Apr 18, 2015

Dean Paul Martin: Bisexual Rat Pack Kid

The Desi in the1960s  boy band Dino, Desi, and Billy was Desi Arnaz Jr., of course, and the Dino was Dean Paul Martin (left), the 13-year old son of Rat Packer Dean Martin.  Dino was very rich, very famous, and very talented, but not very focused.  He was good at so many things that he couldn't decide on one.

After his group disbanded, Dino played professional tennis and semi-pro football; he got his pilot's license; he studied medicine and joined the National Guard.  He started calling himself Dean Paul instead of Dino. He changed into a blond. He developed a spectacular physique.

And he acted, of course.  Not a lot -- he was too busy.  7 movies, mostly in roles as playboys or a woman's illcit lover; some guest spots on tv shows (including his Dad's Dean Martin Comedy Hour), and some "as himself" appearances on talk shows and game shows.

Dean's least heterosexist role was in Misfits of Science  (1985-88), part of the mid-1980s fad for science fiction comedies (others included Automan, Max Headroom, and The Greatest American Hero).  He played Dr. Billy Hayes, a young scientist who travels around in an ice cream truck with a group of mutants with weird powers.  15 episodes appeared during the 1985-85 season, and another in 1988.  A lot of homoerotic buddy-bonding (notice the number of people who can't keep their hands to themselves in this photo), and not a lot of heterosexual machinations.

Dean was married to women twice, briefly, but rumor has it that he enjoyed the company of men and women both.  He appeared in a 1979 issue of After Dark, the interview-and-revealing photo magazine aimed primarily at an audience of gay men.

He died in 1987 when the small plane he was flying crashed.  His son, Alexander Martin, is also an actor.

See also: The Gay Rat Pack; Cesar Tells about His Hookup with Desi Arnaz Jr.

Apr 12, 2015

Dark Shadows: David Collins, the Gay Heir to the Throne

I loved the Gothic soap opera Dark Shadows (1966-71), though in retrospect I didn't see it very much.  It came on just as the school day was ending, so if my friends and I ran fast, we could catch the last 10-15 minutes.  But even after 40 years, I still have fond memories of the gay-subtext romance between Barnabas and Willie, the conflicted, often-shirtless werewolf Chris Jennings, and David Collins, the young heir to the family fortune and ghostly doings.

Although he was a kid, and then a teenager (aged 10-15), he didn't do any of the things I did: he never watched tv, went to school, or got birthday or Christmas presents, and his parents, Elizabeth and Uncle Roger, never pushed him into playing sports or liking girls.

He sometimes had a female companion for adventures, but he never longed for them; they were playmates, nothing more.  Instead, David found his strongest emotional bonds with older men, first Chris Jennings, then Quinten (who had a Dorian Gray portrait in the attic), and then unwitting antichrist Jeb Hawkes.  I didn't know it then, but I saw some strong gay symbolism in David.

David Henesy, who played David Collins, was as popular as the other teen idols of the 1960s, like Bobby Sherman and David Cassidy, and photographed for teen magazines nearly as often.  Oddly, he consented to only one shirtless  shot, but still, I thought he was dreamy, and fantasized about meeting him one day.

In fact, by the time I moved to West Hollywood, he had retired from acting, and moved to Panama, where today he runs a chain of upscale restaurants.

There have been remakes in 1991, 20015, and 2012, but they eliminated the gay symbolism by casting David with little kids: Joseph Gordon-Levitt,  Alexander Gould (top photo), and Gulliver McGrath.

Or maybe it's too late for the magic to return.

See also: Alexander Gould in Weeds.

Related Posts Plugin for WordPress, Blogger...