Intercontinental legendary porn director and former Fort Lauderdale resident William Higgins is celebrating 40 years in the business.
Higgins’ porn career started as porn consumer.
“I thought, ‘Well, these films are really horrible—certainly I can do better!,” he told AVN.
Starting in 1978, some of the long time director’s iconic works include “The Boys of Venice, The Class of '84,” “These Bases Are Loaded,” “The Best Little Warehouse in L.A.,” “Sailor in the Wild,” “Cousins,” “The Pizza Boy,” and “Big Guns.”
Higgins’ first encounter with gay porn took place in Dallas in a twin theater that featured straight and gay erotic films. He was closeted at the time so he would often buy a ticket to the straight movie and switch to the gay one.
In Dallas, he had been a customer of Falcon, the revolutionary 1971 gay porn studio, and one day received a letter from the company saying that no future orders would be shipped to Texas, Tennessee or Florida.
According to an Out Magazine interview with Falcon, at the time shipping obscene materials across state lines was illegal. Delivering porn into certain parts of the South, like Atlanta or Florida was a risk because it depended on community standards. The studio founders were brought to trial after what was presumably “a mail order sting.”
Higgins decided “The movies are so bad and Falcon won’t sell me their 8-millimeter films, I’ll just go out and I’ll make gay porn on my own.’”
He noted some of his big hits, like the royalties-producing “A Married Man”, and some of his failures, like the confiscated cumshot fiasco with “Kip Noll Superstar” - but along the way he’s had some close calls with the law.
“After a while, I thought everything was legal, and there was a huge raid during the Carter administration,” he told AVN. It was at that point Higgins decided he better consult an attorney.
“I [went and] said, ‘I thought porno was legal because of the First Amendment,’ and [the attorney] laughs and says, ‘Oh how naïve you are! What’s amazing to me is that you’ve been in the business this long and haven’t had any encounters with the police.’”
Those words would later prove to be prophetic in 1988, when Higgins and a talent scout found themselves cruising for ‘models’ in South Florida.
“Well, I had a scout, and I’ve said to all the scouts, ‘Whatever you do, don’t mess around with anybody underage,’” Higgins told AVN.
So together in Fort Lauderdale they drove along the street, “and I saw a kid who was obviously underage, and I said ‘Don’t look at him.’ And [the scout] said, ‘I’m not looking at him.’ And I said ‘I know you’re looking at him.’”
Afterwards, Higgins left on a business trip.
“And guess what?” Higgins told AVN, “He had shot pictures of the guy I told him not to pick up, not to shoot.”
Shortly thereafter Higgins woke up to 15 police cars raiding the house with shotguns, nightsticks, and ‘everything else.’
The cop explained to him, “Well [the scout] took these pictures and he sent them to a lab, and the lab had to call us by law.” And he showed Higgins the pictures and he said, “Do you have anything to say about that?” And Higgins said, “Yes, take the cuffs off of me and I will murder him right in front of you. Can you can arrest me for that?’”
In the midst of the investigation, Higgins went on a ‘world tour.’ First he went to Australia and made a movie, but he didn’t like it. Then he went on to Thailand, and was happy with the product, but didn’t see any future opportunities there.
Ultimately, Higgins ended up in Amsterdam where his European distributor was located.
Higgins eventually settled in Prague, Czech Republic, where he started EuroMilitary.com, which later morphed into WilliamHiggins.com.
“Meanwhile, the FBI had actually gone to Fort Lauderdale, and they found the kid and they showed him my picture and they showed him the other guy’s picture, and he said, ‘Never saw either of them,’ The charge dropped, and they called me and said, ‘Okay, you can come back to the USA now.’ And I said, ‘You know, I don’t think I will.’”
Prague, Czech Republic
Higgins told AVN it’s easier to shoot in the Czech Republic, because it’s a lot cheaper to do business there. “When I left America, the AIDS crisis had just hit. So with the model situation, you had a firehose and then somebody turned it off—and it was ‘drip, drip, drip’ from 1986 on.”
Higgins speculates it must be more and more expensive to shoot back in the U.S. because there’s no city “with the possible exception of San Francisco”, where he can find a steady stream of models.
“Studios like Corbin Fisher and Sean Cody, they’re flying the models in from hither, thither and yon,” he told AVN. “They put them up in hotels, they wine and dine them, they shoot them and then they send them back from wherever they come from. That is very expensive.”
In the Czech Republic, the director said that the biggest traveling expense to bring in a model is about $45. “We’re paying comparable to the U.S. for the models. It’s much easier to shoot porn nowadays,” Higgins told AVN, ”But I would never go back and try and start doing porn in the USA again.”