The plot thickens. Hal Guthu one time Hollywood agent is found dead. Was it a suicide? Did some one kill him? Was he smothered to death by a big-boobed woman?
Death and Then Some… Part 4
Russ Meyer sits on his patio overlooking Lake Hollywood with his shirt opening on his big hairy belly. He launches into a story about finding a perfect location to photograph an “over- built woman” and then inserting her into that perfect location “in such a way that she would lean out the window, and shake her bagangas, which by and large are large.” I haven’t got the faintest idea what he’s talking about, and ask him to tell me about Hal Guthu.
“You guys worked together up in San Francisco?”
“It’s not a tremendous remembrance. If you’re asking me to recommend him, the best thing you should do is just recommend me.” He laughs.
That’s when I realize something’s wrong with Meyer. He wasn’t anything like this the last time I saw him. “Hal was a cameraman,” I prod, “I heard that he was the cameraman on The Immoral Mr. Tease.”
“Was he the cameraman on Mr. Tease? I don’t think so. Maybe I let him load the film.”
“He started a little agency, CHN.”
“I wouldn’t think much of someone starting a little agency,” Meyer says. “Most of these people are trying to get laid themselves, and not having enough push to get women that are over- built.”
“Excuse me?” I say.
“Overbuilt women! That’s why I made a success. Overbuilt women!” Then the phone rings and Meyer picks it up and laughs boisterously, haw haw haw, the old operator putting on the schmooze. “Yeah, I’m ready to make pictures,” he says, “soon as I find an overbuilt woman. That’s what I need. I need an over built woman!”
Caroline’s hair is cut short and spiky with the black roots showing and she’s a master of the breathy, giggly, oddly vacant Asian courtesan style — someone said she was like a blonde anyway, so she just decided to go blonde and go blonde she did. She walked into Hal’s office in July of ’99 and ever since then she’s been coming to his office every day from two to four and just, like, hanging out. “I had a lot of energy and he had a lot of energy and we got along,” she says. “And he was like my psychic reader because he would tell me things like ‘You’re gonna make it so good,’ and ‘Try everything, you never know who you’re gonna meet.’ And I’d hang on to every word of it. I don’t know if he says that to every single girl. It feels like he’s saying it just to me.” Hal would give her a hundred bucks to buy some clothes, she says. He wore custom shoes because one foot was smaller than the other, from a plane crash when he was young. He told her he had three wives. He would bring out all his old photos and sometimes he would talk about his kids. “I just wish he wouldn’t have to dye his hair — so red. That particular shade of red.”
She’s pretty sure someone killed him. He would close the car in the back and lock the gate, every time. So why is his car parked in the street? And he would talk about his girlfriend and sometimes the girlfriend would call when she was there, so that was definite. Plus, there was some jewelry. “He showed it to me,” she says.
“He showed you jewelry?” I ask.
“Yeah, jade and diamond ring,” she says. “Yeah. Gold ring. Rubies. All inside the safe. And I called the cops and asked them if they have it, and they said, ‘We don’t have it.’”
Bill Margold’s apartment is just off Sunset Boulevard, a dark little place with a fraying brown carpet and stuffed bears everywhere and football trophies and stacks of old newspapers with articles he wrote and a whole bookshelf filled with videos of his old movies. He stops at the poster of Disco Dolls. “That’s probably my favorite,” he says. “I get my dick bit off at the end, and spit out into the audience. I take a stake and skewer a woman. I kill another woman, sodomizing her while I’m drowning her in a vat of chicken soup.”
Margold would send Hal the girls who didn’t want to do hardcore and Hal would get them work on pretend-Hollywood movies where they’d barely get scale, and they’d feel better. Margold has a soft spot for Hal because he was nice to Viper, the love of his life. People snubbed her when she first came into town — she would do anything, even double anal, and the other women freaked and wouldn’t work with her, but Hal got her work in the fetish world and gave her a home and kept her going. “I think Hal liked her because she was such a battered puppy, and Hal was a kindly man,” Margold says. And Hal got her the part she played in Vice Academy as the bombshell in the purple dress who teaches the course on sexology, which was perfect for her because she was so wise — she used to say that men were rabbits and women were snakes and that she went into the porn business because then she could have sex with ten thousand men instead of just one, stuff like that. But unfortunately she also had a bad drug habit and ended up frying herself down to eighty-five pounds, and in February ’91 she went naked down Santa Monica Boulevard and got put in Thalians. And then disappeared into America. Last year a magazine writer went looking for her and turned up nothing, just her ID card left on a gravestone out in one of those states.
Bill is fifty-six years old and well over six feet, with a scrappy moustache and a basketball gut. He will tell you that the five most important letters in an adult performer’s makeup are r-e-b- e-l and that “the real last American outlaws were the hardcore performers of the 1970s” and that the thing an adult performer wants more than anything else is a hug.
He knocks on the door of his extra bedroom and introduces me to a skinny young brunette from Germany, the latest in a series of unsettled young women he calls his “kids.” Small and soft-spoken, Marlene tells me she met Hal eight or nine weeks ago and he was kind of like old Hollywood, taking her in the back to shoot a naked Polaroid. But he seemed nice enough and he sent her out on one job. Funny thing is, it was a hardcore job. Which didn’t bother her so much — she hands me a cassette with her face on the cover, eyes wide and mouth stuffed — but the guy was totally amateur. “He didn’t know what to do, like how to hold the camera and how to shoot.”
Later, Margold says this was an example of Hal’s decline. “I think Hal had settled into his dotage, and finally didn’t care.”
As I get ready to leave, Margold combs through his book for helpful phone numbers while simultaneously stuffing my hands with porn goodies. We shake hands and he frowns. “The question that nags me is, ‘Where’s the parrot?’” he says.
“That’s what everyone says.”
“Sure. Where’s the parrot?”