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A Good Story is Worth Repeating: Bill Margold on the XRCO: Maybe the Past WAS Better

from – The times in porn are a-changin’. Hall of Fame director Roy Karch is currently working a tour bus in Hollywood, and Bill Margold, looking at the XRCO’s list of awards nominees for Wednesday night, guesses that at least 60% of them won’t be in the business this time next year.

“Who the hell are these people?” wonders Margold, who, frankly, is the XRCO regardless of who’s claiming to be the King of the Hill nowadays.

“And by my asking that, they’re going to say Margold doesn’t know anything about what’s going on,” he muses.

“If anyone in that audience is still here 10 or 15 years from now, they might be getting some kind of Hall of Fame adulation. But I don’t know what’s going to happen tonight because I’ve never seen a list like this in my life.”

Among the bright moments, Margold mentions that he’s particularly proud of the way Dave Michaels promoted Sensi Pearl into the XRCO spotlight.

“She’s the most meteoric Hard-On Girl in history. Less than a month and she’s the Hard-On Girl. That’s a helluva lot better than Lupe Fuentes I’ll tell you that. I would have liked Lupe to come on stage and have Interpol come to the XRCO. That would give you publicity you couldn’t buy. You would have had a raid, machine guns and dogs.”

The XRCO is celebrating its 27th anniversary, and Margold, who serves as its honorary historian, has missed maybe a couple of shows, when he and the late Jim Holliday had a falling out.

“There were a couple I didn’t go to,” says Margold.

“You got to remember that the XRCO, for all intents and purposes died. Holliday and I had a huge battle and I incorporated the historical part of the XRCO into the F.O.X.E. 1991 awards. So twice we’ve had the inductions of Ron Jeremy and Seka, and each have two hearts which is rather amusing.”

As he was scanning over the list of press people inducted into the XRCO, Margold said he’d probably make the XRCO mad by insisting that Luke Ford and myself be inducted.

“Luke was the innovator- I’ll give the devil his due,” I tell Margold. “He started it all.”

“He calls me his mentor, his surrogate,” states Margold.

“But he betrayed me. I told him a story off the record then he broke the story. The man betrayed me.”

“You two quite frankly deserve it a great deal more.,” Margold continues.

“I can understand Peter Van Aarle. He was an original member of F.O.X.E. He was a very concerned person and helped create RAME. His induction makes sense to a certain extent.”

“But I’m sort of scared to go tonight,” Margold also confesses.

“I’ll be at the door. I have people coming that are not on the RSVP list, and I asked Dirty Bob to consider Viper and her 25 years in the business to be honored. He wrote me and said if he had known she was dead, he would have done it. I don’t want her in there because she’s dead. That’s the Anna Malle syndrome. That does no one any good.”

The legendary Dave Friedman was the XRCO’s first ever inductee, and Margold would like to see as a way to liven things up, Tom Byron, the youngest person in the Hall of Fame, inducting Dave Cummings who would be the oldest. That, as well as John Stagliano inducting his wife, Tricia Devereaux, and Brad Armstrong inducting Jessica Drake.

“Why not let husbands put their wives in? After all this used to be held on Valentine’s Day?”

Margold refers to Drake as ‘little letters’.

“That’s such a cute gimmick that she has. I like the little letters concept.”

The first XRCO was held at the old Gazzaris nightclub on the Sunset Strip back in 1985.

“Amber Lynn was the Heart-on Girl,” recalls Margold.

“There was Harry Reems, John Holmes, John Leslie, Eric Edwards, though Jamie Gillis wasn’t there.”

When Friedman stood to be inducted, Margold was approached by one of the muckety-mucks of the competing Adult Film Association of America telling him that wasn’t going to happen.

“The XRCO developed from watching the corruption of the 1984 AFAA wards,” explains Margold.

“You could buy your awards, and they were giving Shauna Grant stuff and they were giving movies that didn’t deserve anything, awards. So Holliday and I said we’ll take care of it. This is bullshit.”

And so there developed a core membership of the newly-born XRCO: Margold, Holliday, Lon Friend, Jim Dawson and Kent Smith.

“Holliday had connections with VCA to get us whatever we needed economically. I reached out to some of the east coast people who didn’t want to join,” says Margold.

And then there was the Jack of All Creative Trades, William “Bill” Rotsler, a legendary figure in the adult business.

“I worshipped him,” says Margold.

“He was an original member and was the one who designed the hearts which back then were crudely hewn and very heavy. I look at mine [Margold received one in 1989] with great adoration.”

Back then there were only 12 categories and four nominations in each.

“Not that they want to be AVN, but they sort of cheapened the overall look of the operation,” suggests Margold about the present voting system.

“There’s too many awards being given out; there was only one Heart-On girl, now there’s two. I don’t even begin to understand that. But I’m proud of the fact that Tom Byron who asked me last year if he could be host is going to be up there on the stage tonight with Inari Vachs.”

According to Margold, Ron Jeremy and Coleen Brennan were hosts for the first XRCO.

“That was the show where ten minutes into it, the lights blew out and people were coming up to me going, ‘ha-ha you’re dead!’

“I said I don’t think so. Shauna’s [Grant] on our shoulder. Now this is an eerie story. Grant had died in 1984. We were mourning her death and dedicating the show to her. The morning of the XRCO show, I woke up with tears pouring down my cheek. I dreamt that I had rescued Shauna Grant from a house where she was being chased by lots of bad men.

“There’s nothing sexual to this. She was wearing a blouse tied around her stomach and was in shorts. We were both barefoot. And that’s where I figured out I was crying. Because I took her in my arms and jumped out the window and I landed on wet grass. I woke up next to Drea with whom I was going through the death throes of a relationship.

“She said what’s wrong? I said I just saved Shauna Grant and I told her the story. She kissed me at the end of it and said do it right.

“So later I was wandering around the parking lot of Gazzaris wondering if maybe we were doomed, then the lights came back on.”

Margold recalls another moment from the show when John Leslie said he wouldn’t accept his induction until he brought up the most important person in the business, John Holmes. Holmes returned to the stage for an encore and proceeded to hug Leslie.

“I said to Holliday, now we are history. The absolute affection, camaraderie, joy and family of X mentality I was watching that night made me so proud. It was a small crowd, about 400 people. Drea choreographed a dance with Tamara Longley and I can’t even remember the other girl’s name. Overall, it was a very comfortable place to be, and it would be the humanity of it that would last.

“The next year at Gazzaris it was pouring rain,” Margold continues.

“The Mitchell Brothers got their awards and were rolling around Sunset Boulevard. Holliday said what do we do about it? I said, nothing, let ’em roll around. They were drunk out of their minds.”

“There were so many special people then, but I don’t think we have that any more. This isn’t an old curmudgeon saying the past was better, but maybe the past WAS better.”

Margold is going on 40 years in the adult business, remembering the first film he was ever in, Goddaughter.

“On the way home I’d cry because I figured I wouldn’t get to do any more movies. I get very emotional about all this. This has been my life for 39 years heading into 40. I think I’ve done, universally, more than anyone else as far as input and involvement. Yet I’m told by certain people I don’t know a thing.”

Margold recalls the time a homeowner offered a location in Palos Verdes for free in exchange for John Holmes fucking her in the ass. Margold, who wrote the first Caught From Behind, the movie being shot at the time, saw to the arrangements.

“Basically I traded Holmes’ dick in her ass for the location,” Margold laughs, remembering how the homeowner’s sex scene with Holmes was thrown into the film.

Before he got into the adult business, Margold was a newspaper reporter and a journalism grad from Cal State Northridge.

According to Margold, it should be re-named Porno U.

“I think more people in the X-rated business have come out of that college than any other hall of education in the world. In fact I was thrown off the school paper because I was making trouble. Gee, what a surprise.”

Margold wound up interning at The Outlook in Santa Monica in exchange for academic credits.

“I hated making that trip and really learned to hate the Valley,” Margold continues.

“But journalism is something you learn by doing and not sitting in a classroom.”

Evidently Margold didn’t learn enough to know how to ask for a raise, because when he wanted one for all of 10 cents, The Outlook fired him.

“I then went to work for Juvenile Hall in downtown LA. People hate when I say it, but it prepared me more for the X-Rated industry than any thing I’ve ever done. I’ve dealt with juvenile delinquents, and these are juvenile delinquents. Over-age juvenile delinquents.”

Margold then got involved with porn because he fancied himself a participating journalist on the order of George Plimpton.

“I saw a world that hadn’t been written about, and, certainly, I don’t think anyone wanted to write about it. I met a number of people who introduced me to more people and then I figured I’d try and be in a movie.

“They found out that I could get up, get in, get out, get off. Frankly I had no idea what I was doing. Then they sent me up to San Francisco on my birthday October 2, 1972. I did five pop shots in seven hours. The photographer Paul Johnson said why do you keep on cummin’? I said, you didn’t tell me I couldn’t.”

“On that shoot Margold met a female performer who knocked on the door of his motel asking if she could sleep with him. Though not in the biblical sense.

“And she climbed in bed and curled up next to me.,” Margold recalls.

“I began to learn that female porn performers prefer to be hugged rather than be screwed. They are mercury in the middle of your hand. You let ’em roll around in the middle of your hand, and if they trust the middle of your hand, they might relax for awhile. If you close the middle of your hand, they’ll run out your fingers.”


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