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The Roy Karch- Rodger Jacobs Wars

Porn Valley- This morning I spoke to Roy Karch who, after seeing the Evan Stone-was-shot-story on my site, had his own little anecdote about cameraman Barry Wood who was an agent provocateur of sorts on the Hustler set where the Stone “shooting” occurred. In his own case, Karch was shooting a movie called Desperate Wives. “We were rigging a shot because it was a surprise ending,” says Karch. “Raven Touchstone had this little toy pellet gun for an 8 year-old. And I bent over and there was a pellet gun in my butt. I was shot by a pellet. I turned around. There was Barry laughing. Then I read the article about Barry being there and I’m, like, he’s at it again. It struck home.”

Karch then got on to the issue of his war with writer Rodger Jacobs. Karch says he approached Jacobs to talk to him about writing a book about Karch. “I think it’s time for the book to come out about the guy who did the first video,” says Karch.

“We had conversations over a period of time where he would tape record me,” Karch notes. “He [Jacobs] kept crying about how he can’t make any money. He lives in this hotel room in a residential hotel in Glendale. I went to him. He never came here. I would go there. One day, I said you need some money? Let me loan you a couple hundred dollars. I loaned him $200. Time passes and I’m disenchanted on how things are going. I call him up to say, hey, I’d like those tapes back that we did. He e-mails me back, ‘ I was doing an interview and got stuck on a weekend without any tape, and I taped over your stuff because we were going nowhere.’

“So he had already determined that we were going nowhere,” Karch continues. According to Karch, Jacobs took the position that the money wasn’t a loan and that he didn’t owe Karch the money. “Then he put it on the Luke Ford site,” says Karch. “He responded to me. Then I waited a month and I invoiced him for $200. Then he put that whole invoice and our communication on his [Jacobs] Wonderland site. He had this whole thing exposed that Karch had gifted him the $200. The guy still owes me the $200. That’s the upshot. He [Jacobs] responded to my invoice by posting something on Luke Ford. That’s how he responded to me through an e-mail there. I gifted to him? Why would I give him money? Why would I give him a gift?”

Karch said after all his conversations with Jacobs, Jacobs then came up with the idea of doing the A to Z of porn. “A: agents, anals- we’ll go through the alphabet and you’ll comment, and by the end of the book…” is what Jacobs supposedly told Karch. “I said that’s not the story of this man,” states Karch. “But that’s the best he could come up with. My story is one of the more interesting stories around because there are many levels. It starts before I did the first video. It starts when I was in prison with E. Howard Hunt and G. Gordon Liddy. It even starts somewhat before that.” So I ask Karch what was he doing in prison. “Sorry, I can’t divulge,” Karch is saying. “I was a bad boy for awhile and I was a school teacher.” So it just happened that Karch was in Danbury at the same time two of the Watergate boys were sharing space.

“But the story is quite interesting and should be told,” says Karch who gives the year of 1979 as the year he shot video. If that’s to be disputed, says Karch, he offers the period of 1974- 1977 when he was shooting video in NYC for the Cable Access Show. “Do you have anyone who did it before that?” Karch challenges.

Karch says the 1979 movie was titled The Re-incarnation of Serena which he sold to Gourmet Video. “That’s how I got hooked up with them.”

Jacobs tells his side of the story on http://8763wonderland.com/?p=19: “Who is Roy Karch, you ask? Roy is an adult industry veteran with over three decades of experience as a film and video director and producer of XXX product, sales manager and photographer. He is, by his own assertion, the first director to ever shoot on videotape – not a distinction that ranks up there with inventing the polio vaccine but we take what merit badges life hands to us.

About a year ago, Karch contacted me through a mutual friend. He was interested in collaborating with a professional writer on a book about his life. He had only a vague and obscure notion of what exactly this “book” would be. My suggestion was that we embark upon a series of audiotaped interviews to flesh out his story, sort of have a look-see inside Roy Karch’s mind and determine what’s there that might be ripe for exploitation.

Over a four month period, roughly, Roy and I met periodically at the hotel where I live and maintain my office and engaged in tape recorded chats. No money exchanged hands. I was doing this on a purely speculative basis. I even absorbed the minor cost for audio tape. At a certain point in our professional relationship the ineluctable workings of economic law were kicking my ass – economic law has a particular sadistic fixation on freelance writers – and Roy gifted me with $200 to get me through the latest “The check is in the mail” fiasco.

“It’s the least I can do after all the time you’ve put into the project,” Roy said at the time.

“The project”, however, was doomed. There was no “project” to be found. For a man so proud of his many accomplishments, Karch was less than forthcoming in interviews I conducted with him. There was nothing there, no meat to the story. Sure, Roy was involved with the New York public access TV show “The Underground Tonight Show” in the 70s – which led to a landmark U.S. Supreme Court ruling – but he had no compelling stories to tell.

At best, I had a slim novella-length book to write from the approximately seven hours worth of tape but, even then, Roy couldn’t agree with me on what direction to take. I offered that we write a “Porn A to Z” book – a primer about the industry told from the point of view of a veteran with over three decades of experience. That idea carried along over the course of two meetings before Roy ultimately rejected the concept.

“It’s not about me,” he complained. “How is that idea about Roy Karch?”

He complained incessantly about my interview techniques – that I would interject personal experience during our dialogues to validate his experiences rattled Roy to no end – and he carped about his perception that I was making no effort to “get to know the real Roy Karch.”

At one point Karch essayed the contents of a conversation he had with adult film screenwriter Raven Touchstone who allegedly said, “Does this guy know anything about you? Does he know you play blues harmonica? Does he know you paint? Has he been to your apartment and seen your paintings on the wall?”

I had no idea I was dealing with such a renaissance man. In the long run, however, I had wasted hour upon hour of my time and my tape on a man who presented himself to me as someone with virtually no compelling story to tell. And Karch was making it increasingly clear through telephone conversations that he was disgruntled with my services and it was all going nowhere.

Cut to mid-May of this year. X Biz World magazine commissions me to write a cover story feature on industry vet Bill Margold. I contact Bill, set up the interview, and he arrives at my office shortly after noon on a Saturday afternoon – and does not leave until nearly 6:00 PM. We’re talking over five hours of Bill Margold talking non-stop about himself. I ran out of tape after the two hour mark and couldn’t cut the interview short to run out to Office Depot. I grabbed the first batch of recyclable tape I could locate … the Karch interviews. The tapes were useless, the interviews were conducted on my time and were wholly owned by me, and I was under paid contract to conduct the Margold interview.

On May 27 I informed Roy that I had, unfortunately, taped over three of his interviews. I apologized and reminded him that he didn’t think I was getting anywhere with the interviews anyway.

Here is what Roy wrote to me via e-mail in response:

Well, the whole situation fizzled and I had hoped for more. In no way does this indicate that you haven’t had successes in the past, not at all. Sometimes there are personality issues that prevent people from meshing for a particular problem. ie: when i talked about me…you talked about you. Be that as it may, too bad. So, on the weekend of 5/21.5/22, before my request for the tapes to be returned to me, you taped over them. Completely reprehensible and underhanded if true and if not true, then simply a lie,…that’s the vibe i got from you after a fashion; unscrupulous and somewhat shady at best. Your e-mail indicates that you destoyed the work we had done due to your own ineptness…an admission of destroying intellectual properties owned by another. I’d like the $200.00 I lent you back. When can I get it? Roy.

Suddenly the $200 is a loan? He admits that “the whole situation fizzled” but expresses moral outrage that I taped over the interviews. And what intellectual properties? There was no agreement, written or otherwise, between Roy Karch and myself. I was exploring to see if there was a valid and marketable idea locked up inside that head of his.

I ignored Roy’s request for repayment because it was never a loan. And today I received an e-mail from Roy titled INVOICE:

balance due: $200.00. PLEASE REMIT

thanks, Roy.

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