Jul 29, 2017

Karol Krauser, the First Superman

The first Superman cartoons appeared in 1941, only three years after the Man of Steel first appeared in Action Comics.  They were produced by the Fleischer Studio, which also gave us Betty Boop and Popeye.  The Fleischers liked to work with real models, rotoscoping their movements to guide the animators, but for many years the model for the 17 Superman cartoons was unknown.

He turns out to be Karol Krauser, real name Karol Piwoworczyk, a young bodybuilder and wrestler.  The Superman website and wikipedia give few other details, but I managed to find some newspaper articles about him.

He was born in Krakow, Poland in 1912, attended the Polish Cadet School in Gniezne and the University of Krakow, and then worked as a physical education instructor at the Zwiazek Strzelecki, Polish military academy.

 At the beginning of World War II, he moved to New York and became a professional wrestler, dubbed the "Polish Apollo."   His first recorded match is in Bridgeport, Connecticut, on February 24, 1939.  By 1941, a newpaper article calls him the "popular Polish heavyweight champion."

He worked as a model for the Fleischers in 1939 and 1940, posing whenever they needed a muscleman, as in the Superman cartoons.

In 1945, Karol married female wrestler Zosia or Zoska Burska.   The best man at his wedding was none other than Stan Laurel of the comedy team Laurel and Hardy.

Most professional wrestlers retire in their 30s, but in 1953, at age 42, Karol and Edward Bogucki began a tag-team act as the Mad Russians, Karol and Ivan Kalmikoff.  During the Cold War, they became popular villains, winning several NWA competitions.

In 1962, Karol split from  Ivan and teamed up with Eric Pomeroy, billed as Stan or Igor Kalmikoff.  They appeared in several matches.

Karol died of a heart attack on September 12, 1964, after a match in Salt Lake City.

Jul 28, 2017

The Twins Day Festival of Twinsburg, Ohio

Twinsburg, Ohio, is a small town of 18,000 near Cleveland, founded in 1817 by identical twins Aaron and Moses Wilcox.  In honor of its origin, it hosts the Twins Day Festival, the world's largest gathering of twins and other multiples, held the first weekend in August since 1975 (this year, August 4-6).

About 4,000 twins attend, fraternal, identical, and multiple.  Some come alone, their twin being detained or lost.  They are of all ages from infant to octogenarian, of all races, genders, sizes, and shapes, from the United States and about a dozen other countries.

Twins in the outside world tend to dress differently and pursue different activities to emphasize their uniqueness, but here they revel in their similarity, dressing and acting alike, banding together with other twins to form dazzling mirror images.

The festival features live music groups, food, crafts, rides, and exhibits, plus many twin-specific events, like a 5-k run, a twin parade, and the crowning of the imperial court.

Non-twins are welcome, but bear in mind that it's a place for twins to catch up with old friends and enjoy a safe haven from the scrutiny of curious outsiders, not for twin fetishists to cruise.

But some of the twins are quite hot, and a surprising number are gay or bi.  Even the straight ones seem perfectly happy to talk to strangers (all photographs copyright Charles Robinson, except #12, copyright John Robinson).

1.-2. Mike and Matt Gragnani, real estate agents from Berwin, Illinois.

3. Long haired bodybuilders in purple muscle shirts.

4. Ben and Jared from Louisiana.

5-6. Nick and Jim Falco from Elmhurst, Illinois have been attending since 1991.

7. Jeremy and Josh from Louisiana.

Between 1990 and 2005 in vitro fertilization and the use of fertility-enhancing drugs has increased the number of twins born, from 22 to 32 per 1,000 births.  Not that anyone is complaining.

More after the break

Benjamin Lasnier, the Shirtless Internet Sensation and His Hot Male Friends

Danish teenager Benjamin Lasnier started his internet career two years ago, and quickly acquired over 6 million followers on Facebook, Instagram, and Twitter (400 likes in 10 seconds).

His songs, available on youtube, itunes, and tunein, include "Love You Out Loud" (2015). "Everythang" (2016), and "Somebody to Hurt" (2017).

He's been called "The Hottest Young Singer Out Now" and a "Justin Bieber Looklike," but I think he looks better than the contemporary tattoo-covered Bieber.

He's got a professional album out now, and has won a Nickelodeon Kids' Choice Award.

He's also good at posting physique pics on his social media sites.

And he has some hot male friends.

Well, actually, quite a lot of hot male friends.

I don't know if he's gay or not, but the lyrics I saw weren't heterosexist.

And he has A LOT of hot male friends.

Bob Hooks Up with Five Guys at the Lake

Upstate, July 2017

Bob's version of what happened during our three nights with my ex-boyfriend Troy and his current boyfriend Charles:

I've never had a boyfriend before -- I only was with one guy before meeting Boomer -- so when he asked me to come along on his visit to his ex-boyfriend and his current boyfriend, I didn't know what to think!

But it was a chance to see mountains, and Cooperstown -- the Baseball Hall of Fame! -- and spend 12 nights in bed with a guy.  If you've never slept -- just slept -- with a guy before, try it out.  I'd rather do that than get a blow job!


We have dinner in Cooperstown with Troy and Charles. Troy, Boomer's ex, is about 30, short, hairy chest, big cock.  But Charles is amazing: tall, broad-shouldered, thick slabs of muscle!

After dinner we go to the lake house, where they invite us for a midnight boat ride.  Boomer doesn't want to go, but I do.  We take this 8-seater motorboat out around the lake, Charles driving while Troy and I grope and make out (Boomer said I could go with other guys).  Then we stop, and Charles drops his pants.

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


H.R. Pufnstuf (1969-70) was by far the most popular of the Krofft Saturday morning tv shows about boys trapped far from home (others included Lidsville and Land of the Lost)Today I can’t watch H. R. Pufnstuf anymore. The lightning-quick takes, psychedelic colors, lame wise-cracks, and aggressive laugh-track are annoying. But in 1969 I looked forward to it all week.

In the opening segment, a cute, androgynous sixteen-year old named Jimmy (Jack Wild, fomerly of Oliver), with a Beatles moptop and a cowboy hat, is prancing through a bucolic mountain countryside, playing with his golden flute (it is not really gold in color but dark bronze, thicker and blockier than real flutes, and extremely phallic later, as it peeps out of Jimmy’s pocket).

 A “kooky old witch” named Witchiepoo (Billie Hayes), passing by on her supersonic Vroom-Broom, spies Jimmy and decides that her drafty old castle could use his youthful vitality – and his ten inches of flute. She instructs a sentient boat to lure Jimmy aboard with the promise of a pleasant journey to Living Island. But when the trip commences, the boat develops arms and claws to hold Jimmy securely in place, while the witch laughs maniacally, and:

The sky grew dark
The sea grew rough
And the boat sailed on and on and on and on

In a scene that is still frightening today, Jimmy manages to free himself from the grasping claws, and dives into the dark, choppy sea. He crawls onto a distant, desolate beach and collapses, half-drowned and exhausted. Then – somewhat too late – help arrives. A tall green-and-yellow dragon named H. R. Pufnstuf resuscitates Jimmy, moves him into his cave, and dresses him in a garish Fab Four outfit (one wonders where the dragon got human clothes. Have there been other Jimmies, lost boys washing up on the beach over and over forever?). Then Pufnstuf introduces Jimmy to the citizens of Living Island, various animals, plants, and inanimate objects, all sentient and wise-cracking, almost all male.

Since Jimmy is well protected, Witchiepoo turns her attention to the flute, now sentient and named Freddy. Most episodes involve Witchiepoo’s grandiose, impractical schemes to steal Freddy, or, when she succeeds, Jimmy and company’s equally grandiose, impractical schemes to retrieve him. Jimmy also mounts a few half-hearted escape attempts, but it is obvious that he has no real desire to leave Living Island. Witchiepoo is more cranky than evil, promising excitement more than threat, and Jimmy is having the time of his life, dancing, singing, putting on plays with a group of caring, attentive friends who tolerate all of his many gender transgressions.

The feature film Pufnstuf appeared in July 1970. In a new back story, Jimmy has recently moved from England to a resort town (Big Bear Lake, California), where he plays the flute in the school band (rather a fairy choice of instrument, I thought). During a practice session on the front lawn of a gaudy, baroque junior high school, the other boys insult him, mock his accent, and finally trip him, and he knocks over some music stands. True to junior high form, the teacher concludes that Jimmy is the troublemaker, and kicks him out of the band. Jimmy runs away, through a town of small brown cabins and autumn-orange trees that, for all its beauty, promises nothing but brutality and viciousness. Eventually he stops by the lake to rest. Suddenly his flute grows longer and thicker, changes from gold to brown, and starts to move of its own accord – an awkward moment for Jimmy to enter puberty!

Witchiepoo happens to be flying overhead, and the plot proceeds as in the series. But now she has a homosocial motive for her designs. She believes that Freddy the Flute will be a perfect trinket to impress the other witches, especially Witch Hazel (Mama Cass Eliot of The Mamas and the Papas), with whom she has a sort of Auntie Mame/Vera Charles rivalry.

All of the many witches we meet in the film are female, and all are aggressively heterosexual. Witchiepoo tries to sneak into Pufnstuf’s cave by flirting with him as vampish dance instructor Benita Bugaloo, and when she telephones Witch Hazel, their conversation consists mostly of gossip about which female witch is dating which man. The film makes Living Island, conversely, a veritable Fire Island, inhabited by ten men (or male beings) and only two women, Pufnstuf’s sister and Judy the Frog (a parody of gay icon Judy Garland).

 None of them is married or involved with the other sex, nor do any of the male residents “boing” with lust over Witchiepoo in her bodacious disguise. It was not unusual for children’s films a generation ago to omit heterosexual content, but quite unusual to place it squarely in the laps of evil witches while infusing the hero and his friends with a blatantly gay sensibility.

Certainly Jimmy’s cherubic cuteness and sexy Cockney accent made the show a must-see for me in 1969, but there is more. The crux of the action is a competition between the female Witchiepoo and the male Pufnstuf over control of Jimmy’s phallus ( Freddy the Flute), and it ends unequivocally in the male camp. Witchiepoo lives in a dark, sinister castle dug-through with dungeons and pits, and Pufnstuf in a gaudy psychedelic Arcadia, with living trees and flowers. Witchiepoo barks out orders to cowering servants, Pufnstuf offers advice to dear friends. Who would disagree that the Dragon is far superior to the Witch?

There's a gay hookup story about Jack Wild on Tales of West Hollywood.

Jul 27, 2017

Perry Anzilotti: From Usher to Marijuana Chef

The other day on the treadmill at the gym, I saw an episode of Seinfeld from 1993, "The Movie," in which the gang goes to the movies, and is  beset upon by ticket lines, multiple theaters, saving seats, and indominable ushers.  It's notable for one of Seinfeld's few homophobic scenes, and for one of the ushers, an amazingly cute short guy -- of course, all short guys are cute, but this one was jaw-dropping.

So I looked him up: Born in Chicago in 1959, Perry Anzilotti has been on screen since 1989, in sitcoms including Dear John, Wings, Married..with Children, The Office, and Modern Family, and in movies including Angus (1995) and Bean (1997).He played a lot of Italian guys named Vito,  and he was the Snackwell "Cookie Man" mascot.

He had a starring role in Sydney (1990), as the younger brother of a small-town detective, but it only lasted for 13 episodes.

His longest-running role was the anaesthesiologist Perry on ER: 22 episodes, 1994 to 2009

Perry also wrote and directed the short film Summer Sex (2006), and produced Old Maid (2005), about "a dyke who takes her weekly card game way too seriously."  I haven't been able to find out much about it, but one hopes that it's not homophobic.

Today Perry Anzilotti has retired from acting and runs a snack company called PerryWinkles: cookies, crackers, cereal, and such infused with marijuana.  Part of the proceeds go to Realm of Caring, a non-profit organization dedicated to researching marijuana as a treatment for some types of epilepsy.

He has also published a book of  recipes, and appeared on Wake and Bake, a youtube program about cooking with marijuana.

He's probably gay.

1. No wife mentioned.
2. One of his tweets invites a friend to "look at the studs."
3. On the logo for his Wake and Bake appearance, notice what he's dreaming of.

Jul 26, 2017

Three Nights with Troy and His Boyfriend: Boomer's Version

Upstate, July 2017

Every year I go back to Upstate New York. I didn't actually like my four years there -- too remote, too isolated, too rustic.  But I liked my Troy, the SUNY French major who was my boyfriend for 3 to 5 years (depending on how you calculate).

Troy has a new boyfriend, Charles, a 49-year old ex-Marine who runs the sanitation system of the city of Canajoharie: rather lucrative, since they have a very nice house there plus a cabin on a lake near Cooperstown.

I hadn't met Charles before this trip, but I saw some photos: round face, hairy chest, thick biceps, square workman's hands, an uncut Kielbasa.

"You and Bob [the 19-year old economics major] can stay with us," Troy said -- a godsend in baseball season, when every hotel in a 50 mile radius of Cooperstown jacks up the rates.  "Can you come for Charles' 50th birthday party on July 8th?  Every gay guy in the state will be there -- it will be intense."

Just as we were driving into Otsego County, I got a text from Troy.  "Change of plans -- we're spending the week at Charles' grandparents's lake house.  But don't worry, we told them the situation, and they said it's fine for you to be there."

I didn't want to spend three nights in the home of elderly heterosexuals I'd never met, but it was too late to back out -- every decent hotel nearby was sure to be booked solid.

There are two versions of what happened next.

Boomer's version:


We have dinner with Troy and Charles in town, and then follow them to the lake house: 10 miles on narrow dirt roads.  I'm completely lost.

It's not a big house: 3 bedrooms, a living room, a small kitchen, two decks, and a dock.  No wifi, which means no course prep, Facebook, or Grindr.  A TV that is turned constantly to CNN, unless it's off, and whiny female vocalists are playing instead.  Charles grandparents, retired professors in their 80s, tell us about 40 years of happy memories in this house.  When Charles was a boy, he and his parents would come out almost every weekend during the summer.

"Hey, we should go for a midnight boat ride!" Charles exclaims.  "Like when I was a kid."

I'm not a fan of swimming or boating.  I don't even like driving over a bridge.  In Florida I lived four blocks from the beach and never went in the water.  And I especially don't want to go boating in the middle of the night.  I politely refuse, but Bob exclaims "Cool!  I'm in!"

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

The Top 14 Hunks of "The Unbreakable Kimmy Schmidt"

Kimmy Schmidt is kidnapped as a teenager and taken to a bunker, where she and three other women are held captive by the Reverend Richard Wayne Gary Wayne.  15 years later, she is rescued, and moves to New York to rebuild her life.  She works at various jobs and dates various guys.  She studies for her GED, somehow gets accepted to Columbia University, and finds her true calling as a crossing guard.

Subplots involve the travails of her scoobies: street-smart Lillian (Carol Kane), flamboyant aspiring singer Titus (Tituss Burgess), and socialite Jacqueline (Jane Krakowski).

The Unbreakable Kimmy Schmidt (2015-), currently with three seasons up on Netflix, manages to address Kimmy's traumatic past without devolving into melodrama, partially because it sidesteps some of the darker questions, and partially because it displays Kimmy as endlessly cheerful and unflaggingly optimistic, certain that whatever problem life throws at her will be a thousand times better than the bunker.

There's a strong gay presence.  Titus is not merely a stereotypic gay bff; he owns his flamboyance, insisting that this is his story, with Kimmy a supporting player.  He has a life of his own, even a sex life: he dates the newly-out construction worker Mikey, breaks up with him, dates other guys, and then tries to win him back.

And the beefcake is endless.  There's a parade of cute guys:

1. Ki Hong Lee as Dong (top photo).

2. Mike Carlsen as Mikey.

3. Josh Charles (left) as Duke, the attractive but boorish brother of Jacqueline's altruistic attorney boyfriend.

4. Andrew Ridings as Charles, tutor to Jacqueline's son Buckley, who dates Kimmy.

5. Brandon Jones (left) as Brandon, who is dating Kimmy's bunker mate Cyndee even though he's gay, because bunker women get all kinds of free stuff.

6. Daveed Diggs as Perry, a Columbia philosophy student who dates Kimmy until she discovers that he's training to become a "reverend."

7.  Derek Klena (left) as Doug, a dog groomer who Jacqueline trains to be a trophy boyfriend.

8. John McMartin as Grant, a war veteran who exchanges traumatic experience advice with Kimmy.

9. Michael Benjamin Washington as Ruben, who Titus dates until he discovers that he has a daughter named Linda.

10. Noah Robbins as Zach, who drops out of Columbia to start a tech company and hires Kimmy to do the emotional work.

11. Tim Boardman as Dylan, one of the friends of Jacqueline's stepdaughter Xanthippe.

12. Billy Magnussen (left) as Russ, Jacqueline's unattractive boyfriend, after he's "smooshed" in an accident and goes through reconstructive surgery.

13. Anthony Marks as Dom Jr., Mikey's brother.

14.  Cameron Cowperthwaite as Austin.  I don't remember who Austin was, but isn't this a great photo?

Jul 25, 2017

Pete and Nick Spanakos, the Boxing Twins

Identical twins Petros (Pete) and Nicholas Spanakos were born on July 26th, 1938 in the working-class Red Hook neighborhood of Brooklyn, New York.  They were the youngest of eight boys born to Greek immigrants Michael and Stella Spanakos, who owned the Paramount Restaurant on Court Street.

Topping off at 5'3", and the only Greek kids in Red Hook, Pete and Nick were often targeted by neighborhood bullies -- the Italians one day, the Irish the next.  Bigger guys were always calling them out, insulting them.

One day when they were 14 years old, they walked into a gym, and someone said "You guys want to try punching the big bags?"  They did.  They strapped on pairs of boxing gloves, and never took them off.

In 1952, they entered the Golden Gloves competition for amateur youth, making sure that they had different weights so they wouldn't have to fight each other (although they usually entered the same tournaments).

On February 21, 1955, they both won boxing matches on the same night.

They were fast and energetic, not hard-hitters.  But what they lacked in strength they made up for in sheer enthusiasm.  Over the next 10 years, they won 17 Golden Gloves titles.

Pete competed the 1959 Pan-American Games in Chicago, and Nick won a bronze medal at the  1960 Olympics. His roommate was the future Muhammad Ali.

  Later he fought the Greek champion in an exhibition round in Athens.

Pete and Nick used their boxing prowess to get scholarships to the College of Idaho, a private liberal arts college that has produced governors, journalists, and Nobel Prize winners, and then went on to graduate school.

Pete got a law degree and moved back to New York, where became a school counselor, later opening a school for South Bronx kids who had been expelled.  He bought a historic house in Sea Gate, Coney Island, and founded the Sea Gate Historical Society.

One of his close friends was Joe Rollino (1904-2010), the "strongest man in the world," who used to perform at Coney Island, lifting 635 pounds with one finger.

Nick got a Ph.D. in Business Administration and taught at SUNY for many years.   He recently retired to Miami Beach.

I can't find a lot of gay connection in their biographies, just some same-sex friendships.  But the beefcake was spectacular.

Jul 24, 2017

Edmund Teske, the Gay Photographer of East Los Angeles

Edmund Teske (1911-1996) was born in Chicago.  Trained as a pianist, he began to work in photography in 1933, when Frank Lloyd Wright hired him to do photographic montages of the relationship between architecture and the visual arts.

He also liked photographing men, catching them in moments of power, joy, erotic desire, or quiet reflection.

Richard Soakup, 1940 captures his first lover, whose parents ran a music studio in suburban Chicago.  Teske would photograph Soakup in many more nude and semi-nude poses.

During World War II, Teske was was rejected for military service for being gay, instead assigned to become a photographer for the Army Core of Engineers in Rock Island, where he photographed many of his friends, lovers, and coworkers nude.  They weren't physique photographs, however; he was trying to capture spirit, not muscle, the human condition rather than the human body.

In 1943 he moved to Los Angeles and went to work in the photo stills department at Paramount Studios.  He immersed himself in the gay life of 1950s Hollywood, befriending Christopher Isherwood, Joel McCrea, Man Ray, Rock Hudson, Anais Nin, Montgomery Clift, George Cukor, and Jim Morrison.

He began to experiment with photo montages, combining images of nude men to explore time and memory, beauty, decay, and erotic desire.

Don Mills and Jerry Kahn (1954-55) are photographed nude and clothed among abandoned ice boxes in Cornell, California (near Malibu).

The folk singer Ramblin' Jack Elliot, nude with guitar (1952)

During the 1960s and 1970s, Teske's work was on display at the Art Institute of Chicago, the Museum of Modern Art, and in galleries around the world.

He lived alone in East Los Angeles, with lovers but no permanent partner.

In 2004, there was a retrospective exhibit at the Getty Museum.

To be on the safe side, I'm putting the photos with frontal nudity on Tales of West Hollywood.

Jul 23, 2017

Jay North's Gay Connection

Dennis the Menace (1959-63), the sitcom adaptation of  Hank Ketcham's comic strip, was before my time and rarely rerun, so I have never seen it.  But I knew Jay North's Dennis, a gangly blond wearing a striped shirt and white overalls with a famously breathless "golly gee" tone (acquired when his director told the eight-year old to "act younger").  For the first generation of Baby Boomers, he became the iconic Dennis the Menace, even though he was no menace -- his character was kind, helpful, sweet-tempered, even "square," an object of ridicule when the Boomers grew into cynical teenagers.

Jay did not enjoy his years on Dennis.  His work schedule was brutal -- not only the show, but guest shots, talk shows, and even an album; he was not allowed to play with the other children on the set, or to get a decent education; his guardians were physically and emotionally abusive. And even after he left the series, he couldn't escape Dennis.  He had trouble making friends among his cynical teenage peers; he couldn't keep up in school; casting directors wouldn't consider him.

The highlight of Jay's acting career was the intensely homoromantic movie Maya (1966) and spin-off tv series (1967-68).  He loved the location shoots in India; he and his costar, Sajid Khan, became lifelong friends. And he was proud of his performance.  But teen idol fame eluded him.

So he tried to distance himself from Dennis by playing mature, adult roles.

The Gay Connection:

In 1969, gay superstar Sal Mineo was directing Fortune and Men's Eyes at the Coronet Theater in Los Angeles, and playing Rocky, who rapes and abuses the naive Smitty (Don Johnson).  When Don Johnson was hired to do The Magic Garden of Stanley Sweetheart (1970), Jay North auditioned to replace him, hooking up with Sal Mineo in the process.  He rehearsed for several weeks, but the play closed before he could perform.

In 1972, Jay played the lead in a touring company of Norman, Is That You?, about Jewish parents (Hans Conreid, Fritzi Burr) who discover that their son is gay.

Back in Hollywood, Jay did some voiceover work and starred in The Teacher (1974), a sleazy entry in the "teen has sex with older woman" genre.  And his acting career was over.

In the 1990s, he became involved with Paul Petersen's A Minor Consideration, dedicated to ameliorating working conditions for child stars.  Today Jay works as a prison guard in Florida, but he often attends conventions, where he is always happy to talk to the many older gay men who had a crush on him in 1966.

There's a gay dating story about Jay North on Tales of West Hollywood.


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