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March 22, 2022

Interview with Bob Chinn

As part of our coverage of Little Orphan Dusty, Mike spoke with the film's "co-director" via email. Here's an interview with the legendary Bob Chinn.

The Projection Booth: Can you tell me more about Jaacov Jacoovi? When was the first time you two worked together?
Bob Chinn: I first met Jaacov at the old Freeway Films office in Dan Sonney and Dave Friedman's office complex on Cordova Street, in the area once known as the Los Angeles Film Row. Jaacov had just returned from Tel Aviv and he needed a job. Since he and Dick Aldrich were good friends he was hired as the Post Production Supervisor for my upcoming Freeway film China Cat. He was so glad to get the job, he volunteered to be my Assistant Director so that he could familiarize himself with all of the shots to make editing easier. That was the first time I worked with him.

TPB: How did Little Orphan Dusty come about?
BC: Jaacov was an ambitious businessman and he wanted to start his own film distribution business. He and his ex-wife, Svetlana Mishoff had written the screenplay for Little Orphan Dusty, and he had finally been able to save and borrow enough money to produce the film to launch his company. He wanted me to direct the film because he knew that Pussycat Theatres would book any film that I directed. I read the script and didn't care all that much for it but since Jaacov and I got along so well I agreed to do it.

TPB: You're credited as a co-director on the film and I'm wondering what you directed versus Mr. Jaacovi.
BC: Jaacovi was a very crafty guy. The day before the shoot started, he informed me that since my director's fee was so high and his budget was so low, he'd only be able to pay me half of my regular fee. I told him that since that was the case I would just direct half of the film, and that since he's a director as well, he could direct the other half. Jaacovi realized that even with my name on the film as co-director he could still get the all-important Pussycat Theatres booking, so he reluctantly agreed. During the actual production, however, I ended up directing far more than half the movie because John Holmes was in most of the scenes.

TPB: What was your relationship with John Holmes like at this time?
BC: I got along very well with John at this time. This was also one of the reasons Jaacovi wanted me to direct the film. He knew that John could be very difficult to work with because at this point in his career John was somewhat of a prima donna, but having worked with me on China Cat he also realized that I could handle him. Jaacov was afraid that if John threw tantrums that caused delays in shooting we wouldn't be able to bring the production in on the low budget we had to work with.

TPB: Had Disco Lady come before this? Was that the first time you worked with Rhonda Jo Petty?
BC: Disco Lady came before this film, and it was the first time I worked with Rhonda Jo Petty. I believe Disco Lady was Rhonda Jo's first starring role, although she had appeared in some previous films. I enjoyed working with her very much.

TPB: What were some of the biggest challenges of Little Orphan Dusty?
BC: The biggest challenge was the outrageous shooting schedule due to the extremely low budget. It was like non-stop shooting, scene after scene, with little or no room for any errors or retakes. Fortunately, I was used to working like this, so it was not a big problem. And having Jaacov being able to direct another unit at the same time helped.

TPB: The film stands out a lot for the three fisting scenes. Was that a pretty unusual occurrence in adult films at the time?
BC: I suppose those scenes were somewhat unusual at that time. There were certain areas that couldn't show them, so they were edited out.

TPB: Do you remember how the film was received?
BC: I believe the film must have been well received. At the very least, Jaacovi made enough money to make another film. One thing that may have helped him at the box-office was the controversial Farrah Fawcett-like poster for the film. Jaacov was convinced that Rhonda Jo looked like Farrah Fawcett, so he almost directly plagiarized her poster for his one-sheet and advertising, which initiated a lawsuit that he somehow managed to profit off of.

TPB: Did you work much with Mr. Jaacovi again after that?
BC: I also co-directed his next film, Taxi Girls because John Holmes was also in it. I agreed to do this on the condition that my name would not be put on it. Fortunately, John's role wasn't as big in this one, but I also ended up having to direct a lot of the other scenes as well. I'm glad I didn't have to shoot the 2nd unit (sex) scene on the streets of Hollywood - that was busted by the police. After that - although I would run into him from time to time - we didn't work together for another 25 years.

In 2003 I was at Jim South's World Modelling Agency casting two of the six Spanish language features that I made that year when Jaacov showed up and asked what I was doing. I told him, and he said he had wanted to make a Spanish language hardcore feature - a one day shoot, and would I direct it for him. He offered to give me the rights and tape masters to Little Orphan Dusty and Taxi Girls in lieu of a director's fee. I knew that these were totally worthless, because over the years he had already sold them to every video distributor in the San Fernando Valley. So I told him to keep his films and I'd direct the Spanish language feature video for old times sake - all he had to do was buy me a steak dinner after the shoot. This time he kept his promise. But being Jaacov Jaacovi he brought his camera to the nightclub-restaurant where we were dining and had me shoot a musical interlude and some dance footage to pad out the running time for the feature we had just shot.

TPB: How was it writing your memoir, The Other Side of Paradise? How much research did you have to do on your own life?
BC: Writing the memoir was surprisingly easy. It didn't take all that long from start to finish. I could have and should have done a better job, especially in re-reading, re-writing and editing, but then I would probably have lost interest in the project. I had been surprised in the first place when Tyson Cornell of Rare Bird Books contracted me to write the thing, and even more surprised when he decided to publish it in an uncut 2 volume hardcover edition before putting out the highly abridged paperback version.

TPB: What have you been doing lately?
BC: I'm currently happily retired from directing and struggling, from time to time, working on three novels in various stages of completion. Two of these are sequels to my first published novel Flesh of the Lotus. I don't even know why I'm writing them since I really have no illusions about my abilities as a writer, just as I have no illusions about my abilities as a filmmaker. Something to do, I suppose. At least I can try.


  1. Hi is Bob living in hollywood and L.A??

    1. I'm not really sure. I spoke with Mr. Chinn via email.