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Porno Industry Hard-Hit by the Quake

January 28, 1994

LOS ANGELES (AP) _ America’s porn industry felt the earth move, all right.

The quake damaged expensive video production equipment used by makers and distributors of X-rated flicks in the San Fernando Valley, a region with so many porno businesses it gives new meaning to the term ″bedroom community.″

″These religious fanatics may think it’s the Lord’s way of telling us, ’Hey, straighten your act out,‴ admitted Lenny Friedlander, president of New Beginnings, which distributes adult videos, magazines and sex toys.

Not that there’s any danger of a smut shortage.

″It probably slowed them down by about a week,″ said Mark Kernes, manager of Adult Video News, a trade magazine.

More than 80 percent of the nation’s adult videos come out of the valley, and most of those businesses lie within a five-mile radius of the quake’s epicenter, police said.

″It’s the porn capital of the world,″ said Jan LaRue, a lawyer with the National Law Center for Children and Families.

Leisure Time Entertainment had to stop making X-rated videos for a week after the Jan. 17 quake, said a video post-production coordinator who wouldn’t give her name. About 250 duplicating machines costing about $1,200 each were damaged, she said.

At Cal Vista International, which duplicates adult entertainment and other videotapes, it took about a week to clean up, spokesman Otto Mix said. The company reopened this week even though 150 of its 600 duplicating machines were damaged.

Probably the hardest-hit was VCA Pictures, one of the largest adult video makers and distributors in the country.

″Their building got hit pretty bad and was condemned,″ Kernes said.

Calls to VCA went unanswered Thursday. But others in the business were confident the company would be up and running soon.

The valley is home to about 35 substantial pornography businesses and dozens of smaller ones, according to police. The boom began in the early 1980s, with the advent of home video. Companies were drawn by the warm weather and the proximity to Hollywood.

″A lot of actors or actresses try to make it into the legitimate industry and can’t,″ Detective Robert Navarro said.

Those who would delight in seeing merchants of sex struck down Sodom-and- Gomorrah-style are likely to be disappointed.

″I don’t think there’s anything that will drive these people out of the area,″ vice-squad Detective Bob Peters. ″It’s a billion-dollar business.″

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