Midnight Blue, Vol. 6: Porn Stars of the 80's – DVD Review

MidnightBlue_80s

Whenever people talk about the cultural advantages of living in Manhattan, their examples are always museums, restaurants and the opera. For me, the big plus of living in the Big Apple is a public access channel that’s extremely adult. Channel J is infamous as “The Naked Channel.” Down in my part of the world, all we get on public access are old ladies demonstrating quilting. On that sophisticated island in the Hudson, the fortunate viewers for decades received Midnight Blue. The program was a video extension of Al Goldsteins Screw magazine. The format mixed interviews with adult stars, reviews of upcoming releases and updates on the kinky things going down in the neighborhood. Al was a perverted version of Mr. Rogers. Midnight Blue Collection, Volume 6: Porn Stars of the 80s gathers vintage interviews with several of the major players of the era along with all the other elements from the original series. Its two hours of Channel J from the era of Miami Vice and Ronald Reagan.

Vanessa Del Rio appears in the “Midnight Blue Penthouse.” Unlike the guests on the average cable talk show, Vanessa doesnt tease interviewer Steve Kraus with talk about her talent. She lets him get a sample. Kraus isnt a stud so you know shes extremely giving as an actress. Youll be pleased to know that his Platos Retreat t-shirt and red skivvies stay on his body. Desiree Cousteau announces her retirement from the adult industry at the premiere of her Deep Rub film. Why did she quit? “I felt over exposed,” is her explanation. She does affirm her continuing love of sex. Shes not turning prude. Shes also continuing her career as a stripper. There’s more cash in live theater. Her husbands suit is pure 70s even as the 80s have struck.

Annie Sprinkle does a spoof of the opening of The Mary Tyler Moore Show except she tosses something more creative than a hat into the air. Shes going to make it with most of the city, after all. Al reviews her latest video. He expresses displeasure at the sequence when Annie sprinkles for real. But shes such a sweetheart that it doesnt seem as gross.

This isnt just all ladies talking with Al and his cronies. Paul Thomas talks about the final days of John Holmes. They illustrate this with some very disturbing footage since the legend was suffering from AIDS yet still working in front of the camera and without a rubber. Thomas was recently seen on Showtime in the series about remaking Deep Throat. Lightening the moment is a clip of Ron Jeremy performing a comic magic routine. Hes still rather slim and not quite “the hedgehog” at that time. This might shock folks who only discovered Ron from his tenure on The Surreal Life.

Annette Haven is one of those really beautiful women that you dont get working in todays adult entertainment industry thats dominated by plastic surgery disasters. She comes off as classy while chatting with Al. She almost became a mainstream actress, but lost the lead on Body Double to Melanie Griffith. Nina Hartley is a delight to see in her younger form. Shes still working these days. Shes the rare exception in an industry where a starlet can have a career that lasts a whopping three months before shes tossed out for being too yesterday. Dont get confused by the inclusion of Samantha Fox. This is not the 80s sensation from England that sang “Touch Me (I Want Your Body).” This Samantha Fox is the gal from New York who merely wanted to touch anyone on the set.

What makes the Midnight Blue DVDs great arent merely the vintage interviews, but the classic adult commercials that ran during the show. This is the carnal underbelly of the Big Apple laid bare. “Sharons Phone Sex Fantasies” is a vinyl record of what youd hear when calling a 970 number back in 86. You could get it on cassette for convenient listening in the car. Steve offers his services as a bisexual male prostitute. Theres lots of ads for Manhattans finest adult video stores. Amazing what you could order up to your Soho apartment.

The 80s were a time of transition in the world of adult entertainment as home video took over from the squalid cinema. The interviews talk about the change in the format. Nobody seems too concerned that theyll lose their audience. There’s a sense of freedom in being able to reach an audience that could enjoy their performances in the privacy of their homes. While there is nudity on the show, the hardcore moments have been covered up. Midnight Blue Collection, Volume 6: Porn Stars of the 80s is unlocking a time capsule into the kinky desires of New Yorkers.


The video is 1.33:1 full frame. The transfer has been tweaked off the original 3/4 inch videotapes. The images get a little fuzzy, but nothing gets too obscured unless they had to hide the private parts. The audio is mono. Because this was a low budget series, the microphones arent always in the right places. Youll be reaching for the volume dial. But its all worth the effort.


Money Shots Trivia Track is a really dirty version of VH1s Pop Up Video. This is essential viewing if you want to feel like youre watching the episodes for educational purposes. How else will you learn that the director of Desiree Cousteaus final film was tight with Orson Welles? Or that Samuel L. Jackson is a major Vanessa Del Rio fan?

Hot Seat with Wally George (15:39) grills Al Goldstein. Wally was one of the original Bill OReillys. Wally cant stand Al. He introduces him as the “most sickening, degrading, scum pervert.” This isnt a Larry King TV chat. Theres pure antagonism between these two. Al touches a sore spot when he brings up Wallys estranged daughter, Rebecca De Mornay (Risky Business).


For fans of vintage erotica and the stars, Midnight Blue Collection, Volume 6: Porn Stars of the 80s is a treasure chest. Al Goldstein is still rather thin so hes not that disgusting when he begs adult stars for a little attention. The most shocking part of the two hours is the lack of stars that dont look like survivors of Nip/Tuck. There is a natural beauty to these women. Although theres still something unnatural about the hair of male porn stars during this era.

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Blue Underground presents Midnight Blue Collection, Volume 6: Porn Stars of the 80’s. Starring: Al Goldstein, Ron Jeremy, Nina Hartley and Annie Sprinkles. Running time: 120 minutes. Released on DVD: June 30, 2009. Available at Amazon.com