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Porn History 101: West Covina’s Marvin Miller made it possible for James Deen and Jessica Drake to be featured speakers in a college class

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from www.pasadenastarnews.com – Back in the Donald Draper 1960s, newspapers had a filthier sounding name for porn – they called it smut.

And, no one was better at making a buck off smut than West Covina resident Marvin Miller. In fact, it could be argued that Miller, who ran a printing press in Industry and turned that city’s post office into a distribution hub for risque books like “Bondage Cabin,” made it possible for actors like James Deen and Jessica Drake to be featured speakers in a college class that studies adult film.

Some might even say we have arrived at a point in human development where Drake’s “Guide to Wicked Sex” is far more interesting than Caltech presenting Stephen Hawking’s guide to the universe.

To get a complete understanding of how we got here, it’s instructive to know a little about Miller, a sort of forgotten pioneer in the porn business. Raised in Chicago by various foster families, Miller made his first million bucks at 17, buying scraps of aluminum foil from Hershey and selling them to party favor makers in Cuba during a strike by workers at Reynolds Aluminum.

By the time he was 18, he lost that million in a bad business deal.

Miller moved to California and started a couple of businesses. Both went up in flames, earning him the nickname “Torch.” Miller did time in the joint at Chino. In 1961, he got released and went into publishing.

Weeks after John F. Kennedy was assassinated,
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Miller, by now a resident of West Covina, published “Four Dark Days” in history and sold 30 million copies at a buck a piece.

It was only a matter of time before Miller began publishing books in the public domain. We’re not talking Shakespeare or Voltaire here, Miller opened Collector’s Publications and printed erotica with titles like “The Sex Life of a Cop “, “Walter – the English Casanova,” “My Secret Life,” “The Debauched Maidens” and “120 Days of Sodom. ”

Mailing the pieces and others that were considerably more risque is what got Miller into trouble. On Oct. 17, 1967, Miller was caught up in a county anti-smut sting that resulted in his arrest after the filing of a 25-count indictment for printing, holding, distributing and sales of “obscene material. ”

It wasn’t the first time he was arrested and it wouldn’t be the last. Here’s what Miller said to a newspaper reporter when asked if his products were indecent.

“Absolutely not,” he said. “I believe they are constitutionally protected, and we’ll fight it all the way to the Supreme Court. ”

In a way Miller, the West Covina porn purveyor, was right. His fight resulted in what is known as the Miller Test, a three-pronged approach used by the court to determine the difference between obscene porn and literature.

As it turned out, the Miller Test opened the flood gates of porn as we know it today. For better or worse, The San Gabriel Valley gave America Hustler, “Deep Throat” and XXX internet streams of all sorts, even if the opinion by Chief Justice Warren Burger noted Miller was “plainly engaged in the commercial exploitation of the morbid and shameful.”

Which is exactly the way Miller saw it.

Read more: http://www.pasadenastarnews.com/news/ci_23050142/frank-girardot-porn-jessica-drake-smut-james-deen#ixzz2Qp3teS3g

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