is also in this one. One version of the film deletes a scene where one of the twins does nasty things with a bible. In the middle ad, the legend herself, Rene Bond, dances live at the Ivar Theatre, and a new Rene film begins every Tuesday. Advertised as "The Princess" here, Rene was very popular in both softcore erotic films as well as hardcore. She was also one of the first big names to get breast implants.
A few tiny cheap-o ads... the Orleans doesn't even bother to list any movie titles, or even showtimes. They simply put up a pretty face and declare you will get three movies for your $2.49. At the Queens Village Theatre, an early parody movie titled "All in the Love Family" gives an X-rated take on the hit show, and even uses the hit show's font, so they get points for the effort. It's tough to find information on this one. It may be "All in the Sex Family" that appeared around this time.
Marilyn Chambers was very popular, and it wasn't uncommon for her "old" films to keep reappearing in the theaters. "Story" was also "Inside Marilyn Chambers," and she and Johnnie Keyes worked together more than once.
Gotta love the small ads. The Plaza Corona shows three titles that get right to the point, including "Rape Victims" meant to cause a stir. What better way to advertise "A Touch of Sex" than "love between five people" and throwing in a "WOW!" for good measure? One guy and four girls are drawn so it must be good. And there are two classics at the Mini Cinema. An awful lot of X-rated cinemas then were "mini," if not by name definitely by potential capacity.
All the critics agree (they do?) that if you see only one X film in '76, it must be "Sometime Sweet Susan." However, since you're already there, you may as well stick around for a second, "Deep Tango." Another early parody with some clever wordplay is "Sherluck Holmes" starring the ever-popular Harry Reems (which of course is "Reams" in this ad, probably not by accident). But if you really want some serious stuff, "3AM" is in COLOR.
The great Vanessa del Rio set a screen on fire as few ever can, and stars in "That Lady from Rio." Legends like Marlene Willoughby, Bobby Astor and Jamie Gillis are also in that one. Then it's another theatre, the Cameo, that doesn't even bother to list films and times, just the biggest stars (pun intended?) and combos. And of course, "Alice in Wonderland" is a very entertaining musical, and was released in both softcore (rated R) and hardcore versions. The charming star, Kristine DeBell, continued to act and appeared in a bunch of '70s TV shows and films. After working periodically afterwards, she's made a comeback in the 21st century and continues to act today!
If you like 'em "ripe and roving" then "3 Shades of Flesh" playing at the Cameo is for you. Of course the shades are black, white and Asian according to the blunt ad. Then finally, an ad that appeared on December 31st, 1976 advertises the 1977 Erotic Film Festival, which is smart because naming something even as common as a group of films being shown as a "festival" is a popular ploy, especially in music promotion. In case anyone's New Year's resolution was to see more X movies, they could begin as early as 10:45am on January 1st!
Thanks for reading, we'll take a look at a lot of other classic XXX ads in the days ahead. - THE PHANTOM
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