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An Insider's View

Howard Levine

Howard Levine

Porn in the 1980's

In the late 1980s things were going very well, sales were up, I was the manager at General Video West and we were growing every month.

The studios would do something called a dollar day, sell a new release, get a dollar.
I excelled on dollar days.

They brought cash, I loved cash, it was a match made in heaven.

There was a new line out, that had around 20 titles, it was called Vivid.

They had been around for a couple of years making the Ginger Lynn movies and doing pretty well.
The owner was a guy from my hometown, Cleveland Ohio. He was a pretty cool dude, and we hit it off right away.

We both loved Bruce Springsteen, and that alone was good enough for me.

A very young Steven Hirsch. At the time he was known pretty much by "Stevie".

I sensed he was a very smart guy and a great salesman.

They had just come out with a title called "The Brat", with Jamie Summers.

First off, the box was the best I'd ever seen, and Jamie was to die for.

Steven would have jamie call me at my office and tell me to push her title.

I can't really explain it, but in those days, the girls were stars. It was like getting a call from Jennifer Aniston.

Steven came up to S.F. for a dollar day.

We had 2 days to sell as much as we could.

He brought a couple of grand with him.

The first day I sold 3000 pieces and did the same the second day.

He needed to go to the bank.

He knew I could sell, I loved pounding the phones.

I feel in love with Vivid and wanted to go to work for Steven. But he would not hire me as long as I worked for GVA.

I had a daughter on the way, and could not work out a better deal for myself, so I quit.

I called Steven and was hired. I was the new sales guy at Vivid.

The product was really good, the boxes were really great, so  selling it was no problem.

Steven had a plan, contract girls. It would turn out to be one of the best business models in the industry.

We had our sights set on being number one. VCA and Caballero needed to watch out.

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