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The Holliday Memorial: A Gathering of Angels

Porn Valley- They held the commencement exercise at Jim Holliday High last night.

Commencement is a funny word. Sometimes it means the beginning, but this time it definitely signified the end. The moccasins have been tucked away in the closet. The white pants, bought at the big man’s shop, have been draped over the bedpost. And the angels gathered overhead.

It don’t get more over than over when the angels show up.

Last night the angels and the mortals, in a series of emotional tugs-of-war, came to praise Jim Holiday, not to bury him.

“It’s the porno graveyard,” said a gravelly Fred Lincoln looking around the Sportsman’s Lodge in Studio City where this memorial’s being held. A comment is made that someone named Bongwater wanted to have a few words but apparently showed up at a Sportsman’s Lodge in Ventura, not Ventura Blvd.

As you might expect, if you knew Holliday, Del Shannon music’s playing appropriately in the background. Funny. Besides Holliday, no one knew who Del Shannon was until the TV show Crime Story revitalized Shannon’s tune, Runaway. Then there’s Dion & the Belmonts playing. No, not the Dion who started Red Light District.

Lincoln who’s getting pretty good at delivering witty funeral speeches, got up on a stage that looked like one out of a 1950’s high school movie. That was the intention, Holliday into sports. Holliday betting heavy on basketball and football. I know because he used to tell me about some of the bets.

We had a discussion about that last year as Holliday attempted to wedge his near 400 pounds behind the wheel of a Mustang convertible. It was pretty funny to watch, actually, this man who had astounding capacity for facts matched by his body weight.

Holliday, who’s real first name was William, was born in Hollidaysburg, Pennsylvania, in Blair County. Hence the name Holliday. Not too many people knew that. So, Lincoln’s delivering the Hollidaysburg address, you might say.

Last time Fred Lincoln did this was at the Bobby Hollander party, only Hollander was around to defend himself. But not for long. Hollander, who knew it was the end, went soon afterwards. Lincoln’s suggestion was to start holding parties for the old guard while they’re still around so they can enjoy these things like Hollander did.

Recalling an earlier statement that the adult industry is now 33 years old, Lincoln said he’s been in it 36 of those years, meaning to suggest that he shot some pre-Deep Throat stuff. For himself, Lincoln said he was going to be gone in a month. He might have been kidding.

As an emcee of sorts, Bill Margold, describing the adult industry as having carved itself deep into the ass of society, was there to organize the thought process of the evening. Margold noted that he and Holliday had the celebrated rift but mended fences at the urging of others. You get the impression that Holliday got off on rifts. Almost everyone in the room had a falling out with Holliday at one time or another. Except, maybe, Titus Moody who’s sitting in a burial urn at a front table. Rob from Mondo Video brought Titus’ remains. But Titus doesn’t have any of Holliday’s preferred beer, Pabst Blue Ribbon which was being served. You wanted a drink, that’s what you got.

Aside from the Pabst edict, someone else mentions that Holliday was a major pain in the ass. But, considering the circumstances, Holliday’s been given a hallway pass for the evening.

Holliday’s also described as having been infuriating and inspiring at the same time. “The guy was fucking nuts,” says Rob Spallone. “He’d call me ten times a day. Then he didn’t call. I knew something was wrong. He was a crazy bastard.” Marcus also shows up, agreeing that Holliday was a crazy fuck. Marcus saying that he wants to be a crazy fuck like Holliday, that he wants to direct movies like Holliday, have girls fall on the floor and say some crazy shit into the camera. “He liked blonds. I like blonds, too, but fuck.” Marcus shaking his head. Holliday a crazy fuck.

Delayed on a shoot, Kurt Lockwood shows up as the evening is wrapping. Disappointed that he doesn’t have the chance, Lockwood wanted to say a few words. But I think he winds up saying them to Wankus. Lockwood was ready to whip out his guitar, play I Fought The Law. Spallone remembers exactly the incident Lockwood’s referring to. How Holliday was shooting a movie then ordered everyone outside. Holliday gets into his car, plays a tape, has everyone listen to The Bobby Fuller Four song. Twice. Holliday a crazy fuck.

Lockwood also remembers Holliday’s Bruce Springsteen or Bob Seeger test. Mention the wrong name, you wound up on Holliday’s shit list. Lockwood cheated. He studied ahead of time, got the right name and got on Holliday’s good side. Lockwood also tells me about the Holliday ankle test. Holliday would have to wrap his thumb and forefinger around a girl’s ankle and have them touch in order for her to be hired. Syren said she passed the ankle test but flunked the good side test. Holliday managing to consign her to the bitch list for whatever reason.

Earlier, Margold mentions that Gloria Leonard and Marilyn Chambers couldn’t be there but reads notes and messages from them. Chambers writes to say how Holliday always spoke up for the underdog and believed in what was just and fair.

Someone from The Kinsey Institute- David Frasier- also extends sympathies via Margold. Margold has Jack Gallagher start things off. According to Gallagher, Holliday was 55. Led the true gadabout existence. Was a Ohio U graduate, a freelance writer, a football coach, a carnival promoter, a history teacher, a chef. A puppet, a pauper, a pirate, a poet, a pawn and a king.

Gallagher’s speaking on behalf of Russ Hampshire who’s elected not to come on stage. Lot of people from the old VCA in the crowd. Spallone agrees with me- the VCA-thing is what ultimately killed Holliday. Saw Hustler taking over and VCA being downsized. Good friends getting shit canned. Holliday told me on a number of occasions he felt he might be the next to go. I shared some of Holliday’s nights in delirium about that when he’d call with a few under his ample belt.

Gallagher’s telling a story about how Holliday went to work for Hampshire in 1979 then how everyone got thrown out of Beverly Hills and had to move to the Valley. “Holliday hooked on to our wagon,” says Gallagher. Spallone later suggests that maybe Holliday had pix of Gallagher and Hampshire with a donkey, thus explaining how Holliday held on to his tenure for so long.

Gallagher talks about the heavy sports money Holliday would wager. Says a lot of that money came from him and Russ, then Holliday would square things at the end of the day. Gallagher talks about the desert shoot. Various speakers have different angles on that story but Gallagher states that Holliday broke his foot, became immobile. Someone says it was his leg. Regardless, one bad thing leading to another. Like your car going a part at a time, it also being noted that Holliday never wanting to live past 50. At least according to Gallagher. Margold’s recollection is that it was more like 40 and that Holliday hid behind layers and layers of a facade. “There was a lot of clown in him and clowns cry a lot.”

“He was one of the best in treating talent,” Gallagher goes on to say. “I never saw a guy handle the girls [in this business] so well. Gallagher admitting that Holliday got certain leeway on shooting budgets because he could harness 20 or more girls for a cast and make it all work. “All of his stuff made money,” Gallagher’s saying, that it was a pleasure knowing him, that Holliday was a stand up guy. It was noted that Gallagher was instrumental in having Holliday’s book, Only The Best, published.

Margold, who just sat and cried when he first got news of Holliday’s death, references Holliday’s movie, Eternal Virgins which met with less than critical enthusiasm. I know because Holliday shared those stories with me. Margold loves that movie, as well he should. It’s about the habitues of boiler rooms, and Margold plays Holliday, according to him. In a moment of poetry, Margold discussed how the desert was Holliday’s ocean. “There’s an eternal quality about it. But the desert did him in. It took him incrementally.”

Margold suspects, maybe as the opportunity presents itself, that he’ll go into the desert with a few of the angels and howl at the moon in Holliday’s memory. On a more grounded note, Margold, citing Holliday’s medical condition, advised that if you look down and see your toes turning color, go see a doctor.

In the evening’s pecking order, Margold allows “the adults” to speak first, conceding that Ron Jeremy, being a marginal adult, go age before beauty. A pattern runs through the speeches. There are reminiscences and anecdotes of Holliday as an arcane, highly opinionated, often egotistical but enormously gifted icon with a complex mindset that defied rational explanation at times, Holliday often speaking of himself in the third person.

Devan who wrote Sorority Sex Kittens 4 and who runs describes Holliday as an “irrepressible spirit” who could, like a third person, eat a pound of bacon while talking to you.

Another illustration, although not Devan’s, is a story of how Holliday was at odds with director Nick Pinkowski over a performer they both wanted to hire for the same shooting dates. Holliday’s going around asking who Pinkowski is and that, instead of switching dates with Pinkowski, shouldn’t he just inform him of exactly who Holliday was in the adult hierarchy.

Margold talks about how Holliday would categorize people by their place of birth. People from Illinois, for some reason in Holliday’s mind, being weasels.

I don’t know if he’s from Illinois, but Evan Stone says a few words. Stone is described by Margold as Holliday’s protege, the son he never had. “Holliday loved Evan,” says Margold. Stone, likewise, had his falling out with Holliday but remembers the famous Jimmyism, that you either got it or you didn’t. If you got it, you were on Holliday’s team.

“He was a great and gifted man,” says Stone, marveling at Holliday’s ability to micro-manage the personalities on his shoots. Ron Sullivan, who’s also pretty good with impromptu speeches, admits he was jealous of some of Holliday’s accomplishments and Holliday’s ability to make big selling movies. “But as soon as we get notoriety, we’re gone,” he says quite sadly.

AIM’s Sharon Mitchell remembers first meeting Holliday in New York and was knocked off her feet by his grasp of her career and credits. “I was astounded,” says Mitchell. “He knew every single movie I had done. I must have been a star for him to know all that.” Mitchell’s last recollections of Holliday were him coming into AIM to have blood work done. Mitchell says she couldn’t find a vein in Holliday’s massive arm but managed. When informed of his cholesterol level, Holliday told Mitchell that it couldn’t have been possible.

Kylie Ireland, Holliday’s Shamrock Angel, has a great idea. She brings in one of the scripts she did for Holliday, Sorority Sex Kittens 3 and starts reading from the cast. No one could put an assemblage of talent together like that and Ireland, with the words in front of her, admits that she’s baffled to even quote from it. “I know I must have memorized this,” she says of the miles of “pointless dialogue.”

“But I have a hard time reading it. I don’t get it.” Ireland is describing Holliday sets as being big slumber parties but to this day has no idea why he insisted on her wearing “ducky slippers” for a sex scene. “But because of him I know more about astronomy than I need to know,” she says. “When I see a harvest moon I’ll think of him.”

Trios adding for emotional strength, Shayla LaVeaux, Felecia and Katie Morgan, sharing the podium, rewind back to the desert shoot. Felecia’s saying there’s a sense that this was Holliday’s last time around. LaVeaux is sharing a moment about the first time she met Holliday through Alexis DeVille who at the time was Holliday’s “first round draft choice” but soon to be replaced by LaVeaux. And Morgan’s telling a story about an old trailer that becomes a makeshift pirate ship.

When she’s introduced, Jill Kelly basically loses it. And Selena Steele, who was on the road, asked me to convey her feelings. Steele, Holliday’s “Barnstorming Angel” has written this beautifully expressive piece about Jimmyland and how its gates were open to those lucky enough to have access.

But there will be no more roller coaster rides in Jimmyland. And Evan Stone so much as makes the point when he holds up his cellphone to the mike. It’s Holliday’s phone greeting. That voice. That incredible voice from beyond.

And as I’m walking out The Sportsman Lodge, the Styx song is throbbing in my head.

A gathering of angels appeared above my head, they sang to me this song of hope and this is what they said. They said, come sail away, come sail away…Come sail away with me…


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