Paul Coates -- Confidential File, January 21, 1959
January 21, 2009 | 2:00 pm
Smut Purveyor Reaps Harvest
In the smut business, the biggest losers are the customers.
They shell out something (more than 1 million dollars a year) for nothing.
But they're not the only ones who come out on the short end.
A couple of years ago, I printed a letter received by an 11-year-old boy here in town.
It was the typical pitch to peddle nude photos, written as a "personal" note.
It said, in part:
"Maybe it isn't proper for a girl to write to a strange man this way, but I hope you don't mind . . .
". . . I was talking to a girl friend the other day -- and she mentioned HER little business and how enjoyable it was just writing letters and sending photographs and films of herself to a few nice fellows . . .
"The photographs . . . are a lot different from what you've seen in the magazines. For my PERSONAL FRIENDS, you know.
"The films -- well, I've never modeled for movies before. On the first one I was so nervous the photographer said, 'Okay, just act like you were nervous' -- and it was real easy. He had me strip down from street clothes -- all the way . . ."
The kid's name possibly got on the trash peddler's mailing list by accident. Sucker lists -- or mailing lists -- are swapped freely among the quick artists, no matter what their product.
In that particular case, the boy's mother intercepted the letter before he had the chance to break open his piggy bank.
She forwarded it to me, with some steaming comments about what the postman can bring to her children.
Yesterday I talked with another woman -- a mother of two -- who found herself much more personally involved in the borderline pornography business.
Her name: Mrs. Therese Loomis. The wife of an actor, she's worked in summer stock, little theater, and legit modeling.
Last October, she took an assignment which called for modeling and recording.
The "recording" consisted of cutting a record in which she coos and bemoans the "lonely" life of a little girl in Hollywood, and invites the listener on a moonlight ride up Pacific Coast Highway.
(Typical dialogue: "I might even bite you on the ear if you're not careful" . . . "If you don't behave yourself I might have to jump in the back seat.")
Just Five-Buck Package
The photos, Mrs. Loomis told me, were straight pin-up stuff -- in nightgowns, bathing suits, shorts -- and the package went for five bucks to any mailing list chumps who answered a come-on letter similar to the one the boy received.
When I talked with Mrs. Loomis yesterday, she was a very upset young woman. A jury in Van Nuys court had branded her recording and the pitch letter to sell it as obscene."
Whatever it was, her modeling agency has dropped her, her neighborhood newspaper -- in reporting the story -- has labeled her as a member of a nationwide smut ring, and her own neighbors won't talk to her anymore.
The jury's verdict of guilty is being appealed, but no matter what the eventual outcome, Mrs. Loomis is a loser.
The $50 fee she earned for the job was used up the day she had to pay a bail bondsman to get out of jail.
The only ones who come out ahead in the business of titillating the flippy adult or the curious adolescent who gets on these lists are the smooth operators who rake in so many bucks that the few they put out in infrequent fines look like pennies to them.