'Raw Talent' Re-Revealed: Classic Porn Stud Jerry Butler on The Rialto Report

June 11, 2014 | Posted in Editorial Features by mcbeardo

Jerry Butler—'80s XXX cocksman, legendary loudmouth, and ex-husband of Lisa Loring, TV's original Wednesday Addams—lights up the superlative classic porn podcast, The Rialto Report. Tune in, turn on, feel your jaw drop

Brooklyn-bred bozo/bon vivant/ball-buster Jerry Butler is an acclaimed hardcore thespian who starred in numerous X-rated classics (Roommates, In Love) who enraged the adult industry, which blackballed him in the wake of his outrageous 1989 autobiography, Raw Talent

Once hailed by Genesis magazine as "the greatest book ever bloviated by the most idiotically insane goof who ever goofed," (a line intended as profound praise, I assure you) Raw Talent was Butler's collaboration with seasoned sex writer Robert Rimmer and co-conspirator Catherine Tavel. Butler detailed his growing up a Jewish jock in Brooklyn and his rise to the upper-most echelon of mid-'80s male porn stardom, where his relatively minor phallic endowments proved no shortcoming in light of his legit acting abilities and powerfully cartoonish charisma.

 

Raw Talent also details Butler's courtship of Lisa Loring, the grown-up child actress forever beloved by sitcom fans and goth girls in perpetuity for playing death moppet Wednesday Addams on TV's The Addams Family. The couple met on the set of Traci's Big Trick, an X-rated docudrama retelling the Traci Lords scandal from Big Porn's point-of-view (and also containing a moment where Jerry begs Ron Jeremy, "Jerk me off!"). The erstwhile Little Wednesday was working as a big-boobed porn set make-up artist at the time. 

Alas, the first word of the title Raw Talent proved a mite too uncomfortably accurate, as Butler used the book to bitch about every aspect of the adult business from what he claimed was straight porn's gay casting coach to which XXX starlets perhaps packed overpoweringly fragrant genital musk. Really. You have got to read it. 

Jerry Butler blazed a path unmistakably all his own across porn history, slashing and burning each road ahead and firebombing every bridge behind him—oftentimes hilariously—one forward-lunging thrust at a time. When the feelings he'd hurt prompted a sex business black-balling, Butler returned to his native Brooklyn in the early 1990s. He's worked as a bus driver there ever since. 

Now, though, Jerry Butler returns via The Rialto Report, certainly the greatest of all podcasts focusing on vintage porn and, you know, frankly, maybe just the greatest of all podcasts, period. Listen also for audio cameos by the aforementioned Ms. Tavell and long-standing adult entertainment guru/gadfly Bill Margold, who glowingly recalls how he "fell in love" with Butler upon meeting him ("Everybody fell in love with Jerry!").  

The entire program is an exhausting, invigorating exorcism/elevation. Check out the write up below from The Rialto Report site, as well as a link to a great piece by the great, great, super-great Heather Drain on the movie Raw Talent, after which the book was named:

2014 marks the 25th anniversary of the publication of Jerry Butler’s autobiography, ‘Raw Talent’.

It was opinionated, frenetic, controversial, and entertaining. Just like Jerry Butler himself. Love it or hate it – and many loved it, and many hated it – ‘Raw Talent’ was a revelation. For the first time, a book by an insider blew the lid off the inner workings of the adult film industry and dished the dirt on its stars.

It was named after Jerry’s best-known film, which told the story of a talented but struggling actor who gets sucked into making porn films, winning the fame he craved, but losing himself along the way. It was almost like porn was imitating real life. Except, here’s the irony: Jerry Butler’s real life was more extraordinary and crazy than anything he played on the big screen.

So what happened to the boy from New York with the raw talent? What’s his place in the golden age of adult film? And how does he look back on that period?

On this episode of The Rialto Report, April Hall speaks to three people who know the Jerry Butler story intimately:

Bill Margold – industry insider, director, actor, historian – remembers the Jerry Butler years well and, as always, provides his own unique insights.
 
Cathy Tavel wrote ‘Raw Talent’ with Jerry Butler and Robert Rimmer. She remembers what Jerry was like, how she put his life on the page, and the fall-out from the book’s publication.
 
 
And finally, Jerry Butler himself – now working as a bus driver back in Brooklyn – looks back at the films, the madness, the people, and how he managed to survive the era.
  

Jerry Butler and April Hall, May 2014

 


As an added bonus, writer Heather Drain from Mondo Heather has written an exclusive essay about Jerry Butler’s film ‘Raw Talent’ which we are proud to present here.

 

Purchase Jerry Butler’s autobiography ‘Raw Talent’ here.

 

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