Lasse Braun

Lasse Braun (1936 -- )

"I believe pornography is at the center of the biggest cultural revolution of our century."

So says Lasse Braun, a pornography king arguably higher in stature than Hugh Hefner and Bob Guccione combined. The man was the focus of international prosecution, taking legal bullets in stride long before Larry Flynt or Hustler magazine. Braun's primary claim to fame was pioneering and refining the loop: a silent 8mm or 16mm film reel taped in a circle, suitable for private home projection and endless masturbation.

From 1961 to 1977, his camera captured inventive, artistic, sloppy, disgusting and intense scenes of hardcore sexual gangbangs with quite literally the most beautiful women anyone at the time had ever seen in their lives. Danish girls with shiny, beautiful faces getting fucked good and proper. Lesbians cat fighting, getting filthy dirty in the mud while kissing, drooling, and smooshing bananas. Extended outdoor blowjobs, pop shots like they were going out of style, and so much more.

Braun's creations were lavish, his scenarios uncensored, and his female performers extremely popular. Each reel sold by the millions. Then they were duplicated and distributed for additional millions. In no time at all, eight-to-twelve minute featurettes like Piss & Orgasm, Tit Friction, Anal Libido, Cake Orgy, and Midnight Sodomites were being viewed worldwide in arcades, bookstores, and high-class peepshows. Because they were screened so intensely -- over and over again in front of a blistering white light bulb -- the average copy lasted seven days. The March 12, 1975 issue of Variety announced that Braun's French Blue was grossing nearly $75,000 a week. This was more than twice the earnings of The Man With The Golden Gun and Dracula. Yes, the loops of Lasse Braun would be the foundation and building blocks for a worldwide adult industry. He had exactly one goal: to popularize pornography on such a massive scale that its legalization would be inevitable.

On his eighth birthday, Braun fucked a nine-year old Italian girl in the attic of his house, with her enthusiastic participation. He was, after all, the son of a diplomat, fluent in various languages, and a specialist in seduction. He had love affairs across all of Europe and throughout law school. His radical doctorate dissertation, Judiciary Censorship in the Western World provoked controversy, and it was promptly censored by the establishment.

Lasse Braun personally conceived, produced, directed, edited and marketed his films, and even developed theories about what kind of container his porn would be boxed in. He eschewed the plain brown wrapper, the manilla envelopes, the small blank boxes with hand-written titles and a picture glued on. He invented the good kind of box, the one with cutesy girlies on the outside so you really know what you're getting. His innovative package design distinguished his product from everything ordinary. He set up a graphic design service bureau, the Golden Rose Center, with a Danish art director and four assistants. The workflow he oversaw was tremendous.

Elegantly dressed, Braun would enter retail shops and ask if they carried "sex books" or magazines. When they politely said no, he offered the owners free samples of his product, suggesting that they charge a high retail price to reap significant profit. Over time, this earned him the honest-to-gosh nickname of Santa Claus.

Braun was tackling this enterprise during a period in history when even brief, fleeting glimpses of partial nudity were considered a major taboo. The Cold Was was in full effect Nations hated each other, and pornography seemed the perfect vehicle to incorporate a multinational police apparatus. In the non-unified European countries like Sweden, Denmark, West Germany, Italy, France and Spain -- printing boxes for porn or getting film developed was extremely dangerous. Everything Braun did during the early sixties and 1970's was a felony, and penalties in every nation (including the United States) were as swift and brutal as one might expect. Contraband had to be entirely concealed from police departments, pirates, and thieves. Even distributors would be singled out as necessary victims of the revolution, and from time to time Braun himself would bring charges against those involved in under-the-table dealings without his implicit participation. Lawyers on either side of these disputes would abstractly refer to the pornography in question as "shipments".

Following John F. Kennedy's proclamation that America would send a man to the moon, Braun proclaimed that before the end of the decade, he would get at least one European country to officially legalize pornography. He used aliases and moved around. He stealthily switched offices and machinery, during which time precious pornography was lost or destroyed. When European authorities began judicial procedures against one of his false identities, Braun knew he was in trouble. They were getting closer; he was forced into further secrecy and disguise, sometimes leaving town in the dead of night. His films were banned, causing ripples of bankruptcy throughout the community.

But Braun refused to shoot conventional, soft-core flicks. He considered half-assed flashy titty shows "a brain-damaging institution created by a bunch of criminals to blind people, to milk gullible masses to the limit" But he spent his earnings wisely. He understood that in order to attract high-spirited sex performers and people of advanced culture into his unprecedented erotic undertakings, he'd have to play the game. He'd have to schmooze with those of expensive habits, deep pockets, fancy cars and drugs. But he never once fell down. He fought the good fight. In June 1977, after fifteen years of challenging sexual repression and achieving incredible success, Lasse Braun retired. The number of judiciary cases piling up against him in Italy were wearying. He'd spent a lifetime obliterating the very concept of shame, but he'd grown to dislike the greedy, superficial attitude of distributors. They flew in the face of his idealized movement to break down censorship into easily disposable components.

In 1980, Braun entrusted an ex-wife in Italy with his original prints, as he prepared to relocate to California. Unfortunately, she discovered one of her live-in girlfriends was a drug dealer. Not wanting any police activity in her home, and fearing the worst, the ex-wife destroyed every last negative, film, photo and loop. What remains of the Braun archive is burned on a handful of DVDs here and there, and people's blissful memories.

As if this illustrious career wasn't sufficient, Lasse Braun in his later years conducted scientific studies on 364 non-orgasmic women (from 21 different countries) between the ages of 18 and 68. He wished to determine if the mythical G-Spot really existed. With the collaboration of two handsome assistants -- one Italian, one American -- he was able to induce female ejaculation and full shuddering orgasm in one hundred percent of his volunteers.

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