Throat Culture

Two Accounts of How Porn Went Pop

Universal Pictures

Though Wainstock was 69 when he went to jail, the most colorful example of the decisive shift in Twin Cities Throat culture is the case of St. Paul's Capitol Theater, whose owners were persuaded in the summer of '73 to close their run of the film after eight weeks of protests from irate neighborhood homeowners. After negotiating for the free film-booking services of a family-friendly theater chain president, St. Paul Mayor Lawrence Cohen announced that the Capitol would be turning immediately from an X-rated theater to a G-rated one with the August 1 opening of Oliver! Washington, alas, would remain dirty for at least another year, though Minnesota's Capitol and capital both were washed clean in a single stroke. You could say it was a New Morning in Minnesota: Even Milavetz, the Rialto's libertine lawyer, went on the record to praise the mayor for "using his leadership position to benefit the community." Cohen won reelection the following April; three weeks later his wife filed for divorce.

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