Saturday, February 6, 2016

Friendships solid as a rock: Rock and Doris were true pals to the end.


Their careers had taken totally different paths, but in 1959 here they were, together in Hollywood, making a romantic movie with lots of suggestive overtones.  There was nothing to suggest that this film would be anything more than another scheduled release, a product to sell enough tickets to keep the movie house owners happy and make some money in the process for the studio, too.
Sometimes if we get lucky in our lives, our souls just connect and we call it 'friendship'.  Now, they don't always have to be human souls.  Anyone who has looked into the eyes of a trusting animal and made a spiritual connection will understand.   And, once in some very rare circumstances, a special connection can happen between two humans working in jobs that make them cultural icons for millions of others to dream about.  But in all cases, true friendship usually gets tested by time.
Still in his sexual prime, Rock was already the established hunky movie star and Doris was a favorite singer and actress.  Pillow Talk would turn out to be the first of their classic trilogy of movies for Universal Pictures and would become a very big hit.  More than just publicity for the movie, Rock Hudson had actually been a fan of Doris Day since her big-band days, when he was serving in the United States Navy.  And with loving and caring being a true part of her nature, Doris has always been accepting of all creatures in this world (a crusader for animal rights) and understood the need to be accepted and loved.
It was recently reported that the actress, now 91, still gets choked up when she remembers Rock: "I lost one of my dearest friends and I still miss him so much.  The world lost a talented actor and a fine human being when he passed away. He was one of the funniest men I’ve ever known – and the nicest."
From Pillow Talk

The sexy movie Pillow Talk was a hit. Rock Hudson and Doris Day made sexual innuendo into an art form.  Day was nominated for an Oscar.  She deserved it, because it was her personal acceptance of Hudson (playing a straight guy) looking to score in the bedroom as often as he could that allowed the film's script to actually work so well.   The movie won Oscars for Best Story and Best Screenplay. 
In the movie, Doris plays a single working woman who lives in a nice apartment in Manhattan. Her only problem is that she has to share her phone line with a wolf-hound male song writer, played by Rock Hudson. Often she picks up her receiver to make a call, only to hear Hudson putting the moves on another of his female conquests.  Rock's character pretends to be gay to get close enough to seduce her. It's a real-life closeted gay star playing a straight man, who is pretending to be gay.


The duo were re-united in the 1961 movie Lover Come Back, followed by 1964's Send Me No Flowers.   1971, Doris welcomed Rock as her special guest on her musical special for CBS.  In 1985, Doris Day's Best Friends debuted and Doris reached out for Rock to appear.

Rock was at a point in his life when the longtime rumors about his homosexuality were now being overshadowed by the gaunt look of his thin body, as speculation ran rampant that Rock Hudson was dying from AIDS.  This was time in America when AIDS hysteria was everywhere and discrimination against anyone suspected of having the disease was at its most ugliest in terms of human compassion, for many otherwise nice folks. 

It turned out that Rock's last public appearance was to be with his longtime friend Doris. "I miss those laughs we used to have" Doris tenderly recalled to Rock about their golden era at Universal. "Oh me too" Rock replied during the taping.  It must have been quite a decision for Rock to tape that show.  Immediately after the taping, Rock left for a plane for Paris for treatment, but the treatment was not to save him.   His condition had gone public when he collapsed on July 21 of that year in his suite at the Paris Ritz, where he had gone for secret treatments of the antiviral drug HPA-23, then unavailable in the United States.

Once Rock Hudson was back in the United States, HIV specialist Doctor Michael Gottlieb was asked to examine him and hold a press conference to tell the public what was happening. 

According to reports, Gottlieb said 'The press wants information on your condition. Should I tell them you have AIDS?' and he said: 'Yes if you think it will do some good.' He couldn't have imagined how much good it actually did.’ Gottlieb said that by that stage ‘I don't think Rock was afraid of it getting out’.  He said: It was beginning to dawn on his fan base that he was gay. He had AIDS and was dying. People related to him on a human level’.
Two months later, Hudson died at the age of 60. In his last weeks he was visited by many famous friends such as Carol Burnett, Roddy McDowell and Elizabeth Taylor, who upon his death was reported as saying "Please God, he did not die in vain." Long after his death, Doris recalled when she asked him to appear on her show:  "I had to have Rock Hudson as my first guest so I called him and he said "I’ll be there....you can count on me, and that was the truth! All his friends, and there were so many, could always count on him. He didn’t talk about his illness any time.  I can only tell you my friends it was a heartbreaking time for me without my faith I would be a lot sadder than I am today. I know that life is eternal and that something good is gonna come from this experience."



Wednesday, February 3, 2016

February 1974

The cover model was Jerry Mansfield (with Mary Pat Bonney) and was photographed by Norbert Jobst.  The snowy outdoors photo shoot for Jerry worked well.  This nifty magazine included features such as: Anatomy Of A Live Sex Show, an interview with Rock Hudson, and what everyone wants to know...Should Your Doctor Be Your Lover?


The Playgirl Discovery model was a salty man of the sea, Mr. Gene Burton.

Cover model Jerry was featured in the horoscope section



Sunday, January 31, 2016

1972!


The year was 1972.  As VGMH has reviewed with the last few posts, society's views on sexuality were changing.   A gay sex film debuted that year with a lot of "firsts"  in that it was the first Hand-in-Hand studio movie production, the first fully-scripted gay porn movie, and the first musically scored gay porno (More about this film coming).  Behind the Green Door was a major sex cinematic success with the general public that year, Doris Day's family friendly television show acknowledged the growing gay population of San Francisco's with the portrayal of an obviously gay couple living together, and a young man named named John Holmes was very busy making smut loops.
 
Appearing in lots of quickie loops and low-budget grinders under many names, this was the time (late-1960s early 1972) when John was in the process of changing his life, from married regular blue collar guy, to hustling his manhood for cash.  Holmes worked in both gay and straight still photography and movie shorts. His work in straight porn wound up with John being arrested in 1972 for pimping and pandering. It's reported that he becomes an informant for the police to escape the charges.

In May of 1972,  a smut movie production company begins operations with their first mail order flyer for a selection of gay 8mm films, one of which stars John Holmes.  These images (below) are from a color copy of a 1972 gay loop that Holmes performed in.  He's very young and enjoying himself with the company of a male pal.  The soft core interactions between the two of them look genuinely playful. First they are laughing and just hanging out in the kitchen, then they go to the bedroom.  John is already nude waiting in bed and the banter is playful between the two of them as his pal undresses and climbs in bed.  Afterwards they shower together.


Just ten years after this 1972 loop,John will be charged with murder with regards to the Wonderland house crime (1982 On the 20th May).




No one can say for certain how many gay-oriented reels and loops John performed in.  Holmes went by a lot of stage names in the late 1960s when he was appearing in stag and loops.  Sometimes he was not even credited at all.  His very early gay work shows that the young John Holmes was sexually attractive, something that is often ignored.  Efforts continue to locate all surviving 8 mm loops starring Holmes that he appeared in during the 1960s, 70s, and 80s and to convert them to electronic media for posterity.    Since most 8 mm smut films (due to the nature of the fragile film stock used at that time) were either thrown away, damaged from storage in basements and garages, or disintegrated from wear and time, it is believed that the majority of Holmes' loops are lost forever.  
A 1960s loop which continues to be searched for reportedly starred a very young and very skinny "Peter" (Holmes) wearing a navy sailor outfit. Reportedly filmed outside of Los Angeles in a secluded area with a worn 1950s truck in the background (California sunshine has always provided free lighting for low-budget movies), part of the confusion about this missing film is that people recall seeing what were probably two different versions.
It's likely both versions were filmed at the same time and edited into two different products.  This was a common activity in smut back then.   In both versions of the missing movie, a smoking sailor "Pete" first poses with the thick outline of his cock in his pants before he pulls it out for some fresh air.   After this opening, one version has just Holmes posing solo.  The other version is with 'sailor' Holmes receiving a very enthusiastic blow job from another young man.
'Sailor Johnny' was a straight loop with a youthful Holmes playing a sailor anchoring himself inside a girl.
Unfortunately, these grinder loops were not intended to last for decades.  If it was produced (most likely) by one man in the 1960s who photographed it and then was distributed on his own via mail, relatively few copies would probably have been sold.  We also don't know the quality of the reel film used to make copies.  To add to the confusion about this missing gay sailor smut loop that some say they recall, John Holmes also performed in a straight flicker in which he was also a sailor (titled 'Sailor Johnny'). 




Friday, January 29, 2016

Overlooked but Important Gay Media History: 1972 The Doris Day Show

Yes, she was the movie co-star and personal friend of closeted Rock Hudson for decades.  Their touching final meeting and goodbye as Rock was ending his life due to AIDS will be a story here, so please stay tuned.  Yes, she remains a dedicated voice to animal rights.  But Doris Day deserves so much more credit than she typically receives from the gay community in terms of her role in gay media history.  In 1972,  the CBS network aired The Doris Day Show which ran between Here's Lucy and The Sonny and Cher Comedy Hour.  Doris Martin (played by Doris Day) was a charming journalist for the fictional  Today's World magazine.  In this season of the show, she was living in beautiful San Francisco in a great apartment decorated perfectly for the era.

Often overlooked in media gay history, this rather forgetful sitcom was a pioneer in presenting openly gay characters on national television.   Lance and Lester (played by Alan Dewitt and Lester Fletcher) first appeared in the November 27, 1972 episode called "The Co-Op" in which it was obvious that they were a couple (and interior decorator's no less) living together in the apartment building and probably didn't have separate bedrooms.  Perhaps most importantly, the story line presented them as just another tenant couple without making them stand out anymore or less than any of the other (straight) couples.   Their sexuality (in a city becoming very popular with gays by 1972) made sense to the script.


In 2004, Doris received the Presidential Medal of Freedom from President George W. Bush in recognition of her distinguished service to the country.  Doris is retired from acting and performing, but has continued her work in animal rights and welfare causes.  Born Doris Mary Ann Kappelhoff (either on April 3, 1922 or 1924 depending on the bio), we thank Doris for her contributions to humanity and wish her continued health and happiness.
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Thursday, January 28, 2016

Behind the Greek Door

1975 appears to be the year of Clay Russell's debut into smut films.  What a debut it was.  It's reported that his first screen appearance was in a movie called Sur and he also appeared in Snowballing, Six Card Stud, and Behind the Greek Door.  
 
Behind the Greek Door is actually something of a play-on-title from another smut movie from three years earlier in 1972.  Behind the Green Door was a feature-length straight pornographic film that became a huge hit and remains one of the genre's classic films.  But for this gay Greek Door film, Clay Russell and Shawn Everette bed in the same room and sleep whenever Shawn isn't sucking on hairy Clay's cock, massaging his ball sack, or getting screwed by Clay from behind.  The top star may have been Shawn but Clay is the guy you can't take your eyes off of when he's in a scene.  Finally, the frat brothers take Shawn behind the Greek door for-- you'll never ever guess what---Sex!  He gets restrained, spanked and there's a wild orgy with six frat men. Clay Russell isn’t in the orgy finale.  The movie also stars Caston Lee, Stan Ridge, Ronald Murphy, David Rosen, Bruce Walton, Ronald Howard, James Monroe, and Bob Gee.
 


Sunday, January 24, 2016

Mr. Johnny Wadd! You're Wanted on the Set!

John Holmes, also known as Johnny Wadd (this was the Hollywood nickname that stuck, based upon the lead character he portrayed in a series of related straight porn films), was one of the most prolific male sex film actors of all time.  The man began his career in smut thanks to his large cock.  which he showed off via gay photos and some loops.  Exactly how many men that John had sex with (in film and also as a private agent/hustler) remains an unanswered question. 

In 1971, Holmes' straight porn career began to take off with a porn series built around a private investigator named Johnny Wadd.   He was marketed as 'the guy with the huge cock' at the right time in history, as porn movies such as Deep Throat became sensations with the general public.  It's ironic that straight men felt comfortable being fans of another man (Holmes) because they wanted to look at his cock, without even a flinch of homophobia, but that is exactly what happened.  To this day, oftentimes the homosexuality component, prior-to-and-after his stardom in straight porn, continues to be downplayed or even ignored in his life.   No definitive measurement or documentation verifying his cock to be 13 inches exists, leaving its exact size unknown.
Loop early in his career where John has sex with another guy outside
Gay film later (1983) in his career
 
How would his hetero audience react if they had known what Johnny did with that cock with other men?  After all, straight guys treated him as something akin to a a sportsman who they were a big fan of.  Just as they could brag about a star athlete's stats, they knew Johnny's (claimed) inches of manhood and enjoyed watching him screw it into his female partners (a popular feature that sold well to his straight male fans was Johnny stuffing it into a girl's anus with her face visible as she's experiencing taking it.  Swedish Erotica 87 - Stuffed Rears is an example).  During his time in porn, Johnny had appeared in over 2,500 adult loops and pornographic feature movies during the 1970s and 1980s.
Near the end of his life, Holmes was a world away from where he had begun in the business.  He attained notoriety for his involvement in the Wonderland murders of July 1981 and eventually for his death from complications caused by AIDS in March 1988.  He was the subject of several books, a lengthy essay in Rolling Stone, two feature-length documentaries, and the inspiration for two Hollywood movies, Boogie Nights and Wonderland.

Friday, January 22, 2016

Hollywood Elite: Wonderful Warren

This photo (right) is reported to be of  a young Warren Beatty. 

Fast forward to today, and Mr. Beatty is in very good company...along with Orson Welles and Woody Allen, Mr. Beatty is among the elite Hollywood stars to receive Oscar nominations in the best picture, actor, director, and screenplay categories. Beatty achieved this honor twice, first with Heaven Can Wait and the with Reds.


According to the book Star: How Warren Beatty Seduced America, by Peter Biskind, young Warren had gay friends in good places when he began his career. It's reported that while in New York, Beatty met and became friends with William Inge, a gay playwright whose coming-of-age dramas A Loss of Roses and Splendor in the Grass marked the actor’s Broadway and Hollywood debuts. According to the book, Inge's close circle of gay friends referred to Inge as the straight Warren's “fairy godfather.” It also notes that Beatty likewise worked his charm on Tennessee Williams, landing The Roman Spring of Mrs. Stone.

The heterosexual star is legendary for romancing women in real life...and  his 1975 film Shampo also broke new ground by breaking down stereotypes...the movie is about a free-swinging ladies hairdresser in Los Angeles.  While not correcting anyone (usually the straight males of his female clients) when they think he's stereotypically gay, George Roundy (Warren)  is busy having sex with just about all his lady clients. During the course of the movie, George devolves from being a thoughtless horny straight man into nothing more than a plaything of his lady clients, who realizes he's a victim of his own creation.