Wednesday, December 28, 2011

John Inman: Are you Being Served?

This British sitcom was broadcast between 1972 and 1985. It was set in the men's and women's fashion departments of Grace Brothers, an upscale (fictional) London department store. The idea for the show came from one of the creator's brief stints working at Simpsons of Piccadilly in the early 1950's. Edgy for the early 1970's was that Are you Being Served? featured an obviously gay character.

Played by actor John Inman"Mr. Humphrie" was a regular star of the show.  His catchphrases, very campy mannerisms and sexual double-entendres were a part of every episode. He worked in the men's clothing department and was always ready to measure pants when the male customer was handsome.  It's reported that the BBC, when contemplating making the series, tried at first to insist that Mr Humphries was removed because he was a gay character. Audiences took to him and the rest of the cast, which is why it lasted so long.  However, not all gay men were happy about the role.

Inman once reported that four or five members of the group Campaign for Homosexual Equality picketed one of his shows in protest as they believed his persona did not help their cause. Inman said that "they thought I was over exaggerating the gay character. But I don't think I do."  Others were happy to see a gay man portrayed on national television who was liked by his co-workers, not fired by his employers, and viewed the fact he was on television as a positive statement.

Both Inman and the producers denied that Mr Humphries compounded a stereotype of gay men. In 1976, he was named the BBC TV personality of the year.  In December 2005 Mr. Inman formed a civil partnership with his partner of 33 years, Ron Lynch.  Inman and David Croft (a show creator) stated that the character was "just a mother's boy" and that his sexual orientation was never explicitly stated.

Actress Rula Lenska, who worked with Mr Inman, told the BBC:  "It was suggestive but never in your face or aggressive. It had an innocent quality that you rarely find today." 

Inman continued to play in live shows after his success as Mr. Humphries, and began to incorporate camp mannerisms into those performances too, once saying "Even when I'm not playing Mr Humphries, say at a summer season, I camp it up a bit. If I don't the audience are disappointed.."  Inman went on to star in more than 40 pantomimes, and was often cast as the dame. He used to make his own costumes and write his own jokes. He passed away in 2007.



Tuesday, December 27, 2011

More Guys with Electronic Gear

It looks like there's a whole lotta pics being snapped by men with their iPhones and their pants down!  By popular demand, here's some more of them sharing their manly presents.

Wednesday, December 21, 2011

Christmas Present

Special Holiday Issue, 1991
This Playgirl "special" (since they already published the December issue back in November) did offer something great...Jon! Taking a quick look at the table of contents, this issue must have been worth every penny of the $3.95 they were charging.

THE GIFT OF SEX: For the 12 nights of Christmas, give your true love...a dirty dozen sexy surprises! (Best of all—they're good for you, too.) By Dorian Yeager

HOME FOR THE HOLIDAYS: When your guy meets the folks, beware! Their first impression of him may also be their last by Stan Sinberg

SEX SURROGATE...STRICTLY BUSINESS/STRICTLY CONFIDENTIAL: The world of sex-as-therapy isn't as weird and wacky as it sounds. In fact, we thought it was well worth looking into... by Michael Konik

WAYNE'S WORLD: Wayne Carpenter, our Holiday Discovery, is nautical and nice
'TWAS THE NIGHT: Contrary to popular belief, certain creatures are stirring this Christmas Eve
REAL LIVE LONDONO: When our Holiday Man of the Month Jon Londono shines on the silver screen, just remember: We told you so.
THE BEST BUNS OF 1991: Some of this year's best shots snuck up from Roasted behind. Finally, PLAYGIRL brings up the rear...
SOLDIER BOY: In true PLAYGIRL style, we salute luscious John King on his return from Operation Desert Storm

Tuesday, December 20, 2011

Santa Came Early This Year

It's just a fact that things get busy this time of year, especially when all the neighborhood guys return home for the holiday-all at once!  'Secret Santas' don't have to wait until the official holiday to pay a visit and drop off a present or two.

Special Delivery! Hairy Bo is cumin' all over town!

Somewhere on Santa's wish list must be a request for a "man with a treasure trail, very hairy rump, and ready to be played with as soon as delivered". Well, Bo certainly fits that wish list and he even comes with pink rosy cheeks (the pair on his face, at least). This straight 21 year-old married man showed up at Santa Jason's SpunkWorthy looking for work in smut.  Jason was nice enough to share him with us--a bonus post today and tomorrow in addition to the already planned yuletide holiday offerings.  Jason knows that VGMH likes 'em hairy and noted about photographing Bo that "All that hairiness going on from his stomach and all the way to his ass crack sealed the deal." 

As Jason noted: "Bo had saved up a 3-day load so when he got the go-ahead to bust, he writhed around the bed and, with a few short breaths, shot it all over his hairy stomach."

Sunday, December 18, 2011

Manly Scents

One of the classic gifts to signify the passage into male puberty and manhood has been cologne or after shave.  And once that milestone has been met, a guy can expect to receive a least a few bottles of the stuff over his lifetime as gifts. 

Tuesday, December 13, 2011

More Mel Roberts

Below: Skinny Southern California beach stud Sean Patrick caught by Mel's camera in a very comfortable and relaxed moment.  Well, most of his body looks relaxed (grin).  Popular thanks to the iconic California lifestyle that was represented as anything else, orders came in from all around the world.
Below: Photo of "The Cove" gay-friendly beach, La Jolla  California circa 1958.
As mentioned in yesterday's post, these photos come to VGMH courtesy of the Fotofactory, which offers: Volume One California Boys: Photographs from the 1960s and 1970s and Volume Two, The Wild Ones.  Fotofactory also still issues Roberts Original Photos Gallery Prints (Printed and Signed by Mel Roberts), and a series of blank greeting cards

Monday, December 12, 2011

The Art of Mel Roberts

Mel Roberts was one of the early pioneers of Southern California physique photography. Born in Toledo, Ohio, on August 26, 1923, he was drafted into military service in 1943 and served as a cameraman in the South Pacific for the U.S. Air Force.  Afterwards around 1950, Mel began to study film at the University of Southern California.

In 1953 Mr. Roberts worked on Herbert Biberman's movie Salt of the Earth, a story that focused on Mexican-American miners who were striking against a giant corporation. It became the only motion picture blacklisted in American film history, being produced by a number of film artists tagged/blacklisted for their membership in the Communist Party or other leftist organizations. The film starred actor Will Geer (a blacklisted bisexual actor who decades later played the grandfather on television's family drama The Waltons).

Mel's photography was first published in Young Physique magazine in 1963. Unlike other physique photographers, Roberts only took pictures of men he knew personally.  Everything fell into place: The dreamy Southern California locations, enthusiastic and uninhibited young men ready to pose, and a gifted photographer who understood the beauty of male nudity, all combined into some powerful imagery.  Using Rolleiflex cameras from the 1950's through to the early 1980's, Mel took an estimated 50,000 photographs of around 200 models. Like other pioneers, Roberts had to build his own color lab to develop prints since no lab would process his film because of the content. The transparencies he sent to Eastman Kodak were returned to him with holes punched through the crotches of the models!   Blonde Sean Patrick probably became Mel's most famous model,epitomizing the Southern California lifestyle for thousands of men living all around the world.
Sean Patrick circa 1968

Sexuality in the late 1960's was, by Robert's own accounts, open and fun.   He often had a handful of young men staying at his home and many of them had girlfriends who were also welcome at the house.  Roberts' photographs highlight the experimental openness and uninhibited attitudes of the late 1960's and early 1970's. When not at the beach, many of the photographs in his books, magazines and videos were shot in the house and around the back garden. 
Bobby Kroop circa 1973.
His portraits of young men, between the ages of 18 and 25, were "at the epitome of their development" as he characterized them, and Mel became immediately successful in the U.S. and Europe.  They made Mel one of the most prominent male photographers of the time.  In 1977 the Los Angeles Police Department raided his home and studio and confiscated his cameras, negatives, letters and mailing list. It's reported that the LAPD refused to return Roberts's property, even though no charges were ever filed against him. On August 26, 2007 Mel Roberts pasted away in Los Angeles, California. At the time of his death, he resided in the same home in Bel Air in which he lived in for over 50 years.

Gradually over time, interest in his work grew stronger and today what remains of his collection is considered highly collectible by vintage erotica aficionados who can afford it.  Roberts's photography is now represented in galleries in New York, Los  Angeles, Hollywood, and Palm Springs.  One of the most avid collectors is said to be Sir Elton John, who acquired  almost sixty images for his personal collection.  For the rest of us, the Fotofactory Press published two books of Mr. Roberts’ work, which are currently out of print but available in their original sealed condition: Volume One California Boys: Photographs from the 1960s and 1970s and Volume Two, The Wild Ones.  Fotofactory also still issues Roberts Original Photos Gallery Prints (Printed and Signed by Mel Roberts), and a series of blank greeting cards
Don Anderson, circa 1973