Al Goldstein, the publisher of the pioneering hard-core pornography magazine Screw, died Thursday at the age of 77.
Initially published in 1968, Screw was the first pornography magazine to present its subject without the discretion or glamorous packaging of a Playboy. "We promise never to ink out a pubic hair or chalk out an organ," the magazine's manifesto read. "We will apologize for nothing. We will uncover the entire world of sex. We will be the Consumer Reports of sex."
That approach led to near-constant legal trouble for Goldstein, who was arrested more than a dozen times on obscenity charges. To give you an idea of Goldstein's approach towards those cases, there's his reaction to the dozen obscenity charges filed against him in 1973. From the New York Times: "His lawyers argued that the anticensorship diatribes in Screw made the magazine sufficiently political, though Mr. Goldstein himself ridiculed this defense, insisting that a reader's erection 'is its own redeeming value.'" (Goldstein would eventually settle that case for $30,000).
Goldstein also hosted a long-running cable access show called Midnight Blue. Here, he rants about mail order catalogs:
Born in Williamsburg, Brooklyn, Goldstein eventually acquired a small fortune through Screw and bought large homes on Manhattan's Upper West Side and in Florida. But by 2003, he was broke and working a number of low-level jobs, including as a greeter at the Second Avenue Deli and a caterer for a bagel company.
After an arrest for shoplifting at Barnes and Noble in 2004, the then-homeless Goldstein moved to a Staten Island apartment paid for by the magician Penn Jillette. Goldstein would later live in a nursing home in Cobble Hill, Brooklyn, where he spent his final years.
[Image via AP]