Pop culture obsessives writing for the pop culture obsessed.
Pop culture obsessives writing for the pop culture obsessed.

Today’s soundtrack: a computer reads glorious porn film titles of the ’60s, ’70s, and ’80s

Illustration for article titled Today’s soundtrack: a computer reads glorious porn film titles of the ’60s, ’70s, and ’80s
Photo: Fairfax Media Archives / Contributor (Getty Images)

You never know from whence a hero might emerge. Today’s unlikely champion for our collective sanity is Ethan Persoff of Spoken Word With Electronics, who, perhaps sensing that the world needed something satisfyingly, marvelously stupid to listen to between bouts of existential dread, coaxed a computer into reading every title in the 1984 tome Lary King’s Encyclopedic Guide to Adult Video Cassette Movies. And no, that’s not a typo—though as Persoff points out in his introduction, it would be just delightful if this rare book was in fact compiled by the Larry King, who devised the laziest of all pseudonyms for himself by simply removing an R from his first name.

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The intro as a whole is well worth listening to, as Persoff goes into some detail about the volume, including its various subsections and the way the adult entertainment industry has changed since the golden age of porn.

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Spoken Word with Electronics · Episode 29, Introduction: “Those Good Old Blue Tapes”

But as valuable as the intro might be, we’re here for the main event. We’re here for Adventures in Bondage through Lesbians Galore. (Persoff and his tech will get to M-Z in a future episode.)

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Spoken Word with Electronics · Episode 29, Side A: 1984 VHS Porn Titles, A-L: “Adventures in Bondage” through “Lesbians Galore”

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We spent quite a chunk of time trying to figure out how best to write about this wealth of goofy noise; our immediate impulse was to try to create a list, a children’s treasury of sorts, of the very best titles contained therein. But listening to this recording with that goal in mind is like trying to get a cup of rice for dinner by standing in front of a great big avalanche of rice and trying to just catch a few of the choicest grains. Even the dumb ones are gold.

So instead, we’d like to do two things. First, we want to point out some of our favorite subcategories. There is, for instance, a nice list to be made of films that share titles with other, better known films (see: Babe). There are the many, many straightforwardly-named compendia (Danish Erotica, Vol. 1) and, even better, straightforwardly-named films of the “what it says on the tin” variety (Dental Nurses With Big Tits). There are the silly ones (Captain Lust And the Captive Pirate Women) and the head-scratchers (Danish Pastry, which comes right after Danish Erotica, Vol. 2). The list goes on, and it is exactly the kind of absurd and mind-numbing audio one might find useful at the moment.

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The second thing we’d like to try: Just pick a timestamp at random and tell us what you get. For example, at 13:33 we got Erotic Aerobics. What does that tell us about the world at the moment? Not a goddamn thing, and we wouldn’t have it any other way. Thanks, Ethan Persoff and Lary King!

Send Great Job, Internet tips to gji@theonion.com

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Contributor, The A.V. Club and The Takeout. Allison loves TV, bourbon, and overanalyzing social interactions. Please buy her book, How TV Can Make You Smarter (Chronicle, 2020). It’s short!

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