Friday, November 28, 2014

Vintage Holiday Fun and the 'Case of The Confused Bride'.

Note: The Holidays have officially kicked-off here at VGMH and like any good old-fashioned department store, we aim to offer that certain something that today's big box mega store's just can't even imagine providing--a fun shopping experience with all the extra decorations and elaborate window displays that made the actual buying of gifts special and fun.  Truth be told, many families couldn't afford to actually buy at these department stores (thank goodness for Woolworth and Penny's and the like) but they could visit and take in the decorations and Santa's and hustle-bustle on a more personable level than usually exists today.   Because we like EVERYTHING about decorating for the holidays, no matter how expensive or cheap or elegant or tacky, our celebration is about enjoying and not judging. And then just as now, it's all about loving one another and giving what you can because you want to.  A warm, heartfelt hug from someone special in our lives (past and present included) would be the ultimate gift for many of us.

The "case of the confused bride" is very interesting indeed because it used negative advertising (to scare and threaten) instead of positively selling the product--guys under shorts.  Here we have a polka-dot wearing, pointy-bra-titted young lady in her favorite department store's men's shop, buying some under shorts for her new hubby, Phil.  Even by the female-subservient standards that were acceptable in media (and much of society) back then in 1951, this ad is harsh and rather bizarre, when one considers that is intended to sell a product via trade-mark warnings.  The negative advertising messages are presented in the two cartoonish drawings as well as in the rather lengthy accompanying narrative.

First off, visually we see not only our lady customer in the forefront, but also another female in the background picking out a tie.  It may be the men's shop for items that will adorn the bodies of guys, but it's very clear that women are the ones buying the clothes for their men.  The lady in the background is actually very important to the ad's message, in that she reinforces the idea that she is making a decision for her man, and thus our gal pal looking for shorts is also making a decision for her man.   It's also not by accident that a male torso is presented in this first frame as a mannequin wearing shorts--If selecting the right tie is important, than so is selecting the right shorts in which his cock and balls rest and sweat all day long--even if nobody will ever see his underwear (hopefully for the sake of their recent marriage they won't) while he's at work.  There's a dramatically different tone between the first and second frames-the first frame is happy while the second frame appears as more threatening and angry because she was about to make a wrong choice in shorts. 

In the narrative, we get to learn that our blushing bride was out shopping "right after our honeymoon" which is probably why she has a new found appreciation for making sure that the family jewels are well taken care of.  But all hell breaks loose when this stupid bitch goes and pisses the male clerk off by saying "I need some men's knit shorts-Jockey type--" which she should have known better than to do!

He may be a salesman, but he's a man first, and this woman has crossed the line and needs him to put her in her place.  He then proceeds to tell her off good and proper, making sure she never forgets to always ask for Jockey Brand shorts by name.  She gets off with a nasty finger scolding in her face and some shouting as he stands over her.  If only the newly-wed hubby knew that so much drama was going on about his man junk! 

Jockey is forgiven for this weird ad because in the following decades (and even back then) they have offered so many great positive and sexy advertisements.  And considering how good men look in underwear, no matter what the era, no matter if the person married to the hubby is a woman or another man (unthinkable back then!), we salute guys in their shorts.

Black Friday, VGMH Style

Retailers began calling the day after Thanksgiving "black Friday" because so many people started their Christmas shopping then, that the stores made enough money to put their bottom line profits for the year in "black" ink instead of money-loosing"red" ink.  It was also when the department stores took down the sheets and displayed their wonderlands of Christmas window displays and ornate decorations throughout the store.   Aside from a few retailers, those elaborate window displays (along with the staff of professional decorators that created them) have been history for some time.

Things changed thanks to discount retailers who cut prices and didn't even have window displays to decorate.  But these cement-box-stores had another draw for the public:  Frenzy-driving discounts replaced the decorations to lure in the shoppers.  And now yet another transition is in full progress, as the cement-box-stores try to compete with online retailers.  Stores are competing to stay alive and Black Friday has creeped into the actual Thanksgiving holiday in many places.  To be sure, price is very important, as is the convenience of shopping from home.  Nothing stays the same.  Today's flat screen TV's will become tomorrow's 8-Track tape decks.  But these men will always stay in style.

Ronnie, from Sierra Sierra Domino Studios

Today kicks off VGMH's holiday season! Creating our own holiday tradition several years ago, VGMH started this tribute to the men of African decent who've kindly appeared in gay smut over the ages.  A number of early models made their mark in the business and remain true classics.  Early legends such as Bob Mizer (Athletic Modeling Guild) routinely photographed handsome African American men like Gerald Oglesby and Tyronne Jones.  Indeed, smut (both straight and gay) has always been a forerunner in terms of bringing different races together to have some fun and enjoyment.

From 1950's body builders posing for early physique photographers to everyday gentlemen making some extra money in the 1970's, black men have a long and valued place in gay erotic history. Craig Calvin Anderson's Sierra Domino Studios produced beautiful images of black men during the 1970's.  The 1980's and technology (VCR machines and inexpensive videos) brought more black men into gay smut than ever before.  The success of rap music helped to titillate young white male audiences and has infiltrated numerous aspects of mainstream culture including fashion, movies,
vocabulary, and porn.

Below: Mr. Larry Samuels

Below: Mr. Willie Lewis