By Jack Fritscher
Iconic pioneer filmmaker Terry LeGrand (1939-2018) passed at his Hollywood home on April 18. As Marathon Films, Terry produced the great leather classic film “Born to Raise Hell” (1975) directed by Roger Earl starring their discovery, Val Martin, whom “Drummer” editor Jeanne Barney featured on the cover of “Drummer” issue 3. At the infamous LAPD raid of the “Drummer Slave Auction” on April 11, 1976, the intimate friends Terry, Roger, Jeanne, and Val were among the 42 persons arrested. Terry and Roger were longtime friends not lovers, and Terry was the sole owner of Marathon Films. As a producer, Terry was relentless and remarkable. In anti-gay LA, he managed to shoot “Born” in outdoor spaces and at the old Truck Stop bar out in the San Fernando Valley. He and Roger created more than thirty erotic films, most of them leather, and all of them popular.
Most often shooting in LA, Terry and Roger traveled in 1988 to London to shoot their BDSM series, “Dungeons of Europe” with Mr. Sebastian. Wanting to extend that leather magic in 1989, Terry and Roger hired Mark Hemry and me, because we were Palm Drive Video, to travel with them as cinematographers on a wild month-long European location shoot that resulted in the six-film series, “Bound for Europe," documenting authentic Dutch and German S&M. It was Marathon’s first two-camera shoot. In Amsterdam, we shot “The Argos Session” inside the historic Argos Bar capturing the interior and vibe of that 1950s bar which no longer exists. After Dusseldorf and Hamburg, we shot three of the six “Bound” films in West Berlin bars during the last exciting and romantic summer in West Berlin before the fall of the Berlin Wall. Terry wanted to shoot in East Berlin; but at Checkpoint Charlie we turned around because no one on the crew felt it was safe for a VW van full of pornographers.
Photos of “Dungeons” and of “Bound” entertained leatherfolk in nearly a dozen issues of “Drummer." In 1991, Terry became the founding publisher of “Leatherman Magazine” which he sold to Brush Creek Media where publisher Beardog Hoffman and editor Joseph W. Bean built its success as “International Leatherman.” Terry retired from erotic art and went on to do AIDS-related work until his passing. Last year my long-form interview of Roger Earl telling all about Terry LeGrand and the making of “Born to Raise Hell” was published in the book “California Dreamin’: West Coast Directors and the Golden Age of Forbidden Gay Movies” by Editions Moustache in Germany.