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Countdown to Condoms: Wicked Pictures, Porn’s Biggest Unsolved Mystery

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With one week to go, expect it to get real nasty out there in Twitterland and Skypeville. Expect a lot of chatter, a lot of porn industry interviews and ringing endorsements on a “No” vote on condoms between now and next Tuesday’s election.

But don’t expect any sense to be made of Wicked Pictures’ recent endorsement of “No” on Proposition B. While Wicked has been mandating condoms in its shoots since 2004 it has elected to take the opposite position.

Even more puzzling, the adult industry takes an almost unanimous stance that condoms are ruinous, economically, only you wouldn’t know it by Wicked.

They have a fistful of executives making cushy salaries. They still have contract girls and they have an active production schedule. Plus their movies always win awards.

And Wicked has an interesting history. Steve Orenstein started the company in 1993 and from the get-go Wicked was an unqualified success. The signing of Chasey Lain as their first contract girl, however, really put them on the map.

If you believe what you read on Wikipedia, Orenstein supposedly started the company with “help” from Brad and Cynthia Willis. Willis, who’s no longer active in porn and living in New Mexico, was probably the premier studio photographer of that generation. It was Willis who handed you the artwork and told you what was going on the boxcover. Such was his clout.

“Help” to me would suggest a financial investment, however the industry always speculated that Orenstein had a secret partner in Russ Hampshire of VCA Pictures. No offense to Orenstein, but hardly anyone in the industry could comprehend how he went from being Ruby Gottesman’s warehouse man in one instance and a company owner the next.

Orenstein when he was known as “Shecky” had more than a few tumbles with the LAPD before he got his act straight. However to put him in the same category as a company owner? There was a lot of doubt there. Of course the Jenna Jameson marketing coup left no doubt that Wicked knew exactly what it was doing

Yet Wicked will always remain as one of porn’s modern miracles. Orenstein always seems to make the right moves and the company has always had superior leadership. And, mystifyingly, it makes condom movies that make money. How the hell do they do it?


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