Mar 22, 2017

The Sons of Frank Zappa

Frank Zappa (1940-1993) was a counterculture musician known for studio albums such as We're Only in it for the Money  and One Size Fits All, and for the single "Valley Girl," which memorialized 1980s slang phrases like "grody to the max."

His work had considerable homophobic content:

"Bobby Brown" (1979), the "cutest guy in town," has a run-in with a lesbian and turns gay.

"He's So Gay" (1984) is about a guy who's "so very, very gay" that he likes golden showers and S&M, and an evening's "not complete without some meat in his seat".

He had four children: Moon, Dweezil, Ahmet, and Diva.

Dweezil (born 1969), top photo and left,  is a guitarist who tours with the group Zappa Plays Zappa.  Apparently he didn't inherit his father's rough features, as attested by the many pictures of his face and physique on the internet.

As an actor, Dweezil voiced Ajax, the surly teenage son on Duckman (1994-1997).  He has also appeared in Fully Loaded, Jack Frost, MAD TV, and Anarchy TV.

He doesn't seem to have inherited his father's homophobia.  He was even the subject of gay rumors early in his career.

Ahmet Zappa (1974-) doesn't have as many shirtless photos, but it doesn't look like he would be particularly impressive. He sometimes tours with his brother, and he's had a lot of acting experience.

He's been the subject of gay rumors, too.

Mar 21, 2017

Daniel Clark: Brother for Life

Speaking of Robert Clark, if you watched any children's tv during the early 2000s, you probably saw his older brother Daniel (born in 1985) in a series of buddy-bonding roles.

On Eerie, Indiana: The Other Dimension (1998), a spinoff of the homoromantic subtext classic that paired Stanley Hope (Daniel) and Mitchell Taylor (Bill Switzer) as teenage paranormal investigators in an alternate universe.

On I Was a Sixth Grade Alien (1999) as Tim Thompkins, who buddy-bonds with the purple-skinned alien boy (played by Ryan Cooley).

In Model Behavior (2000), as the little brother of a girl involved in a Prince and the Pauper-style switch.

Plus Are You Afraid of the Dark, Goosebumps, The Zack Files, and Darcy's Wild Life.

As an adult, Daniel played a jerk in Juno (2007) and buffed bad boy-turned-hero Sean Cameron on the Canadian teen soap Degrassi: The Next Generation (2001-2008).  He's assumed to be homophobic after he pushes the gay kid Marco, but he insists that he's not.  At least he managed to display his increasingly buffed physique, with semi-nude and underwear shots nearly as impressive as those of his brother.

Daniel also managed to do some teen buddy-bonding, in the Australian slasher flick Left for Dead (also released as Devil's Night). 

He retired from acting to go to college, where he majored in Political Communication.  He's currently working as a news associate for ABC, and he's involved with environmental causes.

Mar 20, 2017

The Name of the Game

I don't remember seeing The Name of the Game (1968-71).  It was on Friday nights, opposite some of my favorite shows: Hogan's HeroesHere Come the Brides, The Partridge Family, The Odd Couple. 

In a world of 60-minute dramas and 30-minute sitcoms, it was a rare 90-minute series, the length of a tv movie.  The three stars, all recognizable names in the 1960s, worked for the conglomerate Howard Publications:

1.  Jeff Dillon (Anthony Franciosa), an investigative reporter for People magazine (not the real-life People, which hadn't been launched yet).  His blundering style would be copied by Peter Falk for Columbo.

2. Glenn Howard (Gene Barry), the publisher, a "millionaire playboy" whose stories mostly involve big business and the rich and famous.

3. Dan Farrell (Robert Stack), an editor for Crime magazine.  He specialized in darker, more serious stories.

Episodes alternated focus characters, with the other two rarely appearing, so this week 90 minutes of Gene Barry, next week 90 minutes of Robert Stack.  They shared a single editorial assistant, Peggy Maxwell (Susan Saint James).

Occasional episodes centered on other characters, such as freelance reporters Sam Hardy (Darin McGavin), David Corey (Robert Wagner),  and Paul Tyler (Robert Culp).

It sounds very confusing today, but maybe 40+ years ago, when the actors were familiar faces, it worked out.

The lack of character interaction stymies the possibility of buddy-bonding, male-male rescues, and other gay subtexts.  I've gone through the entire series, and found only a couple of potential gay-subtext episodes:

1. "Collector's Edition" (October 11, 1968):  Dillon's life was saved in Vietnam by photographer Peter Max (John Saxon), who is now in trouble and needs Dillon's help.

2. "The Brass Ring" (January 3, 1970): Farrell befriends a young boxer

But all three stars were well-known Hollywood hunks of the era, and apparently a lot of beefcake, shirtless scnes on on Greek islands and in health colonies.

It's not on DVD, but you can see some episodes streaming on youtube.

See also: Robert Stack

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