In what's being called the worst kept secret in the porn industry this year, VCA Pictures has been sold to Larry Flynt Publications' adult video arm, Hustler Video, in a move that will strongly position Hustler and Flynt as the premiere company in the adult entertainment industry.
The sale comes about a year after LFP bought Vivid Entertainment Group's video and DVD domestic distribution rights.
Hustler President Jim Kohls expressed satisfaction with the VCA deal, which was finalized on Wednesday, May 21.
"I think it's a good deal for us and it's a good deal for VCA founder Russ Hampshire," Kohls said. "We're excited and feel VCA will continue to be an important company in the industry. We acquired the entire company and are keeping it as a separate operation with a unique identity. It is too early to determine what changes, if any, will be made. Hustler, Vivid and VCA, working together, will make a major impact on the industry.
Hampshire is planning to keep an office at the company and will continue to help produce videos and make the transition a smooth one.
When reached for comment, the now former VCA owner Russ Hampshire said, "We've been working on this deal for a while. After 25 years in the business I'm ready to move on but I'm still going to be working as a consultant. I'm not leaving the business. I'll still be making films. I'm not going anywhere."
When asked about how the transition will go down, Hampshire was quick to reply, "Hustler is going to add a lot to the VCA brand. They have a lot of new ideas and lots of great things they want to work on because I'm kind of getting into the Stone Age. Don McDonald and I have known each other for years.
"I look forward to working with Don and all the people at LFP because they're going to keep VCA the way it is. We had a meeting today where we had Don come in and meet all the department heads and we had the official exchange of the baseball bat. It was the ceremonial handing off of the bat from me to Don," Hampshire said, a tad wistfully.
Industry veteran Don McDonald will be assuming the role of general manager.
"I'm very excited about the whole opportunity," McDonald told
McDonald is no stranger to the adult entertainment business. He has been in the industry since 1994, starting as President of Spice Direct, which was the direct marketing side of Spice Entertainment companies. When Spice was sold to Playboy, it was spun off to a company called Directrix and McDonald helped provide technical services and satellite broadcast and coding services to Playboy.
"I've been working with Russ Hampshire since the mid '90s and know him on a business and personal level," McDonald added.
"When this opportunity presented itself, we were all happy to get moving on it. We're going to do the same thing we've been doing, just more releases. We're also going to expand our distribution to the video stores and do more video on demand, and broaden our reach into the foreign market. With the library that VCA has and the stable of producers and all the talented people in the company, this is all very doable."
VCA, an industry leader for 25 years, was founded by Hampshire, who early on, had Walter Gernert (Walter Dark) as a partner in the company, spawning the infamous and seminal Dark Brothers, with Gregory Dark.
Long before VCA was known for adult film classics like The Dark Brothers'
While VCA made its name licensing video rights and paying royalties to producers,
From there, VCA became known as a high-end adult entertainment company, hosting a stable of legendary and award-winning directors that included Gerard Damiano, Alex deRenzy, Edwin Durrell, The Dark Brothers, Henri Pachard and later John Leslie, Paul Thomas, John Stagliano, Ben Dover, Michael Ninn, Antonio Passolini, Veronica Hart and Chloe among others.
VCA continued to grow and prosper, always at the cutting edge of technology, delivering high quality, big budget, plot-oriented films and videos. VCA stayed ahead of the curve, becoming the first company in porn to have a state-of-the-art duplication lab for VHS product as well as being the first adult company to install an AVID editing system, something that even major studios had yet to become a staple in mainstream Hollywood.
VCA struggled through the early 1990s when Hampshire served one year in jail for Interstate Transportation of Obscene Materials (ITOM), taking the brunt of the Meese Commission prosecution arm, saving other employees the pain of trial and potential jail time when he agreed to take the fall, serving his time and returning to become a bigger adult production company than ever.
A tireless supporter of free speech and every aspect of First Amendment rights and trade industry organizations, Hampshire continued to lay the groundwork for the ever-growing adult industry, branching off into creating a broadcast quality online system, developing cable programming avenues while continuing to serve the industry by helming Trac-Tech Duplication, the highest quality VHS duplication lab in adult entertainment history.
While many adult companies in the mid to late '90s pursued gonzo porn as a way to deliver cheap and immediate entertainment in mass quantities to a seemingly insatiable adult entertainment audience, VCA never let go of the standards it established when it sold 12,000 units of
To that end, the development of major talents such as Dark, Leslie, Stagliano, Ninn, Dover, Passolini, Hart and others has garnered VCA Pictures enough
Hey Russ, thanks for the memories.
AVNtrophies to fill an office larger than Hampshire's comfy lair in Chatsworth.
Insatiableon its first day of release in 1982, making it the highest charted video (not just adult video) that year in America.
The Devil in Miss Jones 2 was the production that put the company on the map as a major player in the burgeoning adult video business. Not to be overlooked were the video distribution rights on such all-time adult classics as Barbara Broadcast, Naked Came the Stranger, The Opening in Misty Beethoven, The Private Afternoons of Pamela Mannand dozens of other notable adult films of what is now lovingly referred to as "The Golden Age of Erotica."
New Wave Hookers and Rinse Dream's erotic epitome of a carnal cult film, Cafi Flesh, VCA made its mark as the largest distributor of 8mm films for different releasing companies and later became distributors of 8mm films and feature releases for companies like Caballero and VCX, then the two giants of the porn industry.
AVN.com. "Russ has built quite a franchise here. The strength of Hustler with the brand of VCA is going to be terrific."