It was more than 15 years ago but I still remember feeling the heat of the asphalt under my sandals as I walked across the parking lot to my father’s Florida porn shop, The Premier. I had heard about this place my entire life, yet I had never visited until that day. I was a 25-year-old social worker living in New York City. My life was far from anything associated with the porn industry, but I was eager to get a glimpse of this side of my father’s life.
He had never planned on being a pornographer, but while working as a stockbroker in Philadelphia in the 1970s, he distributed Deep Throat and invested in adult businesses. In 1974, he was indicted by the federal government on obscenity charges for distributing Deep Throat. His career as a stockbroker abruptly ended and his full-time job as a pornographer began. As a child, I remember my father’s federal prosecution in the case and the tumultuous transition to his new career. There were long absences while he stood trial in Memphis, Tenn., alongside porn star Harry Reems and producers and distributors of the film in 1976, and then again in 1978. I saw him on TV when neighborhood residents picketed his Philadelphia strip club, The Golden 33. Deep Throat affected my life in a direct and personal way, but it’s worth remembering how the film changed our culture and the lives of women, 40 years after its premiere in New York’s Times Square.