What man hasn’t dreamt of jacking off over a huge pair of lovely ripe melons? Well, in 1962 sleepy-eyed Hollywood legend Robert Mitchum did just that – in a drunken stupor he staggered up to Sal Minardi’s green grocers shop off Hollywood Boulevard, dropped his pants and ejaculated over the fresh melons displayed outside. This incident was the climax (in more ways than one) of a six month campaign of public indecency directed at Minardi’s fine collection of fruits and vegetables. Whilst these had usually involved variations on showering various items of Minardi’s inventory with semen, on one occasion he had apparently simulated anal intercourse with a marrow.

This amazing story is recounted in Kenny Ireful’s new documentary film “Mondo Pervo” – which caused a sensation when shown out of competition at this year’s Cannes Film Festival. A follow up to last year’s highly successful “Mondo Homo” (see “The Sleaze” Issue 4), which highlighted Tinsel Town’s various gay scandals, “Mondo Pervo” exposes the incredible sexual perversions practiced by some of La La Land’s brightest stars. Using a combination of newsreel footage, re-enactments and interviews with surviving witnesses, Ireful paints a sleazy picture of Hollywood. In the Robert Mitchum case, the director manages to interview Sal Minardi himself, now 81, who remains mystified by the superstar’s behaviour. “Why he kept coming round to my shop to flog his donkey, I’ll never know”, the aged fruitier wheezes. “It was very bad for business, the first couple of times I was able to wipe the affected fruit and vegetables down and put them back on sale – but once word got out of what he was doing, well, I was forced to throw it away. People just didn’t want to eat anything he’d spread his sour cream on – it was no good claiming it was mayonnaise, people aren’t stupid, they could tell the difference between that and Robert Mitchum’s jism”.

Luckily for Mitchum, he had powerful friends in the film industry who were able to cover up the incidents, although a photo of the aftermath of the melon fiasco – showing Mitchum, his trousers around his ankles, being dragged off by the police as he tries to wipe his todger on a furious Minardi’s apron – did appear in “Confidential” magazine. Consequently, Mitchum received treatment for his alcohol and drug problems and the incidents stopped. Ireful suggests that Mitchum’s bizarre behaviour may have been linked to his unhappy 1959 affair with Carmen Miranda – who famously wore a bowl of fruit on her head. He also pinpoints the matter as the origin of “adjusting the fruit bowl” and “doing a fruit salad” as a euphemisms for masturbation and exposing one’s genitals in public, respectively.

In 1997 Eddie Murphy, star of such hits as “Beverly Hills Cop”, “Dr Doolittle” and “The Nutty Professor”, believed that he was being a good Samaritan by offering a lone woman a ride home. Imagine his horror as he found himself being arrested by LAPD Vice Squad officers for soliciting a Samoan transvestite hooker. However, Hollywood stars, cross dressing and prostitution are a far from unusual combination. Had Murphy been driving down Sunset Strip forty years earlier he might have been tempted to offer a ride to a tall blonde woman in red evening gown – and found himself being propositioned by Bud Abbot, one half of top comedy duo Abbot and Costello. In 1956 Abbot was arrested by police after complaints from motorists that he was flagging them down and offering them sexual favours for $15 a time. “It wasn’t so much the fact that he was selling himself, but the fact that he was doing it so cheaply”, Captain Henry Franklin, then head of Hollywood Vice, tells Ireful. “With an ass and legs like his he could legitimately have charged at least twice that”.

Abbot’s partner Lou Costello was also a noted pervert – Ireful’s film reveals that the funnyman, obsessed by his lack of height, at one point refused to make love to anyone taller than himself. Consequently, he began a series of secret affairs with various dwarves and midgets, both male and female, including all twelve of the Munchkins from “The Wizard of Oz”. This sparked a penchant for bizarre sexual partners, which saw Costello scouring freak shows for potential lovers. He is rumoured to have bedded the Hilton sisters – the siamese twins from Tod Browning’s “Freaks” – as well as at least two “bearded ladies” and a limbless woman. His antics came to an abrupt end in 1956, after pictures of him in bed with Francis the Talking Mule were briefly published. These were quickly suppressed by his mobster brother Frank, who forced him to cease his activities under threat of death.