Thursday, January 14, 2010

Tales of Small-Town Life: The Legend of Porky's

In the early 1980s, before any of my playground chums and I had access to VHS and before any video rental places opened anywhere near us (or anywhere near almost anybody, for that matter), before any of us had seen an R-rated movie, before we'd seen a naked woman on celluloid or the pages of a magazine (except for the Penthouse magazine that some sixth-graders brought to school and briefly waved in front of us before hiding it underneath one of their jackets), one teenage sex comedy became the pinnacle of rural playground mythology. In 1982, when I was in kindergarten, Porky's came to a theater near you. In 1983, when I was in first grade, the movie became a hot topic of playground conjecture, speculation, tall tale, legend, myth, anticipation, and obsession. My group of friends and I were working-class kids with twentysomething parents, so none of us had HBO, and even if we'd had the channel, none of our parents would have been willing to let a six-year-old watch a teen sex romp. That didn't stop the legend from growing ever larger. Most likely, the unavailability of this film in our young lives helped fuel its mythical reputation.
One friendly acquaintance of mine, Phillip, spread the Porky's gospel like a fire-and-brimstone evangelical. He was still in kindergarten, but my first-grade chums and I took him seriously, for a number of reasons. His parents were divorced, and, though many of us would eventually share in this unfortunate circumstance, he was the first one, which gave him an exotic, streetwise sheen we silently but strongly admired. His oldest brother was in high school. Teenagers were golden gods to us then. I especially worshiped his older brother because he was a long-haired metal and punk fan who I would later talk music with when I was a middle school kid and he was in his twenties on breaks from college. I was a little scared of metal and punk when I was in first grade, being mostly a new wave, Michael Jackson, and John Cafferty & The Beaver Brown Band fan at the time, but, again, the exotic allure of the dark unknown world of the teenage hesher simultaneously attracted and frightened me. But I digress. Back to Phillip. Most importantly, he had a confirmed bachelor uncle who lived in an apartment in downtown Denver, and he and his brothers often visited this uncle on weekends. Oh, the tales they told. Oh, the boobs seen on pay cable. Oh, the sips of beer his uncle let them sneak. This kid had the goods on the side of life we might someday, somehow, tomorrow, tomorrow, somewhere over the rainbow, brush up against as adults, young adults, teenagers, or god help us, tweens.
Many weekday mornings, in that sweet twenty minutes before the first bell rang, we lined up alongside the red brick wall of the elementary school and listened to Phillip's tales of Porky's. In those weeks before the weather grew bitterly cold and the snow piled up, when it was too cold to play basketball, kickball, king of the mountain, or merry-go-round of death but tolerable enough to stand around and talk with our hands in our pockets, our breath not yet visible in the air, we listened as Phillip gave us the latest installment of Porky's info. He often mentioned that Porky's was in regular rotation on HBO at his uncle's house, but he had yet to catch a magical glimpse. He did know one thing. The version shown on HBO was not the version shown in theaters. No, the version on HBO was many times filthier. In fact, it was the XXX version. We had not yet acquired the knowledge that would let us call bullshit on that one. Instead, we exhaled deeply, widened our eyes, and agreed that that XXX version must be really something.
In the coming weeks, Phillip told us he'd sneaked a few peeks at the television screen while his uncle watched Porky's. He told us of the many scenes of unsimulated sex he'd witnessed before his uncle caught him peeking from behind the couch. He said that a man had even licked a woman's genitalia. This was the most outrageous thing we'd ever heard. He licked it? Really? This was truly a man who would do anything. This was a man, to quote a redneck Benedict Arnold of the future, "with a spine of tempered steel." Phillip promised to catch more of the film in future visits and report back.
He did report back, again and again. By now, we should have been suspicious. It would seem that his uncle's television contained nothing but a permanent Porky's loop. But we were hooked. What next? He watched half of it, he said. He mentioned scenes that we would eventually learn were actually in the film, but he filled them with many unsimulated exaggerations, including more genital-licking, nipple-tweaking, penis-stroking, and full-on boning. He exaggerated the shower scene to include a 20-minute orgy, and claimed the penis-in-the-hole-in-the-wall gag was actually shown in uncensored detail.
The day finally came when Phillip saw the whole XXX Porky's shebang. In a stroke of genius, he pretended to fall asleep on his uncle's living room floor. This ruse finally provided the chance to see the film in its entirety. His uncle thought he was asleep, and he watched the whole movie. This time, he saw such incredible scenes as a man who put his penis in a hot dog bun, a woman who covered her breasts with a banana split, and the most legendary scene of all, which caused the most playground hubbub I've heard before or since. He claimed that Porky's final scene featured a man with eight penises receiving oral sex from eight different women. He called this man "octopus-dick." In second grade, it became "octopus cock." By third grade, we referred to the man as "octo-cock." This was so unbelievable that we believed every word. We had to see this movie. We. Had. To. See. This. Movie.
That third grade year, video rentals were widely available. While perusing the video wall at a local convenience store, I spotted it. Porky's! On VHS! For rental! In our little town! The dirtiest movie ever made! Still, none of us could figure out a way to rent that video. We were little kids. What were we going to do? But, we had to see it! There must be a way. There wasn't.
Later that year, the Porky's myth ended with a whimper, not a (gang)bang. Here all week, people. The legend had trickled all the way up to the older kids, but it entered a period of stasis. With none of us able to actually see the movie and with no way to top the Octo-Cock, we moved on to other topics of discussion, such as professional wrestling and how long you could be submerged underwater without suffering brain damage. One day, while standing along the wall talking to Phillip, we watched a sixth-grader walk up to us. Here is the conversation that ensued, to the best of my recollection.
Sixth-grade: Hey, Phillip. I finally watched Porky's and almost none of that stuff you said was in it. There was no Octopus Dick. There weren't any blowjobs. There was some boobs and some bush in the shower part, and some chick showed her butt, but that was it. You're so full of it.
Phillip: I was talking about Porky's II, not Porky's.
Sixth-grade: Yeah, right.
The sixth-grader walked away. We went back to talking about being submerged underwater.

There is no such thing as Santa Claus and there is no such thing as Octo-Cock.

I didn't see Porky's until 2007.