I don’t follow the news much, so I missed the fact that Marilyn Chambers, star of Behind the Green Door, one of the first “main-stream” porn films, died earlier this month. I only found out when it was briefly mentioned in People magazine.
What I found interesting was the note that before Marilyn made her move into sexually explicit films, she was on the Ivory Soap Box.
In the early 1970’s Proctor and Gamble were looking for a new, fresh face of a young mother to use on boxes of Ivory Snow. Promoting the “99 44/100% pure” tag line, I expect they wanted to portray that purity through the use of the mother and baby on the box. It does look pretty pure on the box!
However, in 1972, Ms. Chambers decided to make the leap to adult films. According to an Associated Press article, in an online chat with AdultDVDtalk.com in 2000, Miss Chambers attempted to explain what caused her to take such a radically different career path.
“Back then in my naive brain I was thinking that something like ‘Behind the Green Door’ had never been done before and the way our sexual revolution was traveling I really thought it was going to be a stepping stone which would further my acting career,” she said.
When Proctor and Gamble got wind of her new career, they quickly pulled the Ivory Snow boxes featuring her picture (and no doubt added a morality clause to their models’ contracts). Now they are collectors items – there are twelve items listed on eBay with the image as I write this!
There a rumor (unverified, as far as I can tell) that there is a reference to Ivory Snow in all of Ms. Chamber’s adult films. Yet another way that soap has become an integral part of our culture.