Shooting ALL THE KING’S LADIES Part 3: Ripoffs


The “Rabbit ripoff” episode was the first of the misfortunes that would make the production of “The First Big-Budget Erotic Extravaganza Shot Entirely on Videotape” seem jinxed.

On the day before shooting started, the production company renting me cameras and recorders cancelled out; their client, Bank of America, had threatened to drop them if they got involved with porno.

Only one other outfit in the Bay Area owned the Ikegami HL 79 cameras that Joe and I insisted on using. Compared to other broadcast portables of the time, the “Ikki 79” was like a Mercedes among Mavericks.

Specializing in shooting rock concerts, this outfit had no compunctions about porn. They agreed to rent their gear for the standard one day rate for a full weekend. But when Joe and I arrived for the equipment early Saturday morning, the owners demanded two days rental–paid in advance.

The male leads pulled a similar ripoff. Looking like the obese southern sheriff I’d always imagined casting him as, Michael Morrisson splayed his cowboy-booted feet, hooked his thumbs in his belt and drawled, “Me and Jon only agreed to work a HALF day for $500, not a full one.”

Even porn’s top male, John Leslie, didn’t charge more than $750 for a full day, and these guys weren’t stars.

(Note: In 1981, $750 per day was top pay for a male star.)

Morrisson’s expanding gut was getting big enough to block penetration, threatening his porn career. He’d been feasting on the excellent cooking of the porn actor who shared his new Mill Valley home, skinny Jon Martin, who looked to me like a butch Rosanna Arquette. Some referred to the duo as “porn’s Laurel and Hardy.”

Voices rose, anger flared. Morrisson turned to his sidekick and snapped his fingers, “C’mon Jon, we got a house to paint.”

flyers and book cover 014
Ladies between legs: Serena (left) Rhonda Jo Petty (right). Legs in pants: Michael Morrisson (his fat gut not shown).

Martin hesitated. He seemed perfectly willing to accept $500 for a day of sex with beautiful women, but he followed his partner.

It was too late to find replacements. I gave in to their demands and frantically rewrote the script during breaks, so the two studs would be out in half a day.

Next: Shooting ALL THE KING’S LADIES Part 4: Screw-ups and Sizzling Sex


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David Blander

David Blander had had many careers. As a director, he made commercials for clients such as Magnavox, the State of Michigan, Clark Equipment and Amway. As a video engineer, his biggest accounts were the underworld porn kings who pioneered the home video revolution of the 1980s. When California legalized medical pot in 1996, he developed a trophy-winning strain that he distributed to northern California dispensaries—until Feds and local sheriffs busted his grow-op warehouses. Now retired, Blander is beginning another career: writing. Plato said, “An unexamined life is not worth living.” Blander’s professional history gives his life plenty to examine.

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