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The Bondage Invasion!

Firsts In Bondage in Mainstream Media

copyright 2005 by Pat Powers

First president of the United States. First man to walk on the moon. First woman elected to Congress. First airplane flight. First chicken to cross the road. These are all important events, and somebody really should make note of them somewhere. But we have stranger fish to fry.

Ever since the great cultural wasteland that we know as television was established, it has been colonized by various art forms and cultural influences over time. In fact, one of the guiding principles of media is that when a new medium is invented, its earliest content tends to come from established media.

But what we're interested in is not a medium, but a cultural influence -- bondage. Over the last several months, Bondagerotica (www.jollyroper.com) and a group of experts over at Brian's Discussion Page (www.brianspage.com) have engaged in a spirited discussion on the topic of: what are the firsts of bondage in mainstream television and film?

Out of that discussion has come a list, a list of bondage firsts in a variety of areas. Want to know when the first head harness gag appeared in a mainstream TV series? Try 2000, this very year, a millennial event to be sure. The first pantie gag? 1995 for the movies and --maybe-- 1983 for television. The first joyrope? 1961.

The list is not complete, by any means, and some of the entries are defaults --items which probably are not firsts but which were placed there to at least have an entry. For example, we give a date of 1971, citing Cheri Caffaro in "Ginger" for the first real, as opposed to implied, nude bondage sex scene. But nude sex scenes appeared in European films before it appeared in American films, and odds are at least one of them had a bondage scene, so "Ginger" would have been predated by such a film. Since we can't definitely cite such a film, we'll stick with "Ginger" for the time being.

The first occurrence of a particular bondage artifact or technique in a film does not imply its subsequent widespread appearance in films. Sometimes censorship has had profound effects on bondage scenes. The wide-open nude sexual bondage of the Ginger movies in the 70s, for example, was followed up by a whole lot of nothing, as censorship raised its ugly head shortly thereafter. The first occurrence of a joyrope (aka a crotch rope) in 1961 in "Sweet Ecstasy" appears to have been an isolated thing, with no subsequent appearances in mainstream films, not because it was censored but apparently because filmmakers just weren't paying attention.

But here's a link to a brief but very biased general history of the appearance of bondage history in mainstream TV and movies, by decade.

Finally, a word or two about real vs. implied nudity. Prior to the 60s, real nudity wasn't allowed on American movie screens or TV screens, period. (Real nudity is defined as a woman's nipples and/or aureoles, pubic region or all of the butt, as opposed to just the top of the butt crack or part of a cheek.)

Because of this, it was impossible to show full frontal nudity or even full rearal nudity, phenomena which have occurred throughout all of human history, right up to this very day. So guys got into weird fetishes like extremely large breasts that bulged provocatively through a woman's clothing. And filmmakers tried tricks like partially obscuring the sight of an actress' body with hair or props or other people -- call it the Lady Godiva effect. This is implied nudity, and as it was the only nudity around back then, we're counting it as a form of nudity.

This can lead to some pretty dicey questions. For example, the first (1930s) version of House of Wax was cited as an early example of nude bondage, because the woman was tied down and she was implied to be nude underneath the sheet that covered her.

We turned that one down -- we are all nude underneath our clothes, after all. But we would count the 1950s remake of House of Wax, even though the damsel in this case is concealed in a box. But she is supposed to be nude inside the box, as is evidenced by shots of her face and shoulders, chained ankles and chained wrists. And by the fact that her rescuer quickly places a cloak over her after saving her from the wax that was about to be dumped on her.

Still, we saw no portion of her body below her shoulders or above her shins, so we are pretty much taking the filmmakers' word here.

In short, implied nudity can be a far cry from the real thing. Then again, some of the implied nudity from the early 1930s, which in some instances consisted of nothing more than a few wisps of strategically glued-down hair, was pretty darned close to the real thing. So be forewarned.

OK, that said, here's the list. Feel free to email bondagerotica@yahoo.com if you have any additions, deletions or comments. And feel free to copy it and republish it on your own site, post it to a newsgroup or bulletin board, or email it to friends. All we ask is that you give us credit for putting it together, in the form of saying, "Compiled by Bondagerotica (www.jollyroper.com) in conjunction with the experts at Brian's Discussion Page (www.brianspage.com). The names at the end of the listings are those of the contributors from Brian's Page who made that particular contribution.

Because although we had a lot of help from the folks on Brian's Page -- their expertise is what makes it a useful document - we did put it together.

General Firsts

1. First bondage scene, period, -- Linda Arvidson (AKA Mrs. D.W. Griffith) in The Red Girl (1908) -- Honk

2. First gag, period -- An Awful Moment" (1908) Linda Arvidson -- Honk

3. First (implied) nude bondage scene. ("Implied"means the actress is clearly nude but her nipples and genitals are blocked in some way, as by conveniently place props, etc. I threw out the first House of Wax film on the grounds that somebody whose body is entirely covered by a sheet is not really naked. Strategically place vines or hair, however, seems like nudity. Arbitrary? Yeah, but we're open to suggestions for a better standard.) No candidate as yet.

A) Sign of the Cross, 1932 -- woman chained naked and spreadeagled in the Colosseum -- Tony Wood

B) Silent "educational" films of the early 20th Century -- DB (The exact dates of these films are not know, but they were very naked and very explicit)

C) Roman Scandals, 1933, about 20 nude women chained to a pillar -- Tony Wood

4. First genuine nude bondage scene (nipples and/or genitals and/or all of butt visible) Ginger, Cheri Caffaro, 1971 (probably this is predated by some European "art" film, but as no definite candidates have been established, we'll use Ginger as a default)

5. First nude bondage scene with the Full Treatment (gagged and bound) Thunderbolt and Lightfoot, 1974

6. First nude bondage scene with sex -- "Ginger" 1972.

7. First appearance of a full head harness in a mainstream TV series -- Reyes y Reyes, Spanish language (ball gag) 1999. First U.S. series, Amazon, Fabiana Udenio (bit gag).2000.

9. First nude bound and gagged sex scene (the Full Treatment) Over the Wire with Griffin Drew, 1995 (the Ginger movies did not, to my knowledge, feature any scenes of bound AND gagged women being made love to).

10. First Tied and Tickled -- The Brothers Karamazov -- 1958 -- FrankJ

11. First Ponygirl Scene -- Check to the Queen, 1979, a Spanish flick. Also qualifies as first topless ponygirl scene.

12. First Topless Flogging -- Cabiria, 1917 (Italy).

13. First Nude Breast Bondage Scene -- Linda Fiorentino in After Hours, 1985. (It's more or less nude -- Fiorentino wears a sheer, see-through shirt that does nothing to conceal her aureoles and nipples.)

Gag Firsts By Type

1. First Over the Mouth Gag -- unknown

2. First OTM on TV -- unknown

3. First Cleave Gag -- Lillian Gish in "Birth of A Nation", 1915 -- this is almost certainly preceded by others, we're just using it as a default.

4. First cleave gag on TV -- unknown

5. First panty gag on TV -- "Law and Order SVU, 2004. Nude bound and gagged scene, too.
6. first appearance of a strap ball gag (we specify strap ball gag to distinguish it from a ball simply inserted into the mouth as wadding, as in clockwork orange) in a movie -- night visitor (teri weigel - 1990). -- biff and movie fan

(There are a lot of candidates for these categories. In the case of the movies, they date from the early 1900s -- prior to 1910. In the case of television, they date from the early 50s, unless there was something broadcast on mechanical television in the 20s and 30s._

6. First brank (a metal cage for the face with a built-in gag, here referred to as a "Scold's Bridle" from medieval times) on TV -- fetchingly modelled by Hilary Dwyer in the "Murdersville" episode of The Avengers, 1968 --Luigi Vercotti.
6. first appearance of a strap ball gag (we specify strap ball gag to distinguish it from a ball simply inserted into the mouth as wadding, as in clockwork orange) in a movie -- night visitor (teri weigel - 1990). -- biff and movie fan

7. First appearance of a strap ball gag in a TV series -- Tales From the Crypt, "King of the Road" episode, Michelle Bronson, 1989 -- Oreanmos

8. First appearance of a bit gag in a movie -- "Mysterious Island," 1929 -- Video Mayhem

9. First appearance of a bit gag in a TV series -- Bonanza, "Desperate Passage" episode, Tina Louise (of Gilligan's Island fame) 1959 --bound and gagged with a stick. -- Biff Barksdale

10. First appearance of a pantie gag in mainstream movie -- "Jaded" 1996, Carla Gugino.
11. no known pantie gag on television, ever (though there is a gag from a british comedy series called "good night, god bless" that looks like a strong contender.)

12. First tape gag scene -- Eleanor Hunt in "Yellow Cargo" in the 1930s. -- Frank J

13. First tape gag on TV -- unknown at present

14. First On-Screen Gagging -- Lillian Gish in "Birth of a Nation" 1915 -- Ralphus

15. First Fruit Gag (by special request -- I'm not too sure about gags you can eat your way through) Senta Berger, "When Women Had Tails" 1970

15a. We love Loosies -- and Lucy! First fruit gag on TV -- Lucille Ball in "I Love Lucy" series, somewhere between 1951-1957.

16. First gag with wadding on TV -- Surfside Six, "Bride N Seek" episode 1960-62

16a. First gag with wadding in a movie -- Jess Walton, The Peacekillers, 1971 -- Paulie (this is almost certainly preceded by others, hence it's a probable default).

Bondage firsts by type:

1. First nipple clamps -- Ratchet, 1998.

2. First joyrope scene -- Elke Sommer in Sweet Ecstasy, 1961. Interestingly, no joyropes were seen again until the nude joyrope scene in "Romance" -- four decades later.
6. first appearance of a strap ball gag (we specify strap ball gag to distinguish it from a ball simply inserted into the mouth as wadding, as in clockwork orange) in a movie -- night visitor (teri weigel - 1990). -- biff and movie fan

3. First nude joyrope scene -- Caroline Ducey in "Romance" 1990. Unfortunately, Ducey's pubic hair was so thick it might as well have been a pair of panties. Thick panties.
6. first appearance of a strap ball gag (we specify strap ball gag to distinguish it from a ball simply inserted into the mouth as wadding, as in clockwork orange) in a movie -- night visitor (teri weigel - 1990). -- biff and movie fan

4.. First hogtie on TV -- Secret Agent Man "The Sting In The Tail," Juliet Harmer, circa 1971 -- Jay L.

5. First movie hogtie -- Custer's Last Stand, 1938 (possibly, not certain) -- Honk

6. First nude hogtie -- Ginger, 1971

7. First Double Jessica Hammerlock -- (In honor of Jessica of Brian's Page -- no know scene yet.)

8. First Suspension Scene -- Linda Arvidson (AKA Mrs. D.W. Griffith) in The Red Girl (1908) -- Honk

9. First four-point suspension -- (hanging from a pole) Call Me Bwana, Edie Adams (1963) -- Malasfan, Captain T

10. First straightjacket scene, Greta Gynt, The Human Monster, 1939 -- Greg of Greggerbits

b) first properly applied straightjacket, Olivia DeHavilland, The Snake Pit, 1948 -- Greg of Greggerbits

11. Rack "Em Up! First damsel on a rack, two candidates:

12. First chained scene -- unknown at present, believe it or not.

13. First nude chained scene -- Cabiria, 1917 (Italy). Woman tied arms overhead to a post, stripped to the waist, and whipped.

Well, that's it, at least, that's it for now. As time goes by the list will certainly be improved upon, and that's a fine thing -- but we think this is a pretty good start.

Go to the Brief Yet Totally Biased History of Bondage

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