The Ocean County Compendium of  History
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The History of Pornography in Ocean County, Part I
by Steven J. Baeli
                                                         May 30, 2010

 The Early Years

The subject of sex often evokes a multitude of feelings and emotions across the social spectrum.  To some the mere mention of the word can cause some to blush, while to others it sets off uncontrollable urges.  For the rest, sex is something that is as natural in life as is death at its end, but for the most part we also understand its power, and therefore the need to control the where, when, and how of it in order to maintain a reasonable, orderly society.  There are, of course, those who would seek to ban any reference at all to sex, an ideology coming largely out of the religious community where sex is believed to be a gift from God designed for procreation, and when abused becomes sinful.  There are also those in the political sphere as well who have made every attempt to ban sex education in public schools[1] for fear that it would prompt children to have sex, as if puberty lent nothing to that equation.  The irony, of course, is that almost every day we read about some teacher or clergyman, congressman or senator, in trouble over a sex scandal, and they are usually the same people who preach to everyone else about the immorality of adultery, homosexuality, and child abuse.

Today we have become almost immune to such acts of salacious hypocrisy, but throughout the 1970s and on through the better part of the 1990s, a battle for the soul of America took place on the heels of the hippie “Free Love” movement that taught us that sex is not dirty and should be rejoiced in as an integral part of humanity.  That movement, the antithesis of the falsely vanilla world of the 1950s where father knew best and Beaver never even thought about masturbation, found its roots in the the same era when Elvis gyrated his hips on the Ed Sullivan Show, and Lucy and Ricky replaced their separate beds with one.  Those events, innocently enough, were what helped to break open the sexual dam in the decade that followed.  There was some backlash (Elvis’s performance was shown only from the waist up), but it did little in the end to ebb the flow.

Earlier attempts of moral censorship in America had been stepped up with the inception of the “National Legion of Decency,” a powerful Catholic organization that had begun rating motion pictures in 1933,[2] and when coupled with the dark period of McCarthyism in the 1950s, the First Amendment certainly had a run for its money, putting quite a damper on the concept of freethinking.  It is not surprising then to learn that the fight for the souls of Ocean County’s citizens started in 1950 with the forming of the “Ocean County Committee on Clean Literature.”  The organization was headed up by Ocean County prosecutor, Robert Lederer, and was represented by “officials, religious and laymen working together toward the realization of a common goal,”[3] who intended to halt the dissemination of what they considered to be “objectionable publications”[4] throughout the county.  A list of one hundred books was sent out to all public offices in an effort to keep a lookout for them, and it must have worked, because several publishers “expunged the objectionable features of their publications.”[5]  Blatantly ignoring the traditional concept of separation of church and state, Ocean County sheriff, Lewis E. Menninger, who also happened to be the chairman of the Clean Literature committee, said that, “Our Lord did not intend for the world to be in the condition it is today,” blaming the world’s ills on man’s “disassociation from the influence of the Christian church.”[6]

For all the bravado and hard work of the Clean Literature Commission, however, sexually oriented material continued to make its way into the county, prompting a jury to encourage every municipality in Ocean County to draft anti-obscenity ordnances in 1956.[7]  The jury also noted that a rise in “morals cases,” code word for what we would today consider sexual assault on the innocent, was a direct cause of the influx of obscene material making its way in the hands of Ocean County citizens.[8]

            Less than a year later the prosecutor’s office shifted its tact in their battle against obscene literature when it began charging offenders with the federal offense of using the United States Postal Service to deliver their unsavory goods.  The focus of attention was put on Frank Silver of New York, whose Gargoyle Corporation mail order business on Main Street in Toms River was raided after the prosecutor’s office received complaints that the company was soliciting business for their salacious materials through the mail.  The content of the books in question “dealt with sex adventures, tortures, sadism, and masochism,”[9] and were being delivered mostly in the tri-state area, mainly in Philadelphia, but also in obscure places such as Wisconsin, not generally thought to be the hub of such activity in 1958.  Silver was indicted for possession of obscene and indecent pictures and pamphlets, and the following year received a $500 fine after pleading no contest to the charges.[10]

            The national fight against perceived obscenity was heightened 1961 when comedian, Lenny Bruce, was arrested in San Francisco on obscenity charges.  Although acquitted, he was dogged by the law until his death by a drug overdose five years later.[11]  1961 was also the year that the legality of the sale of Henry Miller’s sexually explicit 1934 novel, “The Tropic of Cancer,” was questioned,[12] although his was not the only work to be banned in the United States.  Author, D.H. Lawrence’s racy 1928 novel, “Lady Chatterley’s Lover,” was banned from sale in Boston in 1959, and in 1962, on the heels of the “Tropic of Cancer” fiasco, William S. Borroughs drug-induced, bi-sexual, quasi-biography, “Naked Lunch,” was banned as well.[13]  Miller’s case was settled in a landmark 1973 U.S. Supreme decision that established that obscenity was not necessarily protected by the First Amendment of the United States Constitution.[14]  The decision led to what is now known as the “Miller Test,” which basically left the definition of what is or is not obscene up to the community-at-large.[15]

            The problem with perceived obscenity, of course, is that its definition has always been in the eye of the beholder.  Take, for instance, the “Venus of Willendorf,” a stone figurine dating back to 21,000 B.C. that depicts a faceless woman with large breasts and a red painted pubic area.[16]  In a more contemporary era she may have been considered pornographic in nature, but in the times of its origin it was likely nothing more than a prehistoric representation of fertility.  Another “Venus” of artistic importance was that of the “Venus de Milo,” bare-breasted, armless, and defenseless.  No one would think that such a fine piece Greek sculpture would be pornographic or obscene today, or would they?  If you think not, then consider the campaign to censor all of Michelangelo’s nudes by obscuring them with stone fig-leafs during the Catholic Counter-Reformation,[17] an effort that has not been fully corrected today.  If the 1600s is too dated for you, then perhaps we should examine Virginia State Attorney General, Ken Cuccinelli’s recent decision in which he ordered that the State Seal on pins worn by his staff depicting the goddess Virtue with one breast exposed be covered in an attempt to make the mythological figure “more virtuous in her modest clothing.”[18]  Most of us would agree that there is a huge difference between a naked statue and real photographs of sex acts, but when left to a “community standards” method of control we can see how such a system might become convoluted.

            On the heels of Miller v. California, two New Jersey State Assemblymen from Ocean County, John Paul Doyle and Daniel F. Newman, introduced legislation to coincide with the Supreme Court ruling that would “allow a community to adopt anything it wants as long as it is consistent with the [U.S. Supreme Court] rule.”[19]  The wording of the law evoked precisely the kind of convolution described above, giving worry to adult book store owners throughout the state, who before the New Jersey law were already concerned about the future of their livelihood.  They would soon find out that their fears were not unfounded, and that the ideology that drove the new law would set the tone for what was to come in Ocean County over the next thirty years.

The Advent of the Adult Book Store

Overall, the crime rate in Ocean County has basically stayed on par with its growth, even dropping at one point in 2002,[20] but like virtually everywhere else in the United States, crime there has risen to unmanageable heights, especially in the area of street gang violence.[21]  Perhaps the most unconscionable of those crimes after murder is the rape of a child, and Ocean County has had its own torrid history of that as well.  Was there a connection of such crimes to the sudden influx of pornographic materials into the county in the 1950s?  It’s hard to say without proper scientific study, but long before skin magazines and stag films were available to the general public, there were recorded cases of incest in Ocean County dating to at least 1887,[22] child molestation, now more rampant than ever, reported as far back as 1877,[23] and of course, prostitution, one “den of pollution” of which was located near Toms River in 1858, where “the men who support and visit this notoriously disgraceful place are fast sinking…beneath the contempt of an outraged community.”[24]

            The earliest known report of the use of pornography to entice minors came in 1961 when a man named William R. Pratt was arrested and charged with contributing to the delinquency of minors after a month of surveillance revealed that he had allegedly had “unnatural” sex with fourteen and fifteen year old boys after showing them “pornographic literature.”[25]  But as we will see, the real trouble with pornography in Ocean County was more about its use by adults for adult pleasures, and now, armed with the backing of the U.S. Supreme Court, the county had the means to control the growing situation, or so it thought.

            Adult book stores did exist quite early in Ocean County and by the mid-1970s had sprung up in the northern regions of Brick, Dover, and Beachwood, and then later in the southern area of Manahawkin.  The first of its kind was the Unisex Adult Book Store, opened in 1973 in Brick Township on Mantoloking Road, and its owner and manager, Ross Cooper, had expressed concerns over the Supreme Court decision and its potential repercussions.[26]  But his fears seemed to be alleviated when the prosecutor announced that there would be no raids on adult-oriented book shops like those being conducted a town over in Howell Township, Monmouth County.[27]  Cooper contended that he was not looking for trouble and only wanted to earn a living by supplying the demand for such a business.[28]

            Despite his declaration of peace, however, the Unisex fired the first shot in what would become a long and protracted legal war between the porn industry and the townships of Ocean County when it announced that it wanted to open a 48-seat mini-theater that would show pornographic films.[29]  The Brick Township Council, which had been looking for a reason to shut Unisex down, immediately condemned the movie theater plan and looked to Brick’s zoning laws as a means to stop it.  It also reached out to the religious community, which coordinated a petition drive that the council hoped to use against Unisex.[30]  Armed with what they believed was the backing of the community-at-large, the Council then proceeded to ignore the State’s order that townships may not decide what is to be considered obscene by drafting an ordinance prohibiting the sale of pornographic material inside their borders.  In doing so, Brick Township looked to the wording the recent U.S. Supreme Court decision, which stated:

The basic guidelines for the trier of fact must be: (a) whether "the average person, applying contemporary community standards" would find that the work, taken as a whole, appeals to the prurient interest, (b) whether the work depicts or describes, in a patently offensive way, sexual conduct specifically defined by the applicable state law, and (c) whether the work, taken as a whole, lacks serious literary, artistic, political, or scientific value. If a state obscenity law is thus limited, First Amendment values are adequately protected by ultimate independent appellate review of constitutional claims when necessary.[31]

In laymen’s terms, the above statement basically asks if, (a) would the average person looking at the material consider it pornography according to community standards?, (b) does the material show sex in an obviously offensive way?, and (c) does the material in question have any literary, artistic, political, or scientific value, or is it just sex for the sake of sex?

            Although somewhat ambiguous in its definition, what was clear was that the Supreme Court considered the State as the authority in determining the validity of sexual content, not the townships, which basically quashed the Brick Council’s assertion that they had a right to outlaw anything that they considered to be pornographic or obscene.

Ocean County Communities Fight Back

In February of 1975, the federal government stepped up its own attack in the battle against pornography by investigating potential organized crime involvement in the industry.  Ross Cooper, the twenty-six year old owner of the Unisex in Brick, was targeted by that investigation, which subpoenaed his business records for grand jury review.[32]  By this time Cooper had spread out into Wall Township in Monmouth County, and Borough of Beachwood in Ocean County, so he had good reason to fight potential indictment, especially one that involved the United States Strike Force Against Organized Crime (USSFAOC).  The connection to mob involvement as asserted by the USSFAOC was David “Little Davey” Petillo, a Captain in the Genovese crime family who was known to engage heavily in the pornography business.[33]  Petillo, who was thought to be a cross-dresser and a homosexual,[34] lived in a house in Brick somehow connected to Cooper.  It was never clear as to what that connection was, but Cooper disavowed any knowledge of Petillo’s connection to Lucky Luciano or the Genovese family.[35]

            In the meantime, Ocean County prosecutor, Martin B. Anton, had conducted a series of raids on the four existing adult book stores, but when brought before a grand jury, it refused to indict Ross Cooper, John Mercer and Carl Papa, who were all charged with breaking obscenity laws.  Although clearly perturbed at the grand jury’s inaction, Anton accepted its decision, conceding that, “our grand jury sets the conscience of the county.”[36]  The prosecutor did not go so far as to give in to the fight, however, declaring that if the owners of the property seized in the raids wanted that property returned, than they would need to address the court.[37]  This move may have been a tactical error on Anton’s part because the owners did indeed petition for the return of their property.

            In a hearing on the matter, Superior Court Judge William E. O’Connor, Jr., ordered the prosecutor to return the seized property citing a First Amendment issue, but seeing the potential for future failings to stop the dissemination of pornography, included a disclaimer that said that his decision, “cannot be construed as a finding that the material is not obscene as charged by the prosecutor.”[38]  While a noble effort, it was hard not to construe his decision to mean just that, especially when coupled with grand jury’s true bill indictment.[39]  Anton’s declaration that the grand jury, “sets the conscience of the county” may have also been construed to mean that decisions by that county institution are what set community standards.  In any case, Anton returned the merchandise that his office had seized.

            The authorities fighting against obscenity at this point were taking a major hit, as the U.S. Constitution was protecting the porn industry in case after case.  If the law could not stop it, then perhaps the religious institutions around the county could.  By the end of 1975, a coalition of clergymen gathered in Brick Township to discuss what they could do to help stop what they considered an unacceptable blight on the community.  They complained that the problem had grown to include not only movies and adult books stores, but massage parlors as well that often acted as houses of prostitution.[40]  In the end, however, their only power was to perhaps reach out to their respective flocks and try to persuade them to pressure their state representatives to outlaw such operations, and, more importantly, to not frequent such establishments.

            Anton’s promise to halt his raids on adult-oriented establishments was short lived when, at the end of the year, his office set up a sting operation in which it sent in operatives to purchase obscene materials from adult bookshops.  The result was the indictment of Ross Cooper, Lawrence J. Fiorvante, a salesman at Cooper’s Beachwood shop, and Barry Rothman, owner of a store also located in Brick, for the sale of obscene materials.[41]  Carl Papa, owner of an adult bookstore in Silverton, Dover Township, was also caught up in that sting operation, as was John Mercer, although the charges against Mercer were dropped on a technicality.[42]  Papa won a mistrial in 1979 on his charges after the jury could not agree on a verdict.[43]

            At their arraignment, all of the accused pleaded not guilty.  Ross Cooper, identified for the first time as Russell Cooper, also pleaded not guilty to charges that he had threatened to kill Marvin Rosenfield.  The charge asserted that Cooper had demanded that Rosenfield, who owned an adult book store on Fischer Boulevard in Toms River, pay him $4000 on threat of death.[44]  Cooper was later given a suspended sentence and a $2000 fine after admitting that he had illegally possessed obscene films and operated a house of prostitution, the latter charge being brought for his involvement in the Taj Mahal massage parlor in Brick.[45]  Judge Mark Addison dismissed all other charges before suspending a one-to-two year sentence, but added that he believed that Cooper had engaged in businesses that were “distasteful to society,”[46] making a point to bring his own personal feelings into the case.  Among the charges that Addison dismissed was the accusation that Cooper had a stolen boat in his possession.  The obscenity charges lodged against Lawrence Fiorvante were dismissed as well.  In all, Cooper was the winner in the pornography war, but in the end the cost of his defense nearly bankrupted him, forcing him to sell off his properties.[47]

The Rise of “Porno Chic”

            Along with the issue of obscene reading material in the 1970s came the influx of X-rated movies into Ocean County.  In 1974, police officials closed down a showing of, “The Devil in Miss Jones,” a widely popular soft porn movie made during what is known as the “Golden Age of Porn.”[48]  Borough mayor, Alan F. Conner, appalled by the content of the film, issued an executive order shutting down the Lavallette Theater owned by Toms River resident, Glen Lehman.[49]  The mayor’s order did not specifically target the showing of the movie as the reason for closing the theater, but instead cited 11 fire code violations found after he and several fire inspectors converged on the building after the first showing of “Miss Jones.”[50]  Lehman, acting on the advice of his attorney, called the mayor’s bluff and re-opened anyway, believing that there were no legal grounds to shut him down.

            As expected, there was no raid on the theater during the second screening, but an obscure incident took place a few days later during the showing of “Deep Throat,” perhaps the most well-known of all the “porno chic” movies of the “Golden Age of Porn.”[51]  A man named Mario DeSalvo walked into the projection booth of Lehman’s Lavallette Theater and allegedly beat projectionist, Perry M. Hibbs, and then made off with the film.[52]  DeSalvo claimed that he owned distribution rights to the movie in the Ocean County area, and therefore felt he had the right to take the film.  Lehman, of course, contended otherwise.  In the meantime, DeSalvo had supposedly taken the stolen copy of “Deep Throat” to Tennessee, breaking interstate transportation of obscene material laws, for which he and five others were arrested by the Federal Bureau of Investigation.[53]

            In 1976, the battle against obscenity continued when in Lakewood Meir Dori was indicted for showing four porn films at the Strand Theater.[54]  That incident took place in the midst of the county prosecutor’s raids on adult book stores, so it was only natural to extend his war into the area of movie theaters.  The prosecutor’s efforts did nothing to shut down the operation, which continued to show X-rated films until 1980, after which plans were made to restore the historic structure and resume its status as a live performance center.[55]  Other X-rated movies were shown without incident around the county, including “Behind the Green Door,” starring Marilyn Chambers, and, “Alice in Wonderland: An X-Rated Musical Fantasy,” both of which were known to be featured at the Berkeley Cinema in Bayville.[56]

            A strange occurrence took place in 1978 when an X-rated porn movie was inadvertently broadcast on the Clear Television Cable network.  At about 8:15 in the morning, customers were surprised to see that their regularly scheduled program had been preempted by a five minute clip of hardcore sex.  The event, while highly illegal, was not intentional, but rather the result of an inadvertently-pushed button that sent the signal of a video being watched by CCTV employees through to a live feed.  Management responded with embarrassment and immediately apologized to its customers.[57]

            That same year one of the most bizarre events in the history of pornography in Ocean County took place in a Point Pleasant beauty shop, where an adult movie was being filmed.  The production was halted by a raid, which netted big-name stag film stars, John Holmes and Sabrina Blaquelourde.[58]  Seventeen people in all, including the film crew and Louis Argondizza, the owner of the New Yorker Hair Stylist Salon on Bridge Avenue, were arrested and charged with open lewdness and conspiracy to produce an obscene film with the intent to distribute.[59]  Holmes was specifically charged with sodomy, open lewdness, possession of marijuana, and possession of a .45 pistol.[60]

            The arrest came about when Special Police Officer Harry Clark had heard about the event and decided to take a peek into beauty shop, where he saw the filming taking place.  The filmmakers had been careful to cover the front window of the business with a curtain, which meant that Officer Clark had to climb up onto a windowsill and peek through a small opening in order to see what was going on.  Clark maintained that he and patrolman Fred Meyer were told about the filming by Argondizza, and had decided to hang around to see what would transpire.  The blatantly illegal action of officer Clark, however, caused a dismissal of all criminal charges, but was somehow defended by Point Pleasant councilman and future mayor, Peter Marone, who maintained that Clark’s actions, “were in the best interest of [the borough]…whether illegal or not.”[61]  A 1.5 million dollar lawsuit against the borough and the police department was immediately filed contending unlawful arrest, false imprisonment, illegal search, and illegal seizure of personal property.  The suit also claimed that four of the defendants were housed together for twelve hours in a jail cell designed for one person, were not fed while incarcerated, and were refused their right to call an attorney.[62] 

            Although in their view the intentions of the Point Pleasant authorities may have been honorable, their fight against perceived obscenity trounced the basic tenets of the Bill of Rights.  That ideology would play out time and again as those fighting against pornography continued to foolishly and purposely ignore the U.S. Constitution in the name of what they perceived to be just, causing them to lose the battle.  Not only did the police violate the First Amendment rights of those arrested, but they also knowingly violated their Fourth Amendment right against illegal search and seizure.  The lesson learned there was that feelings do not dictate the law, even if one does not condone the actions of another.

            Years later in 1994, adult porn star, Chantilly Lace, caused a stir when she made an appearance at the Fantasies & Lace Lingerie and Video Store on Fischer Boulevard, Toms River.  The proprietors of the other stores located in the same strip mall were concerned that her appearance would drive away their business, and rumors perpetuated by the owners of the pizzeria and the tanning salon that she would appear nude did not help matters any.[63]  Rich Kolterman, owner of Fantasies & Lace, said that the porn idol would not in any way be naked, and that she would be there to promote video movies in which she starred.  She would, however, be dressed in “provocative clothing,” and pose for pictures with customers for a charge of twenty dollars.[64]

            Store owners admitted that there had never been a problem with the Chantilly Lace establishment before, but were offended that such a blatant display of immorality would be taking place next door to their businesses.  Kolterman countered, saying that in contrast to adult bookstores, that “many of his customers are women, including some who frequent the tanning salon.”[65]  Still, store owners worried that their businesses would suffer because, as Dale Giampapa, owner of the pizzeria, said, “people are already calling this the Porn Complex.”[66]  Then-mayor, Joseph Vicari, who would later become an Ocean County Freeholder, said that he opposed the existence of the store, but contended that nothing could be done to legally force it out of business.[67]

Adult Book Stores in the 1980s

Stafford Township

By the end of the 1970s, the fight to stop adult oriented materials from being sold in Ocean County had basically been lost.  Time after time federal, state, and township officials tried to eradicate it from public existence, but those in the porn industry, armed with the U.S. Constitution and a contingent of lawyers, fought back.  True, some had suffered the indignity of police raids and fines from courts, but basically it was Porn Industry 10–Townships 0.  That did not, however, stop the righteous from forging ahead as adult bookstores continued to spring up in the county, and so the battle continued on for the next twenty years.

            The first battle of the new decade took place in Stafford Township when an organization called the “Stafford Citizens for Decency” attempted to shut down the Fantasy World Adult Bookstore that had opened in a desolate area on East Bay Avenue, Manahawkin.  The organization, led by Dr. Ivan Docheff, consisted of representatives from local civic groups and churches, and had formed specifically to collect enough signatures to force the township council to shut down the store.[68]  The group also had the obvious backing of the Ocean County Observer, which immediately ran a series of articles recounting the trials and tribulations of the obscenity fights of the 1970s in Brick Township.  Township officials also backed the group, but did not give much hope that their efforts would be successful given the state of then-current New Jersey laws that tended to support shop owners over protesters.[69]  The newspaper series recounted the Cooper cases, pointing out his consistent victories, but also the fact that the only real way to combat such a business was to focus on the State Legislature, where pressure might be applied to make them change the laws concerning obscenity.[70]

            To aid in that effort, a group out of Little Egg Harbor calling themselves, “Our Forefathers’ Children,” garnered the endorsement of the Barnegat Township Committee for its efforts to stop the growth of pornography by strengthening New Jersey’s laws on the issue.  The lobbying group put forth the belief that pornography begat violence, and derogated society’s psychological makeup, and stores that trafficked in it tended to bring down property values, which lead to blight.[71]  Such efforts were noble, but in reality did nothing more than show the public which side the politicians came down on, because reality had dictated thus far that until those laws were changed at the State level, nothing could be done to stem the tide of pornography in their communities.

            Stafford Township did make an attempt to regulate the sale of salacious material, but as was the result of every case before it, its efforts were shot down.  By 1988, the issue was still a sore spot, especially after the owners of Fantasy World announced that it was looking to open a second store, prompting the Council to try again to do something about the problem.  Understanding that an outright ban on such a store would only end in defeat for the town, the Council looked to regulate how obscene materials were displayed, setting a five foot shelf height standard for such illicit-type items.  Owners who failed to comply would face a $1000 fine and a 90-day jail sentence if convicted.[72]  As of this writing, the Fantasy Adult Bookstore is still in business, and the building can be viewed with an online street-view video camera.  Why that particular intersection, located in a rather desolate part of town, was retrofitted with a traffic cam is unknown, but considering the battle that ensued prior to its installation, one might surmise that it was put there to keep an eye on Fantasy World Adult Bookstore.

            As an aside, the Forefathers’ assertion that pornography was akin to violence may have had some merit.  In 1983 Aurelio Soler, owner of an adult bookstore in Beachwood, severely beat Russell Spriggs, who worked for the local electric company.  Spriggs had been sent there to turn off the store’s electrical service, and when he did, Soler went ballistic, first punching and kicking Spriggs, and then slamming his head into a truck and then the pavement.  The attack was so severe that it prompted Judge William Huber to impose an eight-year prison sentence on Soler, who cried as he heard his sentence.[73]

Lakewood Township

Toward the end of the 1970s, an adult bookstore was opened in the Dutchtown Plaza on Route 9 in Lakewood in what appeared to be an old chicken shack, and it trafficked in the usual pornographic fare, selling movies, magazines, books, and sexual accessories.  The store, owned by Marvin Rosenfield, appeared to have stayed under the radar of the law for the most part, with one exception.  In June of 1980 several shots were fired from a .357 magnum handgun from a white, 1968 Chevrolet Malibu.[74]

What the shooter’s target or intentions were was unknown, but he aimed straight at three men standing in front of the store when he opened fire, one shot hitting the store, and another hitting a parked car.  When asked why someone would shoot up the store, manager, David Bassinger chalked it up to what he described as “vandalism and damage to adult bookstores in the area during the last year or so.”[75]  The store, simply called, “The Shack,” eventually closed, and the buildings on the property razed to make room for a company that sold recreational vehicles and campers.

            The battle against pornography that began in the 1950s had culminated in major loses for the legal authorities and the purveyors of righteousness despite all of their noble efforts to stem the tide of what they perceived to be the end of civilization as they knew it.  They were dumbfounded by their defeats, unable to understand how their great country with its laws meant to protect them could have sided with the pornographers, whose intent it was to cater to the underbelly of life where danger most assuredly lurked, waiting to take their children into the dark side.

What they failed to grasp, however, was that the laws governed by the United States Constitution and its Bill of Rights were meant to protect everyone, not just a select few, and it was there that the fight was lost.  Time and again the tenets of the Constitution were pushed aside in favor of emotion, a facet of human nature that does not apply where the Rule of Law is concerned.  Their failure to stop pornography from spreading in Ocean County did not end their quest, however, which would find them knee-deep in the fight of their lives in the 1990s.


[1] Alan Wheeler, “Board Chief Moves to Ban Sex Ed Books,” Ocean County Observer, May 4, 1996, p. 1.

[2]  ________, “National League of Decency,” (,

    March 19, 2010.

[3]  ________, “Drive Against Trashy Books Going Well,” New Jersey Courier, June 2, 1950, p. 1.

[4]  Ibid.

[5]  Ibid.

[6]  Ibid

[7]  ________, “Obscene Ban Urged by Jury,” New Jersey Courier, March 29, 1956, p. 1.

[8]  Ibid.

[9]  ________, “Grand Jury to Probe ‘Obscene’ Charges Against Mail Order Firm,” New Jersey Courier,

   April 10, 1958, p. 1.

[10]  ________, “Man Having Lewd Photos Fine $500 by Ewart,” New Jersey Courier, June 06, 1959, p. 1.

[11] ________, “Lenny Bruce,” (,

    June 2, 2010

[12] ________, “Tropic of Cancer (novel),” (, May 30, 2010.

[13] ________, “Grove Press,” (,

    May 23, 2010.

[14] ________, “Miller v. California,” ( May 29, 2010.

[15] ________, “Miller Test,” (, April 24, 2010.

[16] Marilyn Stokstad, Art History, Volume One, (Upper Saddle River, NJ: Prentice Hall, Inc., 1999),  pp. 39-41

[17] ________, “Michelangelo – Last Works in Rome,” (, May 28, 2010.

[18] ________, “AG Covers Breast on Va. State Seal” (

    virginia-state-seal.html), May 4, 2010.

[19] ________, “Obscenity Bill Introduced,” Ocean County Observer, April 17, 1974, p. 1.

[20] Joseph Picard and Tom Troncone, “Crime Rates Down at Shore,” Asbury Park Press, August 28, 2003, p. 1.

[21] David Espo, “Gangs Burst On Scene In Early 1990s,” Asbury Park Press, March 22, 2010, p. A4.

[22] ________, “W.D.N. Bird Guilty,” New Jersey Courier, September 14, 1887, p. 3.

[23] ________, “Manchester School Teacher Discharged,” New Jersey Courier, February 8, 1877, p. 3.

[24] ________, “Base Women Keep House,” Ocean Emblem, May 5, 1858, p. 3.

[25] ________, “Man, 30, is Held for Grand Jury,” New Jersey Courier, October 19, 1961, p. 1.

[26] George G. Campion, “Trouble in Porn Land,” Ocean County Observer, June 26, 1973, p. 1.

[27] ________, “County Puts Reins Obscenity Raids,” Ocean County Observer, July 13, 1973, p. 1.

[28] George G. Campion, “Trouble in Porn Land,” Ocean County Observer, June 26, 1973, p. 1.

[29] ________, “Unisex Wants to Show Movies,” Ocean County Observer, February 1, 1974, p. 1.

[30] Roger Piantadosi, “Porn Scorn in Brick,” Ocean County Observer, February 6, 1974, p. 1.

[31] ________, “Miller Test,” (, April 24, 2010.

[32] ________, “Porno Book Store Data Subpoened [sic],” Ocean County Observer, February 5, 1975, p. 1.

[33] ________, “A Gender Variance Who’s Who – David Petillo (1908-1983) gangster,” (

     2010/03/david-petillo-1908-1983-usa.html), March 3, 2010.

[34] Ibid.

[35] Roger Piantadosi, “Porno Book Store Data Subpoened [sic],” Ocean County Observer, February 5, 1975, p. 1.

[36] ________, “Anton Won’t Press Book Store Raids,” Ocean County Observer, June 27, 1975, p. 1.

[37] Ibid.

[38] ________, Adult Materials On Way Back To Book Stores,” Ocean County Observer, August 8, 1975, p. 1.

[39] A “true bill” is defined as an indictment “endorsed by a grand jury,” (________, Google definition search, //

[40] ________, “Clergymen Set Meeting to Curb ‘Adult’ Stores,” Ocean County Observer, December 2, 1975, p. 1.

[41] ________, “’Adult’ Stores Hit By New Indictment,” Ocean County Observer, January 23, 1976, p. 1.

[42] ________, “Bookstore Case Dropped,” Ocean County Observer, December 12, 1976, p. 1.

[43] ________, “Sex Film Jurors ‘Hung’ on Verdict,” Ocean County Observer, March 16, 1979, p. 1.

[44] ________, “’Adult’ Stores Hit By New Indictment,” Ocean County Observer, January 23, 1976, p. 1.

[45] ________, “Adult Store Owner Gets Suspended Term,” Ocean County Observer, November 19, 1978, p. 1.

[46] ________, “Adult Store Owner Gets Suspended Term,” Ocean County Observer, November 19, 1978, p. 1.

[47] Rick Murray, “Fighting Porn: A Money Game,” Ocean County Observer, February 26, 1980, p. 1.

[48] ________, “Golden Age of Porn,” (, May 31, 2010.

[49] D. Clinton McDaniel, “Devil Still in Miss Jones,” Ocean County Observer, June 27, 1974, p. 1.

[50] Ibid.

[51] ________, Google definition search, “The Golden Age of Porn or porno chic refers to a brief modern period in the history of pornography, approximately from the late-sixties to the early-to-mid-1980s,” (//

[52] ________, “Man Waives Rights in ‘Deep Throat’ Case,” Ocean County Observer, July 12, 1974, p. 1.

[53] ________, “Brick Man in Obscenity Case,” Ocean County Observer, August 21, 1974, p. 1.

[54] ________, “Movie Theater Owner Faces Porno Indictment,” Ocean County Observer, March 9, 1976, p. 1.

[55] Sam Christopher, “Strand Porn Palace to Play it Straight,” Ocean County Observer, July 3, 1980, p. 1.

[56] Both movies, “Behind the Green Door,” and “Alice in Wonderland: An X-Rated Musical Fantasy” were seen advertised on the Berkeley Cinema marquee by this author in 1976.

[57] Lisa DeMatteo, “X-Rated Film Shocks CATV,” Ocean County Observer, September 28, 1978, p. 1.

[58] Meredith Browne, “Cops Arrest 17 in Porno Raid,” Ocean County Observer, July 25, 1978, p. 1.

[59] ________, “Porno Counts Referred,” Ocean County Observer, October 26, 1978, p. 1.

[60] Meredith Browne, “Cops Arrest 17 in Porno Raid,” Ocean County Observer, July 25, 1978, p. 1.

[61] Don Bennett, “X-Rated Filmmakers Sue Pt. Pleasant Cops,” Ocean County Observer, p. 1.

[62] ________, “Porno Counts Referred,” Ocean County Observer, October 26, 1978, p. 1.

[63] Richard Peterson, “X-Rated Star Scares Firms at Area Mall,” Ocean County Observer, January 14, 1994, p. 1.

[64] Ibid.

[65] Ibid.

[66] Ibid.

[67] Ibid.

[68] Don Bennett, “Citizens Prepare for Porno Fight,” Ocean County Observer, February 20, 1980, p. 10.

[69] Rick Murray, “One Town Fights Back,” Ocean County Observer, February 25, 1980, p. 1.

[70] Rick Murray, “Fighting Porn: A Money Game,” Ocean County Observer, February 26, 1980, p. 1.

[71] Bart Jones, “Anti-Porners Gain Support,” Ocean County Observer, April 6, 1981, p. 9.

[72] Michael Graca, “Stafford Wrestles with Problem of Porn,” Ocean County Observer, October 5, 1988, p. 1.

[73] Don Bennett, “Local Man Weeps as Judge Hands Down 8-Year Term,” Ocean County Observer, April 1, 1984.

[74] Sam A. Christopher, “Shots Spray Porn Shop,” Ocean County Observer, June 10, 1980, p. 1.

[75] Ibid.

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