So on a bright, sunny April day, Distribpix president and all around nice guy Steven Morowitz was kind enough to have a couple of R!S!P!’s nosiest over to ‘the archive’ for a tour. Before we get to that, a bit of background on the company and just what exactly it is we were about to see and are about to share with you, courtesy of the Distribpix Blog:
“Our company has been around since 1965 and during that time DISTRIBPIX was mainly a film broker and small time production company for the NYC theatres and grindhouses. As time went on, Distribpix became a major player and producer of sexploitation films, and then went on to produce some very successful XXX features for the big screen throughout the 70′s and 80′s. Now branded Video-X-Pix, to reflect the Video Age (VHS and BETA) the company became a major video distribution house, representing some of the best producers and directors of that time period. During the 90′s the company was mothballed and sat basically untouched, with some light distribution only.
In 2002, the son of the original founder of Video-X-Pix, decided it was time to re-open its doors, and with a renewed approach and vigor. Basically a 3 tiered plan. First, to continue to preserve and re-issue our amazing library of classics onto DVD. Secondly, to begin to issue, re-mastered versions of our films, from the 35 negatives, as well as add liner notes and director/actor interviews and commentary and other extras (PLATINUM ELITE COLLECTION). Third, we are going to be finally releasing the soft core sexploitation films from the DISTRIBPIX vault.”
Their most recent release was the Blu-ray special edition of Radley Metzger’s classic, The Opening Of Misty Beethoven, basically set the standard for what can and should be done with classic adult films. Their upcoming release of Barbara Broadcast looks to be following suit. There’s a whole lot more going on at this clandestine warehouse in rural New Jersey than just Metzger related awesomeness, however.
So let’s start the tour…
After arriving fashionably late (blame the traffic on the BQE), Steven wasted no time greeting us and ushering us into his lair! The first thing you see as you're entering the warehouse from the main office are two banners which hung outside Times Square theaters for the respective premieres of Naked Came The Stranger and Pussy Talk!
Actually that’s a bit of a lie, the first thing you’re going to see is Distribpix’s official guard dog, Penny! She likes to sleep and follow you around the place, sneaking up on you and poking you. But let’s get back on topic…
….after playing with the dog for a bit it was time to talk shop. Work is well under way and almost complete on that aforementioned Barbara Broadcast release – DVD & Blu-ray details coming soon – and we were lucky enough to get a preview of the new HD transfer and a sample of the brand new commentary track conducted by Benson Hurst with director Radley Metzger. This is great stuff – fans are going to really enjoy this. And while we await the official word on the release, well, here’s proof that it’s in the works!
From there, it was time to look at slides. Wait… what? Slides? Yes! There are loads of archival slides featuring loads of golden age performers archived here that were originally used for promotional purposes back when this material wasn’t classic but cutting edge, brand new theatrical material!
Slides are great and all, but what else have you got? Oh, we’re just getting started. How about vintage VHS tapes? Many of them still sealed! Yeah, those are here too. These aren’t reproductions, these are the real deal…
What about promo materials for The Crippled Masters? Yeah, for some reason those are here too.
The archives are insane! There’s soooo much awesome stuff crammed in here, it’s like a treasure chest of dirty movie history – hardcore, softcore, even some horror and imported weirdness – it’s all here. And on top of that, there are loads and loads of original art pieces, proofs, sleeves and more!
Some original illustrations, including some by Armand Weston, are preserved here, safe and sound:
One of the most fascinating collections in the warehouse is the photo archive section. Here there are thousands upon thousands of original photographs and their elements taken during various productions for the purposes of documenting the shoots and creating different promotional materials.
Fan favorite filmmaker Joe Sarno had a long history with Distribpix back when they were actively involved in producing new features – here in the archive plenty of material related to his filmography is preserved, as are some of his tools, including his movieola!
Also stored here are binders full of clippings and advertisement art and other assorted promotional materials for Video Shack – a chain of movie stores that was one of the pioneers in the world of home video retail. Check out the advertising art and some shots of some interesting celebrity appearances that happened at the flagship store in Times Square!
What about vintage press books? Those are here too!
Oh, and film elements – you want those too? You got it. Original negatives, 16mm and 35mm collections, trailers, features – pretty much everything you could want – and check out some of the titles…
…at this point in the tour, Steven mentions ‘and up there on the top shelf are a few boxes of Seka’s fan mail.’ He was ready to keep going, so much more to show us – but no, you can’t just drop that comment and let it lay, my friend. If you’ve got Seka’s fan mail, you have to show it to me and I have to photograph some of it. Never one to deny a fellow enthusiast a glimpse at a weird part of history, Steven scurried like a squirrel up a ladder and handed me a stack of stinky, dirty envelopes! Names and addresses are smudged to protect the guilty – BEHOLD!
This guy bought some of Seka’s used panties and a Polaroid for the bargain price of only $19.95 plus $2.00 shipping!
And this guy joined the Seka fan club but felt obligated to include a personalized note to the Platinum Princess!
“I am a real big Seka fan and would like a catalogue of other Seka products. I am a fan club member (#8323) and would love more information on my favorite lady Seka. I think she’s the best in the porn industry. Not only do I love her body, but I like her face. She has the…”
“… most beautiful face, to my eyes anyway. When I date women I tell them about ‘SEKA EYES.’ And sometimes they make up their eyes like hers. I hope you can help me out, thanks a lot.”
But there’s more to see. We can’t stop there. More stuff! Old tape masters, collections of promotional photographs and more old advertising material are stashed away here.
And there’s more original artwork too! Check out these paintings and drool over some classic stuff – Angel Buns! Seka! The Nesting! Some never before seen rough concept art that was tossed about as a possible marketing campaign for the Sharon Mitchell movie JOY. And Harry Reems and Jennifer Welles too!
Finishing up the tour, it was time to look at the archive’s one sheet collection. Stored here are scores of vintage posters for Distribpix productions but also original one sheets from the Times Square theaters that the company was involved with. Here hundreds of crazy old dirty movies were shown to the denizens of New York City – and not just Distribpix produced material but scores of movies from other production houses as well. You might want to get a napkin handy, because this is going to make you drool….
And that concludes our tour. Our biggest thanks go out to Steven for his kindness, generosity and hospitality. This was a great experience and he made for a ridiculously fun tour guide, his enthusiasm is nothing if not infectious. There are some big projects in the works from Distribpix coming soon, so keep your eyes on the Distribpix site for details and if you do the Facebook thing, like’em here!