It all started with a bus ride to the beach.
Don Fernando's car was in the shop, so he was taking the bus to Baker Beach, a nude beach that faces the Golden Gate Bridge in Fernando's hometown of San Francisco.
As the bus neared the beach, the only people left on the bus were Fernando and a guy and a chick sitting directly behind him. He couldn't help but overhear their conversation.
"I grabbed the other guy's balls," the woman said. "And then the one guy put his cock in my pussy, the other guy got behind me and then one guy was complaining about how the other guy's balls were rubbing against his balls, and I said, ?What do you expect?'"
Fernando laughed to himself, then felt a hand on his shoulder. "You liked that one?" she asked. Fernando turned around and saw that it was porn actress Mimi Zuber. Fernando let on that his dream had always been to be a porn star, but he didn't think he had what he needed. "Are you going to the nude beach?" Zuber asked. Fernando said he was. "Well, I'll let you know," she told him.
Next thing you know, Fernando was starring in 12-minute silent clips, where someone would literally have a stopwatch and the guy had to pop in exactly 12 minutes.
Since his entrance into XXX in 1977, the Internet Adult Film Database has on record 1,137 scenes. Fernando said "there's easily 900 more" that are not included in that count since he has worked a lot in Japan (he is fluent in Japanese), and in Europe another 900 titles can be added, not to mention he has performed in more than one scene in many titles.
"I've probably done 2,800 scenes," he said.
Not only is Fernando still hard at work performing in the porn business, he has to get it up at home for his fianc� Sabrine Maui, who he says was the hottest girl he ever performed with on screen.
"She is the hottest female that's ever been in this business," he said, "and she's not here in front of me, so I don't have to say it, but it's really true.
"The second girl, very close second to Sabrine, is Ginger Lynn. She was phenomenal. She was like the Caucasian Sabrine Maui. She was a firecracker."
In Fernando's opinion, it didn't get better than the '80s.
"Without a doubt," he said. "Because that was before HIV. I would have to say from when I started, from '77 to '84. In 1981, making, as a male actor, I was making a lot of money. Even when I started, in 1977, $40 for a scene was a lot of money. I was too young to realize that. I would go there, sign the release, fuck, take a shower, all within 20 minutes. I was getting $120 an hour; that's how I saw it! It was mind-blowing. I remember the first time that I was fucking these two girls, and afterwards I walked down this hill, I had to walk down to Market Street, and I walked down this hill, and I wasn't walking, I was skipping down the hill. Like, I think I had my arms up and was like going, ?Fuck! Fuck!' I couldn't believe it."
Don't think Fernando has lost that loving feeling today. He is still performing steadily both in the U.S. and internationally.
"You want to know something? Before I do a scene now, I still kick myself. I still can't believe it! At 56, look what I'm doing!"
Fernando can also count among his many porn credits and awards his entrance into the AVN Hall of Fame in 2004. And it all started on a bus ride he took to a nude beach in 1977. A man has never been so lucky that his car was in the shop.
"Incredible," Fernando put it. "I'm the luckiest man in the world."