Paul Olding









Showing: Friday September 12th 2008






Horizon tells the extraordinary story of the world’s first and only Genius Sperm Bank. It is the curious tale of an American millionaire optometrist called Robert Graham and his dream to save humanity, by using the sperm of clever men to breed highly intelligent children.


Featuring veteran US actor Brian Green as Robert Graham and using Graham’s own documented words (“we don’t want to waste genius sperm on morons!”), this intriguing story is told through the eyes of the people who knew the man and used his bank.


We meet some of the 200 children that were conceived using the genius sperm, the desperate families that ‘home basted’, the donors that Graham asked to masturbate for him and the devoted staff that helped realise his vision.


Written and Directed by Paul Olding





“…winningly playful…” Radio Times




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“…Would you like to see the Repository…?”


“…Outstanding Genes…”


“…That’ll be fine…”


Meet the kids



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Story In Pictures

Docu - Drama



BBC Horizon




Horizon tells the curious tale of Robert Klark Graham, an American millionaire optometrist who wanted to save humanity, using the sperm of clever men to breed high intelligence. He set up the world’s first and only Repository for Germinal Choice, AKA the Genius Sperm Bank, by asking clever men to masturbate for him.


Brought to life by veteran US actor Brian Green, the film begins in the 1960s, where Robert Graham had a vision. He felt that "retrograde humans" were breeding unchecked, causing the evolutionary regression of mankind. He wanted to reverse this trend and bring thousands of geniuses into the world, geniuses fathered by the most brilliant minds.


In the late 1970s, with the help of expert sperm banker, Steve Broder, Graham secretly set up his Repository for Germinal Choice using an underground bunker in the backyard of his ranch in San Diego. He sought the cleverest sperm he could get his hands on and so asked Nobel Laureates for a donation. It wasn’t long before LA Times Journalist Edwin Chen sniffed out the clandestine sperm bank, and on March 2nd 1980, exposed the 73-year-old tycoon’s controversial project to the world. Nobel Prize winner and notorious racist William Shockley was also outed as a donor to the bank, and Graham got slammed. Accused of being a Nazi, his other donors left him and his dream was all but destroyed. Yet still the women came flocking.


Graham enlisted the help of Vietnam draft-dodger and avid dog breeder Paul Smith to source new donors, and ‘fairy godmother’ Julianna McKillop to man the phones and help matchmake recipients to donors. He came up with the unique concept of a donor catalogue, where donors’ hobbies and skills were listed alongside their bodily attributes. Sperm banking had never seen the like, where recipients could choose a donor who characteristics they liked. Three families that went to Graham’s sperm bank tell their story. Adrienne and David Ramm from New York, Lisa Zerr from Colorado and Andrea and Tom Gronwall from California. They tell of their desperation, of finding the genius sperm bank, and the trials of home basting.


In April 1982, the bank’s first birth was announced, but sadly the baby’s parents had been previously convicted of child abuse, which didn’t go down well. Then in August, psychologist Dr Afton Blake gave birth to a gifted child called Doron – Graham finally had his poster boy.


Over its 20 years of operation, Graham’s Repository was beset by problems, not least, there was never enough sperm. Graham contacted high achievers personally, seeking donations. Donor Jim Bidlack recounts how, over dinner, Graham invited him back to his hotel room to provide a donation there and then. Much like a date, Jim was worried he might not be able to perform, but having got comfy in the bathroom, he was able to provide a specimen.


It was on a donor recruitment expedition in February 1997 that Graham, now 90 years old, met his death. Slipping in his hotel bathtub, Graham was knocked unconscious and drowned. His Repository closed two years later, yet Graham left behind him a unique legacy. He changed the face of modern sperm banking, with the innovation of the donor catalogue and the ability for clients to choose donors. He was also ultimately responsible for the birth of 217 children. We meet Doron Blake now aged 23, plus Courtney Ramm, Jesse Gronwall, Paisley and Stirling Zerr. This bunch are all intelligent, but as most Repository children remain anonymous, no one will ever be able to test to see whether Graham’s experiment to breed intelligent kids using clever sperm really worked or not.


Written & Directed by Paul Olding





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All Images copyright Paul Olding 2006 or BBC