Honey Bee Supreme Court Declares Honey Bee NOT OBSCENE! Greatest Moments in Vintage Sleaze #2
Sam Ratner was the distributor of the stag film Honey Bee. For that, he already ranks high on the vintage sleaze list of notables. But that wasn't all...when he was convicted of distributing Honey Bee, an "asserted obscene" movie in San Mateo Country, he didn't like the ruling. He and his business partner Gary Clarence Morton took the case all the way to the Supreme Court!
According to the LA Times in 1972 (the wheels of justice turn slow, the initial arrest was many years earlier) Honey Bee "depicts a girl sitting on a couch and then disrobing." Yeah, well. LOOK AT HER!
Ratner, on the other hand, declared the film was best described "as a nude figure study, rather than anything else." Hmmm...I am not sure if his advertising copy here was a factor in the decision, but he seems to describe his film a bit differently to prospective buyers. Like this: "She'll make you shudder with pleasure. She'll delight you. Her body is sensational and the production is torrid. You won't believe your eyes, and you'll not part with it for any price."
Okay, so maybe Ratner wasn't a beacon of intellectual freedom after all, he was a sleaze! California thought so, they fined him $1000 and gave him a suspended 6-month sentence. If you are interested in the case, don't bother looking on the web, it took me ages! The case against Sam went to the Supreme Court docket in the 1970-1971 SCOTUS.
Guess what? The Supreme Court agreed with Sam! The decision was reversed! Honey Bee is approved and Sam can go home!
That is until a few years later when they got him for tax evasion.
Greatest Moments in Vintage Sleaze is a once in a while entry on Vintage Sleaze HERE by Jim Linderman. The first entry documents Candy Barr's visit to the Warren Commission.