When Al Goldstein, publisher of Screw magazine, died three years shy of his 8th
decade, (Dec. 19th, 2013) the world lost one of the leading lights of modern-day
pornography. Known for “flipping the bird,” as much as his consistent barking at
cultural conventions, through his weekly sex magazine, Goldstein took on cultural,
sexual hypocrisy, organized religion, and politics. At the height of the Screw’s
popularity, it was selling 140,000 copies a week.
In its debut issue, Goldstein claimed that with Screw he would, “…apologize for
nothing.” And throughout his life, Goldstein was pretty much unapologetic for his
actions. He could as much curse the Nixon administration as he could (and did) a
New York Italian restaurant for taking garlic from their spaghetti sauce. Born in
Brooklyn, at the beginning of 1936, he served in the Army, went to Pace College
and even followed his father’s photojournalist career taking pictures of Jacqueline
Kennedy in 1962 (in 1973 he’d later publish unauthorized nudes of The First Lady
Before creating the magazine that would bring him celebrity, Goldstein ran a
concession at the 1964-65 New York World’s Fair, sold rugs and encyclopedias
and drove a cab. Screw was born in 1968 when Goldstein and his partner Jim
Buckley, invested $175 each, to begin publishing the weekly. Beyond Screw
Goldstein published “Bitch,” and “Smut” magazines, (to name but a few) and
infamously launched and hosted the popular New York cable T.V show “Midnight
Blue.” For three decades, Goldstein could be viewed in the nude interviewing
guests on this NYC staple.
Although a New York native, Goldstein would come to own a mansion in
Pompano Beach, Florida, best known for the 11-foot high statue of a raised middle
finger siting on house’s back lawn. The finger could be seen clearly by boaters
using the Intracoastal Waterway. In 1992, Goldstein filed to run for sheriff in his
adopted southern hometown.
At 69, Goldstein was nominated for “Best Supporting Actor” at the Adult Video
News Awards for his age-defying role in Al Goldstein & Ron Jeremy Are Screwed.
Married five times, Goldstein worked as a ‘greeter’ at Manhattan’s famous Second
Avenue Deli, as well as a successful catering salesman for an NYC bagel
store…all after 2003, when he lost his fortune and company.
As plenty of pornographic magazine publishers before and after him (Larry Flynt,
Hugh Hefner, to name but a few) Goldstein put into print that which he most
wanted to see and read. Living life on his terms, and often vilified for it, like a
handful of our print porn pioneers, Goldstein also spent millions on First
Amendment lawsuits; he was arrested 19 times on obscenity charges.
The EHM has a few original copies of SCREW Magazine on display. Come and take a tour
of printed sexual speech from the golden era of the adult industry.