Wednesday, May 29, 2013

Scotty Cunningham (part two)

The 1960's brought a lot of social change in America, and when the courts finally allowed the publication of full frontal male nudity, it marked the end of a "golden" beefcake era for photographers like Bruce of L.A..  Although Bruce continued to travel and take pictures, his business dwindled and his health declined with advancing age.

In 1974, while on vacation in Canada (with his reported favorite model of the time Scotty Cunningham), Bruce collapsed and died.B and by then Bruce was in poor health. He died while on vacation in Canada in July 1974. It's reported that Scotty later recalled that Bruce was filming some of his models (such as himself) both in and out of their g-string posing pouches, so that when censorship laws changed Bruce would be able to release the nudes. 

Unlike many of his contemporaries Bruce left one of the most comprehensive photo archives of the golden era in male physique erotica. His estate passed through several hands intact and preserved. Today, what once once punishible by arrest is viewed as art and an integral part of the American homosexual identity.

Saturday, May 25, 2013

Memorial Day Weekend Tribute

"When I was in the military they gave me a medal for killing two men and a discharge for loving one."

Although he was considered by many to have been an unlikely spokesperson for gay and lesbian civil rights, Leonard Matlovich became one of the most visible activists in the 1970's after he challenged the United States Air Force's ban on gay and lesbian service members.  In 1975, a series of events landed him on the front page of every major newspaper in the nation and on the cover of TIME, the first out gay person ever to appear on the cover of a mainstream magazine.  In 1978, a movie would be made about his experiences.

Born on July 6, 1943 in Savannah, Georgia, Leo grew up in a rather conservative, religious family.  His father had served for 32 years in the Air Force and retired as a chief master sergeant in 1971. His parents were strict Catholics.  Young Leo would later recount on how his childhood had deeply influenced his personal and political values.

In 1963, Matlovich enlisted in the Air Force and he was assigned to Travis Air Force Base in Fairfield, California. There, in spite of his Southern Democratic roots, he identified with and became involved in Republican Party politics, campaigning for Barry Goldwater in the 1964 presidential election.  He converted to Mormonism in an attempt to reconcile his conservative values with his need for a new direction in his life. A trait that would follow for the rest of his life, when Leo did something he gave 100%.

All told, Matlovich served three brave tours of duty in Vietnam. Among the medals and commendations, he earned were both a Bronze Star for meritorious service and a Purple Heart for being seriously wounded in a mine explosion during his second tour.

Yet for all his bravery and patriotism, there was something deep inside himself, something that he was learning as he matured would never go away. During his service in Vietnam, Leo came to realize that he was not going to change into a straight man. Through his working relationships and friendships, he found himself unlearning many of the prejudices he had inherited from his upbringing in the South. Yet he remained deeply conflicted about living a lie.

In 1973 he read an interview in the Air Force Times by Frank Kameny who had counseled several gays in the military. Leo called him in Washington DC and learned that Kameny had long been looking for a gay service member with a perfect military record to create a test case to challenge the military's ban on gays.  With Kameny and ACLU attorney David Addlestone they formulated a plan, and Leo hand-delivered a letter to his Langley AFB commanding officer on March 6, 1975.  When his commander asked, "What does this mean?" Mr. Matlovich replied, "It means Brown versus the Board of Education" (suggesting that his actions would be similar to the Supreme Court case outlawing racial segregation in public schools). 

He didn't seek publicity, but eventually he came to expect the core values he was taught, that "doing the right thing is always right" to stand for everything, including not hiding his sexuality anymore.  Before the world and press, he would twice be excommunicated by the The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints for "homosexual" acts. He was first excommunicated on October 7, 1975, in Norfolk, Virginia, and then again January 17, 1979, after his appearance on the Phil Donahue television show in 1978. But, by this time, Matlovich had stopped being a believer in what others said and he knew in his heart and soul what was right.

At that time, the Air Force had a unique exception clause that technically could allow gays to continue to serve under undefined circumstances. During his September 1975 discharge hearing, an Air Force attorney asked him if he would sign a document pledging to "never practice homosexuality again" in exchange for being allowed to remain in the Air Force. Matlovich refused. Despite his exemplary military record, tours of duty in Vietnam, and high performance evaluations, the panel ruled Matlovich unfit for service and he was recommended for a General, or Less than Honorable, discharge. The base commander recommended that it be upgraded to Honorable and the Secretary of the Air Force agreed, confirming Matlovich's discharge in October 1975.

He sued for reinstatement.  The Air Force offered Matlovich a financial settlement instead, and convinced they would find some other reason to discharge him if he reentered the service (or the conservative Supreme Court might rule against him should the Air Force appeal), Matlovich accepted.  The figure, based on back pay, future pay, and pension was $160,000.  Sergeant Matlovich vs. the U.S. Air Force (1978) was a made-for-TV movie, directed by Paul Leaf, written by John McGreevey.

Gay Pioneer Leonard Matlovich First TV Interview - May 26, 1975

Wednesday, May 22, 2013

Tribute to Scotty (part one)

Scotty was one of those models with a physique that was chiseled to male perfection.   But there was more to this athlete than his rippling muscles.  A big part of his charm was that he sometimes liked to smile, kid around, and have fun while posing, and his playfulness showed through.  And unlike models a few years earlier who wore posing pouches that hid their glorious manhood,  in the 1960's Scotty proudly showed his man junk in all it's glory when he posed for the likes of Bruce of LA and became the object of desire for men around the world.   Indeed, images of Scotty, as he displayed his very impressive rock-hard boner and mushroom head, continue to be popular on the Internet, although sadly he doesn't always get name recognition.  The promo catalog (below) listed Mr. Cunningham as being "Of German-Irish descent.  Scotty is 6'1" tall, weights 195 lbs., and is 30 years old."   
 Please stay tuned for more of Scotty in part two

Saturday, May 18, 2013

May 1979

6' 3" John Pelico was Playgirl's Man of the Month for May 1979.  According to the story that went with his photo spread, John seemed to be something of an outdoors man loner who lived up in the mountains.  He used his Jeep "to travel into town occasionally to pick up supplies..." that he traded in exchange for his artwork and pottery.  Then the story goes further to explain that John tries to live off the land as much as possible, and chops his own wood, eats wild berries, birds and rabbits.  Guessing by the tan line visible, it looks like perhaps John sported a bikini style shorts or swimwear as well.

Wednesday, May 15, 2013

Beer Buddies (part two)

Back in 1968, one can't help but imagine that these athletes had no idea they would continue to be admired decades later by a much larger audience than originally intended.  In Beer Buddies, Larry arrives at the tavern to discover thirsty Billy who's casually standing naked at the bar, taking advantage of the establishment's offer for beer for nudity.  Larry also undresses and displays a very impressive physique and--could that be a semi-aroused manhood jutting out in front of him?  By the loving attention that his growing penis gets from the camera, it obviously also caught the admiration and attention of the photographer.  

Friday, May 10, 2013

'Beer Buddies' by Kris Studio

One of the nice things about classic loops was that they were pretty darn basic in terms of their objective: erotica. It's worth noting that this was an era where actual film was run through a projector machine, so smut loops usually got to their intended point rather quickly, with running times ranging from eight to fifteen minutes each.  Kris Studios gave the world 1968's Beer Buddies, a nifty physique short (aka 'loop') that starred two handsome gentlemen, Billy Kidd and Larry Harper.  That would be Mr. Harper above.
In this often-overlooked little screen gem, it seems that a local watering hole has decided to drum up some extra business by offering an unusual promotion: "Beer only 50 cents for NUDE customers.  Take off your clothes and save money!"  Now, anybody who knows much about men also knows that beer is always a tantalizing treat to offer, no matter what era we're talking about, and cheap brewskies for simply showing some bushy dick and beefy ass would sound like a heck of a deal to lots of hard-working hunks.  It's a simple storyline that's fun and moves the action along.

But before we get too-involved with Beer Buddies, let's first spend a little time paying homage to the studio that created this gem.  Kris Studios was known for offering (often straight) body builders posing nude.  Chuck Renslow and his partner Dom Orejudos (Etienne) operated the Kris Studios out of Chicago. It's been reported that Dom would usually write the scripts and be the director while Chuck would be the photographer. The studio was well known for its photographs of strapping young men with muscular physiques, and the emphasis was typically on admiring their raw masculine beauty and manhood. Their loops were all about the man, and by today's hardcore standards in smut, seem downright tame.  There was usually no sound and no sex...just beautiful men posing for the camera.  In addition to Beer Buddies, they also created titles such as The Blue Rose, Cabin in the Woods, The Fugitive, The Hired Hand, The Love Song (which also featured Billy Kidd), Motorcycle Hero, Rent-a-man, and Slave of the Sheik.
But there was a whole lot more going on at this busy studio than just movies.  The advertisement above was for the Kris Studios' very popular photographic division.  An ad such as this one would typically have been mailed to customers who had already corresponded with the studios.  Notice the crease lines where the paper had been folded to fit into a discreet envelope.  Often these very risque mailings happened only after a customer would first find a generic ad in the back of a health or fitness or mechanics magazine and send in to request a catalog or brochure.  In this particular promo, they are offering full-nude art poses.  Their models are all beauties and include Roger Jalle, Paul Sutton, Nick Vanden, Ray Jameson, and the fantastic Nick Harris.  Themed photographic 'novelty' sets should not surprise fans of Etienne (Dom), who developed an entire additional career depicting rough and dangerous military men wearing uniforms from lots of countries.  It's reported that in the early 1970s, Chuck and Dom turned over their mail-order operation to Lou Thomas, who along with Jim French started Colt Studios. 
Roger Jalle from the Kris Studio collection.
Today, the beefcake/leather works of Kris Studios are recognized around the world as an important part of gay media history.  Some of the more rare brouchures from the 1960's are highly prized collectibles.  They honored at an archives and museum in Chicago.


Thursday, May 9, 2013

Archie's Gay Pal Kevin Gets Married

Kevin Keller is a fictional character in the classic Archie Comics series. Archie comics are reported to have begun in December 22, 1941 and were drawn by Bob Montana and written by Vic Bloom.  It was a long time between then and September 2010, when  Kevin premiered in the Veronica #202 issue and became the first openly gay character in Archie Comics history. Kevin Keller's first appearance was so popular that the issue sold out, prompting Archie Comics to issue a reprint for the first time in its very long (70 years!) history.

"Isn't It Bromantic?" became an instant hit with audiences, as Veronica expresses her female interest in dating the hunky Kevin--but he's just not into all of that. As Kevin and Jughead bond as buddies, Kevin explains to him that he does not want to date Veronica because he is gay.

Archie Comics co-CEO Jon Goldwater explained that "Archie's hometown of Riverdale has always been a safe world for everyone. It just makes sense to have an openly gay character in Archie comic books."

Keller returned in Veronica #205 and then starred in his own 4-issue miniseries, Kevin Keller (beginning in June 2011). The new series focused on Keller's life and growing up, including his struggles in junior high school.  The character has dealt with homophobia and bullies as well as acceptance.

The January issue's cover illustration shows Kevin Keller, Riverdale's first openly gay character who is also an active U.S. military officer, tying the knot with his African-American partner, Clay Walker. The introduction of the fictional character, in addition to his marriage, has drawn both strong praise and harsh criticism.Archie Comics announced that Keller would star in his own ongoing solo title, also titled Kevin Keller, which debuted in February, 2012.

Sunday, May 5, 2013

May 1981

Joseph Spondike had that ruggedly handsome look of a real outdoors man.  According to the magazine, he was a 21 year-old native of Florida who loved both the sun and sea.  His sun-kissed hair, thick moustache, and that dark forest of curly blonde cock pubic  hair probably contributed in making Joseph a Playgirl's "Man of the 80's" star model.  Joseph was chosen by readers of Playgirl for the honor by a seven-to-one margin. 

Thursday, May 2, 2013

Gay May Day!

This 1971 Gay Mayday poster (below) was based on 19th century illustrations of European May Day celebrations.  Only these Washington D.C. May Day series of events were meant to be about protest and unity among gay men and lesbians against the establishment (the unity didn't work out so well) than about springtime flowers and falling in love. 

The labels written on the "Gay Maypole" ribbons connect the era's gay liberation protests to the spring holiday celebration.  Also, across the top of the poster it proclaims Why Don't We Do It In the Road, which was the title of a Beatles' song from the White Album (1968).

Wednesday, May 1, 2013

Name the Stud

VGMH follower Virgo sent me an email asking if anyone knew the name of this verile vintage stud.  My guess is that he's perfect Colt material based upon his physique, but I don't know his name.  If you know who this hairy hunk is, please comment below.