Saturday, July 31, 2010

Gay Boys as Diva Girls: Cher, Madonna, Dolly Parton, Diana Ross, Britney Spears, Celine, Liza and Beyonce


Vegas Road Trip Blog (Part 3)
TIME TO SEE SOME SHOWS!

Now don’t get me wrong…we’ve both seen Cirque Du Soleil shows and liked them a lot. But there's a time-honored tradition in Las Vegas of taking anything original (that also makes a whole lot of money) and gang-banging it into the ground.  I was beginning to think they should rename the Las Vegas StripCirque Du Soleil Strip!" There’s now Cirque branded shows running at Treasure Island, Bellagio, New York New York, MGM Grand, Mirage, Luxor, and Aria. Enough Already! That’s why we were glad to enjoy a classic-style Las Vegas review stage show like Frank Marino's Divas Las Vegas. And given the kind of day we were having, we really needed some fun entertainment.


The Divas show is an upbeat song, dance, and comedy review featuring very talented female impersonators who pay tribute (and have some fun) portraying current pop stars and living legends alike. The famous divas include Cher, Madonna, Dolly Parton, Diana Ross, Britney Spears, Celine, Liza, and Beyonce. Add to that a dance line of six handsome and hunky men who perform (wearing nice and skimpy costumes) in acts with the faux stars, and you have my kind of Las Vegas, baby! In fact, the REAL stars like Cher and Madonna have visited this show to see themselves being portrayed…that’s how good these talented guys are (and at a fraction of the admission price).

The Imperial Palace has the good fortune of being in a nice neighborhood, with Caesars Palace and the Mirage just across the street. It was a good thing for us, because earlier that afternoon we discovered that someone had backed up into the front of our rental car in the Mirage parking lot. The damage wasn’t major but a headlight was broken and the bumper was cracked. Yuk. Not getting an answer if we should call the police to fill out an accident report, leave the car in the parking lot, or drive it back to them, after talking to 3 people on the phone who either couldn’t/wouldn’t help, it involved us having to take a taxi to the car rental center and demanding to see a manager before they agreed to make everything right. They didn’t readily have a replacement car, but would call us when they had another one available in a few hours, we were assured. Somehow neither of us were feeling very assured of anything with them at that point.

Leaving the Mirage to go to the show, we patiently waited for the pedestrian “walk” signal in the 110 degree heat along with about 20 other people and watched as a family in a hurry dogged cars crossing the street with a green light for cars. Were they afraid the buffet was going to run out of chicken nuggets or something?  A boy standing next to me suggested to his dad that they jaywalk too, and the dad told him not to act stupid just because others do it. Fun! Once inside, finding my way around the Imperial Palace wasn’t so easy…this Asian-themed joint has more twists and turns than a three-pronged dragon’s dick in heat. Somehow I wound up leading us into a sports booking section. Then I went too-far into the back caverns of this place. The theatre is actually an easy escalator ride one floor up from the casino level, but who knew?

The show started at 7:00 and a long line to get into the theatre began forming about 30 minutes before that. Ahead of us in the line was a man standing while his wife sat on one of the benches alongside the wall. Sporting a very nifty big black hair-do, she was on her cell phone having a good time chatting it up with someone, telling them where they were at and adding that none of her husband’s co-workers “would ever believe he would be going to a show like this.” Trust me, this wasn’t eavesdropping because she was being loud on purpose to make sure her hubby and everyone else heard her. Nobody was going to make the mistake and assume that her man was gay or something! For his part, the husband sort of looked like he wished she would just shut up and get over it...but of course she didn't. He even turned around and talked to us for a minute, asking if we had seen the show before (we hadn't). I won’t waste repeating the rest of her blah blah conversation on the phone, but it was pretty much about how her macho straight husband was going to see a bunch of fairies in drag—imagine that! No doubt in their routine world (wherever the hell they came from) such an event was out of the question for “regular” folks to mingle with "these kinds"…this was one of those wild things that only happens in Vegas. Little did this lady (or I, for that matter) know that the finale of the stage presentation tonight was designed just for people like her. But we’ll get back to that…

The doors opened and the line moved quickly as people were seated inside (tickets are pre-assigned seating at tables and booths). Then the program opened with Lady Gaga’s Let’s Dance. Next, the headliner of this 75 minute show, Frank Marino, walked out to greet everyone in female costume. I’d already seen his face (in and out of drag) all over the Strip as this show is heavily advertised. For as good as he looks as a woman, from his photos Frank’s also a handsome man.

A little VGMH history: After starring in La Cage at the Riviera for more than 20 years working for others, Frank became his own boss with this new show. Mr. Marino is now the Strip's longest-tenured performer and is a true Las Vegas icon. He has a street in town named after him and is the first person to be honored with not one but TWO stars on the famous Las Vegas Boulevard. His first book, His Majesty, the Queen was a best-seller. He appeared alongside Sandra Bullock in Miss Congeniality 2.  He's also a man who gives back...he's regarded for his charity work.  In his role as the show's emcee, Frank changes wardrobe between every act and it quickly became addictive looking forrward to seeing what he would show up wearing next. The same Bob Mackie who dresses Cher also dresses Frank. His own set is a take-off on Joan Rivers and his slightly-risqué jokes (he clearly knows he has a lot of those mainstream couples in the audience like the ones I encountered in line) were a huge hit.

“You won’t believe what we have going on back stage," says Frank. "We have Madonna, Cher and Bette Midler getting ready, and they’re all shaving in the same mirror.” He jokes to the audience that “This damn dress is made like a cheap hotel, there’s no ballroom,” and everybody in the audience eats it up. Mr. Marino now belongs to a very select club of famous female impersonator stars who have enjoyed solo success on the Strip over the decades, including Charles Pierce, Jim Bailey, and Kenny Kerr. But in fact, none of these other performers ever achieved the level of long-term success that Frank has.

During the Dolly Parton performance I glanced over and saw the husband (who’s wife said she couldn’t get over that she’d dragged him to this drag show) standing on his feet clapping in time with the music (as was almost everyone else in the room) as “Dolly” left the stage and came down to ham it up with the crowd.  Everyone in the theatre was having a good time, and I know that’s not by accident…the more fun and easy something looks is often the result of a lot of hard work and dedicated talent.

The Divas show moves so fast and is such fun that time went all-too quickly. It closed with a very poignant version of Charles Aznavour's song "What Makes a Man a Man?” which was performed on stage in reverse-drag by talented Kenneth Blake. He gradually removes his makeup and female clothing to reveal himself as a proud gay man while lip-syncing the song. The performance reminded the audience to laugh with, and not laugh at, the expense of others who may be different than themselves. I suddenly suspected that Mr. Marino included the number because something like my experience with the lady and her husband in line probably happens with every performance (please see the video clip below that confirms this). I hope this message wasn't lost on that big black haired wife. Somehow I think even if it was, it resonated with her husband and most of the other straight people in the audience.  The number deserved the standing ovation it received.

Mr. Marino was kind enough to have offered to meet us after the performance to give us some press information/materials for this blog, but sadly I didn’t get the communications right so we didn’t get to shake his hand and say hello. Honestly, it's a HUGE compliment to the show that while I was worried about the car for those 75 minutes I was still laughing and having so much fun.  The car rental company still had not called like they promised they would. When we returned to our room, I saw that they had left a message there. We drove the damaged car back to them and left with another one. The luckiest thing I did while in Las Vegas was take out insurance on the car so there were no financial worries with the whole mess. Instead of a wild night out on the Strip we both went to bed.

We saw several shows while in Las Vegas, including Phantom of the Opera at the swanky Venetian. Phantom was great! But in terms of an all-around good time and Vegas-style fun, none of them compared to Diva’s. If you’re ever in Vegas, screw the Liberace Museum and go see this show...The only things still in the closet here are the gowns! VGMH gives this show a “Don’t Miss it” four thumbs up!

Below: Video of Frank Marino backstage and behind the scenes, courtesy of http://www.vegas.com/ posted on YouTube

Friday, July 30, 2010

VGMH Road Trip: Downtown Las Vegas and the Liberace Museum

Vintage Male Naturists in the Wild
Sunshine, outdoors, and naked men just seem to go together... sort of like a hot dog and a bun. 

ROAD TRIP TO LAS VEGAS: PART TWO

For those who don't know who (or perhaps what) a Liberace was, here's a brief VGMH recap:  From the 1940's until his death, sexually closeted gay piano player Liberace developed a very successful publicity machine.  By the 1960's Liberace (by then a fixture in Las Vegas) made his casino performances increasingly outrageous. The Vegas joke was that while their husbands gambled and drank, their wives forked out cash to watch Liberace prance and sing.  But the final joke was on everyone else...as the phrase Liberace laughed all the way to the bank also became famous.

In 1982 Scott Thorson (blue uniform in photo) sued the entertainer for $113,000,000 in a palimony case.  Dismissing Thorson as a disgruntled employee who was fired for alcohol and drug use, Liberace denied in court that the two had been lovers for five years. A lot of dirt and creepy stuff was about to come out...it was reported that Liberace had sent Scott to his own plastic surgeon to have his face remodeled in the performer's own image.  Ultimately, the matter was settled out of court for $95,000 (most of what Scott wanted) without Liberace (or all the sordid details of his sex life) coming out.

In 1979, Liberace himself opened The Liberace Museum in Las Vegas. In its heyday, it became the third most popular attraction in Nevada. Scott Thorson was replaced by18 year-old Cary James.  James and Liberace both tested HIV-positive in 1985.  Liberace died at the age of 68 in 1987.  Stories circulated that the family didn't want the death certificate to suggest that he passed away from complications related to AIDS.  He left the bulk of his estate to the Liberace Foundation for the Performing and Creative Arts, which now runs the Liberace Museum.


HEADING TO FREEMONT
This past Monday morning, we both skipped showers or shaving as Dave and I drifted through the casino at the Mirage and into our rented car around 9 AM.  It was already hella hot outside. We had our chilled plastic water bottles that we had bought from a street vendor the night before (A deal! only $1 each instead of $3 at the casino shop), and baseball caps and sun screen in tow. It was way before the crowds of tourists would hit the streets, and that meant I could drive and gawk at the sites without worrying about traffic lights, swerving taxi cabs changing lanes without notice, and tourists ignoring cars and the pedestrian walkway signals.  Dave was in need of his morning java fix so he was being very quiet.

The Las Vegas Strip reminded me of a real-life Monopoly board…some real estate is beautiful (thinking Bellagio) and some of it isn’t so nice. Alright, some of it is downright ugly and trashy (and that’s being generous). I couldn't make a left turn so we'd have to circle back. As we passed the new MGM City Center complex I asked Dave if he wanted to see it. Thankfully, he grunted no, because I was thinking the same thing. Judgining only from looking at the outside, it was too-corporate, bland and theme-less for my Vegas tastes.  Give me the few-remaining penis statues at Cesars Palace anytime!

Besides, I was a man with a mission...to drive to the older downtown district. I'd heard that this was more of what Las Vegas used to look like.  We passed the Saraha that advertised $30 a night rooms. We passed the old Circus Circus and all I can say is that from the outside it looked, well...old and in need of a paint job. After Circus, the LV Boulevard took a noticeable turn for the worse. The road to Freemont was littered with little wedding chapels with huge signs, pawn shops with huge signs, and boarded up buildings. Billboards advertised the services of criminal attorneys.

It may have been because of the time of day, but there were also a lot of bearded homeless men walking about with their possessions in plastic bags and back packs they were carrying.  I felt sorry for them but also uneasy for myself because they reminded me that life doesn't always have happy endings and the reasons aren't always black and white.  When we reached Fremont Street I quickly glanced over but didn't get to see much of the metal canopy that covers the entire street where they have nightly light shows. Dave said it didn't look like much and I believed him. He reminded me about still wanting that cup of coffee as we turned around and traveled back down the strip to the other end.  At Tropicana Avenue I made a right turn and headed for my next planned stop, The Orleans.


The Orleans is a casino for the locals and thrifty tourists, located off the strip. In terms of size and décor, it looked about the same as the properties on the strip. We joined their players club and they took some mooola off the buffet. They gave us Mardi Gras beads---3 strings of them!  Then we ate for about $8 each for lunch because it was 11 AM and they had just switched from the cheaper-priced breakfast. The nice lady was sorry she had to charge us more and asked if we wanted to buy their 24 hour pass to the buffet since it was only about $20 with our players card discounts.  It was genuinely sure tempting, but we said no thanks.  We also ate a lunch at the MGM Grand buffet which cost about three times that amount per person, and while the MGM was better in terms of quality of items and selection, honestly I can’t say it was triple-the-cost better. The Orleans also had $2 well drinks and Dave thought that was nifty enough to enjoy one after our meal.  He said it wasn't watered down and gave the entire meal/drink combo a thumbs up with a hefty belch.  Trust me, he could have (and has) done worse in public when I've been with him.

GUARDIANS OF THE GLITTERY CLOSED CLOSET?
On the way back from over eating, we passed the Las Vegas Strip returning on Tropicana Avenue and kept going, and going, and going....towards the Liberace Museum. The museum is housed in a very dated little strip mall about 3 miles east of the Boulevard. It shares space alongside a restaurant and gay bar called Good Times that I thought looked from the outside more like bad times someone would probably to try and forget the next morning.


I had already heard from friends who had visited that they thought the Liberace Museum was fun enough, but very noticeably played up his bling and over-the-top drag artifacts while conveniently ignoring that once the shows were over Liberace was a gay man.  And if you believe his biographer/chauffeur's account, there were lots of very young men, and they weren't in his bedroom taking piano lessons.  Perhaps one person said it best:

"The museum is there to bring in money.  The same Kansas tourists who would never dream of shaking the hand of a gay man will pay to see Liberace's crap.  By never admitting he was queer he validated that being gay was something to be ashamed of, so these old-school tourists prefer that the museum keep him in the closet as much as they can." 
According to a July 4, 2010 story in the Las Vegas Sun, Matt Damon has signed on to play the role of Scott Thorson in a movie about Liberace.  According to the story: "The Warner Bros. project would be a great and long-overdue boost to the Liberace Museum and Foundation, which for years has been struggling to re-introduce Liberace's singularly compelling life story to younger generations. The mind-blowing attraction is looking for a new home, moving from its East Tropicana location, where it has stood stoically and statically since 1979.  A move to a more populous location closer to the Strip is in the offing, and a film adaptation starring Douglas and Damon should allow officials to start anew efforts to market the Liberace brand."

Re-market the Liberace brand to younger generations?  Maybe the product isn't selling so good anymore because ignoring the 300 ton elephant in the room just doesn't work anymore?  Just then, one of the free buses they run to grab the folksy tourists from the Las Vegas Boulevard hotels and bring them to this Austrian crystal closeted shrine pulled into the strip mall. Out came a few older (the bus was about 2/3 empty) tourists. That was enough for me...I put the key back into the ignition. 

"Fuck you Liberace Museum!" I shouted out loud (in a 2/3 self-mockingly angry tone) with a grin.
Dave chimed in even louder wearing a broad smile of his own with "Fuck Liberace and his fucking twisted museum!" as the coffee and that huge buffet breakfast grease was beginning to kick into high gear. Then he added, "You wanna come back and try out that gay bar tonight?" (he was kidding).

Thursday, July 29, 2010

Tarzan in Sex Trouble? Lex Barker, Lana Turner, and Molestation Allegations

Part Two
Back in America after the war, Lex Barker recuperated from his injuries and then, upon his discharge from service, traveled to Los Angeles to go back into acting. Barker was both handsome and ambitious. It seems he was also something of a ladies' man.  Within a short time in Hollywood, he landed a bit role in his first film, Doll Face (1945). A string of small roles followed.  Then Lex finally found the role that would bring him fame...Tarzan! That he was the heir to Johnny Weissmuller's jungle throne was a big deal. That maybe he seemed to have problems being able to purchase trousers with zippers that stayed up was gossip for Hollywood tongues.
Lex married five times.  Barker's third wife was actress Lana Turner. This was the relationship that would taint the actors career in several ways...
...According to detailed allegations in a book by her daughter Cheryl Crane, Lana Turner ordered Barker out of their home one night at gunpoint after Cheryl, then just 13, accused him of molesting her over a long period of time. It should be noted that the book was published after Barker's death in 1988.  Cheryl told Larry King on his show dated August 8, 2001:

"I was 10. And he threatened that if I told anyone I would be the one to be sent away. And I believed him. And children believe adults. And I think if anything that came out of that is the fact that anyone that is having this problem, I don't care you know who they are today, go tell somebody because there is help. And as child, you don't realize that you can be -- somebody can step in and stop it."

" The story she tells me she [Lana] stock a gun from the bedside table and held it to his head. And he woke up and said, you know, "What's going on?" And the interesting thing was that she didn't say anything to him, just said 'Get Out.' And he said to her, "I don't know what your daughter told you but she's lying." And my mother hadn't mentioned me. So, you know, it was like -- she realized at that point."

Divorce followed quickly.  No charges were filed against Lex and the couple's 1957 divorce record does not allude to the sex allegation.  Like it or not, Lex became a part of one of the most lurid family stories in Hollywood history. On April 4, 1958, the same Cheryl Crane stabbed mobster and Turner's friend Stompanato to death.  She was acquitted on the grounds of justifiable homicide and self-defense.

Barker died three days after his 54th birthday in 1973, of a heart attack while walking in New York City on his way to meet his fiancée.
More of the Las Vegas trip blog in tomorrow's posting!




1949 Tarzan's Magic Fountain
1950 Tarzan and the Slave Girl
1951 Tarzan's Peril
1952 Tarzan's Savage Fury
1953 Tarzan and the She-Devil

Wednesday, July 28, 2010

1960's "Safari in the Sun" All-Male, All-Nude Magazine

The 1960's and early 1970's saw a boom in naturism/nudity publications. Changes in postal laws that permitted greater nudity and sexual content through the mail system combined with hippies and nudity.  A subset of this genre were all-male nudist publications. "m.a.n." stood for Male Athletic Nudist. In fitting with our theme for this month, this hip and cool issue (above) is called Safari in the Sun.

What's especially interesting about this period is that many of the photos were in fact taken at nudist colonies of real people/families who were less-interested in sexuality and more involved in living nude, as they believe nature intended.  Of course, the readers of the publications were not always nudists, and in fact many were probably unable to hold the magazine with both hands while looking at the images.  While women were the obvious focus, typically males were also included in many of the photos.  This makes VGMH suspect that some of these guys were buying courtesy of the "cover" the girls provided, in order to enjoy weenies.



SPECIAL REPORT: WHAT HAPPENS IN VEGAS WINDS UP HERE!
I blame it all on Dave. After all, here I was enjoying a nice summer in one of the few relatively-speaking cool places in the whole continental United States, when Dave tweets me with this super deal to Las Vegas. Hmm…the middle of the desert in the middle of summer…"NO WONDER IT’S ON SALE!" I replied, shouting at him in caps. Dave's reply back to me: nada. He knew I'd think it over.  Then I get an email from him about how much fun it would be. The next thing I knew I was telling him to count me in.  Please note that written while being on vacation, this is pretty-much in un-edited style.


GETTING THERE (and hidden costs!)
The deal Dave found was through a last-minute travel site. I was surprised that the flight was full…as in maybe only one or two empty seats, but I'm guessing the fact that kids are out of school and the good prices were tempting to a lot of others, too. 

I hadn’t been to Las Vegas in years, and that airport is one huge place! Thanks to Dave's searching the specials, we snagged a car rental for $28 a day (Alert! The city taxes and fees doubled that amount). No matter, it was still better than the average price of about $45 for just the car rental alone at most travel sites. It seems there was a convention in town that jacked up the prices.  A shuttle takes everybody to the master rental-car-lot location located a few miles away...all the major rental companies use the same place and bus service.   For anyone planning on just staying on the strip I’d recommend using the airport shuttles, taking taxi cabs, the monorail, or the public buses and skip a rental car. We went with the rental because we had a lot of off-strip things to do, like Red Rock Canyon (more to come on that adventure).

THE HOTEL (and Dave)
Where I think it’s important, I’ll mention things and places by their names, and the hotel we stayed at is one of those places. We stayed at the Mirage, which was recently beautifully redecorated and the rooms were very nice. On a sad note, some of the evidence from the heyday of their gay superstars Siegfried and Roy seems to gradually be disappearing as they update the property.  Because of summer specials, the room rate was below $90 a night, but beware of sneaky "resort fees" that they tack on per night but don't include in the listed rate. They charged us $15 a night for this fee...Rip off!  And then there are the taxes and fees on the room and the resort fee. 

Check-in took about 25 minutes of waiting in very slow lines. There were only five people behind a huge desk area that could have easily accomodated twenty check-in people. Yes, the aquarium behind the registration desk was awesome to look at, but even more awesome would have been to hire some more staff to tend to their guests quickly. There were two straight English couples in front of us, and each couple were in a different line. When they saw that our line was moving faster, they all moved over in front of us. The gals were in their finest cheap bling and the hubbies stood with what were obviously not their first brown bottled brewskies of the day. Using the hand not holding his beer, one of the guys kept tugging on his dick in his shorts for some reason. I mean he did it a lot! Hey buddy, either whip it out and give us a show while we wait here in line or save it for when you finally get into your room!

Dave decided their beers looked good and went off to get one of his very own. Finally when it was my turn in line, the nice lady behind the counter asked if I wanted two queens or a king sized bed. Which I guess makes this as good a place as any to mention my relationship with Dave. We were originally co-workers who became friends, then a lot of things happened, and for quite a while now we've been what I'd consider to be close friends. With that in mind, I took the two queen beds. Please know that I’m not going to describe much more about Dave out of respect for his privacy, and that he knows and agreed to being a part of this trip blog.

 
THE POOL
First thing in the room, Dave went to piss in the bathroom from that beer while I went over to look out the windows. What a view!…of white glistening hot rooftops. It looked like acres and acres of white rooftops with silver square boxes. No matter, in the distance were the foothills of the mountains. Dave said a view of the volcano cost more, and that was all I needed to hear. I could go see the volcanoes for free like everybody else out on the strip. When I turned around Dave was out of the bathroom and already naked and digging into his backpack for his swim trunks. Dave’s been working out and it shows. I haven’t been working out and it shows. Oh well.

Once outside we saw a sign for Bare (the name of their private nudie pool).  The sign said women were admitted free and men cost between $20-40 to enter, depending on the day of the week!  We walked past this and the entrance to the Siegfried and Roy Secret Gardens Tour.  It was nice to see that the tour hasn't changed its name, but we didn't go see it, so I can't comment on the tour itself.

The main pool is beautiful. It’s mostly families and twenty-something small packs of 2-4 girls or guys out on a fun Vegas trip together. We found two chaise lounges in the shade and grabbed a bunch of towels and were set.  I was going to take photos of the main pool but opted not to...There was a creepy guy in speedos who was standing by the edge of the pool taking LOTS of photos of girls, pretending to be shooting the waterfalls, and I didn’t want people thinking I was up to what he was!  Creep...pay your money and go to the nudie pool like the other horney straight guys have to! Har har Har.

It was great to lay in the cool water, with man-made waterfalls and rockery as good as Disney can do, and just relax. I had been here years before and they used to have a little water slide which is now gone. I went to the hot tub and joined some folks roaring with laughter while sipping humungous drinks (they said they cost $18 each).  It seems this happy group were joking about Mel Gibson...apparently in those infamous tapes there was talk about a BJ and a hot tub...only with my arrival (quickly followed by someone else), they changed subjects. 
After 5 minutes in the hot tub water I headed back with Dave at our chaise lounges. Dave came out of the water and joined me. He said he noticed while in the pool that two ladies sitting across from us were checking us out. I pointed out that no, they were both checking HIM out, not US.  We both laughed at my observation, then he rolled over on his stomach and I slathered sun blocker on Dave's hairy back and shoulders. Yes I looked over and yes they watched.  Take that, you bitches! Viva Gay Vegas!

PLEASE STAY TUNED FOR PART TWO!


Tuesday, July 27, 2010

Sexy Tarzans: 1965's Tom of Finland's Tarzan Jack

Jack of the Jungle, Part Nine
Above: Off goes the loin cloth and in goes the...Jack never thought he would discover another man (like himself) to make love to.  Amid the sounds of the jungle and the roar of distant lions, Jack finds happiness as nature intended.

Above:  What a nice way to say thank you to Jack for saving him from the tribe just minutes earlier.

Monday, July 26, 2010

Infamous Tarzans: Often-Forgotten (On Purpose) Lex Barker

Lex Barker was selected to replace Johnny Weissmuller as Tarzan after the producers had tested over 1,000 actors for the part.  Because the francise was moving away from Johnny to Lex, there was a considerable marketing and publicity campaign that went along with the change.  Lex as Tarzan would appear on many publications to help establish himself as the new jungle king.  To many, the sun-drenched dark blonde was too-leading man handsome and seemed to be playing the part of Tarzan than becoming Tarzan.  Still, he lasted for an impressive five films.  As we'll see, his life was not without scandal.

According to reports, Barker grew up wealthy, but didn't follow family expectations and headed to Broadway and a small role in Shakepeare's The Merry Wives of Windsor in 1938.  Barker reportedly was spotted by scouts from Twentieth Century Fox who offered him a film contract in 1939, but he couldn't convince his parents to sign it (he was underage). Disowned by his family for his choice of an acting career, he worked in a steel mill and studied engineering at night.

In February 1941 Barker left his young acting career and enlisted in the U.S. Army. He rose to the rank of major during the war and was wounded in action fighting in Sicily.

Back in the U.S., Barker recuperated and then upon his discharge from service, traveled to Los Angeles. Within a short time, he landed a small role in his first film, Doll Face (1945). A string of small roles followed, the best of which was as Emmett Dalton in the Western Return of the Bad Men (1948). Barker soon found the role that would bring him fame...Tarzan!  He was quite well-known for a time as being Johnny Weissmuller's successor as Tarzan

He married five times and Hollywood tongues whispered (uncomfirmed) that the actor had an uncontrollable desire for sex that included people in the entertainment industry that he worked with.  Barker's third wife was actress Lana Turner. According to detailed allegations in a book by her daughter Cheryl Crane, Turner ordered Barker out of their home one night at gunpoint after Cheryl, 13, accused him of molesting her over a long period of time. Divorce followed quickly, though no charges were filed and the couple's 1957 divorce record does not allude to the allegation.  Barker died three days after his 54th birthday, in 1973, of a heart attack while walking down a street in New York City on his way to meet his fiancée, actress Karen Kondazian. The funeral was in New York. He was cremated and the ashes were taken by his last wife to Spain.

1949 Tarzan's Magic Fountain Tarzan
1950 Tarzan and the Slave Girl Tarzan
1951 Tarzan's Peril Tarzan
1952 Tarzan's Savage Fury Tarzan
1953 Tarzan and the She-Devil Tarzan

Sunday, July 25, 2010

1965's Tom of Finland's Tarzan Jack

Jack in the Jungle, Part Eight

Above: Jack just can't get enough of this new play toy.

Above: It tastes as good as it looks.

Saturday, July 24, 2010

Wild Beasts of Nature!

It looks as if this wild beast has made his way to the ocean to cool off.
Once cooled, he begins to get frisky
Talented, too!

Sexy Tarzans: More Gordon Scott

Without a doubt, Gordon had a very impressive physique.  In his personal life Gordon Weschkul was into health and fitness and thankfully for all of us, he was happy to let his loin cloth expose some of those lovely cheeks. 

Friday, July 23, 2010

Tarzan to the Rescue! Gordon Scott

TARZAN PHYSIQUE
Gordon Scott (August 3, 1926 - April 30, 2007) played Tarzan between 1955 and 1960 and re-energized the brand when it desperately needed it.  To many men, he's the best Tarzan of all time.  VGMH will pay tribute to Gordon's life and career in future postings.  Let's all sit back, relax, and enjoy these wonderful photos from original Dell publications.