You’ve used this line, or something similar, before: “Honey, it’s not smut, it’s a serious sociological examination.” But this time, it’s true. The Other Hollywood: The Uncensored Oral History of the Porn Film Industry by Legs McNeil and Jennifer Osbourne really is a look inside our societal fabric as much as it is a peek behind the scenes.
And for those of you who don’t know, Legs McNeil isn’t a new Vivid contract girl, but rather the respected author of Please Kill Me: The Uncensored Oral History of Punk and a former editor of Spin and Nerve. This sweeping epic starts in the early days of nudie cuties from the 1950’s and rolls right up into our own glossy, air-brushed and silicone enhanced images of today. Along the way, figures such as Johnny Carson, Sammy Davis Jr., Vince Neil, J. Edgar Hoover, Gregg Allman, John Waters, the Gambino crime family, Slash, and Robert DeNiro all make appearances.
One of the most interesting stories in the book is that of former FBI agent Pat Livingston who went went undercover for the bureau and never really resurfaced to a normal life. Since The Other Hollywood is an oral history, you read his words, directly. And it’s a powerful moment when he recounts the circumstances that led Livingston to say, point blank, “I killed my father.”
Impressive in scale and scope, The Other Hollywood isn’t so much a history of dirty movies, but of their place in our society, and how some people have fought to protect them and others have fought to stamp them out. Buy The Other Hollywood: The Uncensored Oral History of the Porn Film Industry here.