From the archives: Don Edwards: Big brown truck rids Lexington of bad porn

Herald-Leader ColumnistSeptember 30, 2012 

Retired Herald-Leader columnist Don Edwards wrote much about the Kentucky Theatre. This column was originally published Nov. 16, 1999.

Whew, what a close call for the second-largest city in Kentucky.

Forget Y2K, new-millennium panic and all that stuff.

For a weekend, it looked as if the end of the world right there on Main Street.

But Monday morning dawned and Lexington has been saved from terminal decadence by, of all people, the United Parcel Service.

That's right. The big, friendly brown truck came to our community's rescue and removed The Great Evil that was almost next door to city hall.

In other words, a judge quashed a subpoena and Kentucky Theatre manager Fred Mills confirmed yesterday that he had sent the film, Disco Dolls in Hot Skin, back to Hollywood by way of UPS.

And so, in one bold stroke, UPS managed to do what politicians and police had spent the weekend trying to do:

UPS finally got rid of the Disco Dolls.

It was a small step for parcel-kind, but a giant leap for humankind.

A total of about 1,850 people went to the Kentucky to see the movie while it was here.

So maybe this is one answer to the question of "downtown revitalization"?

But seriously, folks, nobody in the audience seemed to be taking the movie seriously.

Along with 560 other people, I went to a showing of the 3-D, demonized movie two nights ago to actually see what all the fuss was about.

One generation's daring is the next generation's comedy.

Disco Dolls in Hot Skin is one of the cheesiest, sleaziest old porn flicks from the '70s that anybody could possibly imagine.

Leisure suits, bad dialogue, exaggerated sex scenes. That's why people were laughing at it.

It was an NC-17 film and should have been. Only consenting adults would want to pay $6 a ticket to laugh at this junk when you could see a great movie for the same money.

But a lot of people did want to see it and laugh at it. And that's what the First Amendment is all about.

It doesn't just protect us and the people with whom we agree. It protects everybody.

It even protects some who want to laugh at an old, sexually explicit movie that some others would find disgusting and repulsive.

Before yelling for a ban on all "X" movies at the Kentucky, there is something worth considering:

Do we really know what we're banning?

Thirty years ago, there was an X-rated, Dustin Hoffman movie called Midnight Cowboy that won the Academy Award for best picture.

Standards of social acceptability change.

In the 1970s, who would have thought that in 1999, the whole country would be watching Bob Dole talk about erectile disfunction (ED) on TV commercials?

Did the Disco Dolls movie have any redeeming social value?

The courts can decide while the public officials who want to play public censors argue at city hall about what the Kentucky Theatre shows.

The rest of us will sit back and watch this G-rated ("g" for government) show.

We just won't all be watching Disco Dolls.

UPS saved us.

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