Wednesday, April 15, 2009


Not everybody wants to connect the dots. For most people, the sleazy world of pornography is miles away from more respectable endeavors. There couldn't possibly be anything linking the late porn star Marilyn Chambers to, say, Star Wars. Could there?

Ah, but consider the career of David Winters. A respected dancer on Broadway in the fifties. Winters was part of the original cast of West Side Story. He was one of the few members of the stage cast to land a gig in the movie version. (He played A-rab, and quite brilliantly, it must be said.) While in Hollywood, he landed himself some primo gigs, staging dance numbers in several Elvis Presley epics (including Viva Las Vegas) and becoming a choreographer and sometime producer for a number of hilariously cheesy TV variety specials, including this little number from the 1970 special Raquel!

Whatever talent Winters had as a dancer, his TV work is as bad as it gets. Yet he kept getting gigs, including staging this number from, yes, The Star Wars Holiday Special. This thing goes on for quite some time; watch if you dare.

Winters considered himself a multi-talent. As the vogue for TV variety shows faded, he turned to producing and, later, directing movies. Awful, awful exploitation movies, many of them made in apartheid-era South Africa, including the notoriously awful Space Mutiny, roundly mocked on an episode of Mystery Science Theater 3000.

But before he started providing financial support for racist governments, he enabled abuse victim Linda Lovelace to continue exploiting her limited fame, by choreographing and directing her Las Vegas revue (!) and producing the so-called comedy Linda Lovelace For President.

Lovelace claimed Winters beat her to within an inch of her life. He was also targeted for death by mobsters in the employ of Chuck Traynor, Lovelace's ex-husband, who had by that time hooked up with Marilyn Chambers and...well, this turned kind of ugly, didn't it? We started out with some fun, easily mocked clips and wound up in sordid well of pain.

But, in the immortal words of Tom Bosley, that's Hollywood.