An Insider's View
The Biz Circa 1985
My Name is Howard Levine and I have been selling adult movies since 1985.
Things were a little different back then.
Ronald Reagan took the oath of office for his second term.
He did not like porn.
The cost of a stamp was 20 cents and the median household income was $28k.
The Niners won the Superbowl, I was living in San Francisco, and my main concern was having a good time and selling VHS.
Porn wasn't free on the internet because the internet was just getting started Symbolics.com is the first registered domain name in history.
People who ripped off people in the Porn business usually paid, quickly.
It was a simplier time.
You owe, you pay.
Getting in touch with a Porn company in 1985 was unheard of, there was no 2257, no name and address on the back of a box.
If you didn't know someone in the business who could call for you, forget about it.
There was a big straight and gay market in those days that paid good money for their tapes.
The gay market was shaken up by the death of Rock Hudson, the first big star to die of AIDS.
There were no condoms used back then, and frankly no one really cared.
We were selling a fantasy. The numbers were good and people bought big time.
Every day someone turned 18 and we had a new customer, or more like 10,000 new customers.
We had the stars, Jamie Gillis who crossed over into mainstream movies, Jerry Butler who married Lisa Lorring, a sales person at Caballero who played Wed. Addams on the Addams Family, John Holmes, Christy Canyon, Amber Lynn, Ginger Lynn, Bridgette Monet, Honey Wilder.
These people were stars. Mai Lin, Kay Parker, and a young girl named Traci Lords.
It would be a year before anyone would discover how young Traci actually was.
She made 164 or so movies in a very short time, and everyone stocked them.
In 1986, everyone would pay dearly.
This was my introduction to the adult movie industry, I worked for General Video in San Francisco, and my life was about to change.
Howard Levine is the lead sales guy at Vivid Entertainment
and has worked in that role since 1988. Howard has been involved in the porn industry since 1985 and is an avid motorcyclist.