Ever wonder what kind of creature lurked beyond the green XXX door, helping create the $8 billion a year monster called the porn industry? Ever wonder how Marvel’s X-Men, the Incredible Hulk, and Spiderman himself were behind it all?
The superhero tale is revealed in the no-holes-barred Beaver Street: A History of Modern Pornography (Headpress) about men of steel, women of easy persuasion, and phone sex, the revolutionary fusion of computers and erotica.
The author is porn wunderkind, Robert Rosen, known to men’s magazine fans as Bobby Paradise. He studied under Catch-22’s Joseph Heller at New York’s City College in the '70s. He spent the next eight years freelancing, and writing speeches for the Secretary of the Air Force. Between gigs, he drove a cab.
Then manna from heaven: after John Lennon’s assassination, a former classmate of Rosen's, the Beatle's personal assistant, dropped John’s New York diaries in his lap and asked him to ghostwrite an account of the star’s last days.
Before Rosen finished the manuscript, Lennon’s assistant ripped it off. The '83 recession was in full swing. He now found himself back on the street with the 10 million other unemployed. So he sent his resume to a city PO Box for an “Editorial” job listed in the Times Help Wanted.
Days later, Robert, in suit and tie, was in a High Society cubical overlooking the United Nations building, writing “girl copy” and phone sex scripts, as well as brainstorming ideas for pictorials. His boss, Carl Ruderman, had started him at $17,000 to make the magazine “crazier” than its competitors. “I want to be a household name, like Playboy,” Ruderman told him, of HS. “And I want it yesterday!”
Tapping into his experience as a comic skit writer, the rookie cranked out his first HS pictorial feature: a Cool Hand Luke leather-and-lace lesbian chain gang.
Ruderman declared his new recruit a “creative genius” who “would not be standing in a breadline.” By this time, Rosen’s boss was clearing over a quarter million dollars a month from High Society’s phone-sex juggernaut. The computerized system logged over 500,000 calls a day, Ruderman made 2 cents per (the phone company made 7), and his best customer was the Pentagon.