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Resurrecting 'The Deep Throat Sex Scandal' for the West Coast

Adult entertainment stars and mainstream celebrities—from Peter Brady's Christopher Knight to comedian Bruce Vilanch—are doing cameos in this play written by a Studio City resident.

The guy who played squeaky-clean Peter Brady in The Brady Bunch was off in the corner talking to legendary adult film star Nina Hartley. At the other end, Oscar-nominated actress Sally Kirkland was sharing a laugh with funnyman Bruce Vilanch, who won Emmys for writing the Oscars.

It was an odd lot gathered this week at the Zephyr Theatre on Melrose Avenue in Hollywood.

“We’re here to make a little history, and without you all here we couldn’t tell this important story,” said the ringleader David Bertolino. "Thank you for being brave enough to be a part of it."

Bertolino spent years researching and interviewing people involved with the controversial film Deep Throat, and then wrote and produced an off-Broadway play two years ago called The Deep Throat Sex Scandal. Now, he is bringing the play home to California.

“Maybe I did it a bit backwards, because the adult industry is based out here in California, but we just wanted to get it on the stage and see what people think,” Bertolino said.

Ron Jeremy, one of the biggest names in porn, who served as a consultant and will perform a cameo in the West Coast show, said, “This is a way to bring a whole new audience to discover the importance of Deep Throat.”

Jeremy, Vilanch, Knight and porn legend Bill Margold will alternately play the conservative Southern judge who heard the case that tried to prosecute Deep Throat and define obscenity.

"Who wants other people to tell us what we're allowed to watch or not?" Vilanch said. "I'm thrilled to be a part of this. It's an important story."

Bertolino, a native of the Boston area, now lives in Studio City and is entranced with what he calls “The Gone With the Wind of porn.”

“Before Deep Throat was released in 1972 adult entertainment was all short, 15-minute loops," he said. "This movie had locations and a script. It was an adult movie that couples went to, not just men in raincoats.”

The 58-year-old Bertolino recalled the controversy about the film when the Nixon administration was trying to prosecute the case, but he didn’t see the movie until much later when he went with an older woman to see it playing in a double-feature with The Devil and Miss Jones. Now, the starlet of that movie, Georgina Spelvin, is another one of the famous cameos who will perform in his play.

“Georgina is wonderful and still sexy and beautiful, and she said this would be her last public appearance,” Bertolino said.

Bertolino is mostly fascinated with the showmanship of Deep Throat promotions—a one-hour movie that cost $22,500 to make and brought in more than $600 million.

Bertolino created Spooky World in New Hampshire after he bought a five-bedroom farmhouse and barn on five acres for $170,000. He got the PBS reality show This Old House to come to do free renovations and he collected horror movie memorabilia to show. It was an instant success, opening with more than 2,000 attendees on the first day.

Spooky World brought Bertolino out to the Hollywood Collector shows held regularly at the Beverly Garland Hotel in Studio City. That’s where he met Butch Patrick, who played Eddie Munster in The Munsters TV show, and horror movie stars he showcased at Spooky World, which he has since sold.

Now, he is looking for a permanent home around Sherman Oaks, Valley Village or Studio City. He enjoys the Ventura Boulevard restaurants, the Cardio Barre workout gym and other places in the area. 

It was at a Las Vegas convention for lingerie where Bertolino met Ray Pistol, who owns the rights to Deep Throat. Bertolino designed a nurse’s outfit and was asked to put Deep Throat star Linda Lovelace’s name on it.

“I found out about the movie,” Bertolino said. “I found out that no one went to see the movie when it first came out, and then they paid people to stir up trouble and create publicity for them.”

And so, outside the Zephyr Theatre, next to the Deep Throat sign, he has placed a giant blow-up giraffe. He also plans to hire people to act as protestors picketing the movie, which is what happened for real with the original. (See the videos above of Bertolino and the giraffe.)

Bertolino said he wife, Linda, wasn’t thrilled about his obsession with the project at first.

“You have to realize that we were associated for so long with Spooky World that was a family place where Boy Scouts and Girl Scouts used to go to," said Bertolino, who also has a teenage son. "So it took her a little while to get used to it. But they get it now.”

After creating a thick script from news articles, court transcripts, interviews and Freedom of Information requests, Bertolino linked up with New York director Jerry Douglas. The most award-winning director and screenwriter in the gay adult industry, Douglas jumped at being involved with the project.

“I massaged the script a little and cut it down,” said Douglas, a gentle man who wears a baseball cap all the time and lights up a cigarette whenever he can. “There was a lot of great research material that David came up with.... It is such an important story that is as timely now as ever. It is historic, it is poignant and it is very funny.”

There is nudity in the play, both male and female, but no explicit sex acts, Bertolino said.

“It is amazing how professional the actors are who came out to audition for the roles, and they have all really stepped up to be a part of this,” he said.

Harry Reems is played by Marc Ginsburg and Linda Lovelace is portrayed by Natasha Charles Parker, and the part of the attorney is played by Frank Blocker, the only cast member who was in the New York show.

Adult film stars Veronica Hart and Herschel Savage are part of the ongoing, eight-actor company.

Savage, who plays the director of the movie, said, “I knew all the people in real life, and this story follows it all pretty accurately.”

The doors open to the public on Jan. 24. Tickets are $34. There is a special Guilty Pleasure ticket for $90 that offers a goody-bag of items from the Hustler store, a movie poster and a VIP reception with the stars after the show.

A special for Patch and Huffington Post readers allows a 50 percent discount on the Guilty Pleasure tickets by using the special code: LOVELACE when ordering.

The different guest cast members every week include: Amber Lynn and Bill Margold (Jan. 24-27), Sally Kirkland and Bruce Vilanch (Jan. 31-Feb. 3), Nina Hartley and Christopher Knight (Feb. 7-10), and Georgina Spelvin and Ron Jeremy (February 14-17).  

For more information, go to http://deepthroattheplay.com 

Rich Addams January 11, 2013 at 06:34 PM
OK, at first I was going to ding this for being inappropriate for the Patch. But, after reading it, and seeing the videos, I may take my wife. It looks very funny. Wish it were on this side of the hill, though. I second Mr. Gary's idea. Let's here from the actors, too, particulary the Harry guy.
Jesus Therational January 11, 2013 at 08:14 PM
Er...that's not porn legend Veronica Hart. That's porn legend Nina Hartley. Big difference, and sort of disrespectful to this extraordinary woman.
Mike Szymanski January 11, 2013 at 09:58 PM
The photo captions had mix-ups in IDs and that has been fixed, thanks!
Dave Gray January 12, 2013 at 11:02 PM
Your right the ad is funny congrats dave
Erin Michelle Brown June 21, 2013 at 06:15 PM
If you enjoyed the play, it would be great if you could make a small contribution to help turn it into a feature film! Any amount helps :) http://igg.me/at/nakedtruth

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