Nov 3, 2015

Dick York: Bewitching Beefcake

I imagine that most gay male and heterosexual female Baby  Boomers have been desperate to see Dick York with his shirt off ever since their diaper days, when they saw him eye-bulge as Darren Stephens, mortal married to the witch Samantha (Elizabeth Montgomery) on the gay-symbolism-heavy "my secret" sitcom Bewitched (1964-69)  

Good luck.  As a stick-in-the-mud advertising executive in the Mad Men sixties, Darren usually wore a business suit, slept in pajamas, and was never shown in the shower or at the beach.  Dick was suffering from a debilitating back injury that prohibited most stunts and action scenes; finally the writers had to find reasons to keep Darren in bed for entire episodes.

Prior to Bewitched, Dick starred in various Westerns, thrillers, and dramas.  I haven't seen any of them except for Inherit the Wind (1960), but they probably didn't include significant beefcake.

But you can find everything on youtube.  A  compilation clip called Dick York: the Sexiest Man Alive seems to be displaying clips from Dick's very early work, playing high schoolers in "educational films" such as "How Popular Are You?" (1951).  They were used in classrooms for promoting conformity and compulsory heterosexuality.

In Bewitched, Darren was the "straight" man, in more ways than  one.  Not only the eye-bulging, slow-burning spectator to the mayhem, but aggressively heterosexual, faithful to Samantha but tempted by slithery witches, wood nymphs, sirens, and human women every five seconds.

But the compiler finds some gay-subtext images.  Dick and another boy check out each other's equipment in the shower (top photo), and he demonstrates that he is popular by walking off arm in arm with the school hunk.

There are also a few pics, very small, of an older Dick York at poolside, courtesy of Democratic Underground.  Not a bad physique.  Too bad Darren didn't get zapped out of his clothes from time to time.