Organized crime, or just another corporation?

For thirty some years (60’s to the 90’s), Rueben Sturman reigned supreme in the world of adult publishing and entertainment. His network of business’ were as intricate as a bowl of pasta; string theory supreme.

Police booking photo of Rueben Sturman

An often quoted platitude claims he was not just in the pornography business but he was the business. He also owned a few shopping centers and other legal enterprises as well. So what brought Sturman down from his three hundred million dollar a year pedestal? Of course – taxes – Rueben didn’t believe in paying them. He reasoned that the government would only use the money to prosecute him and prosecute they did. There was hardly a time in Rueben’s career that he did not have an indictment against him for marketing obscenity. Ruben Sturman kept a team of litigators busy fighting his legal battles, mostly First Amendment cases, which were easily won by the specialized  heavy weight lawyers who secured judgments in his favor.

What he couldn’t beat was the determination of one IRS investigator who spent 14 years pursuing Sturman and building a case against him. Richard Rosefelder took umbrage at Sturman’s large lifestyle. Starting at 27 years of age, the new IRS inspector dedicated his energy to exposing Sturman. Richard was 41 when he finally accomplished his goal, but not without the help of Interpol, Scotland Yard, The Royal Canadian Mounted Police and the FBI.  Convicted of tax evasion, Rueben was sentenced to 9 years on the charges. His second wife, Naomi DelGottos, a latin pop singer, tried to help Rueben by seducing one of the jurors at his trial. For her effort Rueben got twice the time to serve. But just as Mike Thevis had walked out of jail, Sturman walked away from a maximum security prison and hitched a ride home.

Mark Twain wrote: “Fiction is obliged to stick to possibilities; truth isn’t.” I found during reconstructing my years in the Seventies, when I was associated with the porn business, a constant irony with men who accumulated vast wealth only to be destroyed by their own avarice. This I think is the true essence of the book I have compiled from my own and others experiences of that era.

A dangerous journey through the heady years of the 1970’s when porn was profitable, illegal and a loadstone for gangsters and profiteers attracted by easy cash from 8 mm smut loops.

Probably one of the most influential sociological changes since the industrial revolution, the advent of   hardcore sex films in public places, stripped away much of the quasi-moral vestiges of the ninetieth century Victorian era. It was a time when mores, morals and modesty changed inexorably. Porn was not the only sociological shift; it was happening in the arts, politics and society in general. Whether pornography was a catalyst or a by-product of this change is difficult to cleave, but for certain it played a big part in challenges for first amendment rights.    

Literally at fox hole, basement level, I witnessed the paradigm shift from titillation to penetration in motion pictures. I paralleled the legal adjustments, while making films, and watched as the public demanded the ability to view what they wanted. It was an important slice of American culture witnessing  implications of the past and the impact to the future. 

 Available @ http://



~ by Larry Revene on December 23, 2012.

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