Revisiting 8: Rod Canyon

(At least at the beginning, about gay porn, focused on men’s bodies and mansex, so not for kids or the sexually modest. Eventually, there will be comics, movies, music, and plants.)

From the 12th, in my “Pizza Boy outtakes” posting, the idiom canyon yodeling, at first only ‘cunnilingus’, then ‘man on man anilingus’, with the sexual slang canyon extended from ‘vagina viewed as sexual organ’ to ‘male anus viewed as sexual organ’. And then today in viewing the gay porn movie Rear Deliveries (William Higgins, 1980), I came upon the wonderfully named pornstar Rod Canyon, whose porn name unites the two central but opposed objects of gay male desire, the penis (insertive) in Rod and the anus (receptive) in Canyon. As far as I can tell, Lance Box hasn’t been used yet as a (dual-purpose) porn name, but Rod Canyon labored in the P&A fields of pleasure around 1980.

A screen shot from Rear Deliveries, showing Canyon’s canyon deployed for his pleasure (receptive) and Lee Marlin’s (insertive):

(#1) Canyon on all fours, humped up for doggie-style coition

Canyon’s career in porn seems to be visible these days in only three films, all sometimes dated to 1980 (dating of porn releases is erratic): Higgins’s Rear Deliveries (the delivery boy porn trope) and Tom DeSimone’s The Dirty Picture Show (the dirty theater porn trope) and Wet Shorts (episodes with no discernible theme beyond an anal focus). I could find no publicity shots of him on the net, so was reduced to snagging this screen shot, from a rather grainy original (all three films have been remastered, but I have originals).

The Rear Deliveries episode with Canyon has him paired with Lee Marlin, who was a much bigger star. A publicity shot of Marlin, a rare one in which his dick isn’t the center of attention:

(#2) Impressive body, playful boyish face

And then, from the IMDb site, an amazingly detailed review of Rear Deliveries (which IMDb dates as from 1982), placing it in the context of the gay porn of the time and the L.A. gay sex scene of the time (Rod Canyon’s name boldfaced):

“Gay Blue Collar Guys of Los Angeles Deliver the Goods”, 9/18/15 review by marius

William Higgins’ “Rear Deliveries” hails from a period when audiences existed for “gay hardcore” films shown in movie theaters catering to a special clientèle. (Those who’ve seen Doug Richards (Jerry Douglas’) “The Back Row” [or Jack Deveau’s “A Night at the Adonis” or Tom DeSimone’s “The Dirty Picture Show”] will know what I mean.) “Rear Deliveries” film follows in time Higgins’ “The Boys of Venice” and stars two of “Venice’s” actors — Derrick Stanton, cast here as a photographer who takes a sexual interest in his photographer’s apprentice, Shawn Victors, and Guy de Silva, who in “Venice’s” final scene, as the husband of a carousel owner, snuggled with Kip Noll, but in “Deliveries” Da Silva is a taxi driver who seeks (and receives) relief in a local men’s room from Victors and Stanton. Stanton in a Higgins’ film always is a formidable presence, but the star of “Deliveries” is Lee Marlin (note the fishy word-play on a lead Hollywood actor of the time). Marlin starred with Kip Noll in Mark Aaron’s “Grease Monkeys” [on Kip Noll, see my 3/26/17 posting “On the boulevard of broken dreams with Kip Noll”]. If “Venice” glorified the Los Angeles County beach culture of the late 1970s, “Monkeys” was a celebration of gay blue-collar workers. In fact, “Deliveries” is Higgins’ own exploration of the gay blue-collar world. Obviously, all of Marlin’s conquests — be it a hitchhiker (Rod Canyon) that he picked up on the Malibu coast highway [the hitchhiker porn trope; see my 4/1/17 posting “Hitchhiking”], or a print shop employer-employee tryst (Greg Dale and Rick Lindley) that he walks in upon and enthusiastically joins when he delivers a package — are Higgins’ fictitious inventions. Marlin’s character clearly loves all kinds of gay sex and is a magnet to everyone of that inclination around him. Higgins’ fictional character was surely based on men whose real-life experiences were not much different than those was being portrayed in this film. … [the character Benjamin] Barker, in “Deliveries”, faces the wrath of his delivery service boss Rob Stephens, and Barker has his clothes torn off of him. This leads to a four-way sexual encounter between Stephens, Barker, Marlin and Victors. (Barker reconnects with Stephens — as pool cleaner and insurance salesman — in one of the next films in the series, “Kip Noll and the Westside Boys”.)

… This is great period piece, with sex taking place surrounded by boxes of Fuji VHS tapes. Even at its most outrageous (i.e., when Marlin is on screen), it gives a more realistic view of gay sex in L. A. at the end of the 1970s than a lot of mainstream media trying to recreate the period’s “straight scene”.

Canyon bonuses. The sexcavity slang canyon in its use for men (with a canyon as an A symbol) led me to two odd places: the comic-strip character Steve Canyon, who’s massively a P symbol; and the movie Laurel Canyon, referring to an L.A. neighborhood, when it struck me that Laurel Canyon would make an excellent drag name, with its allusions to both the aromatic California bay laurel tree and the male sexcavity These latter musings took me from the neighborhood to the movie Laurel Canyon (and then off to Joni Mitchell’s album Ladies of the Canyon). And that trip returns us to male bodies — Allesandro Nivola’s splendid naked form in the film — and to a whiff of same-sex desire — the celebrated “lesbian kiss” (between Frances McDormand and Kate Beckinsale) in the film.

But first, Steve Canyon, P-type all the way. From Wikipedia:

(#3) Canyon, a military man with a keen eye for the ladies, no canyon he

Steve Canyon was a long-running American adventure comic strip by writer-artist Milton Caniff. Launched shortly after Caniff retired from his previous strip, Terry and the Pirates, Steve Canyon ran from January 13, 1947, until June 4, 1988, shortly after Caniff’s death.

… Steve Canyon was an easygoing adventurer with a soft heart. Originally a veteran running his own air-transport business, the character returned to the U.S. Air Force during the Korean War and stayed in the military for the remainder of the strip’s run.

Initially, his buddies were fellow veterans, and romantic interest was provided by Copper Calhoon, a kind of capitalist version of the popular Dragon Lady character Caniff had created for Terry and the Pirates. Eventually, Canyon developed a sometime-sidekick in crotchety millionaire adventurer Happy Easter, along with a permanent love interest in Summer Olson, Calhoon’s private secretary.

… Caniff was intensely patriotic, and with Canyon’s return to the military, the story began to revolve around Cold War intrigue and the responsibilities of American citizens.

Then to Laurel Canyon:

(#4) Top: McDormand, Nivola, Beckinsale; bottom: Beckinsale, Bale

Laurel Canyon is a 2002 American drama film written and directed by Lisa Cholodenko. The film stars Frances McDormand, Christian Bale, Kate Beckinsale, Natascha McElhone, and Alessandro Nivola.
… Lisa Cholodenko stated that the film was inspired by the Joni Mitchell album Ladies of the Canyon

On the album, from Wikipedia:

(#5) JM: “The figure [on the cover] is a self-portrait and in the folds of the skirt I put the view from the window of my Laurel Canyon house”

Ladies of the Canyon is the third studio album by Canadian singer-songwriter Joni Mitchell, released in 1970. The title makes reference to Laurel Canyon, a centre of popular music culture in Los Angeles during the 1960s. The album includes several of Mitchell’s most noted songs, such as “Big Yellow Taxi” [“They paved paradise and put up a parking lot” – listen to it here], “Woodstock” [“We are stardust / We are golden” – listen to it here] and “The Circle Game” [“And the seasons, they go round and round” – listen to it here].

The laurel of the canyon is the California bay laurel. From Wikipedia:

(#6) Leaves and flowers of the California laurel

Umbellularia californica is a large hardwood tree native to coastal forests of California, as well as to coastal forests extending into Oregon… It is the sole species in the genus Umbellularia.

The tree was formerly known as Oreodaphne californica. In Oregon, this tree is known as Oregon myrtle, while in California it is called California bay laurel, which may be shortened to California bay or California laurel. It has also been called pepperwood, spicebush, cinnamon bush, peppernut tree, headache tree, mountain laurel, and balm of heaven.

The tree’s pungent leaves have a similar flavor to bay leaves, though stronger, and it may be mistaken for bay laurel [Laurus nobilis, the source of bay leaves for cooking and leaves for wreaths of honor]. The dry wood has a color range from blonde (like maple) to brown (like walnut). It is considered a world-class tonewood and is sought after by luthiers [who make stringed instrtuments, like guitars and violins] and woodworkers.

Don’t know if any drag queens have adopted the name Laurel Canyon, but the combination of an aromatic tree with a sexcavity is deliciously draggy.

Meanwhile, back in the movie Laurel Canyon, we’ve got both male bodies and same-sex action, the first most spectacularly in a pool scene where a naked Alessandro Nivola floats past us:


and the second in a pool scene with Alex (Beckinsale) in a three-way with Jane (McDormand) and Ian (Nivola). Ian kisses Alex, Ian kisses Jane, Alex and Jane kiss; Alex and Jane in a screen shot:

(#8) You can watch the scene here

To be fair to the hunky Christian Bale (playing Alex’s love interest Sam), here he is in the pool, alas alone:


2 Responses to “Revisiting 8: Rod Canyon”

  1. Tim Evanson Says:

    “… Lee Marlin, who was a much bigger star.” Did you intend that pun?

    For what it’s worth, there are split-second shots of Alessandro Nivola’s dick underwater in “Laurel Canyon”. And his magnificent ass is on display in “Junebug” and “I Want You”.

    • arnold zwicky Says:

      Of course I intended that pun.

      As for Nivola, his ass ought to be declared a National Treasure, with a stipend for its maintenance. And, of course, a laurel wreath.

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