168 episodes

The Rialto Report podcast is dedicated to the golden age of adult film in New York. It features interviews, profiles and features of the actors, directors, distributors, cinema owners, crew members and anyone else who was a part of making it happen… from the great and the good, to the notorious and the obscure, you'll find them all covered here.

The Rialto Report Ashley West

    • TV & Film
    • 4.8 • 432 Ratings

The Rialto Report podcast is dedicated to the golden age of adult film in New York. It features interviews, profiles and features of the actors, directors, distributors, cinema owners, crew members and anyone else who was a part of making it happen… from the great and the good, to the notorious and the obscure, you'll find them all covered here.

    NYC Starlets – Part 3: An Afternoon with Geri Miller, Warhol Super-Groupie and Sexploitation Actress

    NYC Starlets – Part 3: An Afternoon with Geri Miller, Warhol Super-Groupie and Sexploitation Actress

    Geri Miller may not be the most famous name from 1960s sex films, but she may well be the most interesting.

    With a story that includes Andy Warhol, David Bowie, Iggy Pop, Joe Sarno, the Peppermint Lounge, Ringo Starr, Joe Dalessandro, Mick Jagger, James Brown, Jimi Hendrix, the Young Rascals, and stripping in front of the Queen Mother’s house, Geri lived a technicolor life in a psychedelic era.

    The Rialto Report went to visit her.

    This episode running time is 43 minutes.



    —————————————————

    Manhattan, 2024. It’s three o’clock on a damp afternoon on the Upper West Side, and, from down the block, I see Geri Miller holding court for anyone who will listen.

    She’s in an electric wheelchair, the result of a fall a year ago, but otherwise looks well for her 81 years, even if at times her mental state is prone to wander precariously toward the outer limits of rationality.

    I sidle quietly into her small group, which today consists of an African street seller of knock-off earphones, two sullen college kids collecting money for autism, and a barely-dressed homeless woman from Lithuania.

    Today Geri is warning her audience of the dangers posed by transsexuals. It’s based on personal experience, stemming from memories of the late Candy Darling, actress and one-time muse of both Andy Warhol and the Velvet Underground: “I knew Candy and his name was James, not Candy. Bet you didn’t know that, huh? I warned everyone back then. But did they listen? And now look what’s happening across the country.”

    Her audience react to her triumphalism with a skepticism bordering on apathy, clearly ruing having selected to occupy that portion of sidewalk that day. Geri interrupts her flow when she sees me approach.

    “Here’s someone who knows all about me,” she shouts triumphantly, pointing at me. “He knows the truth, and he’s here today to tell you all about it.”

    *

    It’s true. I’ve been fascinated with the life and times of Geri Miller for years. My interest started with her involvement in softcore sex films of the 1960s, though in truth, she wasn’t their biggest star: in fact, in sex movie history, she’s a minor footnote to other footnotes in a long-forgotten world. Yet paradoxically, it’s also true that Geri was possibly the most famous – and interesting – person who ever starred in sexploitation films.

    She was a New York ‘It girl’ of her day, a B-level Edie Sedgwick, a precursor to Paris Hilton, a prototype Anna Nicole Smith, and a Gina Gershon-lookalike sexpot. She was glamorous, promiscuous, and ubiquitous, but above all, she was famous for being famous. Which usually means: famous for doing nothing in particular.

    Except that Geri actually did stuff.

    She was part of Andy Warhol’s Factory crowd, immortalized in his Polaroid art and appearing in his only play, the taboo-bending Pork (1971).

    Geri and Andy Warhol

    She was a self-described ‘Super Groupie’ – linked with members of the Beatles, and stars like Jimi Hendrix, David Bowie and James Brown. Her name was a staple in the syndicated newspaper gossip columns of the 1960s, which eagerly reported on who she was bedding that week.

    She was frequently recognized on the streets, in diners, museums, and hotels, and hers was one of the first names added to any exclusive New York party list. (“Is Geri Miller coming to my birthday bash?” Mick Jagger once rhetorically queried, before rhetorically answering, “Would it really be a party without her?”)

    She was a movie star of sorts: from small-time roles in big time movies (Stanley Lumet’s a href="https://www.imdb.

    • 43 min
    The Search for Pat Barrington: A Tale of Murder, Sex, and Dance – Podcast 94 (reprise)

    The Search for Pat Barrington: A Tale of Murder, Sex, and Dance – Podcast 94 (reprise)

    The Rialto Report recently acquired a collection of behind-the-scenes photographs and stills from the Stephen C. Apostolof/Edward D. Wood Jr. film Orgy of the Dead (1965) which we are sharing below. 

    Many of them feature Pat Barrington, which gives us the chance to revisit our podcast about her remarkable life

    If you’ve never heard of her, Pat was big in the 1960s, when she was a popular actress, model and stripper. She was a stunning and statuesque woman, a mess of high cheekbones, flashing dark eyes, and long limbs. And somehow she managed to look different every time you saw her. She could be dark haired, a redhead, or a bleach blonde. She could look seductive or matronly, playfully sexual, or innocent. Actually not so much innocent. Pat Barrington looked like sin on fire. And she had a great screen presence too without even being a great actor.

    So who was Pat Barrington? About the only thing anyone knew for certain was that Pat had a short film career in the 1960s. Over a five-year period, she made memorable appearances in films by cult filmmakers like Russ Meyer, Ed Wood, Bill Rotsler, Harry Novak and others. She also appeared on television in the series The Man From U.N.C.L.E. and got a part in a big budget film Marlowe (1969) starring James Garner.

    And then in 1969, after her last appearance in front of a movie camera, she disappeared from public view, and became this mysterious and elusive figure. I tried tracking her down for over 20 years but had no success. No one seemed to even know much about her. Old movie friends remembered her beauty and professionalism, but they all drew a blank when I asked them the big, burning questions: where did Pat Barrington come from, and where did she go? Sure, I found a few details about her, but much of it seemed contradictory. For example, I stopped counting the number of different names she used, not to mention the conflicting birth dates she claimed.

    And that was about it. I could never find out much more than that.

    And then, in 2013, I made a breakthrough, and I was able to write a profile of her entire life for The Rialto Report website. It was a wild tale of sexploitation films, a serial killer, go-go dancing, sexual assault, Hollywood, nude modeling, Sam Fuller, Lenny Bruce, Robert Mitchum, and much more.

    But a few weeks after I posted the story online, I withdrew it – amidst threats of violence, involving an aging mobster and a boyfriend who were both unhappy that Pat’s story had finally been told.

    This podcast tells the fascinating life of Pat Barrington, but also the story behind the search for her.

    This podcast is 71 miniutes.

    The music playlist for this episode can be found on a href="https://open.spotify.

    • 1 hr 10 min
    Svengali – The Chuck Traynor Story: Part 7, Endgame

    Svengali – The Chuck Traynor Story: Part 7, Endgame

    On the previous episode of Svengali – The Chuck Traynor Story:

    On the heels of a very public divorce, Chuck Traynor and Linda Lovelace were finally separated and began to forge their own paths. Chuck wasted no time partnering with up-and-coming adult star Marilyn Chambers, becoming both her manager and her husband. Linda combined a professional and romantic relationship with producer and choreographer David Winters, combing the U.S. and U.K. for financial opportunities.

    But while Linda’s relationship with Winters fizzled after a couple of years, Chuck and Marilyn continued strongly. Together they booked everything from Vegas stage shows and mainstream plays to spreads in men’s magazines and adult film roles.

    Then, in the early 1980s, Linda dropped a bombshell. She released a new autobiography titled ‘Ordeal’ that went into graphic detail about her abuse at Chuck Traynor’s hands. It was a bestseller, and its success brought Linda into contact with Women Against Pornography, a feminist group determined to take down the adult industry. The book’s popularity also led to yet another autobiography, ‘Out of Bondage’, which went even further in criticizing both Chuck and the porn industry.

    How did this negative publicity affect Chuck – and his new partner Marilyn Chambers? Apparently, not one bit. In fact, the general public reacted by criticizing Linda Lovelace, and the couple seemed tighter than ever. But were they as happy as they made out to be – or was it just a matter of time before Marilyn, like Linda, would change her tune and turn on Chuck?

    On this final, wild episode of ‘Svengali’… we hear about David Cronenberg’s ‘Rabid’, Linda Lovelace providing testimony for the U.S. government, the infamous Survival Gun Store in Las Vegas – the largest seller of machine guns on the west coast, Chuck leaving Marilyn for an underage stripper, how Chuck became involved with the Nicaraguan Contra rebels, drug and alcohol addiction, Marilyn’s arrest and comeback at the age of 50, and much more…

    Welcome to the final episode in our series ‘Svengali – The Chuck Traynor Story’.



    This episode running time is 61 minutes.

    —————————————————————————————————————————————————–

    1. Chuck and Marilyn

    In the mid-to-late 1970s, Chuck and Marilyn were splitting their time between their ranch just outside Las Vegas and Los Angeles, as well as traveling the country so that Marilyn could work the club circuit and do promotional spots.

    Then, in 1976, Chuck and Marilyn got offered a taste of what they’d been looking for. They were contacted by film director David Cronenberg who was casting the lead role in his new horror film, Rabid (1977). Producer Ivan Reitman suggested Marilyn, as Cronenberg was a relatively new director and Marilyn’s fame could be helpful to the project. To be fair, Cronenberg’s first choice to play the role was Sissy Spacek, but Reitman convinced Cronenberg to choose Marilyn arguing they needed someone with more sex appeal.

    Here’s how Cronenberg remembered Marilyn:

    “When I met her, she was a lot harder than I’d hoped. She had plucked eyebrows and her hair was very pre-Farrah Fawcett. She’d been doing shows in Las Vegas. Chuck Traynor,

    • 1 hr
    Svengali – The Chuck Traynor Story: Part 6, The Marilyn Chambers Years

    Svengali – The Chuck Traynor Story: Part 6, The Marilyn Chambers Years

    On the previous episode of Svengali – The Chuck Traynor Story:

    To everyone’s surprise, the sex film Deep Throat (1972) had become a financial hit and a cultural phenomenon. And everybody involved was determined to capitalize on the film’s success – and that included Chuck Traynor, husband and manager of Linda Lovelace, the movie’s leading lady.

    When the film blew up, Chuck put Linda through his self-styled media training, positioning her as a small-town, sex-fueled hippie who’d hit the jackpot in the Big Apple. And he got busy putting together deals: he negotiated a lucrative contract for her in the sequel Deep Throat II (1974). He secured a healthy advance for Inside Linda Lovelace, a pseudo-autobiography. He convinced Linda to move to California with him where they ingratiated themselves with high profile figures like Sammy Davis Jr. and Hugh Hefner. And keen to expand Linda’s profile beyond the adult world, Chuck landed her a stage show at Miami’s Paramount Theater.

    But as Linda’s star rose, so did her self-confidence. She began to realize that she was drawing the attention and money, not Chuck. And as Linda’s esteem grew, Chuck’s attempts to control her weren’t quite as powerful as they had been.

    Finally, in September 1973, after almost three years under Chuck’s thumb, Linda decided to stand up for herself. She filed for divorce, citing abuse and irreconcilable differences. She had a new man at her side too: she was dating David Winters, an English-born dancer and choreographer.

    She was free from Chuck and could start a new life. Chuck was ancient history, and would now disappear into the rear-view mirror, right?

    Wrong.

    Welcome to Episode Six in our series ‘Svengali – The Chuck Traynor Story’.

    You can hear the last episode of the Svengali series here.

    This episode running time is 66 minutes.



    —————————————————————————————————————————————————–

    1. An(other) Autobiography

    In early 1974, a second autobiography of Linda Lovelace hit the shelves. It was called ‘The Intimate Diary of Linda Lovelace’. This is how it begins:

    “I am taking my life in my hands by writing this. That may sound like a dramatic way to start a book, or just a joke, but it is true. If my arms are broken or I end up in a ditch somewhere, if acid is thrown in my face or I am shot, I want it in black and white.

    Once and for all, I have got to be free. Maybe if I tell the whole story, the true story, I will finally get if off my chest and out of my system, and I will be able to forget it forever.

    “I have been threatened by a man who is very sick. He is full of violence. He has threatened the lives of my brilliant attorney, my business manager, the man in my life, David Winters; my secretary Dolores and her daughter; and, of course, myself.

    “Sometimes I think I will go live in a different country and just never be heard from again. But that would be giving up my life in another way and I am not going to do that either. I am a star now. Here I am,

    • 1 hr 5 min
    F.M. Bradley: Hiding in Plain Sight – Podcast 113 – Reprise

    F.M. Bradley: Hiding in Plain Sight – Podcast 113 – Reprise

    F.M Bradley died last month just a few weeks shy of his 70th birthday.

    I can’t say I was surprised – Bradley had been in a nursing home ever since I found him in 2021 after years of looking. He was bedridden, and we had a few false starts before we finally settled down for our interview due to his ill health. But even though he was unable to walk, whenever we’d video chat it was easy to see the handsome, strapping man who’d made hundreds of films and loops back in the 80s.

    After our interview, we kept in touch. I’d occasionally send him the Chips Ahoy chunky chocolate chip cookies he loved. He wore an expression on his face more like that of a young man at the beginning of life versus a patient on the precipice of his end. Bradley talked about making an adult film come back when he got out of the care facility, convinced he would in fact get out and get back. He had someone he called his lady friend who visited him regularly even as his Russian roommate blared his TV 24/7. Bradley had his down days, but mostly he was a man of hope – just as he’d been all his life.

    I often start a Rialto Report excited to hear how someone felt and what they thought when they got into the adult business, but soon become even more interested in their life now – how they’ve carried their choices and experiences and make sense of them today.

    It was no different with F.M. Bradley. We titled his interview ‘Hiding in Plain Sight’ because while nobody seemed to know where he was, Bradley certainly wasn’t trying to hide. In fact he occasionally attended adult events, trying to launch his comeback. 

    We may not be able to see Bradley now, but we can always remember him. So let’s do that.

    -April Hall

    The episode running time is 90 minutes.

    _________________________________________________________________________________

    F.M Bradley

    Let’s admit something: as much as the so-called golden age of adult film was a glamorous era, where sex movies competed with Hollywood blockbusters in theaters across the country, it wasn’t the most racially diverse workplace for a male performer.

    There was Johnnie Keyes, the African American star of Behind the Green Door in the early 1970s. There was Billy Dee, an accomplished mixed-race actor, who became a well-known face in the late 1970s.

    And then… that’s about it. Which is striking for a new industry that employed hundreds of people and made millions of dollars.

    In the 1980s, this trend continued. Which made someone like Field Marshal Bradley stand out.

    The Field Marshal, who went by the name F.M., was a towering presence. He looked like a black superman. A striking figure of strength. He displayed a muscular, cut body that always seemed shiny. He was the number one star of color, when that should have meant a lot more.

    Over the years, I’d heard stories about F.M. Bradley. He was the eternal bad boy, living out a wild life. He’d occasionally turned up at conventions saying he was about to make a comeback in the business. He didn’t seem to have a permanent address, and no one had his contact details. Many doubted he was still alive.

    And then I heard he’d been spotted – in a convalescent home in Vegas. Struggling with ill-health. He wasn’t even well enough do an interview. But we kept talking over several years, and eventually recorded an interview.

    Now this particular convalescent home wasn’t well-equipped for interviews with stars of the X-rated film industry, and so our conversation took place with the TV in the background, and people coming and going. We’d get interrupted constantly – such as when it was time to for F.M. to give his dinner order.

    I wanted to know what it had been like to be one of the few male performers of color in the 1980s. Where had he come from, and what was he doing now? And why was this one-time Superman now in a home?

    This is April Hall – and this is The Rialto Rep...

    • 1 hr 30 min
    ‘Flesh’: The Untold Origin of the Findlays and the ‘Flesh Trilogy’, Part 2 – Michael’s story

    ‘Flesh’: The Untold Origin of the Findlays and the ‘Flesh Trilogy’, Part 2 – Michael’s story

    Michael Findlay was a young New Yorker, fascinated with film and the mechanics behind it.

    Julian Marsh was his alter ego, a movie director possessed with a singular twisted vision.

    Richard Jennings was a sadistic, deranged movie character, one-eyed, confined to a wheelchair, and hell bent on revenge.

    The films Michael Findlay made seemed to be so single-minded, unique, and personal, that they begged the question, how much were these three characters actually the same person? And what role did Roberta, Michael’s wife and partner, play in making the movies?

    In the last episode, I spoke to Roberta to find out how her early life shaped her. Was there anything in her background that explained the Flesh trilogy, the black and white 1960s sex and sadism films that they made? I learned of her insular Jewish upbringing, a violent father, pressure to become a concert pianist, and an abusive relationship with a psychologist. Roberta minimized her actual involvement in the films, insisting that any role she had was somewhere between coincidental and non-existent, but questions remained.

    So who was Michael Findlay? What shaped him, what was the damage in his past that Roberta referred to, what caused it, and how much of it resulted in the films that he made?

    This podcast is 36 minutes long.

    —————————————————————————

    Someone once said that if you want to reveal the truth, you write fiction. But if you want to tell a lie, you write a biography.

    So how do you start to tell someone’s story who you’ve never met and has been dead for almost fifty years? How do you get to know them, understand them, and get inside their aches, drives, and desires?

    Start with the basic facts. Establish an overview of a life like a chalk outline of a dead body at a crime scene. A silhouette profile that establishes what is already known.

    Michael Findlay was born in 1937 in New York. He made a number of notorious 1960s low-budget movies that combined sex and violence in imaginative and sadistic ways. And he died in 1977 when he was decapitated by a helicopter on the roof of the Pan Am Building in Manhattan – a grotesque end that could have come straight out of one of his films.

    After the basic facts, dig deeper into echoes of the past. Chase memories, the architecture of our identity. After all, the life of the dead is placed in the memory of the living. So seek the survivors, anyone who guards recollections that may reveal deeper truths.

    In Michael’s case, few people remain who knew him in his formative years, and some of those who still live choose to preserve their silence: many years have passed after all, and for them, the past is a silent setting, a place of reference not a place of residence.

    But keep looking, ask enough people, and a story emerges.

    *

    Michael Findlay was born in Manhattan on August 27, 1937, just a short distance from Roberta, his future wife’s childhood home in the Bronx. In truth, it was a million miles away from her airless, bookish, piano-playing, indoor Jewish upbringing.

    Michael was the product of a Celtic union: his father, James Findlay, was a Scot, a tall, good-looking bear of a man, born in Aberdeen in 1900, and product of the local, hard-scrabble shipbuilding yards on the cold, eastern coast of the land. Findlay senior, charming, outgoing, and popular, had little schooling but was keenly intelligent, a reader, and a collector of intellectual ephemera. Later in life, Roberta remembered him polishing off the daily New York Times crossword in under ten minutes,

    • 36 min

Customer Reviews

4.8 out of 5
432 Ratings

432 Ratings

Elbob17 ,

Fantastic

A fantastic podcast with a great interviewer talking to all the stars we used to beat off to back in the day. I highly recommend the two part podcast with Sue Nero. L-E-G-E-N-D

121664 ,

Fabulous

Great story telling

Bogon12 ,

A super intelligent show about pop culture, sex, and amazing human stories.

I have never reviewed a podcast before and have enjoyed this one so much, I had to.

This podcast is about pop culture, sex, and more or less ordinary people making ordinary decisions and the path that takes them down is very far from ordinary.

Ashley West and April Hall are a pleasure to listen to but the stories they tell and the way they tell them is such a fascinating listen. They are both great interviewers, especially considering how often the issues under discussion are sensitive or difficult for the person being interviewed. They have such compassion and heart and class, they are truly gifted. Plus their knowledge of the history of the porn industry is incredible.

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