Gay Erotic Video Index
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Wrote an autobiography Dirty Poole: The Autobiography of a Gay Porn Pioneer, Wakefield Pool, Alyson Publications, 2000.
Poole began his career as a dancer, and progressed to assisting in choreography and directing on TV, Broadway and in London. He did his own choreography and directing off Broadway and on tours. One of his innovations was the use of slide projectors and film in art exhibitions and in stage performances. He worked with many of the big names and he drops a lot of them in his book: Balanchine, Rodgers, Sondheim, Warhol and many others. He was married for a time to Nancy Van Rijn.
When his work was going well, he decided that he could make a porn film better than those that were being made, Highway Hustler in paraticular. Up until this time, they were pretty much 'loops' with nothing but sex, no story and little theatrical value. Poole created Boys in the Sand with each scene connected and each with it's own story. It also used the camera in ways that nobody in porn was doing. Casey Donovan (credited as Ken) was in each scene and became one of the first porn 'star'. Poole also cast his lover, at the time, Jim Fisk.
Poole decided to distribute the film on his own and rented the 55th Street Playhouse to open it. On opening day, they were surprised that the theater was full and had to ask for security to deal with all the money they were taking in. For his $4,000 investment the full take was $400,000. The film got rave reviews and was even reviewed in some mainline magazines.
He tried a second film that he wanted to reflect his experiences with LSD: Bijou. It too received a lot of notoriety partly because of it's surreal composition. Each person tended to see something different because it was so open ended in it's meaning.
The third time was not a charm. The Bible was a heterosexual film that was edited down to be R rated. It tried to tell bible stories from a woman's point of view. Eve just happened to eat the apple and Sampson was a senseless brute. If nothing else the title killed it. Poole couldn't get the MPAA to rate it. His investment of $100,000 was wiped out.
One of the tricks that Poole used to get his actors to be spontaneous was to keep them apart and not tell them what was going to happen until it was time for it to happen. He also filmed the sex portion of a scene first before the actors had a chance to learn to dislike each other. In The Bible he adjusted the film rate up so that when shown at normal speed the actor's motions were fluid.
Poole had his name on the credits and on the publicity ads and even appeared in TV interviews on the subject of porn. Just like Casey, the notoriety kept his theatrical career from proceeding so he had to go in other directions.
He and Jim Fisk moved to San Francisco. In the process of breaking up with Jim, Poole created Moving, with a theme of sex while hunting for housing. The movie was hardly promoted but still did well and provided good income. At this time Poole experienced the seedy side of porn when he sued for unauthorized showing of Boys and Bijou. He won the court case, in spite of the illicit nature of the film but had his life threatened.
Poole took up with a new lover, Paul, and redefined himself again by starting a business called Hot Flash, a gift/art store. It never made any money and Poole got into distributing films for Toby Ross and the Gage Brothers. For income only Poole created Take One. He was taken, and never made any money on it.
By this time Wakefield and Paul were working to support their drug habits and Wakefield even had to sell some of his now valuable Warhol paintings to keep himself supplied.
Poole and Paul hit bottom in 1980. Paul was ill with alcohol related liver problems and Wakefield had nothing that anybody wanted to hire him for, except porn. Poole never really felt himself to be a pornographer in spite of the fact that many other people did. Now he had to give in to that definition. Poole had to move back to New York and Paul had to go back to Minneapolis for work but they kept up their long distance relationship. They gave up drugs and sex which probably saved Wakefield's life. His next film was Hot Shots. It wasn't until 3 years later that he cranked out Split Image, Boys in the Sand 2 and One, Two, Three.
By now Poole's father was dead, Paul was to die in 1985 and friends were dying of AIDS. One Daniel Holt, porn star, accused Poole of contributing to the AIDS crisis. Between that and the fact that he was not getting royalties for his work, he gave it up. Redefining himself one more time, he became a chef and wrote his autobiography in the year 2000.
One has to wonder that between the pressure of the government, society's hostility to sexual depiction and some nefarious people who exploit the situation, where is there room in erotic video for art and goodhearted people?
David Jade. "Gayflicks" Gay Times #24, 1974 pg. 7 (Review)
Allan Leopold, Rik Lawrence. "Calvin Culver Lookin' Up" In Touch Vol. 1 No. 10 Jul. 1974 pg. 16 (Interview/Pictures)
Siebenand, Paul. The Beginnings of Gay Cinema in Los Angeles: The Industry and the Audience. Los Angles, CA: USC, 1975 pg. 41,149,247,248,251
Bob Kiggins. "Wakefield Pool Mellows" In Touch No. 24 Jul.-Aug. 1976 pg. 40 (Index)
David Jade. "'Take One' Takes Off" Gay Times #57, 1977 pg. 23 (Review)
John Roberts. "Flicks" In Heat No. 2 1977 pg. 30 (Review)
"Wakefield Poole's "Take One"" Playguy Vol. 1 No. 12 c1977 pg. 32 (Review)
Michael Llewellyn. "Homosex in the Cinema" Mandate Vol. 2 No. 22 Feb. 1977 pg. 33 (Essay)
Jack Fritscher. "Dirty Poole" Drummer Vol. 4 No. 27 1978 pg. 14 (Index)
"Wakefield Poole's Classic Loop 'Roger'" Skinflicks Vol. 1 No. 2 1981 pg. 40 (Pictures)
"Hot Shots, Wakefield Pool Returns" Studflix Vol. 1 No. 3 1982 pg. 40 (Pictures)
"Men & Films" Skinflicks Vol. 3 No. 1 1982 pg. 34 (Essay)
"The All-Male Film part 2" Stallion Vol. 1 No. 3 Jun. 1982 pg. 24 (Essay)
"Reel Life" Skinflicks Vol. 4 No. 6 1984 pg. 3 (Notes)
Bill Bottiggi. "The Gay Film Heritage: Fred Halsted" Manshots Vol. 2 No. 4 Jan. 1990 pg. 6 (Essay/Pictures)
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