Interview: Howie Gordon (Richard Pacheco)
By Jared Stearns
When I called Howie Gordon one evening in March he was busy trying to locate some negatives of candid photos he took of Marilyn Chambers on the set of Insatiable. “I shot pictures when I wasn’t in the scene, and when I was in the scene I gave my camera to someone so I have lots and lots of backstage stuff,” he said.
Some of the photos will be featured in Gordon’s memoir, Hindsight, to be released this fall, which chronicles his life in and out of the adult film world. After he was chosen as Playgirl’s Man of the Year in 1979, Gordon segued into adult films. He found his biggest success under the name Richard Pacheco, including an award-winning performance in Anthony Spinelli’s Talk Dirty to Me (1979) opposite John Leslie, and memorable appearances in two of Marilyn’s biggest films, Insatiable (1980) and Up ‘n’ Coming (1983). He talked about those two films, working with Marilyn, John Holmes, Chuck Traynor and why one should never, ever try to siphon gasoline – especially when one is about to get a blowjob.
Insatiable was the first time you worked with her, right?
That was her big comeback movie and you were sort of newish on the scene, right? So how did you get involved?
Let’s see we shot it in…the movies were usually released about six months after we shot them. I just can’t remember when we shot it.
It came out in mid-1980, so I think it might have been early 1980.
We shot it in 1979. I found it right here. I’ll give you a little background. [Reads from Hindsight] “When Talk Dirty to Me was released
theatrically it made a lot of waves. It wasn’t the monster epidemic that swept the country like Deep Throat, which had done so almost a
decade earlier, but a lot of adult producers sat up and took notice…Reviews of Talk Dirty started turning up in places that usually the
adult industry ignored, like Esquire magazine for one…Richard Pacheco got rave reviews for Talk Dirty to Me. I never quite understood
that. My best work was on the cutting-room floor. The character was great, but the finished movie, eh. My guess is that the movie and
all the performances in it did a whole let better when you compared them with other adult movies that were made that year. In that case
I guess we were Gone with the Fucking Wind. The phone was now ringing for Richard Pacheco. If I were a gambler like my mother
and father and all of my uncles, and my aunts, I would have to say I was riding a nice little hot streak. And for dessert, the director of
Insatiable called and offered me a lot of money to get a blow job from Marilyn Chambers, the number one X-rated female star in the
world. Gee, I’ll have the think about it. Let me get back to you.” And there’s that picture I sent you of me and Marilyn and the caption
underneath says “Top of the world, ma!”
“A guy named Charlie Stevens picked me up in his family’s sports car for that long ride to the set in the Sacramento Delta…In the morning I was driven from the hotel to the set, and there was Marilyn. She was in David Clark’s makeup chair. Her hair was up in rollers but there she was, still no mistaking the fact that she was a real thoroughbred. We were introduced. It was light and easy…Marilyn had her own hairdresser with her. This was all really big doings compared to most of the women I had met in the business. Marilyn made lots of jokes and so did I. Keeping it light was the order of the day. I took out a camera and with her permission snapped some pictures.” And there’s some of the pictures I took. “Marilyn and I ran our lines; she knew hers, I knew mine…She appeared to like me well enough.
“Our scenes were going to be shot out of sequence. The blowjob would come before lunch. It seemed like we were behind schedule before we even started. They were already trying to speed things up. Oddly enough, the story we were shooting in the film mirrored our real life situation. She was a famous actress who has sex with a nobody. I wasn’t exactly a nobody but compared to Marilyn I was.”
In the film Howie plays Artie Goldberg, a young man stranded on the side of the road when his car runs out of gas. Marilyn’s character, Sandra Chase, pulls up next to him and offers assistance. She suggests he siphon some gas from her car into a gas can. As he begins sucking on the hose she gives him a blowjob.
[Continues reading from Hindsight] “Well, the problem was I had never siphoned gasoline before. I dipped one end of the hose into her tank and started sucking on the other. I should have tried acting. We did some very stupid double entendre dialogue before I was surprisingly rewarded with a mouthful of gasoline.”
My wife is laughing in the background. And there’s a picture of me that somebody snapped right when I got the gasoline in my mouth; I’m completely contorted and my tongue’s sticking out.
“Eventually I recovered enough for us to continue shooting the scene, but my penis had to do it without me. There was enough
pleasure in her sucking that I was able to get hard, but it was acting, Academy Award-acting. I was completely distracted by that god-awful taste in my mouth. I would have killed for a glob of peanut butter. Blowjob? What blowjob? But Marilyn sucked like a pro and they soon had enough hardcore footage they needed except for the come shot, the almighty come shot. The director asked me if I was ready to come. He just wasn’t paying attention…On a 1 to 10 scale, I was about a 2. They were all in a hurry to get to lunch…It has always taken me a long time to come from a blowjob, onscreen or off, and that’s without drinking any gasoline…So I did everyone a favor that day…I took matters into my own right hand. If it was my orgasm that they all awaited, who knew better than me how to turn me on? I can’t be sure, but it seemed like it didn’t take me all that long…when I felt myself getting close, I jumped up and hit my mark like a Marlon Brando. Marilyn was on her knees in a flash. The director called for action and the rest you can see for yourself in the movie. A lot of people did. Insatiable was probably the most popular film that I was ever in.”
How old were you when you were in Insatiable?
Let’s see, 1979, I was 31-years-old.
First of all, I had no clue about the gasoline. That’s the first time I had heard that story and you cannot tell that you just got a mouthful of gasoline, so kudos to you for acting as if you didn’t just get a mouthful of gasoline. Did you have any dealings with her on the set, aside from taking a few snaps of her?
When I shot Insatiable with her, we were the only two actors on the set that day. And she was strictly under the very tight control of Chuck Traynor. When we weren’t shooting scenes he had her under his thumb, tucked away somewhere, and I was left to hang out with the crew all day, which is what I did. So I had no offstage time with her at all. The only time I was with her was when we were in makeup, when I met her, when we were rehearsing prior to shooting, and when we were shooting. And then she was whisked away.
When we shot Up ‘n’ Coming, it was 1982, and I had left the business. I had a baby and I was in one of my several retirements, probably my first one. Oh, no, no, I’m confusing it. There were two stages to Up ‘n’ Coming. The first was we shot a scene together, and that was a half a day’s work where I played a guy getting a blowjob and it turns out she’s [a country singer who was] working me like I thought I was working her. She gives me half a blowjob and tells me she’ll finish it when the song’s #1. That’s what we shot. And I was hoping that after we were done shooting she would finish the blowjob backstage, but not even close. [Laughs] We were having fun that day. What was different by the time Up ‘n’ Coming was shot, was that Chuck Traynor was gone and she was an entirely different animal after that. She was really fun to be around. She was hanging out with everybody. There were a lot of laughs. She was very personable, she was not standoffish. She was one of the guys. That was great. She was enjoying herself. Because it was very dark around her when Chuck Traynor was there; it wasn’t very pleasant.
I know that that’s the kind of reputation he had.
Well he was like the elephant in the room.
Did you talk to him? What were your experiences with him?
Nothing. Anytime you’re going to have sex with somebody’s partner and they’re on the set, you’re hypersensitive. I’m hypersensitive, anyway, to the dynamic of it. This was old business for him. He had already done this whole routine with Linda Lovelace. He had been at it a long time. Like I said he didn’t let [Marilyn] loose. She worked the scene then was back to him wherever that was backstage. I had nothing to do with him and didn’t feel the need to want to have anything to do with him. You know, I didn’t really know who she was until he was gone. And she was really pleasant to be around; she was a lot fun.
So you did the radio disc jockey blowjob scene in Up ‘n’ Coming first and she was still with Chuck?
She was not. That was over. She was done with him before we started that movie. What happened
was that movie got shot, then I had a baby, then I had some other experiences and I ended up
quitting the business, and I was retired. The phone rings one day and it’s Stu Segall, the director of both of those films, and he said they needed another scene for Up ‘n’ Coming before they could
release it and I had to be in it. And I said, “Oh, no, I’m retired now. I’m not going to do that.” And he
said [laughs], he started the conversation -- I remember this now -- by saying “How would you like
to be in a scene with John Holmes and Marilyn Chambers?” And he said it like he was offering me
cookies and cream, but I would rather have fallen off a ladder than be a scene with those two.
Because Marilyn and I, you know I had no idea who she really was at that point, and Holmes I had
been around some. I had never seen him when he wasn’t doing coke and at this particular
moment in the world, he was just being released from a year in protective custody. That day that
we were going to shoot the scene, he was getting out of jail! It had been this grisly, horrible story.
That was the Wonderland murders, right?
Yeah. I didn’t want to know what that story was beyond what I read in the paper. You know he and I
weren’t buddy-buddy. He had been nice to me the times I had been around him and I was grateful
because I had seen him arbitrarily just write people off for fun. He could destroy girls and make
them cry and run, and I’m not talking about sex. I’m talking about attitude. He was the unofficial director on every set he was on; a power to contend with. But like I said he had been nice to me and I was grateful for that, and I wouldn’t even do anything vaguely to offend, but the idea of sharing a woman with him, come on! [Laughs] He was fourteen inches long and I was six. How is that going to work? Are you going to fuck a girl after him? I don’t think so. Well, I didn’t want any part of it. So I kept saying no, but the director said, “No, you need to be in this scene. We need you in this scene.” And he kept raising the rate. When he got to a nice round number I said OK, sure. By the time we shot the scene they added Herschel Savage and Lili Marlene to the scene. So it was a five shot now, not a three shot, and that was great because it changed the entire dynamic.
That was an interesting day. Holmes hadn’t arrived yet. The call for the four of us, me, Marilyn, Herschel and Lili, was early morning. And the first shot was the blowjob scene with Marilyn and Lili, and two girls has always been my favorite…and that scene went really well and I was done. Holmes showed up after that and kept to himself because, like I said, this was the day he had gotten out of jail, which was just weird. I remember it was very cold and we were all shivering because we were naked and Holmes was sitting in the corner naked by himself, and I remember one of the crew whispered to another, “Well, that’s what prison will do for you,” because he was comfortable sitting there by himself.
Then he and Marilyn went to work. [The film] was, ironically, [shot] at the home of a proctologist in Marin County. There was a balcony over a living room. The balcony was where they had set up the food. I was done working and I was hanging around the set, but I decided to have lunch before I went home. And I started to hear these screams. And it’s Marilyn screaming. They’re incredible screams. So I go to see what’s going on and Holmes is fucking her in the ass with that little league baseball bat that he has for a penis. And Marilyn is doing like a yogic breath of fire. Her face is just electric. It’s amazing. It was the visual experience of speaking in tongues. I couldn’t believe it. It was red hot, red fucking hot. I had just come and here I am getting a hard-on. I watched the sex, just transfixed, and at the end I thought, “That is the best sex scene I have ever seen. I can’t wait for the film to come out.” And I’m telling people for six months about how great this scene is. And Marilyn, I didn’t realize how much, but she seemed to enjoy pain quite a bit. We didn’t get to any of that stuff. But when they movie came out, and you’ve seen the movie, they missed it. Instead they showed shots of his dick going in her ass but the scene was all in her face. They just blew it.
Were you asked to work with her again like in any of her Private Fantasies videos or anything after Up ‘n’ Coming?
No, by then I was out of the business. We would see each other occasionally at events, maybe,
and say hello, but I never worked with her again.
Because you know on one of the Private Fantasies tapes, there was originally a scene with Traci Lords, and when that whole thing blew up Traci Lords’s scene was replaced by the blowjob scene from Up ‘n’ Coming.
Ahh, you know, Traci Lords was the first girl I turned down having sex with. A director called me and
asked me if I wanted to be in this film with this hot new girl named Traci Lords, but I was retired
and said no.
You were one of the only male co-stars, if not the only male co-star, who didn’t fuck [Marilyn] on screen.
Yeah, I never got the opportunity. It was just the two blowjobs and that’s it.
Did you know Marilyn said in an interview several years ago that you were her favorite actor she worked with?
Yes, there was an interview she gave, and I can’t remember who it was for, but somebody asked her who was her favorite actor that she worked with and she replied “A guy named Richard Pacheco.”
Wow! No, I had never heard that. I’d be interested to see that interview. It’s a really nice thought, but I don’t know if it’s true.