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The Other Hollywood: The Uncensored Oral History of the Porn Film Industry

3.92  ·  Rating Details ·  867 Ratings  ·  94 Reviews
A raucous and revealing oral history of the birth of the adult film industry, The Other Hollywood peels back the candy coating to let the true story be told -- by the stars, movie makers, and other industry players who lived it. And what a story it is: Through hundreds of original interviews, contemporary newspaper accounts, police reports, court testimony, and more, Legs ...more
Paperback, 620 pages
Published February 21st 2006 by It Books (first published February 15th 2005)
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Community Reviews

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Jul 05, 2008 Jessica rated it really liked it
Recommends it for: not readers faint of heart or with delicate sensibilities; "at-risk" fifth graders
Recommended to Jessica by: sister rachel
If for some reason you need additional evidence that punk scenesters are relatively boring, this book is it! The Other Hollywood is infinitely better than Please Kill Me (which, by the way, I also really liked), and I cannot fathom why it's not more widely read. You don't need to find porn especially interesting to love this, though an appetite for sleaze is probably mandatory. The Other Hollywood is kind of more disgusting than that rat book I just read, but it achieves the transcendence I com ...more
Oct 04, 2010 Jasmine rated it it was amazing
Shelves: american
hi, so I'm bored at work and after all the weird "sexual" conversations today well I can't help but start thinking about porn.

I want to open with the fact I actually have read this book and I recommend it to everyone in the entire world. Except if you have a bad gag reflex it may not be for you. I mean there is definitely some beastiality. But what do you expect it is about porn. This book is about porn back when porn was fun. (I have no actual knowledge of this fact but it seems to be the posi
May 30, 2011 Eric_W rated it it was ok
Shelves: current-affairs
The best thing about this book is the cover. The book consists of titillating but not terribly illuminating snippets of interviews that reveal little except most of these poor folks were borderline dysfunctional. Studs Terkel does oral history much better.

There are some funny scenes. “"When I arrived to shoot my first loop, Tina Russell was dressed like a hooker-in a short, short ribbed maroon miniskirt and a black pullover jersey and high heels. And no bra. Then a handsome, thin, bearded young
Sep 28, 2007 Darrell rated it liked it
Imagine if you will an unfilmed Ken Burns/Errol Morris talking head documentary with a cast of hundreds recounting the blue film business - I'd watch it (and subsequently fall asleep a couple times) and recommend it to patient friends but reading it is a wearying being a non smoker stuck on a balcony with talkative smokers at a party with people you meet in the elevator at work.....and discovering your ride has left....
applause to Legs McNeil for coordinating such a feat - i lik
Porn stars lead very, very different lives from you and me. I don't know why I find these very, very different lives (which often double as cautionary tales) so bloody interesting, but this is my third or fourth True Tales of Porn book. I think it activates the sociology nerd part of my brain or something. The Other Hollywood is presented in oral history format, with well-edited and spliced-together interviews from porn's major and minor stars, producers, directors, and even the cops, FBI agents ...more
Sep 29, 2007 Rachel rated it really liked it
Like Please Kill Me, but about porn.
Legs McNeil
Aug 25, 2009 Legs McNeil rated it it was amazing
I co-wrote it, so you tell me.... Best, Legs
Amy Rae
Oct 15, 2015 Amy Rae rated it really liked it
The Other Hollywood makes for an interesting, often horrifying oral history--and never has that phrase been more amusing--of the modern porno movie industry. (The title is a bit of a misnomer insofar as the book begins with the 1950s, and filmed sex has existed nearly as long as film itself, but one of the constraints of an oral history is that you're basically working within living memory. So it's an oversight that makes sense.) Reading this book, I feel like I understood for the first time why ...more
Dec 13, 2008 Cwn_annwn_13 rated it really liked it
The Other Hollywood is more or less a history of the porn industry from the 1950's through the mid to late 90's done in an interview style using direct quotes from the interviewees. Its a huge book although I think a lot more stuff could have been covered. This book starts the early days of pin up models, Russ Meyer movies and the bizarre nude volleyball film genre. Then it moves on through the evolution covering a wide range of people and topics that were involved. Criminal involvement from the ...more
Oct 12, 2013 Licha rated it it was ok
This book could have been a lot shorter than the 600 pages it is. The book is told in a choppy, fragmented way, with snippets of interviews pieced together to tell the story. It worked for the lighter chapters but not for the whole book. Sometimes two stories were being told within a chapter so the style of writing did not work. Much of the book also did not give a brief intro about each story, so if the reader was not familiar with the story, I don't know how much sense it made to the reader.

Oct 30, 2007 Blaise rated it it was amazing
Recommends it for: Your mother
From the co-editor of "Please Kill Me," the oral history of punk, comes this even more engaging, surpisingly emotional oral history of the American hardcore pornography industry, beginning in the days directly preceding "Deep Throat" and continuing on through the AIDS epidemic to the present day. To my mind, this is a better book than "Please Kill Me." Unlike "Please Kill Me," it does not cover a subject I have a personal interest in. Like "Please Kill Me," it contains stories, all real, all tol ...more
Jan 08, 2016 Kate rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
This book is not for the faint of heart. If you are bothered by the graphic qualities of porn you will probably be disturbed (however if you are this kind of person I'm not entirely sure why you would read this book in the first place.) The Other Hollywood is, at heart, an oral history of the rise of what we consider to be the modern American pornographic film industry. It tackles porn's involvement with the mafia, its tangles with the US government, the popularity of Deep Throat (as well as the ...more
Nov 08, 2007 Emily rated it really liked it
Recommends it for: people interested in porn
I really don't enjoy pornography all that much. I have enjoyed some on occasion, but usually something will happen in a pornographic film that I find unsettling and then I am immediately turned off sexually and disgusted with humans. Anyway, that is neither here nor there I suppose. But nonetheless, the porn industry is endlessly fascinating. It is a really long book, but totally worth it!
Feb 10, 2015 Brett rated it really liked it
I think it's safe to say that Legs McNeil's "Please Kill Me" is the definitive history of punk rock so I eagerly anticipated a similar volume on pornography. While there's lots to like in "The Other Hollywood" it also feels like there's lots of filler. Some stories seem too long. Other stories seem to short. I don't doubt the editorial decisions so much because it must have been based off of what they could get. The performers are generally intriguing while the people behind the scenes are gener ...more
Jul 30, 2008 Jen rated it did not like it
I actually had to give up on it-just couldn't get thru it
Rabbit {Paint me like one of your 19th century gothic heroines!}
This review has been hidden because it contains spoilers. To view it, click here.
Russell Grant
Nov 10, 2013 Russell Grant rated it really liked it
Probably the best book you will read on the history of Porn. Instead of putting together an academic look at the industry, morality, place in culture and all of that, Legs and his team culled quotes from what has to be 100's of interviews and sources and let the people involved tell the story. From actors, to producers to court transcripts and wire taps, the stories are contradictory, but over all telling. The truth is somewhere in between I'm sure, and it makes the whole thing more honest than ...more
Jun 09, 2011 Kristen rated it really liked it
I've read McNeil's other book Please Kill Me and continue to be blown away by his oral histories. Sure the name is a pun in this instance but he takes what should be a pretty cut and dry industry: the porn industry and goes in-depth on the sex, murder and money that came from it. At times this novel reads like a mafia story with all the discussion of people possibly being killed and the people who went from obscurity to riches. It shows all the elements from both the bad men collecting the money ...more
Feb 15, 2009 Tripp rated it it was amazing
The book is an oral history, so it consists entirely of interview transcripts from key players in the world of adult film, including the actors, directors, the mob financiers, the FBI team that chased the mob, the girlfriends and the occasional tangential player like John Waters. On the face of it, this sounds like the authors didn't do much work, but the organization and selection of the interviews is excellent. You get a story from many angles and directly from the participants.

Many of the sto
Dec 23, 2012 Mikko rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Alaston Hollywood on hyvinkin siisti ja aihettaan asiallisesti lähestyvä esitys yhdysvaltalaisesta aikuisviihdeteollisuudesta 50-luvun "nudisti-dokumenteista" aina 90-luvun loppupuolelle asti. Aiheena ei ole porno sinänsä, eikä teoksessa revitellä juurikaan elokuvien sisällöllä. Sen sijaan keskiössä on otsikon mukaisesti pornoelokuvateollisuus, siinä toimineet ihmiset ja ympäröivän yhteiskunnan suhde pornoon; esim. sensuuri, valtavirtamedian asennemuutos, järjestäytyneen rikollisuuden rooli ja H ...more
Jul 15, 2010 Ian rated it it was amazing
A fascinating book, regardless of what you might think of the subject matter. Most accounts of the porn industry tend to hew to obvious cliches about predatorily exploited lost souls with self-esteem or child molestation issues, and while the stereotype is common enough to have a fair amount of validity (although I'd wager it's not appreciably more common than it is in the legit film business), and while the book does depict its fair share of victims and casualties (John Holmes, for instance, se ...more
Grant Reynolds
Oct 21, 2012 Grant Reynolds rated it really liked it
I read this after a recommendation on some podcast I was listening to and it was really interesting. I had no idea the connection to the mob and all the prosecution early on. Some of my favorite parts were from two undercover FBI agents tasked with bringing the mob down. The stuff about the Wonderland murders was also really interesting.

The book was amazing from a quotes perspective, some of my favorites were;

Chuck Traynor: I wanted to own a topless bar because I wanted to be around topless girl
Sep 09, 2008 Dayna rated it really liked it
This is the literary equivalent of a talking-heads documentary, which usually is the most boring kind. I was planning on ditching this after the first few chapters, but by then had gotten used to the style and I subsequently couldn't put it down. The most boring parts were about how the Mafia financed/finances pornography, but all the other stuff about the stars and the drugs and HIV and the evolution of porn were fascinating. As other people who have reviewed this book have pointed out, the use ...more
Feb 06, 2008 Karl rated it liked it
It was okay. I was enjoying this book for the first 200 - 300 pages. I then got a bit bored. There are interesting parts and scandal (Linda Lovelace, Marilyn Chambers, John Holmes, Traci Lords, etc.) hidden in the middle of tedium. I think if the book was cut by 200 pages, it would have been a more interesting read, but far less comprehensive. I think the main problem was that there were many times that I had no clue who the person talking actually was. When a person was first introduced, they a ...more
Aug 23, 2008 Lesley rated it really liked it
Recommends it for: sleaze enthusiasts, porn connoisseurs, fans of the oral tradition (in writing)
This is probably an embarrassingly lame thing to admit, but I just couldn't get into all the money/mafia business in this book. Too many names, too many infractions, too many pages! I loved Goodfellas and all, but maybe mob stories just aren't my thing. I mean, the stuff about FBI agents going "undercover" and positively reveling in their ability to get paid (by the federal government) for acting like sleazy, porn-loving, opportunistic, drug-addled coozehounds was riveting and all, but, generall ...more
Jan 07, 2010 Sarah rated it really liked it
Shelves: own
Culled from interviews and documents and various other sources, the authors provide an oral history of the porn film industry.

I don't care what you think - I find porn endlessly fascinating. Books like these make me miss my sociology brain. Although I've always been interested in the sex industry, I'm definitely not an expert, so a lot of the stuff covered in this book I hadn't really been aware of. Additionally, I wasn't all that familiar with all the people included here. Regardless, I thought
Nov 30, 2008 Paul rated it it was ok
My friend Dave recommended this. OK, but nothing anyone with even a cursory knowledge of the subject wouldn't already know. The John Holmes stuff is covered in far better detail in Wadd; the Traci Lords stuff has been done to death; Marc Wallace, John Stag, AIDS, Linda Lovelace, Chuck Traynor, dogs, coke, yada yada yada. Problem is that porn folks (forget the 'stars' euphemism, only a select few actually are), like pro-wrestlers constantly embellish their histories -- or were too fucked up to re ...more
Surfing Moose
Would have given it 4 stars but while reading some of the interviews seemed quite familiar and found it a bit disjointed. First the familiar interviews. Finished watching a documentary on John Holmes that came with Wonderland and while reading the bits on Holmes seemed to come straight from the documentary. They did (the authors) say that the interviews came from various sources, so I'm probably off base in my critique. Now the disjointed part. I've always found reading bits of an interview lose ...more
Romain Baudry
Sep 12, 2016 Romain Baudry rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: non-fiction
Ce livre, sujet scabreux s'il en est, se lit comme un polar d'Ellroy, il raconte l'essor du porno depuis l'après-guerre par les protagonistes de l'époque (acteurs, journalistes, agents du FBI). Il y a la Mafia, les communistes, les starlettes, les acteurs, l'essor du SIDA, le passage du super 8 à l'industrie, l'essor de la VHS. Pas d'images racoleuses, du factuel, un polar, je vous dis !
Andreas Rauh
Jan 31, 2011 Andreas Rauh rated it really liked it
Legs McNeil and Jennifer Osborne have used the same formula to construct the story telling in this book as in Please Kill Me. It's a chopped up, blended, and then stitched story built from short snippets of interviews from people that have had some close connection with the porn industry. This is not how I prefer to have my Oral History presented because it becomes harder to distinguish the individual voices within the book in favor of a coherent story, even when testimonies are contradictory.

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Roderick Edward "Legs" McNeil (b. 1956 in Cheshire, Connecticut), is the co-founder and a writer for Punk Magazine. He is also a former senior editor at Spin Magazine, and the founder and editor of Nerve magazine (print only; 1992).

At the age of 18, disgusted with the hippie movement that seemed to be going nowhere, McNeil gathered with two high school friends, John Holmstrom and Ged Dunn, and dec
More about Legs McNeil...

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