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This is a documentary series about Traci Lords who entered the porn industry at age 15 and left at age 18. There are some who view this as the story of a young girl who has taken advantage of by a brutal industry. There are others who view this as the story of a smart and resourceful young woman who, armed with a legitimate I.D., nearly took down that industry as well as the people in it. There are still others who view this as the story of the unlikeliest feminist icons.
All views will be discussed. These are real life events. These are real people being interviewed. This podcast contains adult themes and graphic language. Listener discretion is advised. Previously on Once Upon a Time in the Valley. We learned that Tracy's version of events and the adult industry's version of events clash violently. I call B.S. I called the US on her. We dropped by the offices of Tracy's agency, World Modeling, the center of the mid 80s porn world.
I drove past that night and went to fucking work Boeing and had a long chat with Tracy's agent, Jim s.
The central figure in the mid 80s porn world.
This is going to sound funny, even with the business that I'm in. It's almost like I'm their father.
We learn that porn stars are made, not born. We even learned how they're made. First step, quit working your regular job. Start working as a nude model.
I had no problem with nudity whatsoever, but I had some reservations about if they would hire me as a short model. But when you're naked, it really doesn't matter if you're proportioned, right?
It really doesn't matter. Just make sure you don't lose your nerve. I remember thinking, oh, my God, I'm getting naked. I'm going to turn around. I don't know what he's gonna do to me. I'm Lilliana like and this is Once Upon a Time in the Valley featuring Ashley West. OK, Ashley, so we're with Tracy. We're also with Ginger Lynn and Kristy Canyon, two of Tracy's exact contemporaries in the adult world. And we're on the road to becoming video vixens.
I eat female porn stars 1984 style.
Tracey has already had her face to face interview with Agent Jim South. Jim's taken a Polaroid ever.
Now what? The next step will be a shoot with a professional photographer. Tracy skimped on the details in a major way in her memoir. Underneath it all. So we're going to accompany Kristy Canyon on her first shoot, which is with Ron Vogel, the very same Ron Vogel, by the way. And Jim's damn, he popped my face story from last episode here.
The porn universe is a small one in the mid 80s and relatively unpopulated. His chrystie. It was at Ron Vogels house leg deep in the valley. I was living in Hollywood and I remember listening to Phil Collins in my Gold Sragow, and it was comforting for some reason, and it was on cassette. I can feel it coming in, whatever that song was called. I remember thinking I want to keep listening to the song to calm me down because it was something calming about that song.
And I kept pushing that rewind button and hoping I'd stop it in time. Member you had to like, push, rewind, fast forward on the set tapes. And I got there and I parked and it was at his house, kind of like a track house deep in the valley.
He was very professional, explained everything beautifully, and then he said, Now I'd like to introduce you to my daughter, Alexis. She will be your makeup and hair artist. It was like, I'm home. I like these people. I was scared. And yet I had this beautiful girl. It was very sensual having a stranger, let alone a girl. And I'd never been with a girl, but touching my face like I didn't have to think she just did everything.
Close your eyes. Open your eyes. Look to the right. Look to the left. Pucker your lips bump up, you know, that kind of thing. I felt like someone was taking care of me for the first time.
And Kristi's first experience in front of the camera is a good one. Reassuring, but also renegade.
I rebelled at about 17, got a drunk driving ticket, stole my step dad's credit cards and charged about I mean, nothing horrible but enough for them, you know, and they were going through their own stuff.
So no one gave me any attention. I was crying out for attention. What better way than to get newborn? You know what I mean? It was the biggest f you out there. It's a terrific little tear. Christie went on there, but Ashley will anything but the passage from her memoir, Lights, Camera, Sex de Gold Standard and porn memoirs, by the way. I'm going to quote it. This was the ultimate fuck you to the parents who cast me aside.
This was to me, the highest form of rebellion. Daddy's little girl, buck naked for the world to jack off to. Yeah, that one is unbeatable for Ginger Lynn, on the other hand. There's no nerves or second guessing because there's no time. She goes from Jim and his Polaroid camera to a professional photographer in a single birth. What I did was I went into Jim's office and we took the Polaroids and the day that I was in there.
There was a photographer by the name of Steven Hicks who wanted to shoot me for Penthouse. And I said, great news. So I'm going to Mexico. I'll be back in two weeks. I was still sitting in the office when Susan came in and said, I want to shoot you for Penthouse. I said, I can't. I'm already shooting for Steven. And she said, no, you're shooting for me.
Suze is Suze Randall.
I didn't like the other photographers and we were competitive. You know, I think I'm gonna be friendly with those assholes. Steal my girls.
Oh, Suze is very important to everyone in the industry, but she's especially important to Tracy. We asked JMS to describe her.
She is one of the best photographers or ever was has a great personality and she gets away with murder if Jim is the dirty daddy of the industry. Suze is the dirty mommy. Here's Ginger ANSYS. Suze Randall is.
She's a superhero in the industry.
She is a woman that I look up to that I want to be like when I grow up. I respect her. I admire her. Susan shot photographs of all of us. Susan knew all of us. Suze put her arm around all of us who's took care of loved, nurtured, gave direction. She's just amazing. I think anybody that knows her wants to be like her.
Here's the story on Soos. She was born in England in 1946. At 18, she moved to London to study nursing but switched to modelling both fashion and nude. She briefly considered a career as an actress and Streep movies and was cast in a small role in Eric Lomez 1972 film Love in the Afternoon before deciding she wanted to be on the other side of the camera. In 1975, she came to America to shoot Lillian Müller for Playboy and never left.
She became one of the most successful photographers in the business. Her husband, writer Humphrey Knight, was also an industry mainstay, directing adult films under the name Victor Knight. Susan had several advantages over her male counterparts. One, she wasn't male, too. She was the next model. And three, she was so relaxed and uninhibited. She made her models relaxed and uninhibited to his suits.
I'm just a cheerleader. It's really about the girls feeling good. I want them to lower their shoulders and relax their arms and point that toes and open their legs and play with their tiddley wang.
And so that's why I was good, because they could see this silly girl not knowing what she was doing and fussing around and they didn't take it so seriously. Whereas men are very important and extremely good lighting people and everything.
And so the girls like this stiff as a board. Chris Christie on the Soos experience. She was like this ball of energy. She cared about wardrobe more than the others. She cared about makeup more than the others. She had such energy and made the model feel so beautiful. But in a fun, sexy way, like, oh, yes, show me that pussy from below, you know, and she'd be on the ground shooting grade to give me those natural titties that the camera like.
She was sexy, but not really fun, light hearted way.
It's a match made in heaven. The adult industry loves working with Suze and Susan loves working with it, prefers working with it, in fact, to working with Hollywood. A place she can't say enough bad things about. It's hell. It's horrible. It's really awful. Bunch of dodgy people who never mean what they say. But I don't really like hanging around waiting for celebs to be ready. You know, that's a whole nother game. And they all have people who represent them.
And you've got to deal with all the politics. You have no I don't like that.
There's less bullshit in the adult industry, according to Suze. And you don't have to balance scrape. You've got more control. Huge difference. I could be my own boss. I always have to suck up to people. For me, Ashley, the wildest thing about the porn industry already a wild, wild way far out their place is how counterintuitively feminist it is, or at least was then in the mid 80s. Yeah, it's certainly true in a monetary sense.
Female performers outearn male performers and by a considerable margin, male performer Herschell Savage on why this is so. It's understandable. I mean, if you had a sexual amanto, I mean, I could look at a really gorgeous guy and say, that's a really gorgeous guy, but there's no feeling of, wow, you know, it's not there. I mean, the women are driving sales so much. You have a huge Shillong or something. And then that's another avenue for people to explore.
And it's the female performers who call the shots. If they don't want to work with a male performer, he's toast.
Suze, again, the industry is amazing because you don't have to have thousands of agents and reps and people telling and stand in line. You have your own power. You have your pussy there. And you're just throwing it in the wind. And you've got a lot of power. And I think it gives women a lot of confidence to suddenly realize how much power they've got instead of being submissive. So I think it's very healthy.
Also, counterintuitively, it's the porn industry, either sex exploitation industry that's not sexually exploitive, not compared to Hollywood anyway. We're going to eavesdrop on an exchange between two former adult actresses, Kelli Nichols, who appeared in mainstream movies like The Tool Box Murders and was Jessica Lange's body double in King Kong. And Veronica Hart, who appeared in Boogie Nights and Magnolia and whom director Paul Thomas Anderson has dubbed the Meryl Streep of porn. The me, too movement was definitely not in effect back then, and the whole thing with casting couches was definitely a thing, except it was more like casting parties and stuff.
You would go and, you know, if you show your appreciation and then you get invited back to the party and then they might tell you apart. They had I mean, there were some movies that would like look at your talent and hire you on straight away. But while you're waiting for that break to happen.
There were the parties when I went in party. I just partied. Have fun. I didn't, you know, meet anything or anybody or anything, any of the the straight stuff that I ever got in there. I got through sleeping with anybody and I slept with everyone, and it got me nowhere.
That was one of the refreshing things about the adult business, was there wasn't a lady casting couch because Blier, you are your goods were already out in L.A., so you didn't have some of that double standard stuff that went on in Hollywood.
Very refreshing. So we know that many of you watch porn. But just in case you have any friends that do, you'll want to pay attention to this. Given the current state of world affairs, governments around the world are employing even stricter surveillance methods. They're using your digital devices to track your location movements and who knows what else. You don't want to be literally caught with your pants down. And one of the best ways to keep your browsing activity private is by using Express VPN.
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So protect your privacy today and get three months of express VPN for free. Does it express VPN dot com slash the valley that e x p r e f s vpn dot com. Slash the valley for three months free with a one year package visit express VPN dot com. Slash the valley to learn more. Now Tracy is ready for her close up with the proud she is Randall. Though it's actually Susan's husband, Humphrey, who sees Tracy first. He and Suze discuss with me and Ashley April signing.
We were in a small house in my vista at the time and I got a cement driveway up to the garage. Now is outside polishing the cars, red Cadillac. And I saw this car drew up and there's no gentrifier there. Greybeard must be about 50, 60 come out. And then on the far side, this gorgeous creature came out on a hobbled up the driveway. And I use that much too high her to the guy who supposedly had a mother's boyfriend, which was probably having an affair with everybody.
We know that he drove around before she was driving. Tracey Fast becomes Susan's favorite model. I ask who's what made Tracy so great? I don't know what made it so great.
She was such a great mover. She was so amazing. She was so sexually provocative when we were in Cabo going into a restaurant. People will stand up and clap and she will can refresh to swagger. She was just so well. I think she was under age. No. You wouldn't remember. No. Even mean the level of confidence. Her comfort. Her sexuality. She's the only person I ever shot at sunrise. I couldn't find her. And she was out on the beach.
Fucking friends. As the sun rose. Yeah. She was. She was endless. Susan Tracey's relationship goes beyond photographer model.
I mean, I was really close to her and I really helped her.
That closeness doesn't, of course, keep Tracy from shooting with other photographers. This is adult director Michael Carpenter on why the camera can't keep its eye off her. Only Ashley, you're going to have to read his quotes.
And he gave it back in 2003 and has since disappeared. It's either going by a different name or is dead. Let's hope the former.
So this is Michael Carpenter speaking. The difference between a good model and a bad model is the good models. No, the camera. I mean, their face is always toward the camera. The good models are so used to conning guys, the cameras like a guy and they come the camera conning guys with something. Tracy was expert at, according to Jim s. She seemed to catch on to knowing some of the people that were stars in the business real quick.
She was phenomenal looking. I think she was very while she loved to control people, especially men who used to plop down in people's laps. She did sat in my lap, Bob, down. There were a lot of people there. We weren't alone in that little bitty office on the side. And she put her hands on my face, kissed me and stuck her tongue down my throat. Ashley and I aren't in the business of puncturing illusions. So we hope Jim doesn't feel special because Tracy put the moves on him.
Well, let Sears deliver the bad news. She was so aggressive sexually, you would never think she was too young. I mean, we'd have dinner with Buck Henry and I mean, she'd be playing footsie, scaring the hell out of him under the table. She came on to your husband, to your boyfriend.
She came on to every male that was around early on. Jim gets Tracy the penthouse centerfold. Tell me why that's significant, Ashley. For three reasons. First, Penthouse is at the top or very near the top of the food chain in terms of nude modeling. Second, it's in Penthouse. Traci Lords actually becomes Traci Lords up to that point. She'd use a different fake name for every magazine she'd appeared in. Right. Tracy says she named herself after a childhood crush.
Jack Lord, the star of Hawaii five oh, Tracy Lord Tracy with a Y. And Lord Singular is the name of Katharine Hepburn's character, a hoity toity society girl and Ice Maiden in the classic Hollywood screwball comedy. The Philadelphia Story. It's difficult to imagine that fifteen year old Tracy was familiar with the 1940 farm, so likely someone suggested the name to her. So it's a funny joke, even if she didn't know she was making it. And in any case, taking on an official name to porn does indicate a certain level of seriousness about the business.
Here's how Christie Kanyon got hers. I was out to dinner with the owner of Paradise Visuals and we went to a great restaurant and I was so hungry I had to dinner and at dinner is like, we need to come up with a really hot name for you.
And I'm like, thinking, why? Who fucking cares? You know, I'm just some girl fucking on film. Like, I really didn't take it seriously. And he came up with the name Christie Canyon. I didn't even. I'm not even that fucking creator. He came up with it and I just thought, God, that's one less thing I've got to fucking worry about. I'll take that and run.
I was like eating dessert, like, break fucking put that down. I love it. Perfect. I'm Christi Kenya.
Now it's easy for Christie. Berlin has a tougher time. You're going to have to explain who Anberlin is. We've talked about the three big girls of Europe. Tracy, Ginger, Lynn, Christie candidate. But there's a fourth Anberlin.
There were four girls that were in every movie. And it was me, Ginger Lan, Christie Canyon and Traci Lords. If you picked up a movie once we went in to the home video market, it would always have these girls on it. We've held off mentioning Anne Boleyn, who's Anne Boleyn isn't raped by Jim South. She's raped by Wib. So it's the only other point agent in town at the time.
Right. So Amber breaks the pattern a bit. As you've probably noticed, listeners Anberlin and Ginger Lynn are both Lindze, but they're not related and their shared nomenclature is a point of contention initially.
I met this guy who is family, went to their image at the yacht club and they had all this and they had all that. And he wanted me to change my name and quit the business and do all of these things. And so I was over Harry Reems house doing what any girl would naturally do when you don't know what to do about your boyfriend. You go to afford search housing. You bring a bottle of Jack Daniels. We're doing shots, we're getting shitfaced and we're on the various places on the beach.
And it's just wonderful. And, you know, I'm crying and he's being like my dad. And, you know, we're kind of older at the same time and, you know. And Jamie Gillis shows up with Amber Lynn, and this is not her name at the time. And so she's introduced with her real name. And then she says, but I'm going to be Anberlin. And I said, You can't be Anberlin.
I'm Ginger Lynn. And we kind of got into this little fight over it.
You know, she and Jamie, they caught up real quick with the shots and we just we were all smoking, drinking and Storen and just really fucked up.
And somehow Amber and I went from wanting to, like, cat fight each other.
I mean, real close to deciding that girls could fuck better than guys and say, oh, poor Harry. And for Jay, we had to sit there. Why overnight? We started on the stairway. That's where we were sitting, where we were like, can I have it out? And we just started going down at each other and finger fuckin banging and Zanten. And, you know, we're just going at it, having the best time ever.
And we became friends. And, you know, to this day, as far as I know, you never know with her.
Wow. A porn meet. Cute story. Andrew's memory of that first encounter pretty much matches gingers, though, in Ambriz memory. They had sex on a lawn chair while Harry Reems and Jamie Gillis watched. Not a stairway doesn't get cuter than that. But back to Penthouse and Tracy's centerfold spread.
The third reason Penthouse is significant is because on Tracy's cover is Vanessa Williams.
Vanessa Williams is the first black Miss America and the first Miss America to relinquish that title, which is forced to do because Penthouse is publishing in that very issue. Lesbian themed photos of her taken two years before the scandal makes the issue one of the bestselling in the magazine's history. His Ginger Lynn, you everybody knew Tracy was in Penthouse primarily because Tracy told everybody she was.
She seemed to be very, very excited about it. Tracy was already in demand. Every day. I know you are. I mean, everywhere I go, I'm a cup of girl, you know, everywhere and every magazine. Even if I'm not. I don't even have to lay out a map of them. Now she's so in demand, she's practically ungettable, as Humphrey Nipe remembers. He called the agent, Jim Self, who was Asian at that time, saying that he had a card up on his wall, way blocked out the days she was available, and usually there was no days available.
So she was very popular.
Treaty is still strictly a nude model. No pornos yet. When she comes to the attention of Tom Biron, this is Tim Connolly, a journeyman cossman on Tom Biron Star Cossman.
He had a big dick and he could fuck and girls liked him and he didn't have to say anything, any, and he just had this big dick. Dick got really hard and looks good on camera. And if anything he looks kind of scrawny and had a little bit of a pot belly. And as soon as he would talk, people would go just James. You don't need to talk, Tommy. And and he and he didn't. And he was great at it.
Tommy was a guy you could pal around with. Would you'd be really happy when everybody pulled their pants down and you were with the guy. They had the big dick, you know, because Dave, remember that if nothing else. So you had a big dick was proud. Yeah. You must have a bigger dick because you were hanging out with him.
Tom sees Tracy's picture before he sees her.
I mean, the way to get work is, you know, especially male talent was the kind of like stop by Jim's office, hang around Jim's office. So, you know, I would stop by just to see Jim. He was going on blah, blah, blah. And he was sure we knew girls were. And I. Oh, God, I want to work with her. When I was there and one day Traci Lords and I was like, oh, OK.
And he told me the story. You know, this old creepy looking guy brought her in and but, you know, her Polaroids were friggin gorgeous. So I knew of her before I actually met her. Ashley and I are always eager to hear more about the man Tracy calls Roger Haines, the man Jim calls something Rogers. Tom Biron remembers him by yet another name. Some guy named Bob brought around it a comb over, and he had like I think he was a stepfather.
I don't know. He was the guy that brought her in initially. Jim s. That makes three names, Roger Hayes, something roaches, and now come over, Bob. What I wonder to the real one, be back to Tom and how he met Tracey.
She did magazine for a few months before she did her first film. That was the thing back then. You know, especially really attractive girls. They would do the magazine route first, do Hustler, do Penthouse, do all the major magazines. It's kind of a way to ease girls into it. You know, fame. So basically, Ashley, it's a seduction. That's right. And a slow one. His JMS. Half the time when girls have come in, they've gotten a warning from a girlfriend or they've gotten a warning from a relative or the boyfriend doesn't want them doing it.
So you don't want to spook them. OK. When they come in, of course, they already know that it's new, that they'd be willing to do full nudity. Contrary to popular belief, they don't have to do movies for me to handle them if they're willing to do nudes. But I would also tell them that we do handle a certain percentage of X rated movies that if they decide to do it, you can make it a lot more money, which is crew, and you can accept or reject any job that we get you.
Everything is up to you.
It's on the set of a porn movie, which Tracey is not supposed to be performing in your car. She's hired to walk around in a bikini and deliver one line of dialogue that she and Tom finally meet the way Tracy tells it. And underneath it all, it's Tom who hits on her. That's not the way Tom remembers it. But going back to where I first met her, it was great. Dick Miller was doing a movie called What Gets Me Hot.
And initially she she was going to be in the movie just like introducing the scenes or whatever. At this point, she's still doing, you know, still photography, just, you know, photos. So she wasn't, like, actually booked to do a hardcore scene in that movie. But I was on that movie working with someone else. And we were like hanging out on his deck when they would shoot sexually in the room. And she just kind of case came on.
He'll falls into my lap. And I was like, oh, my God, this gorgeous girl sat on my lap while this is cool. And we felt like, you know, kind of making out and stuff. We asked Tom what he thought the source of attraction was, why Tracy was so drawn to him. Maybe that was part of the reason she gravitated to me because I was kind of a big deal back then. That's in line with what Jim South said.
Tracy assessed who was powerful in the business and then aligned herself with those people.
The movers and shakers, it gets a bit complicated, though, because it seems as if Tracy also like Tom because he wasn't a swinging deck, meaning he was a pawn stud who didn't act like a pawn. Instead, he was an aggressive, unassuming, gentle. Here's Tom again.
I mean, I was still a kid. I was like in my early 20s. I hadn't had a lot of experience until I got to the business. I didn't have a big sexual history before I got a point. And so I basically learned how to have sex, how to relate to women and everything else from being in the porn industry. I didn't come on strong with anybody. And I think maybe that's what turned her on to me. I don't know, because I was very non-threatening.
She made the first move and I kind of like went with it. You know, I'm saying that's what kind of like overwhelming because, you know, here was this girl that if I was in high school and I saw this girl, that would be the girl that would be with the quarterback. I always kind of thought of myself as a little skinny geek and also as a girl that would be with Big Man on campus is coming on to me.
And I was just like, wow, this is awesome.
Tom and Tracey start dating. She didn't have a car. So I had a car. So I would pick her up in Redondo Beach and driver the set because, you know, she'd have a fucking car. So old. That's drive. Like I said, I hung out at gyms a lot to get work. And, you know, we we were kind of like friends. So a lot of the thing, like with me picking her up and down beach driving issues was not only a I really liked her, it was kind of helping Jim out to, you know, getting her to the sets and stuff.
That's sort of like how we like sort of hooked up. It's more than a relationship of convenience, though. There's real emotion there, certainly. And Tom Side.
Basically, I was a kid and puppy love, you know. I mean, so we just go out and go to dinner, come back, have sex.
And it's kind of like a little high school romance, which isn't to say that Tracy has split with the guy she's living with an unemployed a while ex Marine. She calls Sunny in her memoir An Abuser. She claims his real name is Tommy. Here's Tom Biron on Tommy.
She had a boyfriend. And then we're down to the beach. This guy, Tommy, this little blond surfer kid, you know, just a little, you know, a little surfer punk, you know, just, you know, he grew a mustache and blond, bleached blond hair. And I think I saw him once at a trade show. So I had no you know, no interaction with him whatsoever. Whether Roger Hayes, we know Roger took Tracy to her initial meeting with him south.
And it sounds as if he took her to her initial photo session with Susan Randall as well. Maybe Sony excuse me, Tommy Chase's Roger off or Tracy just got rid of Roger. It's entirely possible that she was using him for his set of wheels. Now she has another set. Tom Byron's obviously Tommy is in her set of wheels because Tom Biron only sees in the once. So he isn't hanging around sets. And it sounds like Tom is too broke for wheels.
No job, no car. We asked him south of the first time he encountered Roger was also the last. So did Bob. Roger's disappear pretty quickly. Oh, Roger. I never saw him after that.
OK, so Tracy's in the adult world now and with no more adult supervision. So, Ashley, what's the next step for her movies? Remember I said it was a slow seduction of a single girl? Pictures. There's a soft core layout also called simulation that a hardcore then a movie. Well, I guess Tracy gets impatient because she skips a step. Here's JMS and Tom Biron. I booked her with a photographer named Lance Kincaid and Lance Kincaid shot her and Tom Byron together, and it was a simulation shoot just touching.
No penetration. She agreed to do one with me like a still photo. And it was a soft core thing.
They started fucking on the set and the shooter had to stop shooting. I think we entered a car, you know, because we were into each other.
I mean, I was in a hurry and we we kind of made it hardcore, go hardcore and go home. Next time. And once upon a time in the Valley, its lights, camera, x rated action.
Sometimes you working with crews that are just not good. They don't have it together. Sound wise, camera wise, lighting wise. And it's anti sexual. You want to flow, you know, so on. I was in a scene with Tracey and was a lot of stopping and starting and it was a little annoying. And I remember she was bent over the bed for me to go into her doggy style and she just spit in her hand and put her on her pussy.
And it was like, let's go. You know, I was like I was like, tough, bro, you know, crack me up, man. But that's who Tracy was. This has been a presentation of C 13 originals, a division of kadence 13 executive produced by Chris Corcoran and me, Billy Anderlecht, directed by Zach Levitt, created and written by me. Produced by Ashley West. Edited and mastered by Chris Basle, Bill Schulz, Perry Craughwell and Ian Mond.
Theme Music. An Original Score by Joel Butman. Production Engineering Incoordination by Sean Cherry and Terence Melin. Phone Field Recording by Rich Burner Artwork Marketing and PR by Kurt Courtney, Josephine Francis and Hilary Chef. Once Upon a Time in the Valley is hosted by me and Ashley West. Thanks for listening.