Here’s part two of the Peter Theander interview, taken from Gordon Schindler’s A Report on Denmark’s Legalized Pornography. In this concluding part of the interview, Theander talks more about producing pornographic magazines, giving a greater insight into the then growing Danish market and the changing legality of pornography. He also talks about taboo subjects, declaring that he and his brother Jens would not produce underage content, a policy they would notoriously break in several years to come. The interview is presented verbatim from the book and includes some grammatical/spelling errors.
Reporter: Didn’t they arrest all the dealers they found with these magazines?
PT: No, because they couldn’t find the publishers. They took all the magazines but they couldn’t find out who printed them.
Reporter: Having found it so hard to control the situation, would you say they concluded it would be better to have it legal rather than illegal?
Reporter: Then tell me, Mr. Theander, how under these conditions, were you able to grow and survive?
PT: In those days we did as they all did. We made magazines without our name or addressing them. Then when it all became legal, we were able to do away with our hidden warehouse and do it in the open.
Reporter: I understand there was some movement afoot for many years to liberalise and even to abolish the pornographic laws. This movement must have transcended these troubles, since there were certain groups in the government who were advocating the abolition of these laws even before these troubles. Is this correct?
Reporter: So the trouble which the police reported to City Hall, might have helped them in their decision to make it legal, thus affording less difficulty for everyone concerned. The state and the government would be getting their taxes on all sales of these publications, which they weren’t getting when they were on the black market.
PT: That’s right. And another thing was that people in the government didn’t exactly know what pornography was at the time it was so new for everybody.
Reporter: What laws do you have now? Are there any restrictions at all on any of your publications?
PT: We can make pornography exactly as we want to, but we are not allowed to sell it to people under 16. We are also not allowed to display it in shop windows.
Reporter: Speaking of the age of 16, I see in going through a lot of these magazines –
not particularly yours – that a lot of these girls seem to be very young and possibly less than 16.
PT: They’re all over 18. It is the law that girls to pose for these photos must be at least 18 years old.
Reporter: Do you have any trouble getting these models to post your magazines?
PT: Not any longer. But before we had a lot of problems and it was not easy, because people didn’t know exactly what pornography was. Today, everybody’s seen magazines like this and now they know what it is. Models pose freely.
Reporter: Would you say that most of the models you hire, do this with their parents’ approval? Do their parents know what they’re doing?
PT: No, I do not think that they tell their parents about it, because it’s not easy for the parents to accept it. They are too old to understand.
Reporter: I’ve noticed many people we refer to as hippies, walking up and down the streets here. These young hippie girls – do you employ a lot of them?
PT: No. We do not use hippies, because we make this pornography for normal people like you and me, and it would not be easy for a man to identify with the photos in our magazines, if we used hippies. We use individuals from offices and so on, who are just normal-looking people.
Reporter: You say that a great number of these models come to you for employment?
PT: Yes. They want to make a little extra money.
Reporter: are there any means through which you obtain models such as through agencies or companies?
PT: No, we find them ourselves through the papers.
Reporter: You advertise through the newspapers?
PT: Yes, everyday in the paper.
Reporter: I was talking to the general manager of Berlingske Tidende and he said that while he agreed that everyone should be able to purchase this material if they wanted to, he still defended his position that no one could force him to advertise it. How do you feel about this – the fact that he won’t allow you to advertise in your newspapers?
PT: Oh, I think it’s okay. Because people who want to see what’s new in pornography know they can buy Politiken and they will see it advertised there every Sunday. And the same applies for the boys and girls who want to be models. They know they can see it in Politiken.
Reporter: Yes, but what would happen if all the papers would take the same view?
PT: I don’t know. We’d probably have to spend more money for advertisements in other outlets.
Reporter: Now, despite the introduction of the recent law, there seems to be at times various problems with the officials. I’ve been going through several magazines recently and I’ve detected various sudden conservative attitudes, several them so bad that portions of the pictures have been blacked out. Not in yours, but I’m referring to some of Leo Masden’s books – all of a sudden, the strong pictures were censored out.
PT: That was before the law was passed. He was very afraid of the police and he didn’t have enough money for fines and confiscations of magazines, so he had to publish his magazines in a way they would be accepted. You see, at first the police came every week and took all they could find any last lot of money.
Reporter: Then you say that for the time being at least, there are no legal restrictions at all in that the police don’t give you any trouble.
PT: That’s true.
Reporter: Is there any way the police can give you, trouble, or anybody else?
PT: No, not the Danish police. But I think that in other countries the police can find our magazines and the people who try to bring them in an illegal way. Maybe this can give us some trouble here, because they will contact the Danish police and maybe they will try to find out what other field of firms we have sold the magazine to.
Reporter: Have any Danish officials approached you that way? In other words, tried to put pressure on you not to sell to foreign countries?
Reporter: Do you think this business will steadily grow or competition set in from other countries, for instance?
PT: I think we have reached the level now. When it will be free in other countries, they will make it there themselves, so we cannot sell it there any longer.
Reporter: Then you expect business to drop off?
Reporter: You said Sweden consumes 25% of your product? Don’t they make magazines and books even wilder than yours?
PT: Yes, but at this time it isn’t allowed comma officially.
Reporter: In Sweden?
PT: Yes. And the police make the same trouble for the people who published the magazines, as the police used to do here. So it is easy for the Swedish companies to buy the magazines here.
Reporter: It seems to me it would be easier for the Swedish authorities to seize the magazines at the border.
PT: We can send them into Sweden; it works.
Reporter: The customers don’t give you any trouble; but the police do, once it’s in there? Don’t you look forward to the day when the Swedish competition will be too strong for you and you will lose your market there?
PT: It is possible.
Reporter: If you could publish a magazine today where anything goes, don’t you feel worried that you’re going to lose your customer when he’s seen everything? You can’t show him anything more sensational. How do you retain your customers under these conditions?
PT: We try to change the magazines a little with new models. In some, we will put small stories.
Reporter: Since you don’t have any editorial problems, it seems like financing, experience and adequate outlets are the most important factors in staying in business. Is that right?
PT: Yes, but it depends on the whole organisation, because it is not easy to make good colour quality. As is not the best, but it’s improving all the time.
Reporter: How many magazines do you publish?
PT: We publish eight magazines every month. We have Color Climax, Fucking, Teenage Orgies, Sex Orgies in Color and several others full stop. We have stopped Porno 69 because it’s only in black and white comma and the market is demanding all colour magazines.
Reporter: Why don’t you take Porno 69 and convert it into color?
PT: We have too many titles now.
Reporter: Which one is the best seller?
PT: It is Color Climax.
Reporter: Why would you say that’s the best seller?
PT: It was the first colour magazine on the Danish market and now people know this magazine.
Reporter: Now, as I said before, when a person buys this and he’s seen everything –
and I mean everything – I’m puzzled why a man comes back and buys another magazine. Does he want to see a new face?
PT: That’s right.
Reporter: In other words, while he’s seen everything there is to see, he still wants to see the same thing next week in a different dressing.
PT: That’s right. And new girls. Some like small girls, some like big girls, some like fat girls and so on.
Reporter: You don’t do much in the line of fiction or stories. You stay almost completely with photographs. Why is that?
PT: It’s easy for us to sell magazines all over the world, where there’s no language barrier.
Reporter: Would you also say that the color picture magazines as a rule sell better than magazines with pictures and stories question mark?
PT: Well, it’s not easy to say. If you make a magazine with pictures and stories in the Danish language, you cannot sell it anywhere, only in Denmark. So that’s it. This magazine Color Climax for example, No. 14, is new today and new six months from now, because it has no date. We still sell No.1, No. 2, and No. 3. We reprint and reprint and reprint.
Reporter: I notice in going through these magazines that you emphasize the following things: lesbianism comma fellatio, cunnilingus and multiple sex.
PT: And homosexuality.
Reporter: Oh? Do you have a title of that type?
PT: Yes. We have one called Homo Triangle and one called Iron Boys.
Reporter: How do they sell, compared to the other magazines?
PT: Not so well. But we do not make so many titles, so we sell more of each one.
Reporter: Is there anything that you actually don’t photograph? Do you have a company policy of avoiding certain subjects?
PT: Yes. We do not make anything with small children.
Reporter: That would only be because it is illegal. I’m talking about anything that is legal.
PT: Regardless, we don’t want to make them, even if it were legal.
Reporter: Why is that question mark?
PT: Well, my brother has two small girls and I think he’ll be thinking of his own girls if he should make it.
Reporter: Are you staying away from pedophilia because you don’t think it would be a saleable thing?
PT: It is only a special thing; not many people would want to buy it.
Reporter: Are there any other self-imposed taboos that you have?
Reporter: You would print anything and photograph anything?
PT: Oh, yes, I think so. But only people who are 18 years or older.
Reporter: Your real taboo is poor-selling subjects.
PT: That’s right. We have to print at least 15,000.
Reporter: Have you done anything in the bondage and flagellation field?
Reporter: That’s a limited field too, you find?
PT: Oh yes. We have made some photos, but not real magazines. Maybe we’ll do it later. Full stop.
Reporter: Which are the subjects that I have mentioned you find are the best sellers –
lesbianism, fellatio, cunnilingus or multiple sex?
PT: Normal intercourse goes well, but the best is the group sex with three, four, comma, five or six people – that is without doubt the best seller. Then I guess it will be lesbianism; then homosexuality.
Reporter: Well, would that be better than this cover on Porno 69, where this girl who looks about fourteen years old, is licking this man’s penis with her tongue? This must be one of your biggest sellers, since over half your magazine features fellatio on the cover.
PT: Yes, it’s easier to photograph.
Reporter: Why is that?
PT: Because it’s not easy for the male models to have an erection for two and three hours; that’s the problem.
Reporter: You have more problems with your male models than with your female models?
PT: Yes, of course.
Reporter: Even in getting them?
PT: No, there are so many who want to be models.
Reporter: In many instances you feature male models with very large penises; there aren’t too many of those around, are there?
PT: No, but…
Reporter: You do your best to find the biggest ones.
PT: Yes. It’s easy to make photos of them.
Reporter: Tell me, do you think any number of women buy your magazines?
PT: It’s under 5%.
Reporter: How are you able to determine this?
PT: A friend of mine, studying at the university, made a study of this and that is his conclusion.
Reporter: If you have a little bit of everything in each issue, how then are you able to determine which subject is your best item? For instance, do you have a magazine completely devoted to lesbianism?
PT: Oh yes, we have.
Reporter: But it doesn’t sell as well as Color Climax?
PT: Yes, but we do not have so many titles dealing with lesbianism.
Reporter: What’s the name of your lesbian titles?
PT: the latest is Pussy Galore. Then there is Lesbian Triangle and Lesbian 69.
Reporter: Do you ever have trouble with the printer, for instance? Do they ever complain about the material?
PT: At first they did a little but now we have an interest in a printing shop and there are no problems.
Reporter: Now this is a social question or perhaps even a legal question: when someone asks you why you are in this business, what is your answer?
PT: First of all, we do not harm anybody, and secondly, it is to make money.
Reporter: I’ve been told that the best writers in Sweden actually write pornography today. Do you know anything about that? Do well known writers use pseudonyms?
PT: Oh yes, quite a few use a different name.
Reporter: In a country where this is supposed to be legal, why would they hide their identity?
PT: Because this is so new.
Reporter: Oh I see; this writing was before the law was passed making it legal.
PT: Yes, and it will take years before people get used to it.
Reporter: In closing would you sum up what you think are the reasons why models pose for these magazines?
PT: It’s because of the money. They are all ordinary people – clerks, office girls, nurses. They know they can make 500 kronor in an evening by posing. This extra money is used for some luxury they cannot afford from their salaries, such as something for the home, maybe to travel or to buy new clothes. It’s as simple as that.