Cindy Hopkins in Flesh Gordon

One of the most popular soft core smashes of all time, Flesh Gordon rocketed into neighborhood theaters across the USA on this date in 1974.

Upon touching down in local cinemas, the sexually explicit, cosmically comical Flesh Gordon ran continuously for more than a year.

It then became a reliable re-release and a smash in the fledgling days of home video, before living on as a midnight movie favorite--where Flesh continues to circulate (and titillate) today.

The carnally campy send-up of the old Flash Gordon Saturday afternoon serials includes a planet named Porno, a rampaging Penisaurus, and stellar nudity from Cindy Hopkins and bazoomba legend Candy Samples. It also beat the big-budget Hollywood remake to screens by six years.

The Flesh fellowship again transformed once-quaint icons into dirty doings two years later with the X-rated, full-penetration Alice in Wonderland. Playboy Playmate Kristine DeBell takes on the title role there as the girl who goes through the looking glass to a world of magical tits-and-ass.

It was all part of an only-in-the-'70s sexploitation phenomenon that also begat Cheryl "Rainbeaux" Smith nude in Cinderella, Linnea Quigley nude in Fairy Tales, and both Uschi Digard and Dyanne Thorne (Ilsa herself!) nude in The Erotic Adventures of Pinocchio.

In 1989, the universe finally got an official Flesh sequel, titled Flesh Gordon Meets the Cosmic Cheerleaders.