May 21, 2014

Skip Homeier: Gay-Vague Villain and his Nude Model Son

On February 21, 1969, Star Trek encounters the counterculture when a group of groovy, extremely muscular space hippies take over the Enterprise to fly to the legendary  planet of Eden.  Unfortunately, the plant life turns out to be poisonous.  Moral: don't be a hippie.

The gang is led by the long-eared Dr. Severin, played by Skip Homeier (left, with Charles Napier).
The kids watching probably didn't realize that Skip Homeier got his start as a prettyboy child star.  In 1944, the 14-year old debuted in Tomorrow, the World!, a tour de force about an American family who adopt a boy from Nazi Germany, only to find that he is spouting Nazi propaganda and bullying his classmates from "inferior" races.

During the 1930s, there was a fad for homoromantic dramas, starring Mickey Rooney, Jackie Moran, Jackie Cooper, Freddie Bartholomew, Frankie Darro, and a dozen other teen actors.  But by the 1940s, the fad was over.  There is no particular gay subtext in Tomorrow, the World! or in most of Skip's later teen roles, except for some buddy-bonding vestiges in Boys Ranch (1946).

As an adult, Skip worked steadily in war movies, science fiction, Westerns, and many tv dramas, usually playing gay-vague villains or good kids who go bad.

I've seen him in The Burning Hills (1956),  as the gay-vague Jack Sutton, who sends his hired muscle to kill Trace Jordan (Tab Hunter).  Isn't it ironic that the heterosexual guy plays gay-vague, and the gay guy plays heterosexual?

And in Day of the Badman (1958), as the snively gay-vague son of the villain.

In 1982, at the age of 52, Skip retired from acting and moved back home to Chicago.  I'm pretty sure that Christian Homeier (top photo), who posed for Playgirl in 1992 and now manages a smoothie bar in Springfield, Illinois, is his son.  Or maybe his nephew.

May 20, 2014

Ezra Miller: Ugly Face, Beautiful Movies

I usually stay away from film festivals: long, dull, ponderous movies about people with problems.  And usually heterosexist to boot.

But if you find yourself trapped at a film festival, look for the features starring 21-year old Ezra Miller.

This isn't him, it's Zach Roerig from Vampire Diaries.

This isn't him, either, it's Brenton Thwaites of Maleficent.

Ok, I'm stalling.  Ezra is not exactly a heartthrob.

Actually, he's one of the ugliest guys I've ever seen on a movie screen.

But you don't watch movies just for the beefcake.

He is gay and androgynous in real life, and he brings a refreshing queerness to his roles, even when he's ostensibly playing heterosexuals.

You can see him after the break.

May 19, 2014

Joe DiMaggio's Nude Frolick

I first heard of Joe DiMaggio through the Simon & Garfunkel song "Mrs. Robinson," from The Graduate (1968):

Where have you gone, Joe DiMaggio?
Our nation's turned its lonely eyes to you.
What's that you say, Mrs. Robinson?
Jumpin' Joe has left and gone away.

So who was this Joe DiMaggio whose passing represented the disillusionment of modern life?

For one thing, he hadn't passed,  He lived until 1999.

He was a baseball player, a center fielder for the New York Yankees from 1936 to 1951, and a major cultural icon for the next 40 years.

He was painted by Pierre Belloq and Harvey Dinnerstein.  He appeared in stories by Hemingway and Joyce Carol Oates, and in songs by Billy Joel and Demi Lovato.  He -- or a character he inspired -- was played by Lloyd Bridges, Gary Busey, Frank Converse, and Bill Murray.

Why was he so popular?  And more importantly, did he have a gay connection?

It's impossible to search the internet. The keyword "gay" is overwhelmed by references to an article, "The Silent Season of a Hero" (1966), by a man named Gay Talese.

Plus about a thousand commentators drooling over DiMaggio's second wife, actress Marilyn Monroe:
"There's not a man alive, straight or gay, who wouldn't want to have sex with her!"
"Every man, straight or gay, is looking for a woman like her!"

 Back to the gay connection. Maybe it's in Madonna's Vogue (1990), where DiMaggio is included in a list of film greats who were gay or bisexual:

Greta Garbo, and Monroe
Dietrich and DiMaggio
Marlon Brando, Jimmy Dean
On the cover of a magazine

Why was he included with the others?

Maybe it's his superheroic attractiveness.  I don't see it, personally -- I think his brother Dom got the looks in the family (left, with two guys' hands on his naked body).

But other people think Joe was hot.  On a 1998 episode of Seinfeld, Kramer mentions that he saw Joe DiMaggio at a doughnut shop.  The homophobic George, who has spent the episode worrying that he is gay because "it moved" during a massage, nevertheless concedes that DiMaggio is "a handsome man."

So the gay connection is the universality of his appeal:
"There's not a man alive, straight or gay, who wouldn't want to have sex with him!"
"Every man, straight or gay, is looking for a man like him!"

Oh, and also Joltin' Joe's many close same-sex friendships, and the photos that recently appeared of  him frolicking naked in the shower with his teammates.

See also: Not Liking Sports; and The Gay Connection of Willie Mays and Mickey Mantle.

May 18, 2014

Frank Gorshin: The Bulging Nemesis of Robin the Boy Wonder

Of all the villains who befuddled the Dynamic Duo on the 1960's Batman series, Frank Gorshin's Riddler was easily the most memorable -- for his giggly, frenetic energy, for his rather clever riddles, and for his obvious crush on Robin.  He preferred capturing Robin alone, with no Batman interfering, so he could caress the Boy Wonder's chest and shoulders, touch his hand, draw his face close, and look for all the world as if he wanted to kiss rather than kill him.

And for his physique.  Most Batman villains were dumpy at best, but the Riddler was hot, lean and toned, and his green jumpsuit was even more revealing than Robin's (after a few episodes, the censors forced him to wear a silly green business suit to hide his obvious gifts beneath the belt).

Frank Gorshin was a bulging fixture in 1960s tv.  In a famous 1969 episode of Star Trek, he plays Bele, the crazed survivor of a race of black-white aliens who all died trying to kill a race of white-black aliens. Lou Antonio, right, who played his white-black nemesis, was equally bulgeworthy).

But Frank Gorshin was more than revealing tights and frenetic energy.  He began his career playing juvenile delinquents in the 1950s, and starred in dozens of movies, playing mostly villains and tough guys.  A skilled impressionist, he won a Tony for playing comedy legend George Burns in the one-man show Say Goodnight, Gracie.  And, although he was married for 50 years, he was reputedly gay in real life.  He died in 2005.
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