The Devil Behind ''The Devil in Miss Jones''

Unearthed: Bill O'Reilly's first article for the Boston Phoenix
By BILL O'REILLY  |  August 26, 2010

Gerard Damiano
This article originally ran in the April 30, 1974 issue of the Boston Phoenix.

The predominately student crowd which packed every square foot of a Boston University auditorium was growing restless. A grumous haze, caused by the blending of cigarettes and marijuana smoke, hung over the room which was becoming increasingly more claustrophobic with every passing second. Gerard Damiano and the second of his porno-flic films, The Devil In Miss Jones, were already twenty minutes late when a roar went up from the throng. The Samuel Goldwyn of hard-core pornography had arrived. Dressed in a fire-engine red sports coat, checked slacks and platform shoes, Damiano is exactly what you would expect a pornographer to look like. His hair is a neatly coiffed graying pompadour and his lecherous smile seems to be saying: "Candy, little girl?" Accompanying him was his wife, a platinum blond in sunglasses. The image was perfect.

Damiano seized the microphone and, as the house quieted uttered his first words: "I'm very gratified by your friendly reaction and I promise I won't say a single thing about baked beans."

"Is he for real?" a girl up front asked.

Sensing the growing uneasiness of his audience, Damiano brought his heavy artillery. "Well let's show the film now and afterward I'll answer any questions."

The spectators roared their approval and licked their lips in anticipation of the forbidden pleasures to come. Before anyone could say "prurient interests," the lights went out and The Devil in Miss Jones appeared on the screen. The mood of the viewers quickly sobered when the all too realistic suicide scene began. Screams of horror filled the room as Miss Jones methodically ended her life by slashing her wrists in a bathtub. More than one person elected to forego the rest of the proceedings and left by the nearest exit. After 60 minutes the film ended and Gerald Damiano once again stepped to the podium. "Did I leave anything out?" he asked.

If there was ever any question concerning the star of the evening, whether it was the film or the producer, it was answered right then as half the audience ignored Damiano's query and filed noisily out the doors.

Those who remained were treated to the usual banalities and well rehearsed answers concerning censorship, the Supreme Court and so on, that a man in Damiano's position must constantly spew forth. To his credit, however, he did field all the questions and gave some candid answers.

No, he did not think the film was degrading to women. "If anything, I think it degrades men because they are portrayed as just objects used to educate Miss Jones in lustful matters."

Why did he want to degrade men? "I did it because of what sex films have done to women throughout the years."

What is the atmosphere on the sets of his films? "I'm glad you asked that. The morals behind the scenes of a sex film are much higher than most of the straight pictures. There's a good chance you might have to screw somebody to get in a soap commercial for instance. People don't have to screw to get a part in a screwing film."

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