Oct 18, 2017

Christian Tessier: The Six-Pack Abs of Nickelodeon

The Tomorrow People (1992-1995), an early Nickelodeon sci-fi series about mutant teenagers (a remake of the British version), starred Christian Tessier as a super-genius named Megabyte.

The 14-year old Canadian actor had been a fixture on Nickelodeon for several years, with roles on You Can't Do That On Television, Are You Afraid of the Dark, and elsewhere.

He first stated to bulk up in Tomorrow People, but it was in Natural Enemy (1996), as a collegiate swimmer stalked by his stepfather, that we really saw his spectacular pecs and six-pack abs.



Plus impressive speedo shots.

He also stripped down in Habitat (1997).

Then came a series of adventure and horror movies with little beefcake on display (I assume; I haven't seen any of them), plus guest spots on a number of tv series. Two starring roles: Joey Passamontes in All Souls (2001) and "Duck" Clellan in Battlestar Galactica (2005-6). 










Not a lot of specifically gay content, except for  Ice Blues (2008), with Chad Allen as gay detective Donald Strachey.

He's also released two songs, including "Whatever It Is," with the Religion Beats.  I never heard of the group, and I can't understand any of the lyrics, but no doubt it's religious.

5 Celebrity Dates from Hell

I moved to West Hollywood in 1985 after a childhood of seeing no famous people in real life except for Jonathan Frid (Barnabas on Dark Shadows), former Tarzan Jock Mahoney, and the King of Sweden, so I became a veritable celebrity fetishist.  If I saw you on tv, I wanted to date you (or, after I moved in with Lane in 1990, hook up with you).

In part it was due to envy: my friends were all dating Sylvester Stallone, Rob Lowe, Keanu Reeves, and all I had were Peter Barton, Lee H. Montgomery, and Douglas Barr. 

Plus a hug from Michael J. Fox, a sausage sighting of John Amos, and a date with Robin Williams' assistant.  Big deal!

I was meeting -- or seeing -- big stars quite often, but none of them seemed interested in dating.  So I made the rounds of the lesser known and downright obscure, hoping that the guy I dated last night would make it big, and I could say "I went down on him back when."  Sometimes it worked out ok, and I got a nice romantic evening, a sausage sighting, or at least lunch.

Sometimes it was regrettable, to say the least.

Here are five celebrity hookups from hell.  I'm sure that these actors are very nice, and some people no doubt find them hot, but for whatever reason our time together ranged from dismal to "get me out of here!"



1. James Faulkner, Herod in the I, Claudius miniseries (1976) and Aldous Huxley in Priest of Love (1981).  Not at all my type: bald, pale, chunky, small beneath the belt, and sharing a last name with my least favorite author.

To be fair, he wasn't my hookup, he was Lane's.  We met him at a leather bar in London in 1993, and brought him back to our hotel, where wee discovered that he was into wet, sloppy kisses and the biting of nipples



2. Cain Devore starred with John Stamos in the short-lived comedy Dreams (1984-85), and I guess did some soap work after.  Not my usual type: skinny, frizzy dirty blond hair, very tan, but cute in a rockster-Bohemian way.  Alan and I picked him up at Mugi in 1986 and brought him home, but he was too drunk to rise to the occasion.





3. I had never actually seen Howard E. Rollins, Jr. in anything when Lane and I met him at an AIDS benefit in 1995. He told us about his work in The Heat of the Night (1988-94), but not that he had 3 DUIs and a cocaine problem, or that he was in rehab. 

4. Which of the stars of The Incredible Hulk (1978-1982) would you like to date?  Lou Ferrigno?  Bill Bixby?  How about Jack Colvin, who played the sleazy reporter on the Hulk's trail?  Nondescript physique, weasel face, small package, and he didn't stick around for breakfast.
















5. At least Georg Olden was cute.  He was starring in Rocky Road (1985-87) about three siblings who run an ice cream parlor on Pismo Beach, when I saw him at a Greek restaurant in Hollywood -- while I was on a date with someone else!  He was only 18, still going to Beverly Hills High, and I was not yet a twink magnet, so I had no way to attract his attention.  I made a complete fool of myself, and went home alone.

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

Oct 17, 2017

Jonathan Ke Quan: The Goonies Grow Up

Indiana Jones and the Temple of Doom (1984) gives the whip-wielding archaeologist-adventurer Indiana Jones (Harrison Ford) a modern-day English-mangling Sabu, the equivalent of the teenage-sidekick in the 1930’s serials.  But instead of a young adult playing a teenager, the gay subtext is minimized by making Indy's sidekick the prepubescent waif Short Round (Jonathan Ke Quan, nearly 14 years old but looking around 10).

 Indy and Short Round display a great deal of affection, but always of the parent-child variety: Indy sleeps with the boy in his arms, and holds his hand while they are walking, but he is continually presented as a small boy, lest anyone think that when he says “Indy, I love you” anyone think he means something besides substitute father.  There is no rejection of the homoerotic other, except in a passage in the novelization about the “disreputable careers” that might befall a 13-year old boy on the streets of Shanghai; that is, if it were not for Indy’s intervention, Short Round might have become a boy prostitute.





Jonathan Ke Quan went on to star in The Goonies (1985) as the Asian nerd Data, who buddy-bonds in a rather aggressively physical way with fellow Goonie Mikey (Sean Astin).







And on two tv series: Together We Stand (1986-87), as a Vietnamese orphan adopted by an American family (his brother was played by the gay-friendly Scott Grimes); and the last season of Head of the Class (1990-1991), as Asian nerd Jasper Kwong.












Are you starting to see a pattern here?  Asians stereotyped as mathematical, nerdish, and asexual, so no romantic leads, no beefcake -- but, on the bright side, ample room for gay subtexts.

After playing adolescents with no heterosexual interest and intense buddy-bonding in the martial arts drama Breathing Fire (1991) and the comedy Encino Man (1992) with Sean Astin, Jonathan studied martial arts and went to USC Film School.

Since graduating, his only acting role has been in the Hong Kong movie Second Time Around (2002), which involves Las Vegas, time traveling, romance, and apparently gay characters.

He has also worked behind the scenes, as a stunt coordinator, fight choreographer, and cinematographer. No idea if he's gay in real life or not.







Oct 16, 2017

Lifeguards

On those dreary fall days when you realize that beach season is eight months away, and you just want to look at a lifeguard.


















Or two.
















Or four.














What the heck, just keep them coming until I tell you to stop.  Men only in this line, please.














Ok, everybody else go home.  This interview will take awhile.

More after the break.













The Boy Hooks Up with the Christmas Ghost

Rome City, Indiana, December 1974

The boy sat on the bed, reading about fairies.

It was very cold in his aunt's attic room, so he was under the covers.  A space heater glowed orange beside the bed.  Downstairs, a Christmas party was going on, with his parents and aunts and uncles and friends from town.  Most he didn't know.

But they were all paired up into husbands and wives, male-female couples extending in all directions to infinity.

Even Santa Claus had a wife.

The attic door was open, to let some heat up.  Downstairs he heard talking and laughter, and a song, "Winter Wonderland."


In the meadow we can build a snowman,
And pretend that he is Parson Brown.
He'll say "Are you married?"  We'll say, "No, man,
But you can do the job when you're in town."

Wife, kids, house, job, his destiny.  His doom.



Suddenly he heard footsteps coming up the stairs.  A dark shape that quickly resolved itself into the form of a young man, probably college age, tall and slim with thick reddish hair and very pale skin.  He was wearing a red sweater and jeans.  Oddly, he was barefoot.  The boy didn't recognize him from the party downstairs.

"Can I come in?"

"You already are in."

"Fair enough."  The stranger sat down on the edge of the bed.  "I saw you come up here, and wondered if you were ok."

Bogus!  Why would a complete stranger come upstairs to check up on him?  Why not his mother, or Aunt Nora?

"I'm fine, just tired.  And this is my room. Mine and my brother's while we're visiting, so I can be here.  Are you friends with Cousin Joe?"

He ignored the question.  "What you reading?"

The boy had hidden the book -- his parents disapproved of non-religious books in general, and especially science fiction and fantasy.  "Um...science homework."

The stranger reached up and pulled the book from under the covers.  "Fairies?" he asked in surprise.

"Not that kind of fairy," the boy said, cutting off the criticism,  He wasn't reading fairy tales -- he had always hated Snow White, Cinderella, Rapunzel, and their ilk, stupid boy meets girl stories with some flittery things added, shouting that the meaning of life is to be found in feminine smiles.  He was reading about fairies, the dark, sinister figures of European myth, like Puck in Midsummer Night's Dream. 

"Midsummer Night's Dream!" the stranger exclaimed.  "I love Shakespeare.  I used to be a grade-A riot on stage!"  He flounced about the room, reciting:

If we shadows have offended,
Think but this, and all is mended,
That you have but slumber'd here
While these visions did appear.
And this weak and idle theme,
No more yielding, but a dream.

"You look pretty solid to me," the boy said.

"Who cares?  It got you to smile.  Cold up here -- got room for one more, Jackson?"  Without waiting for an answer he climbed under the covers next to the boy and put his arm around him.  His hard bicep bulged against the boy's shoulder.





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

Pee-Wee's Playhouse

When I was living in West Hollywood in the 1980s, we watched Mystery Science Theater 3000 every Saturday morning, but we stayed away from children's tv.  It was crowded with insipid child versions of adult characters -- The Muppet Babies, The Flintstone Kids -- or insufferably cute furry animals -- Wuzzles, Kissyfur, Care Bears, Gummi Bears.  


But there was one "must see" exception.  At 11:00, every household in West Hollywood watched Pee-wee's Playhouse (1986-90).  It was a surreal, live action series hosted by the androgynous Pinkie Lane lookalike Pee-wee Herman (Paul Reubens), who would invite various live and puppet characters to play in his playhouse.

It was the gayest show on television.

1. A hunky speedo-clad lifeguard named Tito.


2. Drag queens Ms. Yvonne (right) and Mrs. Steve (left).  They both appeared at the 1990 AIDS Walk, and we all assumed that Mrs. Steve was a real drag queen, played by a male actor; I only discovered that she was played by a woman while researching this blog post. .

3. The extraordinarily feminine Jambi the Genie, who lived in a drag queen's jewelry box and lisped "Wish?  Did somebody say wish?"  Everyone in West Hollywood spend the afternoon saying: Swish?  Did somebody say swish?"







4. Laurence Fishburn as Pee-wee's best friend Cowboy Curtis, who informed us that he slept nude, and joked about his penis size: "You know what they say about big feet -- big boots!"

5. The creepy, leering, obviously drunk King of Cartoons, who stumbled across the room and slurred "Let the cartoon begin." And the creepy 1930s cartoon that followed.  Ok, he wasn't gay-coded, but who puts a guy who's drunk, or pretending to be, on a kids' program?

6. A hunky soccer player named Ricardo.

The writers, producers, directors, and cast have always claimed complete ignorance of any gay-coded characters or gay-subtexts.  In fact, according to Inside Pee-wee's Playhouseby Caseen Gaines, Paul Reubens was homophobic -- if he had known about any subtext, "he would have put a stop to it."

Or maybe he was just closeted.  Paul Reubens has consistently refused to comment on his sexual identity, although when he was arrested for allegedly possessing child pornography in 2002, he stated that he was a collector of muscle magazines and "vintage homosexual erotica."


Oct 15, 2017

Matt's Date with Johnny Sheffield's Son

San Diego, July 1989

My ex-boyfriend Fred's boyfriend Matt was loud and proud, out to everybody and everything.  "Hi, I'm gay, and I'd like to order a large pizza."  "Hi, I'm gay.  What time will the flight from Kansas City be arriving?"

Fred didn't care for gay pride events, but Matt dragged him to Christopher Street West in L.A. every year, and sometimes to the parades in San Francisco and San Diego too.  "Mon chevalier blanc, it will be fabulous!" he promised.  "And, as any queen knows, they come with nonstop cruising.  Finding a Cute Young Thing to share my butt and our bed will make it all glorioski, n'est pas?"

In 1989 they went to the San Diego gay pride parade, and afterwards they went to a "hair cutting" exposition at the Eagle.  One of the guys in the chair was a Cute Young Thing named Stewie (this was before Family Guy co-opted the name): early 20s, tall, slim, very tanned, with brown curly hair, a round open face, pinprick nipples, and an average-sized penis.  Plus he came from a wealthy family and attended a private school, just like Matt.  They immediately hit it off, and were so busy talking that they almost forgot to cruise.

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

Harry Blondell, the Strongest Living American

Robert Mainardi's book Strongman: Vintage Photographs of a Masculine Icon reproduces a cabinet photo of "Harry H. Blowdell, the Strongest Living American" from 1890.

Today his slim chest, undefined abs, and small biceps could hardly be classified as muscular, and even in the days before Nautilus machines and protein supplements, there must have been many stronger guys in every town.









Here are two, Parisian boxers photographed by Paul Desoye in 1890.

















Here are 8 more.

Harry was rather scrawny, even in the 1890s.  That makes his chutzpah, his raw P.T. Barnum showmanship, all the more endearing.

The fitflex.com bodybuilding website rhapsodizes about his anonymity: "We wouldn't even know his name if he hadn't signed the back of his picture. Poor Harry toiled in obscurity.

But actually, 45 minutes of internet research yields quite a lot about him.

His actual stage name was Harry H. Blondell, and his real name was Henry Krumholz.  He was born on March 16, 1872 in Wayne County, Michigan: that photo was taken, he was only 18 years old.   He was Jewish, and probably changed his name to avoid antisemitic bias.

In 1894, at age 22, he joined  Cole and Lockwood Circus in Potsdam New York: "a real one ring circus....first class in every respect, with jugglers, trapeze artists, tumblers, clowns."  He was a sideshow strongman.

In 1897, he joined the the Irving Brothers Circus, which had "a soft, round top and 12 paintings.
  His fellow sideshow performers included "Madame La Bell, mind reader; Gannallea, cabinet, Punch and magic; Zana, illusion; Arthur Irving, ventriloquist; a den of snakes, birds and monkeys, and a female band"







Either he was very successful or his two brothers cosigned a loan, since in 1901, he retired from the sideshow circuit and bought the Weaver House, a hotel and restaurant in Grosse Point, Michigan, where he "delighted patrons with nightly exhibitions of his powers...tearing telephone books, bending iron bars with his neck and folding nickels, dimes and quarters with his fingers. "  Apparently he also lifted a team of horses and miscellaneous patrons.

In 1911, the newspaper prints a photo of "innkeeper/house mover Henry Krumholz Blondell," and his children, three young boys and a girl, hitching their cart to a calf to give their baby brother a ride.  He had quite a large family.

House mover?  Apparently he moved "large residential and commercial buildings, intact, to new sites around Grosse Pointe."

He sold the Weaver House in 1918 to devote himself full-time to the house-moving business along with his "equally strapping sons."

He died on July 8, 1936.

A recent book on Grosse Point, Michigan "Local Legends" includes John Hughes, Gilda Radner and "strongman/resort owner Harry Blondell."

He wasn't anonymous at all, and it sounds like he hasn't been forgotten.

Oct 14, 2017

Bobby and Johnny Crawford

Many Boomer kids aren't aware that Johnny Crawford, the 1950s teen idol, star of The Mickey Mouse Club and The Rifleman, the bodybuilder with full nude scenes in The Naked Ape, had a older and even more muscular brother, Bobby Crawford or Robert Crawford Jr.

Born in 1946, Bobby starred with Johnny on three episodes of The Rifleman, and in Indian Paint (1965),  where the two play Native Americans.  They get many semi-nude shots and, as a bonus, develop a quasi-romantic physical intimacy.



TV and movie magazines love brother acts, and soon Bobby and Johnny were being photographed together, often framing them as if they were a romantic couple.  They released several albums together, including one entitled Pals. 

But Bobby also had a solo career, with guest spots on The Donna Reed Show and Whirlybirds, and a recurring role on Zorro.  

He was nominated for an Emmy for his performance on Child of Our Time, a 1959 episode of Playhouse 90, about a young boy searching for a home in 1930s France.


He starred in the Western Laramie (1959-60), about two brothers who run a stagecoach stop in the Wyoming Territory.  His character idolizes the hunky drifter Jess Harper (Robert Fuller), and soon the two actors were seen out together in real life, "two bachelors" hitting the Hollywood hotspots.











Later in the 1960s, Bobby played an oddball outsider on Kraft Suspense Theater, a World War II French resistance figher on Combat, and a young man who idolizes his outlaw brother on Gunsmoke.  His last small-screen appearances were on My Three Sons in 1968.

Moving behind the scenes, he produced The Sting (1973), The World According to Garp (1982), The Little Drummer Girl (1984), and other movies.

Oct 13, 2017

Johnny Sheffield Almost Becomes Tarzan's Lover

Born in 1931, son of stage star Reginald Sheffield and socialite Louise Van Loon, Johnny Sheffield was already a star at age five, playing "Pud" in the Broadway play On Borrowed Time.

In 1938, MGM movie Tarzan Johnny Weissmuller picked him out of 300 hopefuls to play his adopted son, Tarzan Jr., renamed Boy, in Tarzan Finds a Son!  He kept the role going for eight movies at MGM and RKO.

As the years passed, Boy co-opted Jane's role as Damsel in Distress: in the climactic scene of every movie, he was tied to something and about to be killed or violated while Tarzan rushed to the rescue.  Tarzan and Boy became the chief jungle couple, while Jane took to staying home in the Escarpment, or leaving altogether ("visiting America").

Big John and Little John were inseparable off-camera, too.  Weissmuller was married to Beryl Scott at the time and having innumerable affairs with men and women, but it was Johnny Sheffield who appeared with him at the Brown Derby and the Trocadero, at movie premieres, on drives up the coast to Malibu.  When Johnny was fifteen, Weissmuller bought them a house on the beach near Santa Barbara, where they could get away for weekends of swimming, fishing, and sunbathing, just the two of them.

In the 1940s, no tongues wagged about the "couple."  Many people were not aware that LGBT people  existed, and those who did thought only of swishy queens. Johnny Weissmuller was 6'4" and all muscle, a "real he-man."  No way he could be a "swish."

And, in fact, there was nothing sexual going on:  Weissmuller never touched Johnny in that way. 

Even as a teenager, when he developed a beautifully muscled physique and a dazzling matinee idol smile.

Even when the Tarzan series ended and they separated, Big John to play Jungle Jim (1948-1955) and Johnny to star in his own Bomba the Jungle Boy series (1949-1955), Big John still treated him as a little brother, a son.

Johnny found this odd -- since around his 15th birthday, every single person he met, man or woman, boy or girl, without exception, wanted to peek under his loincloth.  And he gave quite a few of them the opportunity: Tommy Cook, his costar in Tarzan and the Leopard Woman; Peggy Ann Garner, his costar in Bomba the Jungle Boy; Cesar Romero, Bobby Driscoll, Jean Simmons.  Why was Weissmuller immune to his trademark flirting?

He was especially interested because he had heard from several of Big John's former lovers that he was gifted with the biggest penis in Hollywood, a veritable third leg.  Johnny was always a bit self-conscious about his size, and anxious to see what a Greek god looked like.

One day in the summer of 1953, they went swimming, and Big John, as usual, carefully turned his back to put on his swimsuit.  Johnny had had enough. "Why don't you ever show me your manhood?"  he asked.  "You'll show any stranger on the street.  You're more proud of it than your Olympic medals.  Aren't I important enough to rate?"

Big John turned around, startled.  "Of course you are," he said.  "But you know, it's not just a look.  When I show them, they always want to touch it, and then they want me to go to bed with them, and I don't want you to end up in my bed.  You're my son, my Boy, not some random fairy."

Johnny chuckled.  "I promise I won't go to bed with you.  Lord knows I get enough offers as it is."

Big John still refused, but Johnny persisted, and cajoled, and flashed his trademark flirting smile, and finally he said "You're a little pain in the neck, you know that?  One look, fine, but no touching."

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

Schitt's Creek: A Lot of Beefcake Going On

In the Canadian sitcom Schitt's Creek (2015-), video magnate Johnny Rose (SCTV alumnus Eugene Levy) loses his fortune to a shady business manager, and he and his wife Moira (Catherine O'Hara) and adult children David (Dan Levy) and Alexis (Annie Murphy) are forced to move into a cheap hotel in the desolate small town of Schitt's Creek, where they try to adapt to such hardships as sharing a room and making their own beds.

They butt heads with many curious, eccentric, and passive-aggressive smiling-as-they-dump-on-you residents, like Mutt (Tim Rozon), the mayor's son, who lives in a barn and collects compost.

It reminds me a bit of Gilligan's Island, with the castaways trying to survive on a desert island, their plans to escape constantly falling through at the last moment.



Schitt's Creek is so small that it has only one hotel, restaurant, and "general store," and the same six people do everything.  But still, there's a lot going on, and the Roses throw themselves into town life, getting jobs, joining clubs, running for city council, dating -- a lot of dating.  David (Dan Levy) develops a friends-with-benefits relationship with Stevie (Emily Hampshire), who appears to be the hotel's only employee, and Alexis has a steady stream of boyfriends, like Mutt and  town veterinarian Ted (Dustin Milligan).

That's one of the things I like about Schitt's Creek -- it's overloaded with beefcake, hot guys in tight shirts -- or out of tight shirts -- everywhere you look.






The other thing I like is the writing.  The dialogue is witty, sardonic without being bitter.  There is no us vs. them, normal v. hicks or normal v. snobs.  Everyone has foibles, but almost everyone comes across as likeable.



What I don't like is:





1. David is pansexual, played by Dan Levy, who is gay, yet his relationships are exclusively heterosexual until the third season, when ex-boyfriend Sebastian (Francois Arnaud) rolls into town, and he and Stevie get into a three-way relationship with Jake (Steve Lund).  I get so sick of men who are "bisexual" but only involved with women.






2. They go to great lengths to erase everything Canadian from the show.  No loonies, no maple leaves, no jaunts to Toronto.   Hello, CTV: half the fun of a Canadian sitcom is that it's set in Canada.  Corner Gas could not take place anywhere but Saskatchewan; Trailer Park Boys could not take place anywhere but Nova Scotia.  Schitt's Creek wants you to believe that it's set in Iowa.












What's wrong with a small town in Manitoba?  Especially with all that beefcake going on.



Oct 12, 2017

Tarzan's Boy: Johnny Sheffield


When MGM executives wanted to expand the audience of their extremely successful Tarzan series by giving the Ape Man and his Mate (Johnny Weissmuller, Maureen O’Sullivan) a child, they faced a quandary: since the couple was not married, Jane could hardly give birth to Korak.   Instead, Tarzan Finds a Son! (1939) envisions an airplane crash in the jungle with a sole survivor, a cooing infant whom Tarzan names Boy.

 It is an odd name, and evidently a last-minute change –  the trailers call him Tarzan Jr.  One wonders why Jane did not insist on Tarzan Jr. or John Clayton Jr., particularly if she expected the child to one day survive hazing at Eton.  But if Tarzan and Jane are the primal Man and Woman of a sexless heterosexual Eden, then their Boy must be the primal Boy, the archetype of all Boys everywhere.

The primal Boy was cast with seven year old Johnny Sheffield, hand-picked by Johnny Weissmuller from the hundreds of hopefuls.  Perhaps Weissmuller was shopping for a surrogate son of his own: he taught Johnny to swim and wrestle, and often took him places off-camera.  They were a common sight at premieres and Hollywood hotspots.  

Johnny was no ordinary Boy. In Tarzan and the Amazons (1944), Johnny at 13 could easily pass for a high school athlete.  In Tarzan and the Leopard Woman (1945), he is 15, but he already sports the thick, heavy chest, flat belly, and deepened voice of young adulthood.  In Tarzan and the Huntress ( 1946), he is nearly 16 years old and six feet tall, with a chiseled torso that makes 42-year old Weissmuller look flabby and out of shape, a middle-aged businessman ludicrously enacting a Tarzan fantasy.  The Boy has surpassed the Man, and Johnny Sheffield must retire from the series.

Although the teenage Boy is handsome enough to compel most of his classmates at Randini High School to write his name amid hearts in their notebooks or scramble to ask him to the Spring Fling, he has few opportunities for jitterbugging.  The women he encounters are always older, and usually evil; indeed, a half-hour walk in any direction seems to lead to lost civilizations led by evil women.

Any cute boy he meets is likely to be evil, too.  In Tarzan and the Leopard Woman, a boy named Kimba (Tommy Cook) appears one day at the Escarpment, claiming that he got lost in the jungle.  The Tarzan family takes him in, but Boy is suspicious.  It turns out that Kimba belongs to an evil leopard cult, and plans to prove his manhood by murdering them all. Many jungle-story scripts would have Boy befriend and ultimately rehabilitate the troubled teen, but not here: the two Boys never express any sentiment but seething contempt, and the unrepentant Kimba is shot to death.

More often, Boy’s homoromantic interests are stymied by Daddy Tarzan himself.  In Tarzan and the Amazons, a scientific expedition visits, and Boy can barely contain his excitement; he wiggles up to one, then another, flirting his way into hands-on-shoulders, cool gifts, and an invitation to “come around anytime.”  Tarzan passively-aggressively suggests that Boy shouldn't pester the strangers.  “They’re not strangers!” Boy cries, over-reacting with teen angst. “They’re Jane’s friends, and mine. . .I don’t want to go hunting with you!  I won’t go hunting with you ever again!”

Tarzan is equally passive-aggressive about denying Boy peer companions.  In Tarzan and the Huntress, the Tarzan family visits the kingdom of Teronga, where Boy befriends the teenage Prince Suli (Maurice Tauzin).  But when Boy asks to stay longer, Tarzan says no.  Later they find Prince Suli in the jungle, left to die by his evil usurper-uncle. Surely the long and dangerous trek back to Teronga would provide many opportunities for buddy-bonding, but Tarzan has other ideas: “Boy, go home, tell Jane!” he barks. “We go to Teronga!”  Boy protests, but Tarzan stubbornly leads the Prince away.

What is the significance of these denials?  Of course the movies are about Tarzan, so he must wrestle all of the crocodiles, rescue all the princesses, and supervise all of the shifts from absolutism to democracy in lost-civilization governments, but surely allowing Boy some friends would not threaten his status as Busybody of the Jungle.

Yet perhaps Tarzan is threatened after all.  As Boy hardens into adolescence, his role becomes paradoxically soft and passive – his muscles become purely decorative, to be displayed for their beauty just as Jane’s curves, and as useless for fending off crocodiles.  Indeed, Boy usually takes Jane’s place as the objective of Tarzan’s chest-pounding heroics.

The three pre-Boy movies all end with Tarzan swooping down to rescue Jane.  Afterwards, she is captured along with Boy twice, and in four movies, Boy is captured alone, tied to something, muscles straining, until Tarzan swoops down to the rescue.  (And in one, Cheetah comes to the rescue.)

During Boy’s adolescence, he and Tarzan are constant companions, leaving little time for Jane, who confesses without complaint “They’re used to doing everything together. Why, they often leave me alone for days!”  They leap into the lagoon together, enacting the quintessential moment of jungle romance.  They are even shown sleeping together, curled up on the same mat, Boy’s head pillowed by Tarzan’s bicep (Jane’s sleeping arrangements are left unseen).



If the homoromantic Arcadia is a displaced fantasy of adulthood, then the viewer must desire the sight of the primal Man and Boy diving into the lagoon together as eternally as the primal Man and Woman. Tarzan must contain his Paradise against threats to Boy as well as to Jane, and he must guard as jealously against any other love.

Johnny Sheffield continued wearing a loincloth through the 1950s as Bomba the Jungle Boy, to the delight of gay kids everywhere.  Johnny Weissmuller put a shirt and pants on to buddy-bond as Jungle Jim.

There's a Johnny Sheffield hookup story on Tales of West Hollywood.

See also: Why is Bomba the Jungle Boy always tied up?; On Your Knees, Boy

Oct 11, 2017

Swim Teams of Yesteryear

Back before tv stars commonly took their shirts off and gay porn was unheard-of, Grandpa got his beefcake by watching sports.  Wrestling was the best for bulk and baskets, but for the most exposed skin, you had to go with swimming. 

Here's what Grandpa (or Great-Grandpa) was looking at in 1952.











The University of Melbourne.















The Burton School.











The University of Texas









The University of Georgia


The Salem YMCA