Wednesday, April 29, 2015

Retro Playguys

These days are actually a whole lot more difficult for smut peddlers to get their products noticed (an sold) than in previous decades.  In the age when paper magazines dominated most male erotica sales, publishers understood that apart from establishing distribution networks, they really needed to make sure that their cover was 'money in the bank'.  Playguy was established in 1976. It was published by the same folks who also were selling Mandate, Honcho, Torso, Inches, Black Inches and Latin Inches.   Eventually the magazine closed down in October 2009.

Monday, April 20, 2015

'April Homo' Happiness circa 1973-1977

Above: A dark haired carny worker delivers a hard bone to an appreciative new friend.
Homo Happiness was produced in Denmark and released in 1973 as a reel-to-reel loop movie.  This Rodox series was released on 8mm film and was usually about 200 feet long, which translates to an approximate running time of 13 minutes.  A success, it was then re-released in 1975 and 1977 and was a product of the Color Climax Studios as part of their Rodox Films (which had begun in 1972).   The paper ads mailed to customers included gay selections alongside their straight offerings, which probably has something to do with the "homo" in the title, making certain that people didn't accidentally order a gay flick by mistake!  Just as adult book stores in big cities catered to straight men and gay men alike, some films ordered by mail also acknowledged that guys may have different desires, but 'sex is sex' and porn (then usually illegal) was porn.

In Homo Happiness the most-favored prize of this gay couple looks like the dark haired gent working the shooting booth.

To offer an example of how these movies were recycled in promotions, below looks like it was being released by Exciting films (no. 961) in 1978.  It must be noted that back then in the early 1970s, homosexuality was illegal in many countries and ordering this material could get a guy arrested, and including gay and straight sexual products in the same marketing brochures, without negative commentary or labeling as being 'perverted' in sexual nature was special. 

In this short, three handsome (as in real-life vs. model-perfect) men get together, when two of them visit a local amusement park and meet a worker at one of the try-your-luck carnival booths.  In the true 'Great Dane' style of acceptance of same-gender sexuality, the couple are open about displaying their affections in public.  Then things start to happen without asking a whole lot of questions when they meet the carny worker.   A good time is had by all with kissing, blow jobs and anal sex.  The dark curly haired carny worker winds up screwing one gent as well as taking a hard blond haired cock up his ass courtesy of both men using him, one in the straddling position and the other going at him doggy style.  Of course the dark haired carny worker also gets his chance to lay some pipe.  In an more innocent time, this was all pre-condom.
Looks like this male duo hit the winning carny target twice--first enjoying the half-erect cock of their new friend in their mouths, and then taking turns screwing his tight ass.

The Rodox studio at the time was enjoying a lot of international success with its magazines and films.  As an example of one of it's popular 1976 releases, big-dicked (and gay movie star early-on in his career) John Holmes was the star of the straight loop Oversized Weapon.  The cover even advertises not the girl (which one might think that straight men would be most-interested in) but Holmes as having"[...] the biggest cock in the world."
Another title to come out in 1973 (and then re-released in 1977) was Homo Pick-Up.  The 1977 version was released as a Super 8mm color hardcore sex film, 60 meter with a German language audio track.  The fact that the movie is described in three languages gives credence to just how popular the series was for gay men in the early-to-mid (it was re-released) 1970s who were hungry for gay erotica.  In the opinion of VGMH the narrative is very telling of the era and the open viewpoint of the Danes when it came to male masculinity and sexuality: "Two guys meet up in a park. They go home and while sexing another guy is invited over the phone to come over. The tattooed guy also featured in hetero loops."

Wednesday, April 15, 2015

April 1983

Playgirl's hairy gentleman was Daniel Egger.  On the cover was Dan Aykroyd and Donna Dixon,  photographed by Hank Londoner.  Inside was such must-read stories such as Richard Simmons: America's Health Guru Gives Advice On How To Live Right And Be Happy, and what chick-oriented magazine would be complete without a weight-loss story?  This one was titled How To Make Any Diet Work For You.

Tuesday, April 7, 2015

Leaving A Legacy: The Fabulous Sylvester

Note: This story first appeared in the Bay Area Reporter.  It was published 04/15/2010 by Matthew S. Bajko.  Below are parts of the story...please see the link at the end of this post to read the entire story.

"Twenty-one years after the death of Sylvester James, a flamboyant and openly gay disco superstar from San Francisco, his music is now profiting two local agencies that serve people living with HIV and AIDS.
James died December 16, 1988 at the age of 41 from complications due to AIDS. But it wasn't until last week [April 2010] that the AIDS Emergency Fund and Project Open Hand split a check from the drag performer's estate totaling nearly $140,000.

The tale begins in May 1988 with the recording artist, known simply as Sylvester, bequeathing the royalties from his music, which included the international hits "You Make Me Feel (Mighty Real)" and "Dance (Disco Heat)," to AEF and Rita Rockett's food program at San Francisco General Hospital's Ward 86 for AIDS patients. 

Beginning in the late 1990's Sylvester's royalty checks had paid off what the singer owed and the rest of the earnings had been placed in an account.  But the record company had no idea where to send the money. It wasn't until the start of the new millennium, when Joshua Gamson began research on the singer for his biography The Fabulous Sylvester: The Legend, the Music, the Seventies in San Francisco , that attention was renewed on the fiscal standing of Sylvester's estate.  "I know I got a call from Gamson ... he wanted to interview me about Sylvester and his death. Then he said to me, 'Were you aware there are some royalties being collected?' I wasn't aware of that," said Gross.

Even if they had located a will and the beneficiaries of Sylvester's songbook, there was another problem. Rockett had eventually moved away from San Francisco and ended her programs at the hospital. So in 2005, at the direction of the Elites, Gross began researching where the money should now go. He petitioned the probate court to designate Project Open Hand as a beneficiary of Sylvester's will since it distributes food to people living with AIDS and HIV, similar to the work Rockett had done.  The whole time, said Gross, "The royalties continued to accrue." For tax purposes, he said, "We did not want to close those accounts until we were ready to make distributions."

The advent of iTunes helped introduce Sylvester's music to a new generation and the online sales of his songs brought in cash to the estate. Notice in the video above that those innovative lighted steps look an awful lot like those that Michael Jackson traveled up in his 1982 Billie Jean video?--well,so have others.  Hollywood also continued to option his songs, most famously for a scene in the Oscar-winning Milk that depicted Sylvester performing at a birthday party for openly gay San Francisco Supervisor Harvey Milk. The two were friends and Sylvester was a regular performer at Milk's annual Castro Street fairs.

""Sylvester would say it was fabulous and he would go have a great time. Given the situation – he isn't among us – he would be really pleased his idea worked," said Belmont. 'It is very unusual for artists or writers to give the entirety of their estate to organizations that really need it.'"

For more updated information on this star, please click here

Saturday, April 4, 2015

Easter Parade

For years now, New Orleans has been having a gay-related social event called the Easter Parade. But this has nothing to do with that.  This is all about The Judy.   In more closeted times, gays used the term "friend of Dorothy" to refer to themselves in mixed company, in homage to Garland's role as Dorothy in The Wizard of Oz. Today, Garland isn't as well known among the younger gay generation, but she still holds a special place in the hearts of many. 

Judy Garland was hugely popular among gays during her lifetime. Her concerts were major gay meeting places, and in her later years, she made money singing at gay piano bars. Garland's father was gay, as were her studio-executive mentor and two of her five husbands. She had many gay friends and went to parties where she joked that she was the only woman present. But her appeal was based on more than her own acceptance of gays. 

Both onscreen and off, Garland projected a unique combination of vulnerability and strength. She sang of intense loneliness, followed by songs describing delirious love. She had legendary stage fright but declared her greatest happiness came from performing. These conflicts mirrored the lives of oppressed, closeted gay men in the 1950s and 1960s. They identified with the paradox and duplicity in Garland's life. Severe laws and prejudice against homosexuality forced gays to lead double lives and hide their true selves. 

As Dorothy, Judy Garland portrayed a misunderstood kid from a small town who has an amazing adventure in a Technicolor world. The central message of The Wizard of Oz is that you will find what you're looking for inside yourself. That message resonated with gays of the era who yearned to come out into a colorful world and live what was inside of them. 
While prejudice against gays is still common, the public is generally more tolerant these days. Homosexuals aren't as strictly closeted as in Garland's day, and her image doesn't strike such a deep chord. But her plucky strength and sweetness continue to win admirers among people of all orientations.
MGM, 1948, Color, 104 minutes

Produced by: Arthur Freed
Directed by: Charles Walters
Screen Play by: Sidney Sheldon, Frances Goodrich and Albert Hackett
Lyrics and Music by: Irving Berlin
Musical Numbers Staged and Directed by: Robert Alton
Music Direction: Johnny Green
Orchestration: Conrad Salinger, Van Cleave, Leo Arnaud
Set Decorations: Edwin B. Willis
Women's Costumes by: Irene
Men's Costumes by: Valles

Color by Technicolor

Judy Garland (Hannah Brown),
Fred Astaire (Don Hewes),
Peter Lawford (Jonathan Harrow III),
Ann Miller (Nadine Gale),
Jules Munshin (Francois, the Head Waiter)

Wednesday, April 1, 2015

April 1978

Back in 1978, the Bee Gees were all over the radio with hits like Night Fever and Stayin Alive. At the same time, strong man Bill Nuckells (Mr. California) graced the first issue of Honcho magazine (April of 1978). The Mr. California competition has offered an opportunity to admire many good looking men.
Gene Jantzen (below) was a bodybuilder who came in 2nd at Mr. California AUU in 1941:
And Cliff Byers may have came in 2nd place (in the 1947 Mr. California AAU contest) but he will always be #1 with his fans! Not only didn't hairy Cliff shave his treasure trail or chest, but there  seemed to be a second "competition" happening in his tight posing trunks as his junk wrestled the for available space. It's reported that Mr. Byers was also a fitness writer for many magazines for the era.