Monday, January 31, 2011

A Proper Ending For January

What better way to end our month-long look at the origins of classic physique erotic photography than with a modern-day gymnast!  Chip looks to be up to his game.

Please stay tuned for more of Chip tomorrow

Sunday, January 30, 2011

The Playgirl Calendar

Since we looked at the January 1993 issue of Playgirl magazine yesterday, let's stay in that same year and take a retro look back at the popular Playgirl annual calendar.

Smut magazines were some of the original recyclers, decades before it become fashionable.  Smart publishers never missed an opportunity to recycle (re-publish) a photo again and again and again.  One of the more popular ways that Playgirl found to show-off their previous studs of the month (for yet another time) was to assemble them into a calendar.  Twelve past hunks.  It looks like 1993 was a very good year.

As the 2009 and 2010 versions below suggest, The Playgirl calendar continued via the internet on long after the printed/published magazine had become just a part of vintage smut history.

Below: 2009 calendar models in their birthday suits.

Saturday, January 29, 2011

Playgirl Magazine, January 1993

1993's Volume 20 Issue # 9 featured the 6th Annual Playgirl Awards, which were really for 1992.  As they described the awards in their table of contents: "That was the year that was. From the Sublime to the Ridiculous—PLAYGIRL's tongue-in-cheek salute to the not-so-distant past."  Then on page 70 was the story "Are You in Love with a Mama's Boy?"  The stories may not have been especially memorable, but then again that wasn't the main selling point.

Centerfold for the month was Michael Maguire, who was also looking very sexy on the cover.  The man below is Jason Jarvis, who could be found begining on page 60. According to the narrative over his photos, sexy Jason lists his ideal weekend as "Curled up under a down comforter with an old James Cagney movie on the VCR and lots of good talk." 

At the same time and on the same news stands, Time magazine had their Man of The Year

Friday, January 28, 2011

Greek Statute In Flesh and Blood: More Zeb Atlas

As promised before we change themes, 
here's more of modern-day strong man  
Zeb Atlas,  
bringing the magnificence of ancient Greek art to life.
Zeb sports an elaborate tattoo these days.



  • Body Solo (2002, Body Image Productions)
  • Zeb Atlas Signature Series (2003, Body Image Productions)
  • Zeb Atlas Unzipped (2003, MuscleHunks)
  • The Caretaker (2004, MuscleGods)
  • Bodybuilders' Jam X (2005, JimmyZ Productions)
  • The Many Faces of Zeb (2005, HW Studios)
  • Viva The Desert N' Las Vegas (2005, HW Studios)
  • The Farm Hand (2005, HW Studios)
  • Adventures In South Florida (2005, HW Studios)
  • A God In Paradise (2006, Zeb Atlas Productions)
  • The Hitchhiker (2007, MuscleGods)
  • Mark Meets Zeb: The Texas Two Step (2007, Zeb Atlas Productions, with Mark Dalton)
  • Friends With Benefits (2007 Zeb Atlas Productions, with Devon Michaels and Johnny Castle)
  • Zeb's Vegas Adventure (2007, Zeb Atlas Productions, with Aaron-Mark & Giovanni Volta)
  • Bodybuilders' Jam 23 (JimmyZ Productions)
  • Ocotillo (2008, ManifestMen)
  • Zeb Atlas Serviced (2008, Jake Cruise Media)
  • Best Men Part 1 - The Bachelor Party (2008, Falcon Entertainment)
  • Best Men Part 2 - The Wedding Party (2008, Falcon Entertainment)
  • Interviewing Muscle (2009, Zeb Atlas Productions, with Giovanni Volta)
  • Berlin Erotic Encounters (2009, Zeb Atlas Productions)
  • Sensual Training with Coach (2009, Zeb Atlas Productions, with Hugo)

Wednesday, January 26, 2011

A Legendary Publication Begins in January 1973

The primary media resource for generations of gay men began with this hairy cover back in January of 1973.  Actually, this was the first of two 'preview' issues of Playgirl which were published.   Why preview?  Respectfully, this was 1973 and nobody really knew for sure if it would be profitable.  The magazine tested the waters for news stand circulation and more importantly...advertising support. It's reported that the same month this preview came out, Playgirl entered into a contract with American Tobacco Company, in which the company agreed to put their ads on the back cover of the magazine when it began regular publishing.

Playgirl had made a significant advancement in male erotica by attracting advertisers for more than dildo-shaped personal massagers and padded bras.  No doubt because it was "For Women's Enjoyment" and in theory at least not intended for gay men, the magazine was viewed as being similar to Playboy and Penthouse.  This meant distribution channels and advertisers that previous nude male magazines (directed at gay men) had not been able to crack.  Before the Internet, these mainstream smut publications were extremely powerful media outlets for advertisers to reach lucrative markets with expendable incomes.  It was believed that Playgirl had the opportunity to do the same with females.  
The January issue offered race car driver Mike Hiss out of his uniform, but with his helmet strategically placed in front of his crotch.  Hiss (born in 1941), was a driver in the USAC Championship Car series. He raced in the 1972-1976 seasons, with 28 career starts, including the Indianapolis 500 in 1972-1975. He finished in the top ten 13 times. His 7th place finish at Indy in 1972 earned him the title of Rookie of the Year.  Many believe that selecting Mike as the first model was a wise move for Playgirl to make.  The race car celebrity's photo would help to set a precedent/acceptability for many men thinking of posing for Playgirl in the future: Straight, handsome men that were tastefully photographed, being ogled by ladies as sex objects, was truly "entertainment for women" and also a compliment to the man's machismo as a stud. Women's liberation meets locker room back-slapping type bravado.  The time seemed right for women to turn the tables with centerfolds.   It looked like Playgirl could be a hit. 

It would take a few more months before Vol. 1, No. 1 of Playgirl appeared in June of 1973.

For fun, consider that in the same year and month as this preview issue came out, Scott Merritt would be born (January 22, 1973) and would later appear in Playgirl's 2003 issue.

Jack Thomas

Note:  I received several emails about the man who posed nude alongside Jack LaLanne.  His name is Jack Thomas.  It's reported that Thomas became hooked with weight training, body building, health and fitness at an early age and was working out very seriously once puberty kicked in.  Heralding from Maine, Jack was already a highly-trained athlete as a teenager. These professional photographs (collage below) were likely taken in relation to his youth competitions, and that slinky spaghetti strapped banana hammock he's wearing certainly kept the pics modest enough for legal and sporting regulation reasons, considering his youth. 

As a youth he was perfect enough to win the title of Junior Mr. America.   For bodybuilders, the Mr./Jr. America contests were once the Triple Crown, the Indy 500, the Oscars, and the Olympics all rolled into one, and young men competed for the glory of winning it with the same obsession that today's musclemen go after other titles.

Later as an adult, he posed in the era of beefcake magazines (shown here is "Tomorrow's Man" with Jack on the cover).  Typical articles might include "You can Have Chiseled Abdominals" and in the case of this issue "Growing Up Sexually"---Indeed.

The last images here are of Jack Thomas nude displaying all his natural male glory, and glorious his physique certainly is.  What's refreshing is that these pictures remind a polarized world of how things should celebrating their masculinity for all to appreciate (other straight men, gay men, and women). The naked human form isn't the least bit indecent or obscene; it's beautiful. Thanks for sharing yours with us, Jack.

Tuesday, January 25, 2011

Turning Beefcake into TV Gold

It was an age when most people had just three major (and maybe a couple of local) stations to select from.   Delivered through air waves, collected by an antenna and then presented on boxy television screens,  a dark-haired muscular fitness guru in tights was welcomed into millions of homes daily.

But wait.  Thankfully, history (and famed photographer Russ Warner) have left us with photographs that add another dimension to the career of this television pioneer. Perhaps lessser-known to the general public,  photos suggest that Jack LaLanne was also well-versed in the beefcake marketing of his physique, including nude muscle modeling during publishing's homoertoic fitness heyday of the 1950's.  Nothing wrong with that...he had the goods to show off and many straight men did it. VGMH just wishes that this part of his career was as celebrated as the television part is.  Note:  After his death, readers of VGMH and threads on the internet are describing LaLanne as being a very vocal homophobe (something which VGMH has not been able to corroborate at this time but will continue to investigate). 

Many believe that Mr. LaLanne simply took the concept that had worked so well in print media (muscular physique models demonstrating exercises) and added his personal energetic twist to the new medium of TV.  Without a doubt, this man believed the fitness message he was selling.  Mr. LaLanne designed the first leg extension machines, pulley machines using cables, and the weight selectors that are now standard in the fitness industry.  He presented fitness and exercise advice on television for 34 years.  The Jack LaLanne Show was the longest running television exercise program.

The show began in 1951 as a local program on San Francisco's ABC television station.  Then in 1959 it was carried on the ABC network nationwide.  Also in 1959, he recorded Glamour Stretcher Time, a workout album which provided phonograph-based instruction for exercising with an elastic cord called the Glamour Stretcher. 

Above: Jack LaLanne (right) with Jack Thomas by famed bodybuilding photographer Russ Warner.

Monday, January 24, 2011

Jack LaLanne Passes Away at Age 96

Fitness and beefcake legend Jack LaLanne, who spent nearly 80 years helping Americans get in shape, died Sunday at the age of 96.  Thanks to beefcake photographer Russ Warner, we have this wonderful collection of nudes from a 1954 shoot, which paired the television-star-to-be Jack LaLanne with the Junior Mr. America, Jack Thomas. These sexy two guys seem very relaxed together and their bodies are certainly magnificent. It's been reported that once Lalanne's TV career began to take off he tried to stop distribution of these photos. VGMH is glad that this part of history wasn't hidden or destroyed. For those who don't know which guy is which, the third photo down has their names at the bottom.

Beginning in 1951, La Lanne hosted and produced "The Jack La Lanne Show", which was one of early TV's first workout programs. At first the show aired only in San Francisco and La Lanne had to buy the air time, as TV executives were sure nobody would want to watch him do exercises. Wearing a very-body-fitting exercise outfit, within a few years, the program was nationally syndicated on ABC, where millions watched La Lanne do exercises until 1985.

He launched his first fitness club in Oakland in 1936. "The man is the most energetic person that I've ever met. Now finally, he's resting, and because of all that great work that he's done, he did leave this world a better place, a healthier place," Arnold Schwarzenegger said of Jack.
After his TV show ended, Mr. La Lanne liked to do some publicity stunts, usually performed on his birthday. In 1955, he swam from Alcatraz to San Francisco while wearing handcuffs. In 1991, He said he had not missed a day of workouts -- or had a sugary dessert -- since 1930.  As of this week, Jack was still on television with his wife, selling his Jack La Lanne Power Juicers.