Posts Tagged ‘adult entertainment industry’

Possibly considered one of the more controversial industries housed within the borders of the San Fernando Valley, the adult entertainment industry is also the producer of a $14 billion a year market. The industry began within the 1950’s and 60’s with privately made 8mm and 16mm home video cameras that were small, portable, and easy to operate.[1] The versatility of portable home video recorders provided the industry with a very economic means of film production. These portable cameras saved the adult entertainment industry from the blow the motion picture industry took when television appeared in the 1950’s.The very popular “motel” movie aided in the process. This low budget approach to film production consisted of a quickly made film set in a non-disclosed motel room. For many years, adult film making was primarily a privatized, word-of-mouth movement.

The most difficult hurdle facing the early adult film industry was how to advertise for an underground production of material not allowed on the big screen. The answer came in 1969 when the Motion Picture Association of America (MPAA) developed a rating system that included X-Rated as a category. The new rating system enabled the premier of Gerard Damiano’s Deep Throat in the New York World Theater in New York in June 1972. The adult film industry’s emergence into popular culture is often credited to release of that film. However, local and federal regulations soon tightened the screening of X-rated film on the big screen, impacting the industry in California and across the country. After the fall of the X-rated film on the big screen came the advent of the video cassette in 1977.[2] The adult entertainment industry was the first to capitalize on this new technology by beating the major motion picture corporations to release the first film on video cassette.

The San Fernando Valley had very strict rules governing the production of adult films during the 1970’s and early 1980’s, and producers in that area had difficulty surviving. Prior to 1986 the production of adult films, according to the LA county district attorney, was punishable with a prostitution charge, stating that sex for money, even on a film set is prostitution.[3] In order to produce the films, crews in the SFV would often time shoot in safe locations typically in neighborhoods that had been evacuated due to forest fires.[4] In 1986 Harold Freeman, adult film producer and director, stood up to the grand jury on charges of pandering in Encino, Ca. The charges were for the production of adult films in the state of California. Only after endless appeals filed by Freeman did the court rule in his favor, dismissing the case and ordering Freeman to only pay all fines and fees. The Supreme Court determined that “the county’s actions had been spurred by anti-porn crusading, not by any legitimate violation of prostitution laws.”[5] As a result of that case, porn was now legal to produce and distribute within California and over night the business began to grow exponentially.

Today the SFV is home to the country’s major producers and distributors of adult entertainment. Among nearly thirty-five major companies, several of the largest are Wicked Pictures, Adult Video News (AVN), Vivid, Leisure Time Entertainment, and VCA Pictures (hustler). AVN, the organization that hosts the adult movie awards annually in Las Vegas, made San Fernando Valley its home in 1984. The company publishes a monthly trade journal that discusses news within the adult entertainment industry. VCA Pictures, Hustler’s film production company, is recorded as being the countries largest distributor of adult films. Through harnessing new technology, the adult entertainment industry continues its booming business. With an estimated $14 billion annually, the industry clearly has a found its home within the SFV to be profitable and significant.


Bashir, Martin. Porn in Hi-Definition: Too Much Detail? Piracy, new technologies, high-definition cameras threaten change; Feb 23 2007, Nightline. http://abcnews.go.com/Nightline/Story?id=2854981&page=1

Glass, Loren. Second wave: Feminism and porn’s golden age; October 2002, Radical Society. http://findarticles.com/p/articles/mi_qa4053/is_200210/ai_n9085969/pg_1?tag=artBody;col1

Robert C Sickels. 1970s disco daze: Paul Thomas Anderson’s Boogie Nights and the last golden age of irresponsibility. Journal of Popular Culture. Bowling Green: Spring 2002. Vol. 35, Iss. 4; p. 49

“Pornography Statistics 2007,” http://www.familysafemedia.com/pornography_statistics.html accessed November 12, 2008

Arcand, Bernard. The Jaguar and the Anteater: pornography and the modern world. Toronto, McLelland and Stewart. 1993

Images courtesy of Larry Sultan The Valley scalo Publishers (August 2004) and Vivid logo, Blu-ray logo, Ryan Klinger


Read Full Post »