Richard in Kansas City Trucking Co..
My Brother the Porn Star:
An Interview with Richard Locke
© Robert Locke 1978
In December, 1978, Blueboy published "My Brother the Porn Star: An Interview with Richard Locke" but the magazine gave me the copyright since I was thinking that one day I might write a family biography. I never imagined such a thing then as a World Wide Web.
LONG SHOT: The unmatchable panorama of San Frncisco, the bay glittering in the sunshine behind the city. Camera pans left and tilts down to reveal Castro Street below, alive with some of the best looking men in the country. Camera continues pan until it is revealed that we are on the sun deck of a beautifully restored, three-story Victonian house.
Richard Locke steps into the frame to look out over the city and to cruise the street below. Uncharacteristically, he has all his clothes on, does not have an erection, and has no foreign objects in any orifice. Richard is a rugged, good looking man of 37. 6'2" tall, dark from a drop of Cherokee blood from generations past, with black hair and mustache touched with gray and shoulders as broad as Joan Crawford's.
He is followed by his younger brother, Robert Locke, who has somewhat less of everything but who can, nevertheless, write. Robert has his tape recorder running.
ROBERT: Now, Richard, I know that you want to talk about solar energy. I know you consider your career as porn star secondary to your career as solar house-designer and builder extraordinaire, but I'm conducting the interview and I want to stick to pornography — what you do, how you do it, and where you're heading. I also want to talk a bit about family and how two gay brothers handle it. We'll include your solar energy projects along the way as they apply. All right?
RICHARD: It's your interview, brother.
Richard and friends building his geodisic dome in the desert.
ROBERT: Let's start with a little history. How were you discovered? I know you never worked as a soda jerk.
RICHARD: I was in my living room and a friend of mine came and said, "Richard I've been looking for you. I'm the casting director for a movie a friend of mind is doing. He wants me to get some hot men." I played an Oklahoma patrolman. That was my first film, Dreamer.
ROBERT:Was that an 8mm?
RICHARD: No, it was a feature length 16mm that went all over the country. In fact, that was how I got discovered for Kasas City Trucking Co. They spent a little money on advertising and plastered posters of me all over the subways of New York. That's when Joe Gage picked me up. Joe saw my picture on the subway and when he came back to the West Coast, he looked me up and took me to see Sam, who was working at a major studio in L.A. We did Kansas City together, then last year brought out its sequel El Paso Wrecking Corp. In between, I did Take One for Wakefield Poole.
ROBERT: Do you consider yourself a sex object?
RICHARD:Yes, I guess so. I'm pretty famous now. I walk down the streets in San Francisco or get on a bus, just everyday living, and I have people stopping me all the time saying, "Are you a movie star?" or "I saw your film." Just in passing on the street, It really makes you feel good.
ROBERT: Do they come on to you sexually?
RICHARD: Not any more than they have otherwise. But I find it's a different kind of response now. Before it was, "I'm going to bed with a hot-looking man," now it's going to bed with Richard Locke.
ROBERT: Wakefield Pools said in an interview that he chooses as his actors "people who are willing to change their lives, not to remain constant, to give up something." He warns them to "be prepared because you must give up not being wanted ... because once someone's seen you on the screen ... you're going to be hot — everybody's going to want you." Did he tell you that?
RICHARD: Wakefield is a genius. He knows exactly how to get from his actors what he wants. He psyches them up to where he wants them. He said to me, "You're a star now. You'll forever more give up what you had before you were a star."
ROBERT: Is it true? Have you had to change your life, as Poole said?
RICHARD: In a lot of respects. But the basic goals in my life are still the same. I'm still the same person. But, for instance, I can't go into the baths anymore, into the orgy rooms, because it's not the same anymore. There's something about anonymous sex which is heightened, and I'm no longer anonymous. I've lost my choice of partners, too, because I go around rejecting everyone, then I'm trash. It's not that I resent either one of those labels, it's just that it's not me. I'm not a snob, and I'm not trash, because I don't believe in trash. The only thing bad about being trash is that you're liable to get a venereal disease.
ROBERT: You're liable to get a venereal disease just by being gay.
RICHARD: Oh, yeah.
ROBERT: Poole evidently realizes that everybody, even a porn star, has certain insecurities. But I don't remember your ever having been terribly shy as we were growing up, or sexually insecure, or unassertive. Were you?
RICHARD: Don Juan has said in the books by Carlos Castaneda that a warrior, though he's frightened to the tip of his toes, always puts on a facade of having his feet on the ground, of being unafraid. There have been times in my life when I've been very frightened, but I've always maintained a facade of having it together. I'm sure that I have insecurities that I don't know about. It's always a progressive thing. Once you accomplish one thing, you've got another thing to accomplish. It's something that's ongoing; you've still got balls and chains to throw off until the day you die.
When I — I can't say I became gay— when I recognized that I was gay, I threw off a ball and chain, but that was just the first in a series of them. To me it was the first because up until that time nobody knew I was gay.
ROBERT: Least of all Richard Locke?
RICHARD: Yeah, least of all Richard Locke. And the day I realized that this was what I wanted in life, that I wanted men — I had no idea there were so many men! My first time in the baths in San Francisco, I could not believe my eyes! Up until that time, I thought I was the only gay person in the world. I knew there were drag queens, but I never considered myself a drag queen. I look ridiculous in a dress. I put on a dress one night, a blue dress for Halloween, several sizes too small. I looked like a Roman gladiator; I was bulging out of it everywhere.
ROBERT: Why did you opt for using your real name instead of a pseudonym?
RICHARD: I've been in gay liberation for the largest part of my being out. I began gay liberation in my college town — Chico, California, where I majored in History and Aesthetics of the Film— and came to San Francisco where I was involved with the Golden Gate Gay Liberation House. I'm gay and I'm proud, proud enough to use my name on everything I do, because I feel good about what I do, and I do it well. Above everything else in this world, first of all I'm me, second of all I'm gay, and it goes on down the line. Somewhere down there I'm an American, and somewhere I'm a world person, more than I'm an American. But first of all I'm me and my name goes on everything I do, like Ford.
ROBERT: We're seeing big changes in pornography, both straight and gay. Do you agree?
RICHARD: Of course. Wakefield was saying that the ultimate in porn films will be holography, where you have three-dimensional characters in color and you can get right into the orgy. That's the ultimate and our technology will take us there soon. One of the biggest problems gay films have is that they have to have such a small budget because they have such a small gross. There are very few theaters across the country where gay films can be shown, whereas a straight porn film can be shown in almost every city in the U.S., even drive-in theaters way off in the boonies. Because the market has been so small for gay films, they made films only dirty old men would sit through. Joe and Sam Gage have three objectives. One is to make Joe and Sam Gage productions a name to be reckoned with in the film world by making good films not six-day cheapies. Another objective is to make stars, because stars bring people in. When Mary Pickford was appearing in Biograph films, everybody wanted to see "the Biograph girl" and the studios realized that if they gave her a name, they would draw more and more people into the theaters just to see a movie, any movie with MaryPickford or Douglas Fairbanks. So the star system was born in Hollywood, and that's what Joe and Sam are doing in the porn industry. The third objective is to make a damn good film. Their films are reviewed in Variety. John Wasserman reviewed Kansas City for the Chronicle, a straight newspaper reviewing a gay porn film. It wasn't the best review in the world, but it was a review.
ROBERT: Since they're making a star of you a la Pickford, if they want people to come to see you, then they've got to give you something different to do in every film, isn't that true? I mean, people aren't going to come again and again to see Richard Locke have hot sex.
RICHARD: Joe and Sam are doing it right now. Kansas City and El Paso have me as Hank, the horny truck driver, and Hank will also be in the forthcoming L.A. Tool and Die.
ROBERT: Great title.
RICHARD: An ongoing successful gimmick. But you have to take a look at the character of Hank and see he is much more than what is seen in the orgy scenes. He's a person. He and Gene share a camaraderie like Butch Cassidy and the Sundance Kid. I don't think you've ever seen that in a porn film before, where you have characters, live characters who have dimensions to them.
Some of the comments I've had on the films I've done is that there's too much fucking and sucking, but I've had an equal number of comments that there's not enough fucking and sucking. Everybody wants something different. What do you want, plot or porn? Artie Bressen, who directed Gay U.S.A. is going to bring out a film very shortly called Homecoming, a love story about a gay prisoner. We shot this film over a period of three years.
There are also other directors like Wakefield with Take One, a semi-documentary, an interview kind of thing, only with lots of sex on the side. Wakefield calls it a docu-fantasy. The porn world is going in a lot of different directions at the moment. It's coming of age. Wakefield just called and said the New York Museum of Modern Art has bought Bijoux and Boys in the Sand. I told Wakefield, "You're putting art back into art films."
Richard's dome appeared in some of his films.
ROBERT: The other night at a party of predominantly straight friends, I told them I was interviewing my porn star brother for a gay magazine and they had all sorts of questions they made me promise to ask you. The first question (which everyone asked at once) was, "How big is your schlong?"
RICHARD: That's funny. John Wasserman gave three requirements to be a porn star when he reviewed Kansas City. The first is that you must be hung like a Clydesdale Horse. Tell your friends to come and see my movies and find out for themselves.
ROBERT: By the way, what do you think of this ever more frenetic search for the bigger hunk of root?
RICHARD: I think women aren't the only ones who can be accused of having penis envy. There are times I wish I had a bigger cock. We all have that. I imagine John Holmes at times would wish to have a bigger cock, although God knows why. There are some things you can't do sometimes with some people. However, I know some people who are into fistfucking, so if you can grow it, they can take it.
ROBERT: Do you ever have trouble getting it up in front of a camera?
RICHARD: I've been asked that question an awful lot. I guess one way of being a good exhibitionist is being a good voyeur, and I've never had any problem getting it up as a voyeur. One of the things I really get off on is when I'm in my garden or working on my wind generator, sometimes the thought pops into my mind that somewhere somebody is getting off on me, and I get off on that. One night Alex and I were making it here at home —Alex was in Take One with me, you know, and I said, "Alex, do you realize that while we're making it now, we're also making it together downtown, and I'm making it in L.A. in another movie, and in New York, and in Houston, all at the same time?"
ROBERT: That's interesting, because all these friends at the party were interested in my reactions at seeing my brother fucking on the screen. I told them you were pretty much just another porn actor to me, because of the screen, except in Take One where you and Alex are making it. That, I felt, was an invasion of your privacy because the two of you were so clearly in love. I felt I had walked into a part of your lives where only you two belonged.
RICHARD: I think it was a wonderful expression of my love for Alex, a way to share my love with Alex and let other people know that love does exist and is being spread around, because there's not enough love shared in the world. That's one reason I like doing pornographic movies. I'd much rather be up on the screen fucking and sucking than shooting and killing.
ROBERT: ... which is what most other actors are being paid to do.
RICHARD: Right and what could be more "pornographic"?
ROBERT: Do you get a hard on when you see yourself on the screen?
RICHARD: Yes. I hesitate when I say yes because the first time I saw a film of mine, I laughed all the way through it, at myself. But I am narcissistic. I masturbate in front of mirrors; I'm sure everyone does. I love mirrors. I have a beautiful body. I've never lifted weights, never done anything to make my body beautiful; it's just what I've been given. I'm lucky. I feel if you have something, you should show it, show it every chance I get. Share it.
ROBERT: When you say things like that, aren't you afraid people will think you're egotistical or immodest?
RICHARD: Immodest? It could be they think I'm egotistical, though I've never wanted to project an image of egotism. But I think if people were more narcissistic, we'd have more beautiful bodies. If we don't like to look at ourselves in the nude, how can anybody else like to look at us? I think it would behoove everybody to stand in front of a mirror and beat off, because the more and more you do that, the more you'll be encouraged to create a beautiful body to enjoy.
ROBERT: How many retakes are you good for?
RICHARD: Well, one night doing a scene for Kansas City, I got a bonus because I came copiously.
ROBERT: Is it different from doing it for fun?
RICHARD: It depends on your co-actors. Fortunately I've never had any problem getting it up with anybody I've worked with, though there are lots of people I've had to do it with on film that I'd never have taken home with me.
ROBERT: How's the money?
RICHARD: No gay porn star lives off what he makes in the industry, with the possible exception of Jack Wrangler. I think that will change, that people who are in porn films will begin to be able to make a living off it. Now the people who are making the money are the exhibitors and the distributors. Possibly some of the producers, but I doubt it.
ROBERT: Does your lover get jealous over your films?
RICHARD: Yes. Yes. At one point Alex said, "When will it all end?" and I said, "When they stop asking me." I tried to explain to him how silly his jealousy is, because when I'm doing my screwing, I'm an actor. Robert Redford's wife doesn't get jealous when he's kissing his leading lady on the screen.
ROBERT: But don't you think Robert Redford's wife would have cause to be jealous if he were fucking his leading lady on the screen, the actual in and out?
RICHARD: No, I think walking down the street with somebody and sharing the sight of a flowerbed, for instance, is the same thing as going to bed and sharing a sexual experience with someone. I can't spend twenty-four hours a day with my lover. Sometimes I might be with another person, at a movie or whatever —it could be a woman or another man— it doesn't matter. The point is I'm sharing an experience with these people, an experience Alex is not sharing with me. It's not a betrayal. There's no reason for him to be jealous, because above and beyond anything and everything in this world, I love Alex.
ROBERT: How long have you two been lovers?
RICHARD: Three and a half years.
ROBERT: What do you think Mom and Dad think of this career of yours?
RICHARD: Well, one day we were talking on the phone and Dad said, "We saw your picture in the paper." My heart sank. I thought, the secret's out. It's not that I kept it a secret. I told them I was making a film. I just didn't say what kind.
ROBERT: They're no dummies, Richard.
RICHARD: Anyway, they had seen an advertisement for Kansas City. I still have no idea what they think pornography is, whether they think it's just nude photography or whether it's the actual sucking and fucking that's going on in this world.
ROBERT: One of the times when the subject came up between Mom and me, I told her that I'd gone to see Kansas City and she said, "How was Dick?" I didn't know what to answer, you know, and while I was stammering around she said, "I don't mean the other thing because anybody can do that, but how was his acting?" Well, in <i>Kansas City acting is not the big thing you do, I mean, you just fuck, right? So I said, "Oh, he's fine, fine." Then she said, rather charmingly I though, "Well, I've just come to the conclusion that since Dick's promiscuous anyway, he may as well be getting paid for it." And Dad sat there and agreed. I thought it was very sensible of both of them.
RICHARD: I really like that attitude. She's come a long way. I've had a lot of difficulty coming out with them, with Mom more so than with Dad, because Dad has always been such a wonderful, compassionate person in so many ways, always loving people for who they are and what they are.
ROBERT: Besides, Dad relates more to the gay scene than Mom ever could because he was such a rake when he was young, whereas Mom was the daughter of a Pentecostal Holiness preacher. It's a big reversal for her.
RICHARD: Dad's always been completely accepting of me and my lifestyle but with Mom it was always a battle, and sometimes I thought I'd lost the war. Once when I was belly-aching about the situation, a friend of mine said, "You know, she may never accept you as you are." And it really hit me very very hard because that had never occurred to me, that we would always fight. I didn't want to win the war just for the winning of it; I want my mother to know me, all of me, not just a part of me, which was all she ever got before I came out. I think that's a lot of what coming out is about, becoming a full person rather than a partial person. I love my mother so much, and I know she loves me. And your being gay also, she has two gay sons. It was just something that could not go on, her non-acceptance of her sons.
And Bob, I want and need to apologize again for the way I outed you to Mom and Dad. That was none of my business to do, but it was when we were having a huge fight. I wanted to be able to bring my lover to spend the night at their house the way that Clay can bring his wife, and Janet can bring her husband. And I said to them, I shouted at them, "What are you going to do when Bob comes back from Boston and he brings his black lover with him."
ROBERT: Well, yes, Richard, that was wrong of you. And especially that you brought race into it like that. I didn't like hearing about that when Irene wrote to me in Boston that Clay had heard that story from Mom and Dad. I don't think that either Mom or Dad would care about the race aspect, and of course they knew that I had lived three years in Africa and that I was no doubt intimate with Africans. But I didn't like it —how you said it, why you said it— was it just to hurt them?
RICHARD: Well, yes, maybe. But to get them to understand. We are all our own people.
ROBERT: Yes, that's a point that we always need to make. But in such a moment of anger, throwing it into their faces like that. And I do know that you yourself are not racist. And I trust that with Mom and Dad, too. Well, we've both worked through a lot, and yes, thanks for that apology — again. And I think we've all got that taken care of now.
RICHARD: Yes. The happiest moment of my life was the Christmas Mom invited me and Alex to spend the night. That was the moment that I knew for sure she had finally accepted us.
ROBERT: How do you picture yourself in ten years?
RICHARD: I hope to be sucessful in my primary occupation by that time. I hope to have built several hundred solar homes. And of course I have several other businesses going. I'm a licensed masseur in the Palm Springs area, and I hope to bring lots of pleasure to lots of people with my hands.
ROBERT: What do your clients think about having a massage by a porn star?
RICHARD: What makes me angry is that here I am doing my best for their bodies, and they're all hot to get their six inches off while I'm tryiing to get their whole bodies off, but oh, well. And several of the bars here in San Francisco like to use me for bartending to draw people in.
I don't know where the porn business will take me, but I know that as porn films widen, there will be a call for character actors and actresses. In El Paso they had a difficult time finding a father for the young man, to find a man who was hot enough to be on the screen but was old enough to be a father. That's a character role, and I can play that role in ten years. I don't think I'll be put out to pasture, just like Cary Grant wasn't put out to pasture, or Bette Davis. There'll be a place for us as Daddies as porn films will go on. Why is it that people think that older men don't have sex? Some people have sex into their eighties and nineties. What I've heard all my life is the more you use it, the more you'll have it to use.
There is only one last thing I hope to accomplish in doing pornography. When I was coming out, I didn't feel good about myself. Now I do feel good and I want to share that. If I can project that solid, good feeling within myself into the audience, to people who don't feel good about themselves, if they can say, "That's what I like; that's what I want to be like, open and free," then I will have accomplished one of the goals in my life — to bring freedom to other people, the freedom of being themselves.
Copyright © 2015 Robert Locke
All Rights Reserved