Thursday, April 21, 2016

April 1974

Darris McCord is one of those legendary early models of the magazine who seems to have had a limited photo shooting, yet quickly developed a fan base that continues today.   The beefy muscle man first appeared in the April 1974 issue in a very limited set photographs, which was actually very typical for a "Discovery" model who was not a feature.  These were supposed to be regular men that the magazine's staff happened to, well, 'discover' and then talked them into dropping their clothes for a few quick pics.  Darris was also featured in the "best of" 1974 issue of the magazine, but unfortunately without additional new material to enjoy.  An (unconfirmed) story around for a long time has been that this was simply a stage name which (learned after publishing) was perhaps too-similar to that of a famous athlete. In any case, this model's physique continues to be appreciated. 

Thursday, April 14, 2016

April 1947

 The 1947 April issue of Popular Mechanics included on page 84 this advertisement (below) in the top left corner of the page, selling "Inspiring Photographs for your Training Course!!"  Such "coded" advertising was a reality of life in the 1940's when gay men had few mainstream media options to sexually identify with.  The photographer for this ad was Al Urban, who also invites readers to (printed within the ad itself), whenever in Chicago, phone Kildare 3402 for an appointment to view his work directly at his studio. 

Al was a pioneering photographer in the fields of male physique and nudes.  It's important to keep in mind that male nudes were risky  business in the 1940's and could easily land guys (posing, behind the camera, and/or viewing the images) in jail.  His first studio was in New York and it became one of the earliest and most successful producers of such photography. "Strapped" images by Mr. Urban were published in physique magazines and also sold through mail-order systems (via ads such as this one in Popular Mechanics) during the 1940's and 1950's. 

If only the real-life men interested in this guy-girdle (below) looked as sexy as the figure drawn in the ad!

Below: Examples of male nude photography (not the stuff found in the Popular Mechanics ad) by Al Urban.  Thanks to JD for sharing a part of his personal collection! 

Tuesday, April 5, 2016

1965: Perversion for Profit

Back in 1965, George Putnam narrated the short film Perversion for Profit, in which he warned concerned viewers about filthy magazines containing female nudity and even much worse unnatural sexual content.  In addition to all sorts of "perversions" that the film singles out, great attention is given to that time-tested threat to civilization, homosexuality.  1965 was a time when the new hippie and beatnik movements were growing in popularity with young people, and along with this movement came new ideas about sexuality and 'free love'.  Interestingly, the majority of young men (outside of places like San Francisco) in the early 1960s American hippie movement maintained the same views on homosexuality as their parents.  The color short is valuable today in that it serves as a time capsule of how pornography was used as a social weapon and also how media's influence on young men was spun as having perverse ramifications.  

Putnam warned of the dangers that modern 1965 society posed to making porn available to young men who were victims to their hormones, by saying  "[...] you might ask yourself 'Why this sudden concern? Pornography and sex deviation have always been with mankind.' This is true. But, now, consider another fact: never in the history of the world have the merchants of obscenity, the teachers of unnatural sex acts, had available to them the modern facilities for disseminating this filth. High-speed presses, rapid transportation, mass distribution: all have combined to put the vilest obscenity within reach of every man, woman, and child in the country."