Jul 20, 2017

Who is Tony Dow's Boyfriend?

This photo is causing a bit of speculation.

It looks like Venice Beach in Los Angeles (the cabana in the background says "Charter 0").

The guy on the left is Tony Dow, the teen hunk of Leave It to Beaver, shirtless, in his standard white shorts. Sometime in the early 1960s.

He's with a guy who is about his height and age, buffed, with a severe military haircut, wearing a dark t-shirt and cut-off jeans. They're both barefoot, and they both bulge to the left.

Tony is looking at the photographer, while the other guy is facing away, not sure what to do.  It's not a posed photo, it's a candid, two guys caught in an informal moment.  Hanging out together, or on a date.

But who is Tony's boyfriend?

I cropped the photo, but the original doesn't display any more information.  There are three guys sitting on the left, and there's a partial watermark: eart.ltd edit

Three possibilities have been suggested:

1. In "Wally the Lifeguard," a episode of Leave It to Beaver that aired on October 22, 1960, Wally thinks he has been hired as a lifeguard, and is embarrassed to discover that he will be selling hot dogs in a ridiculous outfit instead.  Some scenes are set at the beach, where the real life guard is played by 25-year old Dick Gering. Maybe he and Tony Dow bonded.

Severe military haircut, but the guy in the photo doesn't look like him.









2. Tommy Rettig, the star of Lassie, four years older than Tony Dow, became one of his closest friends during the early 1960s, and starred with him in Never Too Young (1965-66)

The guy in the photo is definitely not Tommy Rettig.
















3. John "Butchie" Davidson.  Not the actor, the physique model. He was in Los Angeles for only a few months in the spring of 1965 before shipping out to Vietnam (he died tragically en route).  But during those months, he starred in several Athletic Model Guild films and got the cover of Physique Pictorial.  

Same haircut, same hands, same face.

Tony Dow never appeared in Physique Pictorial, but he mostly likely knew about it.  It's not inconceivable that he met Butchie, and was showing him the sights that day when an anonymous photographer snapped his picture.

There are nude photos of John Davidson on Tales of West Hollywood.


Jul 19, 2017

Nude Wrestling in Fond du Lac, Wisconsin

Rock Island, July 2017

It's the morning after the most disgusting hookup ever.  Bob the 19-year old economics major and I are at having egg white omelets and fruit cups at the Quad Cities Pancake House.

"So, what's on the schedule for today?"  Bob asks.

"Chicago, about three hours from here.  We'll hit a couple of the museums, spend the night, and then drive on to Cleveland tomorrow."

"Would you mind if we take a little side-trip first?  I have a cousin I haven't seen since we were kids.  It's a couple of hours out of the way."

"Where?"

"Fond du Lac, Wisconsin."

4 hours out of the way!  But this is Bob's trip, too, so he should have a say in the itinerary.  Besides,  I have a history with Fond du Lac.


During my senior year in high school, although I was still Nazarene, I became obsessed with all things Catholic.  I read The Seven Story Mountain and The Dark Night of the Soul, learned to say the Rosary, and even went incognito into a Catholic Mass. I didn't actually convert, but I was considering it.

 And I considered applying to Marion College in Fond du Lac, Wisconsin.

One day in January 1978, Dad drove me up for a tour.  I remember a vast snow-covered campus with round white buildings, pristine, pure, as quiet as a cloister.

You could feel the presence of God everywhere.

I imagined living in an austere dorm room, all white, empty except for a bed with white covers, some statues of saints, and a shelf of contemplative classics: the Little Flowers of St. Francis The Cloud of Unknowing.  Of walking among buildings of brilliant white other-worldly splendor every day, en route to my classes in medieval philosophy, Catholic theology, Ecclesiastical Latin, and Koine Greek.

On the four hour drive to Fond du Lac, Bob tells me more about Cousin Tark (short for Tarkington).  He's older than Bob, a big brother who used to babysit him and sneak him into R-rated movies, until he went away to college in Wisconsin, and then got a job in Fond du Lac.

"Was he cute?" I ask.

Not an athlete, but big and tall, with a thick beefy chest and nice biceps.

"Any sausage sightings?"

"Man, we used to wrestle in the nude.   Really big -- and thick!  Man, that thing was like a beer can!"

 A beer-can penis somehow seems out of place in a world of quiet contemplation.  Surely trivial matters like sex fade away when you are in the presence of the Divine.

The full post, with nude photos and sexual situations, is on Tales of West Hollywood.


Tony Dow Stars in the Teen Soap "Never Too Young"

Never Too Young (1965-1966) is famous as the first teenage soap opera, an attempt to draw the Beatles crowd into daytime tv.

It was set in Malibu, where Alfy (David Watson) ran the High Dive, the local teen hangout, and negotiated the angst-ridden lives of three high school girls, Joy, Rhoda, and Susan, and their boys:

Dack Rambo, who would go on to star in All My Children and Dallas, played all-around good guy Tim (shown here with his twin brother Dirk Rambo).  Both were bisexual in real life.



John Lupton (shown here with Michael Ansara and, apparently, their child) played rich kid Frank.

















Tony Dow of Leave It to Beaver appeared in 10 episodes as brooding, always shirtless race car driver Chet.  Then he joined the California National Guard and temporarily retired from acting.

Tommy Rettig of Lassie played his boyfriend Jojo.











Michael Blodgett, a beefcake star of the 1960s, played injured football star Tad.

Never Too Young ran daily at 3:00 in the afternoon from September 27, 1965 through June 24, 1966.

That's a pitiable short life span for a soap; apparently teenagers were staying away in droves.  But not to worry, they grooved on the vampires and werewolves of its replacement, Dark Shadows















Only five episodes have survived  You can sometimes find them on Ebay.  But be warned, the reproduction is not very good.  Check out John Lupton's bulge, if you can.

Jul 18, 2017

The Most Disgusting Hookup of All Time

Rock Island, July 2017

When I go home to Rock Island, I usually do quite well with hookups.  Being the new guy in town, I get approached a lot, I have the "I grew up here!" conversation starter, and in the absence of gay bars there's a lot of old-fashioned cruising going on.  But earlier this week, when we stopped in Rock Island on the way to New York, I had the MOST DISGUSTING HOOKUP OF ALL TIME.

I blame Bob, the 19 year old economics major I met at the dentist's office a few weeks ago. He was with only one guy before me, but quickly warmed up to the idea of sharing and hooking up.

He had never heard of gay dating apps, and was eager to try out Grindr, so I promised that on our night in Rock Island, he could arrange some hookups for us.



We got to our hotel about 6:00 and had dinner with my brother.   I couldn't resist posting a picture of the pizza (the highlight of the evening).

Then I went to the gym while Bob got to work on Grindr, with the profile name "visiting" and nude pictures of us  both to share.  When I returned, he had the hookups arranged.

"I invited two, in case one doesn't show up, like you taught me," he said. "One for you, a teenager."

I'm actually more attracted to guys in their 30s.  I just go with the twinks and Cute Young Things because they approach me all the time, and there aren't a lot of "regular aged" guys on the Plains.   But I wasn't going to tell that to Bob the 19-year old, especially when he was so proud of himself.

"And one for me," he added.  "Old, muscular, hairy chest, big cock."

Sounded like Bob's would be more my style.

Little did I know.




The full story, with nude photos and disgusting sexual situations, is on Tales of West Hollywood.

Jul 17, 2017

Tales of the City: Gay Guys, San Francisco, Who Cares?

Year after year, people tell me "The Tales of the City books are stupendous!  Amazing!  Wonderful!  The best thing every written!"

"And they're historically vital!  Gay author Armistead Maupin originally published them in serial form in the San Francisco Chronicle, back when gay characters were unheard-of in mainstream literature!"

"And you lived in San Francisco! They will resonate strongly with your experiences!"

"And they're hilarious!  You've never laughed so much in your life!  You'll love them!"



So, again and again, I pick up the first volume, Tales of the City (1978).  Midwesterner Mary Anne Singleton comes to San Francisco on vacation, converses with her old college friend Mona Ramsey, and decides to stay.

This is not the least bit humorous.  It's dull, dull, dull!

She moves into 28 Barbary Lane, where her free-spirit landlady, Anna Madrigal, tells her, "My dear, I'm not opposed to anything," and gives her a marijuana joint as a housewarming gift.  Mary Anne is determined not to be shocked.

My life in San Francisco was nothing like this!

She goes shopping, sees two guys, and wonders if they might be gay.  She's determined not to be shocked, if they are.

Maupin eases into the revelation of their gayness.   I guess he had to be very, very careful, writing for heterosexuals in the 1970s.

I can't go on.  I'm so very, very, very bored.

But sooner or later someone will start praising the books again, and I'll try again.

I already know what happens next: Mary Ann befriends a gay man named Mouse.  He starts dating A-gay gynecologist Jon Fielding, who is dying, Mona Ramsey dates D'Orothea Wilson, and Mary Anne has an affair with Beauchamp Day. Anna Madrigal turns out to be a MTF transwoman, who has an affair with Beauchamp's father-in-law, who is dying.

Got all that?

 Through eight books and thirty years, Mary Ann, Mouse, and their huge group of friends encounter angst and tragedy as life hits them with unemployment, failed romances, homophobia, transphobia, death -- lots of death -- and AIDS -- lots of AIDS.

This by you is humor?

The tv miniseries (1993, 1998, 2001) were a bit more palatable, maybe because they were not so episodic, and they got into the gay characters right away, instead of hinting around for weeks and weeks.





Besides, there were naked guys. (Pictured: Thomas Gibson as Beauchamp Day.)

I can't think of any other reason to care about Tales of the City 






Alan's Friend Has Sex on the Beach with Tom Selleck

You have celebrity hookup stories about Brad Pitt, Leonardo DiCaprio, Mark-Paul Goesselaer, Tony Curtis, even Groucho Marx.  Why not one about Tom Selleck, one of the beefcake icons of the 1980s?

He certainly seems like a good possibility. Born in 1945 in Detroit, Selleck began his career as a model, and moved into acting while attending the University of Southern California.  He wandered around the studios for several years, doing guest spots as pretty boys and hunks -- you can see him nude in Coma (1980).

 His big break came when he passed up the role of Indiana Jones for Magnum, P.I. (1980-1988), about a sardonic private detective.  Magnum lives in Hawaii on his rich friend's estate (in his absence), and has carte blanche to use all of his fancy toys (apparently they are very close).

Magnum has a couple of scoobies (Roger E. Mosley, Larry Manetti), and butts heads with the officious, gay-coded but heterosexual Higgins (John Hillerman), who comes with the estate.

I never saw it, but I heard a lot about Tom Selleck.  His feminine mannerisms, short-short pants, hairy chest, and Castro Clone moustache set off everyone's gaydar, making everyone believe that he was "one of us."

In spite of his two marriages (to Jacqueline Ray from 1971 to 1982, and to Jillie Mack from 1987 to the present).

In spite of (or maybe because of) his 1991 lawsuit against a tabloid for printing a story alleging that he was gay.  He wanted damages of $20 million -- that's either extreme homophobia, or an extreme attempt to stay in the closet.

In spite of his interview in The Advocate in 1997, in which he protests that he is straight, and yells that "It's not anti-gay to say that you aren't gay."

Um..gee, Tom, when you say it so vociferously, and so expensively, it kind of is.

I heard a lot of Tom Selleck hookup stories in the 1980s.

The full story, with nude photos and explicit sexual content, is on Tales of West Hollywood.




Ten Steps to Successful Boy Watching

"Boy watching" is not about underaged boys.  It's the gay equivalent to what straight men used to call "girl watching" -- looking at the cute guys you see in public every day -- with a 21st century twist.  Since you go everywhere with a camera in your pocket, you can take pictures of interesting subjects.

Sure, you can go on the internet at any time and download hundreds of pictures of cute guys, clothed and naked, but it's much more fun, interesting, and exciting  to photograph someone that you've actually seen in real life.

Here are ten steps to successful boy watching:








1. Know the law

In the United States it's legal to photograph people in public places, or in private establishments open to the public, like bars, restaurants, and shopping malls.

Except where people have a reasonable expectation of privacy, such as bathrooms, locker rooms, and doctor's office waiting rooms.

It's usually legal to photograph them in the parts of their property clearly visible from the street.

It's usually illegal to loiter (hang around with no legitimate business), especially near schools, playgrounds, and bus stations.






2. Be polite

If you want a close-up, ask first.

Don't follow, importune, annoy, or harass your subject.

Don't photograph the same subject more than once.


.









3. Don't be afraid of surreptitious photographs

The most interesting photos are taken of subjects who aren't aware that they're being photographed.

Pretend to be photographing something else, and they just happen to be "in the way."  It doesn't have to be something of great historic significance.  An interesting decal, a crowded restaurant, a highway truck stop.

Or have a confederate stand or sit in front of your subject, and photograph him.

If you're caught taking a surreptitious photograph, say something like "I'm doing research on this establishment.  Can I take your picture for local color?"




4. Take high-definition photos

There aren't any telephoto lenses for cell phone cameras yet, but you can take a hd photo from a distance of 20-40 feet and still have a nice image when you crop out everything but your target.













5. Try different locations.

It's boring photographing guys at the same gym, coffee house, and restaurant time after time.  Look for new locales: a shopping mall, a museum, a baseball game, a theater.














6. Don't cruise and photograph at the same time.

Trying to meet a guy for dating or sex requires a different set of skills from photographing him.  You can't do both at once.  If you want to pick him up, put the cell phone away.






7. Don't expect miracles.

Unless you're at the beach, you're not going to get shirtless shots.  Bulge shots are rare.  The face and physique are enough.















8. Don't worry if you miss your mark.

Don't worry if he turns at the wrong moment, or obscures his face, or sees you with the camera and "politely" steps out of the way.  There are plenty of other guys out there.











9. Keep careful records.

In six months, you won't remember where you saw him.  Record the date, time, location, what he was doing, who he was with.  It will make reliving the moment much more interesting.















10. Don't forget your main goal.

Don't let your search for a good shot keep you from appreciating his face and physique then and there.

Choose subjects who are less than spectacular.  When you encounter supreme beauty, you want to stay in the moment, forget the camera and just look.




Jul 16, 2017

A Gay Connection at a Gas Station in Rural Illinois

Rural Illinois, July 2017

On our way back from New York, we stop at a travel plaza: a Sinclair station with a giant dinosaur outside.  I haven't seen one since I was a kid.  It gives me a weird feeling of going into the past, being dislocated in time.

Something important is about to happen.

While Bob is getting gas, I head toward the convenience store.   A family is just leaving, walking toward the Subway sandwich place next door.

Mom wears a veil, like the Blessed Virgin in art.  I briefly wonder if the family is Amish. Are there Amish people around here?

The teenage son smiles and says "Hi."

I'm so surprised that I stop and stare without responding.

He is wearing an orange t-shirt with a sports team on it and short black pants with a bit of a bulge.  He's tall, a little chubby, deeply tanned,with short black hair, dark eyebrows, flawless smooth skin, and square workman's hands.  He's holding a cell phone.

 The store is huge, selling food, souvenirs, DVDs, auto supplies, even coats and jackets.  There's a fountain in the middle.

I pace around, pretending to look at the merchandise.  The clerk eyes me suspiciously.  I pick up a banana to buy so he won't think I'm shoplifting.  My mind is racing.

I should have said "hi" to that boy.

What for? You're cruised by a hundred twinks a day.  You should know the difference between a cruise and being friendly.  That was just being friendly.

Friendly, at a gas station in rural Illinois?

He's not even hot.  Kind of cute, but not beautiful, certainly not the "supreme beauty" that you remember forever.  And no athlete...he had a little belly on him!

This is close to where Ryan H., the college track star, lives.  Maybe he knows him.  That could be my in.

Who says he lives near here?  He could be from anywhere.

Yes, but....

What were you planning to do?  Pick him up in front of his parents?  Have sex in the bathroom?

No, but...

Get his phone number, exchange selfies for six months, and then drive 500 miles back here for a date with him?

No, but...it was rude to just stand there.  

It's a gas station in Illinois!  He'll get over it!

The full story is on Tales of West Hollywood.

Detective Adventurers of the 1980s

During the late 1970s and early 1980s, there was a fad for sly, antiheroic, self-referential adventurers.  We saw them on BJ and the Bear, The Fall Guy, Magnum P.I., Vegas, and even in science fiction like Buck Rogers in the 25th Century.

Man-mountains like Stallone and Schwartzeneggar were not yet in style, so they had lean, muscular bodies, hairy chests, thick wind-blown 1970s hair, 1970s gold chains, and sometimes a moustache.  They mostly looked alike; I dare you to distinguish between Gil Gerard and Robert Ulrich at a distance.

They lived in glamorous locations like Hawaii and Las Vegas, had unlimited incomes, and solved crimes.  But unlike the suave gay couples of the early 1960s, they didn't come in pairs.  Indeed, the premises seemed deliberately designed to eliminate homoerotic buddy-bonding.    


Buck (Gil Gerard) of Buck Rogers in the 25th Century (1979-81) hung out with a woman, Col. Wilma Deering (Erin Gray) and a robot (who began every sentence with "Bleep..bleep..bleep").











Private detective Dan Tanna (Robert Ulrich) of Vega$ (1979-81) had a female assistant, Beatrice (Phyllis Davis).  His main client was casino owner Slick (Tony Curtis), but Slick was older and slightly seedy, and they never buddy-bonded.

Trucker BJ (Greg Evigan) of BJ and the Bear (1979-81) hung out with a chimpanzee.



Private detective Magnum (Tom Selleck) of Magnum, PI (1980-88) lived on an estate in Hawaii with the prissy, gay-coded  Higgins (John Hillerman).  But no subtext -- they hated each other.  He also had two buddies, TC (Roger E. Mosley) and Rick (Larry Manetti), but never expressed any particular fondness for either.

There's a Tom Selleck hookup story on Tales of West Hollywood.

Jim Rockford (James Garner) was an exception, an antihero who lived in a ramshackle trailer.













 
Stunt man/bounty hunter Colt Seavers (Lee Majors) of The Fall Guy (1981-86) had an apprentice, Howie (former beefcake model Douglas Barr).  But the homoerotic potential was minimized by making Howie a comic relief character, and adding a stunt woman buddy, Jody (Heather Thomas), to the mix.

There was some beefcake, of course, but it was overwhelmed by the endless scenes of women with enormous breasts.

A couple of episodes involving homicidal drag queens (one tries to kill the British Prime Minister on Magnum, and on Vega$, she tries to kill her own "male side," however that would work).  Otherwise no gay characters.

It's no wonder that most gay teens watched Laverne and Shirley instead of Buck Rogers, Barney Miller instead of Magnum, and ran whenever Lee Majors came on the screen.

The actors have a spotty record concerning gay people.  Tom Selleck has been denouncing gay rumors, loudly and angrily, for 30 years.  Gil Gerard came out in support of Chick-Fil-A's homophobia. Lee Majors has been mostly silent, although he did play Grace's Dad on Will and Grace.



Jul 15, 2017

13 Guys in One Night at a Bath House in Cleveland

Cleveland, July 2017

On the way back from New York earlier this week, we stopped in Cleveland.  I wanted to go to the Flex Club, a great gay resort/bath house.  Bob didn't want to go, but he said it was ok if I went by myself.

It's hit and miss.  Sometimes I can wander around the video room, the dark room, the leather room, and the saunas for two hours and get completely ignored by everybody and everything.  Sometimes I'm very popular.

I think of a night at the Flex Club as a success if I meet five guys in two hours.  But the other night, I was with 13!

1. Within a minute of going upstairs to the video room,  I was kissing a red-haired twink with a scrawny body but an enormous Mortadella.



2.That wasn't unusual: I tend to attract twinks.  So I still didn't know if this was going to be a good or bad evening.

A few minutes later, in the dark room, I saw a very handsome, hairy-chested guy in his 30s with someone else, so I joined in.  The second guy left, leaving me with Hairy Chest.

3-5.  I sat on a bunk in the dark room, and an older black guy approached.   He brought his two friends and "ordered" them to pull it out and let me go down on them.















9. A very muscular guy in the sauna wanted me to go down on him, but it was too hot in there, so we went back to the dark room.

The full story, with 10 nude photos and explicit sexual situations, is on Tales of West Hollywood.





















William Zorach's Penis Art

What does this look like to you?

Me, too.

I saw it at the Baseball Hall of Fame, in a painting called The Baseball Player (1940), by William Zorach.

It's supposed to be a baseball glove, I suppose, but it's hard to see it as anything but a penis.

William Zorach (1887 to 1966) was a Lithuanian-American sculptor and painter. He and his wife Marguerite lived in Paris during the 1920s, where they befriended many of the gay expatriots, such as Gertrude Stein and James Baldwin.  Later they moved to Greenwich Village, and then to Provincetown as it turned into a gay enclave.






There aren't a lot of penises in his work. "Male Youth" is an exception.



















Usually it's discretely hidden, as in the nude "Pioneer Family."


















Or covered up altogether, as in "The Runner."


















But there's always room for phallic symbols.


Jul 14, 2017

Boris Vallejo: Bodybuilder turned Fantasy Artist


During the 1970s, the covers of your Conan, Tarzan, John Carter, Doc Savage, and miscellaneous barbarian hero books were likely to feature a heavily-muscled, naked or nearly-naked muscle-god fighting off monsters, giant snakes, or weird gods, usually with a naked steatopygous lady clinging to his feet (it's really hard to fight that way, but it keyed into the heterosexual fanboy's fantasy of conquest).

If they were comic books, the illustrator was Frank Frazetta.

If they were print novels, the illustrator was Boris Vallejo.


Both started out as bodybuilders, both began their careers in 1954, and moved into the field of fantasy illustration in the 1960s. They are neighbors, in Scranton and Allentown, Pennsylvania.

But the Peruvian-born Vallejo was more naturalistic in his drawings, he used a brighter color palette, lots of gold skies and gleaming muscles, and his work was more erotic -- these barbarian heroes had obvious bulges. .







He drew covers for many paperbacks, as well as posters for such films as Barbarella (1968) and National Lampoon's Vacation (1983).















Also oil paintings, like this glowing Icarus.















A friend of the gay community, Vallejo drew this poster in 1979 to commemorate the renovation of the famous St. Mark Baths in New York.

His wife, Julie Bell, is also a former bodybuilder and illustrator, who has a similar style, except her women aren't clinging to the legs of muscle gods: they're female bodybuilders and barbarian heroes in their own right. She has illustrated over 100 covers for science fiction novels since the 1990s.