During the 1960s, there were only a few Black actors working on television, and they never, ever displayed their physiques, not even in teen magazines.
In the 1970s, I liked Mike Evans of The Jeffersons (1975-82) and John Amos of Good Times (1974-79) plus The Mary Tyler Moore Show and Roots -- not the obnoxious stand-out star, Jimmie Walker -- but they were fully clothed in every episode.
Even in the 1980s, The Cosby Show (1984-1992) kept both Malcolm Jamal Warner and Geoffrey Owens (left) under wraps.
What's Happening Now! (1985-88) displayed bodybuilder Haywood Nelson (center) only in a single "accidental male stripper" episode.
The 1990s wasn't much better. Silver Spoons (1982-87) never displayed muscular hunk Alfonso Ribeiro, and The Fresh Prince of Bel Air (1990-1996) only twice -- once in a swimsuit, and again in another "accidental male stripper" episode.
Family Matters (1989-99) gave Darius McCrary and "Urkel" Jaleel White one shirtless episode apiece.
Must be Hollywood racism:
1. The presumption that only white bodies are appropriate objects of desire.
2. Or that Black bodies are by definition undesirable.
Whatever the motive, Black beefcake is still rare on television. And Asian beefcake, rarer still.
See also: The Top 10 Hunks of The Cosby Show.; The Truth about the Black Penis.
Aug 29, 2015
17 episodes of The Bugaloos aired during the 1970-71 season, and were rerun in 1971-72. That's a little short, even for a Sid and Marty Krofft live action-animatronic series: Sigmund and the Sea Monsters had 29, and Land of the Lost had 43.
I.Q. (John McIndoe) was a gangly blond grasshopper, Harmony (Wayne Laryea) a black bumblebee, Joy (Caroline Ellis) a female butterfly, and Courage (John Philpott) a muscular male ladybug.
Very muscular. Always wearing a tight red shirt that highlighted his pecs and lay bare his arms and shoulders.
And exceptionally tight pants.
They lived in Tranquility Forest, singing, dancing, flying, and displaying no heterosexual interest. But their Eden was threatened by Benita Bizarre (Martha Raye), who hated their youth, their beauty, their freedom, their talent, and. . .well, their tranquility. She stole Joy's voice and IQ's wings; she kidnapped and branwashed Courage; she tried to drive them out of their forest.
Establishment fear of the youth counterculture, as in That Cold Day in the Park, but from the counterculture's point of view, as in Brother Sun, Sister Moon. Clash of innocence and experience, age and. . um, obviously a metaphor for. . .um. . .
Who could think about anything but the male ladybug in his sleeveless shirt and exceptionally tight pants?
See also: Pufnstuf
Aug 28, 2015
One afternoon I was about halfway through the run, when I saw a young kid, a teenager at most, walking a pit bull nearly as big as he was.
I don't like running past dogs -- they sometimes get spooked and start barking. But the kid was black, and I was afraid to cross the street for fear of being tagged racist. So I persevered.
I heard growling, then "Janell, heel! Stop that!" Then the dog lunged forward and bit me on the butt.
"Janell, Janell, stop that!" the boy yelled, jerking the leash.
Grudgingly, growling, Janell the Pit Bull sat.
"Your monster dog just but me on the butt!" I exclaimed.
"I'm sorry, Mister. Janell's really a sweetheart. She just thought your behind was candy, and she want a taste." He grinned at me with that unmistakable appreciation that sets off your gaydar. I was in no mood for cruising, but I did notice that he was a twink, not a kid -- short, light skinned, solidly built, with dark brown eyes, a broad nose, and sensual lips.
I leaned down to pet Janell. She growled softly. "I'm Boomer. And sweetheart or not, my butt hurts."
The rest of the story is on Tales of West Hollywood.
But the "epitome of masculinity" was actually rather gender-transgressive:
1. His real name was the gender-bending Marion.
2. Watch him walk. He sashays like RuPaul.
3. He had small, delicate hands.
4. He was slim and svelte, nothing like a muscleman.
5. He got his start as a "Sandy Saunders, the Singing Cowboy."
6. In His Private Secretary (1933), his character is a feminine-coded bon vivant who wants to marry a minister's granddaughter, but he's too "debauched."
1. The Searchers (1956). Ethan (John Wayne), who has no particular interest in ladies, buddy-bonds with Martin (screen hunk Jeffrey Hunter) en route to saving a girl from savage Indians.
2. Rio Bravo (1959). Sheriff John T. Chance (John Wayne) teams up with Colorado Ryan (contemporary teen idol Ricky Nelson).
3. The Comancheros (1961). Texas ranger Jake Cutter (John Wayne) arrests Paul Regret (screen hunk Stuart Whitman), but then needs his help to fight the Comancheros.
The Duke was notoriously homophobic, even in the days when homophobia was rampant, though he and Rock Hudson managed to work together on the set of The Undefeated.
And racist: in an infamous Playboy interview in 1971, he stated that he believed in white supremacy until "the blacks are educated to the point of responsibility."
Why was he trying so hard to maintain white heterosexual male privilege? Was it that big a problem for him to share the world with people who were gay, or black, or female?
Sounds like a sissy to me.
Aug 23, 2015
He had big hair and wore bright colors, mostly reds and yellows. He wore rings. He had an overmodulated, feminine voice and a vocabulary heavy on adjectives. His manner was a bit swishy. Ok, a lot swishy.
One night he performed "A Lil' Ole Bitty Pissant Country Place" from The Best Little Whorehouse in Texas!
One of my jobs was to replace the soda and lemonade canisters, which involved swinging 50-pound jugs over my head. Roy watched with a cruisy gleam in his eye. "Watch it -- you'll fall," he said, and and clapped his hands onto my waist to steady me. And "accidentally" feel my butt.
The rest of the story is too risque for this blog. Read it on Tales of West Hollywood.