Clear77° WeatherClear77° Weather

FBI files reveal extent of 'Deep Throat' investigation

In this file photo from May 31, 1980, protesters picket a theater near Times Square in 
New York where the 1972 porn film Deep Throat was being shown.

Associated Press (1980)

In this file photo from May 31, 1980, protesters picket a theater near Times Square in New York where the 1972 porn film Deep Throat was being shown.

MIAMI — Newly released FBI files show agents across the country and at the highest level of the agency investigated Deep Throat — the 1972 porn movie, not the shadowy Watergate figure — in a vain attempt to roll back what became a cultural shift toward more permissive entertainment.

Related News/Archive

The documents show the expanse of agents' investigation into the film: seizing copies of the movie, having negatives analyzed in labs and interviewing everyone from actors and producers to messengers who delivered reels to theaters.

All of it in a failed attempt to stop the spread of a movie that some saw as the victory of a cultural and sexual revolution and others saw as simply decadent.

"Today we can't imagine authorities at any level of government — local, state or federal — being involved in obscenity prosecutions of this kind," said Mark Weiner, a constitutional law professor and legal historian at Rutgers-Newark School of Law. "The story of Deep Throat is the story of the last gasp of the forces lined up against the cultural and sexual revolution, and it is the advent of the entry of pornography into the mainstream."

The papers are among 498 pages from the FBI file on Gerard Damiano, who directed the movie and died in October. Released this month after a Freedom of Information Act request by the Associated Press, they offer a glimpse into Damiano's roughly 4,800-page file.

Authorities have long said the movie was made with Mafia money, but the file includes no mention of mob links.

Included are memos between the FBI's top men, L. Patrick Gray, William Ruckelshaus and Clarence Kelley, all successive heads of the agency after J. Edgar Hoover.

On various entries in the file, a checklist of top FBI brass appears in the top right corner, with initials next to some names. One of those listed is W. Mark Felt, the FBI second-in-command whose "Deep Throat" alias as a Watergate informant came from the movie's title. However, none of the markings indicate he read any of the materials on the movie whose name became synonymous with his role in bringing down Richard Nixon's presidency.

Deep Throat, which was made for about $25,000, amassed hundreds of millions in receipts.

FBI files reveal extent of 'Deep Throat' investigation 06/20/09 [Last modified: Saturday, June 20, 2009 12:22am]

© 2014 Tampa Bay Times

    

Join the discussion: Click to view comments, add yours

Loading...