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."

Friday, March 25, 2016

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)

Saturday, March 19, 2016

More Ivan

He doesn't have a monster-sized cock which proves a point--regular guys are always hot when they are just being themselves.  Ivan could easily have been any number of men that most folks encounter in their everyday lives, and that's probably at least partly why he remains so darn popular.  

Tuesday, March 15, 2016

Ivan Prescott

Sandy blond hair and a thick bush between his legs.  Mr. Prescott was a model that photographer J Brian immortalized for a generation of young gay men. Part of his appeal is that the blue eyed guy (fresh out of a stint in the U.S. Navy) has remained a mystery without a lot known about his personal life.  Ivan dropped his pants for the photographer, displayed his physique with that thick manhood and dangling ball sack, and then appears to have moved on with his life.  J Brian certainly knew how to capture the natural beauty of a naked man.  In 1964, Brian began to publish some of the first fully-nude male pictures sold in porn shops.  His mail order catalog of male nudes became an object of lustful desire in and of itself, tantalizing potential customers with images (typically black and white) of men such as Ivan Prescott..  According to the J Brian catalog, Ivan was a Navy serviceman and gymnast who became an art model.  
Please stay tuned for more photos of Ivan

Thursday, March 10, 2016

The Normal Heart

Nightmares sadly can become real, as evidenced in The Normal Heart, which is a largely autobiographical play written by Larry Kramer, looking at the rise of the AIDS crisis in New York City between 1981 and 1984.  In 2000, the Royal National Theatre named The Normal Heart one of the 100 greatest plays of the 20th century. Making it into a movie was not easy.  Barbra Streisand held the film rights to Larry Kramer's original play for a decade, but was unable to get financing for a feature film, and HBO (at the time) was unwilling to meet Kramer's asking price for the screenplay. Finally released in 2014, the all-star film includes Mark Ruffalo, Matt Bomer, Taylor Kitsch, Jim Parsons, Alfred Molina, Joe Mantello, Jonathan Groff, and Julia Roberts.  It's reported that some of the cast insisted on acting in the film despite the objections that it would not be good for their careers.  Bravo to them.

This important film is not easy for many to watch because of the horrific subject matter, which is probably why it did not receive the success that it deserved. Peter Travers of Rolling Stone magazine praised the film: "Written, directed and acted with a passion that radiates off the screen, The Normal Heart is drama at its most incendiary, a blunt instrument that is also poetic and profound. As gay men in crisis, Taylor Kitsch, Jim Parsons and Joe Mantello (who also played Ned onstage) all excel. But it's Kramer, still raging over what's not being done, who tears at your heart."  For the Rolling Stone review, please follow here.

In the film, Tommy Boatwright (Jim Parsons) pulls a card from his Rolodex and puts it along with a bunch of other cards tied with a rubber band, which was based on what David Geffen used to do during those those days as the AIDS disease was becoming a reality in lives of American gay men. On November 18th 1992, AIDS Project Los Angeles (APLA) gave Geffen the Commitment To Life Award at the Universal Amphitheater. During his acceptance speech he said: "When the first person I knew died, I couldn't bring myself to throw his Rolodex card away, so I saved it. I now have a rubber band around 341 cards."

Saturday, March 5, 2016

1972 Euro Cosmo Man

Back in 1972, Frenchman Paul du Feu posed nude for the European version of Cosmopolitan magazine, becoming their first centerfold nude. It's reported that the magazine had briefly considered having Paul as their centerfold for the American version but nixed the idea.  A writer and cartoonist, Paul was renowned for being passionate about things he believed in. Previously married to activist and author Germaine Greer, in 1973, Angelou married him. This was to be Angelou’s longest marriage.