Commentary: Giving Gary Graver His Due

The following letter was sent to the New York Times, the Los Angeles Times, the San Francisco Chronicle and the Washington Times, all of which printed obituaries for Gary Graver. None saw fit to print this:

To the Editor,

I have noted your recent obituary for cinematographer Gary Graver, which mentions the fine work he did with Orson Welles, as well as some of his more prosaic accomplishments for producer Roger Corman and then-fledgling director Ron Howard.

What I would like to call to your attention, however, is an accomplishment which has not appeared in any of the mainstream obituaries on this gentleman, which is his work in the adult film/video industry.

A fact that is little discussed in Hollywood, which makes less than 500 feature films in any given year, is that a few of its directors, writers, camerapersons and technicians work "both sides of the hill" – "the hill" being the mountain range that separates the Hollywood studios from the adult video industry in the San Fernando Valley. That industry makes over 6,000 video features in any given year. We are where the work is. Ambitious people often go where the work is.

Such was the case with Gary Graver, who in his 20 years in the adult film/video industry (1975-1995) was known as "Robert McCallum." As a director/cameraman, Graver/McCallum was responsible for more than 135 sexually explicit films and videos, several of which are considered classics of the genre – among them, 3 A.M., Amanda By Night, Coed Fever, Ecstasy Girls, Suzie Superstar and V The Hot One – and one of which, Unthinkable, won the Adult Video News (AVN) Award as Best All-Sex Video of 1985. Robert McCallum was also inducted into AVN's Hall of Fame several years ago.

The adult industry has come a long way since its beginnings, and references to it are widespread in the mainstream media. Part of that societal acceptance is due to the fine work turned out by Gary Graver/Robert McCallum and others of equal talent.

Nearly all of McCallum's better hardcore movies have been available continuously on videotape and later DVD since they were completed – which is more than can be said for many of his mainstream productions. In that sense, it could be argued that that Graver's legacy in the adult industry is on a par with the bulk of his Hollywood accomplishments.

At least, such legacy deserves some mention in his obituary.

Mark Kernes, Senior Editor, Adult Video News (AVN)

9414 Eton Ave.

Chatsworth, CA 91311