Jan 28, 2017

Bug Hall: Always Undressed


Bug Hall was nine years old when he won the role of scrawny Alfalfa in Little Rascals (1994), a modernization of the 1930’s shorts, but heavy on heterosexual romance.   He was asked to appear in his underwear (and he loses it, off camera).

Then, after some minor girl-gawking in The Big Green (1995), The Stupids (1996) and The Munsters’ Scary Little Christmas (1996),  he starred in Safety Patrol (1998), an unusual teen nerd comedy in which The Girl is an ally rather than a goal.

After transferring to a new school, Scout (Bug Hall) instantly acquires a girlfriend, cheerleader cum valedictorian Hanna (Alex McKenna).  His heterosexuality established, we can get on to the main plot arc: a desire for homosocial fulfillment.  Bug joins two all-male gangs, a lunch-table full of outcast Barneys, including the gay-vague "Walt Whitman," and the school's Safety Patrol, a goose-stepping paramilitary organization involved mostly in extortion and bullying. Its leader is the evil Kent (Philip Van Dyke), the principal's son.

When the Safety Patrol frames Scout for a series of petty thefts, he realizes who is true friends are, and sets out with the Barneys and Hanna to catch the real crook. In the process he remakes the Safety Patrol. No significant buddy bonding, but gay characters, sort of.



Becoming less awkward as he moved through adolescence, Bug took roles reminiscent of Mark Lester’s twenty years before, as naifs who nevertheless are swept up by strong, unconscious heterosexual passions. He played a fourteen-year old who gets his girlfriend pregnant in the indie film Skipped Parts (2000), a high school journalist who begins to “notice” the brainy girl-next-door in Get a Clue (2002), a fan obsessed with an older writer (Candace Bergen) in Footsteps (2003), and a high schooler struggling to lose his virginity in American Pie Presents: Book of Love (2009).

He was usually asked to appear in his underwear, or in a skimpy swimsuit.

As an adult, Bug had a lean physique, with a tight ribbed chest and ball-shaped biceps (not to mention rugged good looks).  He also did quite a bit of buddy-bonding, in Arizona Summer (2003), in Fortress (2012), and in some of his television appearances; it's actually hard to find a movie or tv appearance where he DOESN'T hug a male friend.

No gay characters, but in Mortuary (2005), he played the homophobic bully who harasses Grady (Rocky Marquette).













And lots and lots of shirtless, underwear, bulge, and swimsuit shots -- it's hard to find a movie or tv appearance where he DOESN'T display his fine physique.





So it was interesting to see the "evidence" of Bug taking the next step, allegedly posting nude pictures of himself on the internet.  Tattoos, Prince Albert, the whole nine yards.
















Next stop: frontal nudity in a movie?

There are nude photos on Boomer's Gay Celebrity Dating Stories.





Jan 26, 2017

Mary Tyler Moore and the Two Richies

The Dick Van Dyke Show (1961-1966) was before my time; I don't remember seeing any episodes when it first aired, although I saw some later on.  The first season is on Netflix.

It was a hybrid workplace-nuclear family sitcom:   Rob Petrie (Dick Van Dyke) had a job writing comedy bits for The Alan Brady Show, along with his coworkers (Morey Amsterdam, Rose Marie); meanwhile, he had a wife and son (Mary Tyler Moore, Larry Mathews) back home in New Rochelle.

Larry Mathews, born in 1955, played Richie Petrie.  He was less than ten years old during the show's run, so he didn't get any teen idol attention, that I know of.  Or many plotlines.  The only one I remember has his parents explaining why he got the gender-transgressive middle name of "Rosebud."


I'm sure they named the character of Richie after Mary Tyler Moore's son, Ritchie (Richard Carleton Meeker, Jr.), who was born in 1956.  Magazines of the era were fond of photos of Mary with her "two sons."

Here Ritchie is on the right, and Richie on the left.







Ritchie Meeker went to the University of Southern California, and took a job at CBS.  In 1980 he died in a tragic accident while cleaning his gun.








Larry Mathews retired from show business after 1966, although he has appeared in Dick Van Dyke reunion shows.  He graduated from UCLA in 1976 and went on to a business career.  I can't find any photos of him as a young adult, but here's one from 2004.

No evidence that either was gay, but Mary Tyler Moore was a strong ally.

See also: Looking for Muscle on the Dick Van Dyke Show


Jan 25, 2017

Mary and Rhoda and Gordie the Weatherman: 1970s Hip Sitcoms

During the 1970s, the success of All in the Family led to a fad for sitcoms with hip, relevant, "mature" themes.  Most were set in "real places,"  not New York or L.A., and juxtaposed the work and home lives of young adult professionals (if they were white) or poor families (if they were African-American).

All of the adults watched, but kids were leery, unless there were teenagers in the cast (Alice, One Day at a Time).  

But who wanted to watch The Mary Tyler Moore Show (1970-77), with the former star of The Dick Van Dyke Show as a Minneapolis tv writer, when the other channel had The Most Deadly Game, with gay actor George Maharis (left) as a crime-fighting criminologist?

Or The Bob Newhart Show (1972-78), about a psychologist with wacky patients, when the other channel had The Streets of San Francisco, with the hunky Michael Douglas as a detective?

Or Rhoda, Phyllis, Maud, Good Times, That's My Mama, MASH, Sanford and Son, Chico and the Man, Archie Bunker's Place....

So I didn't begin watching until 1974, when I was in ninth grade and trying to fit in with a hipster crowd, and then only occasionally, when I had nothing else to do.  I found some gay content.

1. Beefcake.  Not a lot, but occasional bulges or hints of hairy chests. Paul Sand had a hot older brother.  Joe (David Groh), the contractor who married Rhoda, deserved special attention.










As did John Amos, who played Gordie the Weatherman on Mary Tyler Moore before scoring his own sitcom, Good Times.  He also starred as the older Kunta Kinte on Roots (1977).















2. Bonding.  I missed the overt homoromantic bond between Mary and Rhoda on Mary Tyler Moore (left), but what about Hawkeye and Trapper John on MASH, or odd couple Chico and Ed on Chico and the Man?








3. Gay-vague characters. Not a lot, but I wondered about Howard Borden (Bill Daily, right), the next-door  neighbor who dropped in every five seconds on The Bob Newhart Show.  Bill Daily also played Tony Nelson's best friend on I Dream of Jeannie, and Leif Garrett's boyfriend on an episode of Chips..

4. The first gay characters on television.




Jan 24, 2017

Ed Fury

On January 5th, 1955,  My Little Margie  (1952-56) featured the first bodybuilder on prime time television.

Like I Love Lucy and I Married Joan in the 1950s and I Dream of Jeannie and Bewitched in the 1960s, My Little Margie was about a stable, conventional man befuddled by the madcap antics of a woman.  In this case the man was investment manager Vern Albright (rumored-to-be-gay actor Charles Farrell), and the woman his adult daughter Margie (Gale Storm).  

This episode had Margie going to work as a fashion model, getting a crush on the oblivious photographer, and trying to make him jealous by flirting with an oblivious muscleman (Ed Fury).

It promotes the two main myths about bodybuilders in the 1950s: 
1.  They are self-absorbed, shallow, and narcissistic.
2. Women do not find them attractive.

Ed Fury was a bold choice for Hercules, even more gay-coded most of his bodybuilding peers.  Born in 1928 as Edmund Holovchik, the former Mr. Muscle Beach was one of top models for such gay-vague studios as Bruce of LA and the Athletic Model Guild, and for fitness magazines as Physique Pictorial, Today's Man, Vim, and Adonis.  

He was even filmed in a posing strap for home distribution in the days before gay porn.  No full-frontal nudity, but some rear shots.








After several small roles in movies, including one of the shirtless Seabees singing "There's Nothing Like a Dame" in South Pacific (1958), he went to Italy to participate in the sword-and-sandal craze, playing Ursus, Maciste, and similar peplum heroes, often paired with fellow bodybuilders like Rod Taylor.












Then it was back to the United States for guest spots on tv series, including The Odd Couple, Colombo, The Magician, and Police Story.  He continued to work as a physique model well into his 50s, but retired from both acting and modeling during the 1980s to devote himself to quieter pursuits.





Ed has  never made a public statement about his sexual identity -- few men of his generation would even consider such a thing.  But he inspired a generation of gay men, so it doesn't really matter.




Jan 22, 2017

Searching for a Gay Connection for Jackson Lueders


Someone found his way to this blog by searching for "Jackson Lueders shirtless."  I'm pretty sure there is no reference to Jackson Lueders on Boomer Beefcake and Bonding.  I never heard of him before.

So I googled him.

Ok, here he is shirtless.  A skinny blond teenager at the beach. 17 years old.










Here's another shirtless shot, again at the beach, darker hair, a bit younger.

But why should Jackson Lueders get a post?  Why is he famous?

Google reveals Twitter, Instagram, Facebook, a high school sports timeline, and a site that will tell you his height, weight, and eye color.

Still no idea why he's famous.




Jackson is second from the left.  According to Google Images, another of these people is his friend Jordyn Jones.  The farthest right is his brother Carson.

 I blocked out the girl in the bikini.









Carson, age 15, seems to be more famous.  He has Twitter, Instagram, Facebook (2.2 million likes), Pinterest, and his own website, where we hear that he's a singer.  He has performed on The View, and his music is available on Youtube and Spotify.

Ok, but you can't get on this blog unless you are gay, or there's some gay content in your work.

 Carson's songs include "Get to Know You Girl" and "Bae Back" (2015), about losing his girlfriend.  Sounds hetero to me.

There are gay "accusations" by homophobes on the internet: "ur gay bro" and "Carson is GAY!!!!"  I'm not sure that they qualify.

Nor does having a soda with Greg Marks, another pop singer who tweets "I need a girl who will be my best friend."


Carson's beach buddy here is pop singer Dylan Summerall, who tweets that it doesn't matter if a girl is "thick or thin," he likes them all.




Dylan Summerall is seen here with his brothers Hayden and Jimmy, who are also pop singers who write extensively about girls.  I blocked out the girl in the bikini next to them.

I've got nothing.  No gay content, just a lot of photos of  shirtless hetero kids.

But at least that guy who found his way by searching for "Jackson Lueders shirtless" won't be disappointed.