Welcome to The Bat Pussy Files, also known as the pile of papers and other related paraphernalia kept on the shelf under my desk. From time to time I’ll be sifting through the files and trying extract something of interest to at least a few others. One note before we get started, if you’re not entirely sure what BAT PUSSY is, then I first question why you’re here, but secondly would point you to the write-up by Mike McCarthy himself (the guy who found BP sitting in a storage room of the Paris Theatre in Memphis, TN) for a little background on this thing which we call BAT PUSSY. I’d also suggest a great post at the Scene of Screen 13 website which has also traveled some the ground we’ll cover again here, as well as the Vintage Texploitation FaceBook group, where you’ll find all sorts of BP-obsessed freaks (guilty).
As far as I’m aware there are only
twelve fourteen known potential sightings of BAT PUSSY in the wild 12, and some of those are iffy at best. Today we’re going take a look at each of those, make a very unscientific judgment call as to the likelihood of whether each one could have been the same film as BAT PUSSY (spoiler alert: at least one is a dead give-away), and also look at what happened to those dens of iniquity that dared screen such a thing as BAT PUSSY in the first place. I welcome open debate on whether you agree with our calls on whether these specimens could have been BP or not, although Comments will be moderated and thus not immediately published (but I’ll get to them, eventually…)
ADVENTURES OF BAT WOMAN – August 1971
Las Vegas Strip – Fort Worth, TX demolished
This is the earliest possible sighting of our Beloved Bat Pussy, here referred to as “Bat Woman”, with “Woman” being the first of many alternative words used in order to actually make it in the newspaper (“pussy” not being a publishable word at the time, unless very clearly referring to a cat). And whats more, we get teased with the possibility that Bat Woman herself was appearing there! Which of course raises a fundamental question: was this Dora Dildo herself? Possible, in fact very possible given that the prevailing theory (and there is some very good evidence to back this up) that BP was filmed in and/or around Dallas/Fort Worth. So we believe it therefore stands to reason that Dora, as well as Sam, could have been local dancers (and if Sam was a dancer she was probably more of older-school burlesque type), and/or swingers, and/or just local freaks, so this very well could have been the she that we know as Ms Dildo. I’ve done some digging on this, and have come up with an interesting array of tangents, which we’ll get around to publishing later this year…
As for The Las Vegas Strip – the location, or rather its locations, it started life at 2818 Race St. until late February 1973, at which point it relocated to 2403 E Lancaster. It was then caught up in the city-wide porn crackdown in early 1974 (a particularly aggressive one btw, complete with ripping entire rows of seats up [“to collect sperm samples”, and I’m not even kidding], confiscating projectors, films, and even pulling electric wires out of the walls [because they aided in the conveyance of obscene materials ]). The LVS was evidently hard-headed and stubborn (this is Texas after all) and broke the police seals on their peep machines, which they were of course caught doing and shut down again. It closed for good as the LVS in May 1974, but the location reopened as a go-go joint again later that month, only to close for good in late 1974.
The original building on Race St appears to have have been demolished at some point in the 1980s/90s, serving as a parking lot until around 2017, and the location now hosts The Union at River East, a fancy-schmansy condo type joint. The second location on Lancaster became a building supply place for a while in the mid-70s, then ironically enough a security office for about 15 years. After 1995 the building was apparently abandoned, but lingered on for over another decade, finally being demolished around 2016.
EROTIC ADVENTURES OF A BAT[d] GIRL – December 1973
Lyric Adult Theatre – Odessa, TX demolished
We jump forward in time a little over two years before the next possible/probable surfacing of Bat Pussy, still in Texas at the Lyric Adult Theatre in Odessa, TX. And we get nearly the full title, THE EROTIC ADVENTURES OF A BAT GIRL (with the “pussy” of course being replaced by “Girl”). Interesting to note however, the newspaper ad actually uses the word “Bad” instead of “Bat”, whereas the article on BP’s legal troubles uses the word “Bat”. Take your pick, but I’m almost certain this was BP (the newspaper also changes/gets-wrong the other film, WILD WEEK IN A COUNTRY JAIL, which more than likely was IN A LITTLE COUNTRY JAIL).
The Lyric had recently reopened in 1973 after being purchased by Southland Theaters, which was one of Carl R Carter’s businesses. And this po-no theater was doing a terrible job of flying under the po-po’s radar: in addition to this bust they had also been busted in June 1973, and one of the films confiscated then was TWILIGHT COWBOY, which coincidentally(?) was another Dora Dildo vehicle. As for the theater itself, it has been demolished and is now a parking lot across the street from the Odessa Court House and Police Department (no wonder it didn’t fly under the po-po’s radar).
BAT LADY – March 1974
Melody Art Theatre – Detroit (Inkster), MI demolished
We’re classifying BAT LADY as “Possible”instead of “Probable” because it’s the only sighting in the Great Lakes area, as well as the only known usage of the word “Lady” in place of the other. Although that being said, I’d still bet a good lunch at the Capri Show World’s Snack Counter that this was in fact BP. We can also surmise/guess that it’s co-billed film YOUNG MARRIAGE was possibly the Ed Wood JR film THE YOUNG MARRIEDS (1972). Wouldn’t that have been an amazing experience, a Bat Pussy and and Ed Wood double feature!
The Melody Art Theatre lasted until 1997, and was evidently a particularly raunchy place, with one Cinema Treasure poster suggesting that “sex orgies of another color” were common place. Evidently that was just too much for the supposedly good citizens of Inkster, because the Melody was shutdown by the local authorities in 1997 and demolished in 1999, with the property being taken over by the cement company next door. There a joke somewhere there about things hardening, but it’s just beyond me right now…
BAT GIRL – May 1974
Venus Cinema – Charlotte, NC demolished
We’re back in the south, and again we’re classifying this sighting as “Possible” because, much like “Lady” in the previous entry, this is the only known instance of BAT GIRL being used. This could just as likely have been a forgotten film about baseball… We also have what is more than probably Bethel Buckalew’s softcore BELOW THE BELT (1971) playing along side it.
The Venus Cinema is long gone (seeing a trend?) and is now the parking lot for City View Towers, a student apartment complex on the campus of Johnson and Wales University. And like the Lyric above, it’s across the street from a Court House.
MAMA’S BAT GIRL – June 1974
Mini-X Theatre – Des Moines, IA repurposed
The following month something called MAMA’S BAT GIRL showed up in Des Moines, IA, and this one just doesn’t feel right. Nowhere else do we have any references to MAMA-anything, either in the film or any other known ads. Nor do we have any other sightings in this particular part of the country. This was more than likely a film dealing with a “bat girl” in the sense of baseball, and also potentially of the teenage-genre of films. But who knows, there are stranger things about Bat Pussy beyond showing up in the cornfields of Iowa under a questionable name.
The Mini-X Theatre seems to have closed or moved elsewhere in 1981. The building itself is still there and a Java Joe’s is swilling out what I would wager is over priced coffee now. Progress?
BAT BROAD – early August, 1974
Art – Binghamton, NY demolished
We now shift to the North East where we have a block of showings of a film going by the name of BAT BROAD, which is of course very possibly BAT PUSSY herself. And to liven things up, our Bat Fiend has company for the next four sightings, the 1974 Ray Dennis Steckler film THE SEXORCIST (1974). We’ll follow these two films around the north east, beginning here in Binghamton, NY at the Art Theatre. As for the two films that preceded these, the latter was obviously OH!…MISS BODIE (1972), but the DRIP BY DROP one is a mystery, and could possibly have been a more-appropriately-titled “P” (1974).
The Art lasted until February 2004 when it was destroyed by an electrical fire. The location is now yet another parking lot.
BAT BROAD – late August, 1974
Cinema 309 – Wilkes Barre, PA OPEN!!!
Later that same month we follow our masked crusader and the sex cult from The SEXORCIST down to Wilkes Barre, PA. It also looks like once again they’re following in Miss Bodie’s rather drippy footsteps, with both films just preceding us once again. But the big news in Wilkes Barre is that the Bat Broad was there in person for “autographs, fun and surprises”! Now, of course it’s a very long shot that we could even hope this was “the” Dora Dildo herself, so far away and so long after BP was filmed. And also outside of that first sighting in Fort Worth in 1971 there have been no other Bat Woman/Broad/Lady/Girl personal appearance turn up. It more than likely, in fact quite probable, that this was a local, or at least regional, talent pulling a publicity stunt. But even then, kudos to the Cinema 309! And what of this so-called Cinema 309…
The amazing thing about Cinema 309, in addition to being one of the “Possible” screenings of BP, is that it’s STILL IN BUSINESS and based on their website and Facebook page, after 48 years they’re still screening adult films, IN WIDESCREEN! The Cinema 309 (not to be confused with the 309 Cinema in Montgomeryville, PA) opened in February 1971 as a mainstream venue to great local fanfare, but by late 1973 it had already made the switch to adult fare, and a nice place for Dora, Sam, and Buddy to spend late August 1974. If anyone is in that area and has any first hand accounts of what they’re screening and what it’s like to see a “film” where BAT PUSSY was (possibly) also screened please post your findings in the Comments.
BAT BROAD – November 1974
Mountain View Cinema – Hartford, CT repurposed
Here we have another “maybe”, but IF the BAT BROAD that screened in Hartford, CT was actually BP then we’re very lucky to have any evidence at all of this because it appears The Mountain View Cinema (which was actually in Naugatuck, CT) did not have much of an advertising budget because it appears the MVC only advertised a few times a month. It’s interesting that while during the time this maybe-BP was screening there they were also experimenting with all-male films after 11:00PM. This location started life as a Jerry Lewis Cinema, then went the way of a large majority of the JLC franchises: lawsuits, closure, porn. The building is still there, at the end of a row of empty stores in the Mountain View Shopping center. Most recently it was a What a Tan! location, and you can still see where the film poster would have been.
BAT BROAD – January 1975
The New Apollo – Philadelphia, PA demolished
Yet again we have a shared-bill with SEXORCIST, the fourth and final times these films would share the same screen (as far as we know). The screening at The New Apollo is also the final screening in the North East, because after this it appears that BP headed south again, and this time for good. However this is not to suggest that the actual print that made it’s rounds between Pennsylvania, Connecticut, and New York was the same print that also made it’s way through the southern and mid-western states. In fact we now know there were at least two prints struck of BP (the one found in Tennessee and a recently discovered  second print which SWV has in their collection now), and based on Joe Rubin there were usually XX prints in a typical smut run. Which means there could possibly other (more complete?) prints still floating around out there somewhere…
But not in a storage locker at the Philadelphia Apollo, because it too was demolished in the 1990s.
THE ADVENTURES OF BAT PUSSY – May 1975
[100% PURE BAT PUSSY]
Sun Theater – Austin, TX repurposed
All too often the remaining evidence we have of films, or people, or places, or events, are thanks to the artifacts left by those people and institutions that were attempting to rid the world of such stuff in the first place. So thanks to the ironic self-righteous indignation of the Austin authorities we have the single instance (thus far) where we get the most complete name of the film, THE ADVENTURES OF BAT PUSSY, although it’s possible the full name was THE EROTIC ADVENTURES OF BAT PUSSY. Wouldn’t it be amazing if a print of TADoBP was still sitting deep in the Austin PD’s evidence vault…
I did some digging a while back into the Sun Theater as well as the person arrested here, Chris Gernon (who was a female btw), and while that may warrant a post for another time it did not, as of yet anyway, bring forth any information related to BP. As for the Sun Theater itself, the building is still there and since 1988 has been the home to the Austin outpost of The Velveeta Room.
BAT WOMAN – June 11, 1975
Lido Art Theatre – Dallas, TX repurposed
Back in Texas in what I’m lead to believe was a somewhat seedy section of Dallas we have BAT WOMAN. This was a tough one to judge between “possible” and “probable”, but the tipping point was BAT WOMAN was also the first film we started this round-up with, again in Texas, and we fell pretty good that it was the She we call BP. But who knows (really, does anyone reading this know? Could one of you have possibly been sneaking down Samuels late one hot June night in 1975 and found yourself at the Lido…). One can dream I guess.
The Lido Art building still stands but since the mid-1990s it apparently has been used as an office building.
ADVENTURES OF A BAT CAT – August 1975
Paris Adult Cinema – Atlanta, GA repurposed
This is where the documented trail ends (given that this was actually BP), and not unlike Bat Pussy herself, appropriately in the deep south, on the rather confusing corner of W Peachtree St NW and Peachtree St NE (?), in a building that still exists, but is surrounded by a modern downtown Atlanta. This one is a real toss-up as to whether it’s just “Possible” or actually “Probable” that this was BP. In the one hand it has almost the entire full name, but on the other it’s the only known usage of the word “Cat”, but on yet another hand (yes, we have three hands) “cat” is of course directly related to “pussy”, so… Oh, and it’s co-feature was CHRISTY from 1975.
The Paris Adult Cinema (not the more famous Paris Adult Theatre in Atlanta, nor the Memphis Paris Theatre where this all [re]started), as you might have guessed, is long gone. However, sitting on the aforementioned corner of West Peachtree Street North West and Peachtree Street North East (if you’ve never attempted to navigate Atlanta you have no concept of just how screwed up all the Peachtrees really are) is the same building, which is a miracle in itself given that everything around it appears to have been consumed by the real estate fever of the late 1980s, with the bright, shiny, and oh-so-bland SunTrust Center being directly across the street (one of the Peachtrees of course). Max Lager’s Wood-Fired Grill and Brewery occupies the building now. I wonder if all those business-types that probably frequent Max’s (when it’s open, because of course Covid) realize what was going on in that same spot 45 years earlier? If you happen to find yourself in the ATL you might swing by and educate a few of them…
CODA: Technically there is obviously one other theater where BAT PUSSY may have been screened: the Memphis Paris Theater where it was found. I’ve chosen not to include it because, (a), as referenced at the top, Mike McCarthy has already sufficiently written about that, and (b) we don’t have any actual evidence that BAT PUSSY ever played there (perhaps a technicality, but…).
CODA 2: A final honorable mention would of course be the recent screenings of the restored BAT PUSSY, the first of which was at 2017’s Fantastic Fest, fittingly in Austin,TX. And BP is now available in a stunning blu-ray version, which can be orderd from the SWV website here.
CODA 3: Since I started putting this together, and now at the time this “goes to press” the BAT PUSSY blu-ray is actually completely sold out at AGFA, and a very limited supply will be made available from SWV, after which BP will officially go “OUT OF PRINT”, at least for a while. I wonder if Buddy or Sam or Dora have a copy yet?
Notes and other info