Sep 23, 2017

Elijah Wood: Fear of the Buddy-Bond

Unlike his Lord of the Rings costar Sean Astin, Elijah Wood never got much play as a teen hunk, and he didn't do a lot of buddy-bonding roles; the only one that springs to mind is Radio Flier (1992) with Joseph Mazzello, and Oliver Twist (1997).

In fact, a lot of his roles drew on 1990s anxiety concerning same-sex bonds; masculine smiles hide danger, destruction, and malice:

The Good Son (1993): Mark (Elijah) discovers that his irrepressible cousin (Macaulay Culkin) is a psychotic murderer.

The War (1994): Stu (Elijah) and his friends are at war.  Oh, and he gets a girlfriend.

The Ice Storm (1997): Mikey (Elijah) has a violent brother, has sex with a girl, wanders out into an ice storm, and dies.

Or sometimes irrelevant:

The Adventures of Huckleberry Finn (1993), a version that ignores the Huck-Jim subtext.

Flipper (1994): a remake of the classic tv series with Elijah playing Luke Halpin's character. He kisses a girl.

The Faculty (1998): Casey (Elijah) discovers that the faculty are aliens, with the help of a girl who has a boorish boyfriend.

The lack of heterosexual interest and homoromantic subtext of The Lord of the Rings might exonerate him, except that during the last ten years, he hasn't done much of gay interest: a gay-vague psychopath with supernatural powers who eats women in Sin City (2005), and a gay "best friend" in Celeste and Jesse Forever (2012).

There's an Elijah Wood dating story on Tales of West Hollywood.

Sep 21, 2017

Swamp Thing's Teen Sidekick

In 1990, the newly founded USA Network was looking for series ideas, and they latched onto the DC comic book character Swamp Thing, a human-looking mass of vegetation who wreaks vengeance on people who try to invade his swamp home.  Seeing environmental relevance, they softened Swamp Thing (Dave Durock in a latex costume), gave him a new back story -- he was an environmental scientist disfigured by the evil Dr. Arcane (Mark Lindsay Chapman) -- and gave him a human chum, 11-year old Jim (Jesse Zieglar).  

A monster and a kid didn't bring in the viewers, so after 13 episodes Jim's 17-year old half-brother Will (Scott Garrison) showed up.   Will spends a lot of time being captured by Dr. Arcane, evil cultists, monsters, and sundry baddies, forcing the Swamp Thing to enact a daring rescue.  He also helps a series of stray kids, both boys and girls, but doesn't develop much romantic interest in anyone.  Oddly, it is Dr. Arcane, the villain, who is always meeting girls and falling in love.  

So a heterosexual villain, and a hero who is not interested in women.  And did I mention the beefcake?  The extremely buffed Garrison is shirtless or nearly nude in nearly every scene (this is a humid swamp, after all).  

Scott Garrison had a few movies and tv appearances before Swamp Thing, and a few afterwards, notably two episodes as the beefy Perdicas on Xena: Warrior Princess in 1996, before retiring from acting.  But he left gay fans with three years of memories.

Cops Tied Up

Many gay men into BDSM have a special interest in police officers, either getting tied up by them or tying them up.

In part because of the authority of the uniform, but not entirely -- other authorities don't have nearly as much fetish appeal.

I think it's also because of the longstanding hostility between the police and gay communities.  It's changing -- slowly -- many police departments have non-discrimination policies, and some actively recruit at gay pride events.  But still, police officers are more likely to be homophobic than members of any other profession: some 20% of LGBT crime victims report harassment from the officer taking the report.

"Cops Tied Up" can be a revenge fantasy, giving the homophobes what they "deserve."  Or a coming out fantasy: the big, macho, dominant cop discovers that he actually likes being dominated.

These aren't real cops, of course.  They are BDSM bottom in the fetish uniforms available at any leather store -- that's why they say just a generic "police."

I've never met a real cop into BDSM, but I'm sure there are some.  They probably don't use their real uniforms for scenes.  A violation of professional ethics.

More after the break

Sep 20, 2017

10 Beefcake Stars of the 1950s and 1960s.

The 1950s was the era of the chest, when actors started taking off their shirts regularly on screen, and buffed, brawny "he-men" took precedence over the slim, svelte sophisticates of previous generations.

Here are some beefcake stars you  may not remember.  Some were gay or gay-for pay.

1. Alan Ladd (1913-1964), best known for Shane, but a staple of Westerns throughout the 1940s and 1950s.

2. Anthony Perkins (1932-1992).  You knew he was gay, and that he played the creepy killer in Psycho, but did you know he had a Kielbasa+?

3. Christopher Walken (1943-) is also known for playing creepy guys and serial killers, but in his salad days he was quite buffed.

4. Edward Albert Jr. (1951-2006), son of Baby Boomer staple Eddie Albert, took off his shirt a lot for the hippie generation.

5. George Nader (1921-2002), beefcake star, gay activist, and author of the gay sci-fi novel Chrome.

More after the break

Sep 19, 2017

The 10 Best Pics of Jerry O'Connell

Jerry O'Connell has been on our minds since My Secret Identity, back in the 1980s, and Sliders (1995-1999).  We went to some horrible movies, like Body Shots, Tomcats, and Dave's Apartment, just for that scene where he takes off his clothes.  We watched some horrible tv series, like Carpoolers and We Are Men, just for the bulge and butt shots.

And we wonder, have we ever seen him in anything that was actually good?

Then he takes off his shirt again, and we think, who cares?

Here are the ten best pics of Jerry O'Connell, carefully selected out of the thousands available.

1. Older Jerry in underwear against a purple couch.

2. Jerry is no stranger to the speedo.

3. Tortured in a way that perfectly highlights his chest, on Sliders.

4. Jerry and his brother Charlie.

5. Jerry and Jax

More after the break

Matthew Lawrence

Born in 1980, Matthew Lawrence is Joey's younger brother, just as muscular, and even more gay-friendly (if that is possible).  It is  hard to think of a project he's been in that didn't involve extensive buddy bonding.

1. The tv series Boy Meets World (1993-2000) was mostly about the romance between high schoolers Cory (Ben Savage) and Shawn (Rider Strong) -- even Cory's girlfriend Topanga (Danielle Fishel) commented on it.

But when Cory married, they needed a new buddy-bond, so during the 1999-2000 season, Matthew arrived as Jack Hunter, Shawn's older half-brother, who immediately fell in love with Cory's older brother Eric (Will Friedle).

2. In Jumping Ship (2001), Matthew plays Jake Hunter, a sullen sailor hired by Michael Woods (Joey Lawrence) to sail him and his brother (Andy Lawrence) to Australia.  On the way they are shipwrecked, learn to work together and care for each other (with their shirts off, naturally), and by the time they are rescued, they have become permanent partners.  The movie ends as Michael is introducing his new partner to his dad.

3. In Cheats (2002), about high schoolers who run a test-cheating business, Victor (Matthew) is obviously in love with Handsome (Trevor Fehrman).  Yes, he's actually named Handsome.

Cheats has some overt gay content: Handsome pretends to be gay to score a passing grade from a gay teacher, and starts a "lesbian rumor" about the school principal, played by comedy legend Mary Tyler Moore.

He also rips his shirt off.

4. In The Hot Chick, Billy (Matthew) discovers that his girlfriend has been transported into the body of a 30-year old man, Clive (Rob Schneider).  He responds with surprise, but without the least homophobic disgust.  Ok, he can't bring himself to actually kiss Clive, but lots of gay men would be equally squeamish about kissing and um. . .the other stuff,  if their boyfriends suddenly turned into girls (others wouldn't mind, of course, figuring that love is love regardless of the body).

In case you were wondering, yes, he does take his shirt off in almost every movie.

See also: Joey Lawrence; Andrew Lawrence.

Lost in Space

I don't remember the first season of Lost in Space (1965-68), when the family of colonists -- waylaid en route to Alpha Centauri was having realistic science fiction adventures.  I only remember the last two seasons, where they were mostly crashed on a studio backlot, wandering around in bright pink and lavender jumpsuits, and encountering:

A lonely boy from the other side of the looking-glass (played by Michael J. Pollard).
An intergalactic zookeeper who wants them as specimens
The contestants in a Miss Galaxy pageant
A giant talking carrot

It wasn't exactly Star Trek -- well, the Star Trek episode with the space hippies was almost as bad -- but it was fun. What kid in the 1960s didn't want to be lost in space with the Robinsons?

Whatever you were interested in, there was someone for you on Lost in Space. Kids liked Billy Mumy, a busy child star with previous roles on The Twilight Zone and Village of the Giants (and later on Bless the Beasts and Children). Not only because he was cute, and knew it, getting teen idol attention at the age of twelve -- but because his character, Will Robinson, was bright and resourceful, a respected crew member, never told "you're just a kid" or "wait here where it's safe."

And Dr. Smith (Jonathan Harris), an accidental stowaway who provided comic relief.  He was a big kid, an unrestrained id, gluttonous, lazy, cowardly,  incompetent -- and flamboyantly feminine.  The unabashed friendship between a young boy and an older man assumed to be gay was quite progressive in an era where gay men were often accused of being pedophiles.      

Adults liked John Robinson, the patriarch of the family (Guy Williams), who also didn't seem much interested in girls.  He had a wife, Maureen (June Lockhart), but they behaved like colleagues, with few moments of tenderness and none of intimacy.  Guy Williams had previously starred in several buddy-bonding projects, including Zorro (1957-59) and Damon and Pythias (1962).

Teens liked Don West (Mark Goddard), the resolute, non-nonsense pilot (previously seen in The Monkey's Uncle with Tommy Kirk).  Since the spaceship was crashed through most of the series, he didn't have a lot to do, and we didn't find out much about him except that he was dreamy, and not interested in girls. In early episodes, he had a romantic involvement with the older Robinson daughter, Judy (Marta Kristen), but soon it was dropped and forgotten about.

Unfortunately, the female crewmembers had even less to do than Don West.  Maureen was a respected biochemist, but she was relegated to cooking and saying "Be careful."  Judy helped her mother cook.  The youngest daughter, Penny (Angela Cartwright, previously of Make Room for Daddy), had a few adventures, mostly involving adopting weird alien animals.

There was a bit of buddy-bonding, as in the episode "The Challenge" (1966), when Kurt Russell guest stars as an alien warrior.  There was an occasional shot of a muscular alien.  But the main draw for gay kids was the boy adventurer and his flamboyant pal.

Sep 18, 2017

Jonathan Brandis

Probably the most famous of the Neverending Story boys was Jonathan Brandis, who played Bastian in #2.  Born in 1976, Brandis began acting during the 1980s, with small parts in tv series like Webster and Good Morning, Miss Bliss (the original title of the blockbuster teencom, Saved by the Bell). 

Neverending Story II (1990) did not result in teen magazine adulation, and Brandis continued playing small parts in big movies or big parts in small movies, like the gay-subtext heavy Sidekicks (1992).  

Then he hit it big in the science fiction series Seaquest: DSV (1993-1996) about a submarine crew in the near future traveling through the ocean to help colonists, discover the lost Library of Alexandria, face deep-sea bogies, and take their shirts off.

Brandis played Lucas Wolenczak, a teenage computer genius, to draw in the "teenage girl" demographic, as the heterosexist Wikipedia article puts it -- but gay boys found him dreamy, too.  The program's heterosexism made it difficult to watch, but there was some comfort in the rumors that Brandis was gay in real life.    

After Seaquest, Brandis acted sporadically, but never found the fame he expected.  In 2003 he apparently committed suicide by hanging himself, although some tabloids claimed that it was an accidental death during autoerotic asphyxiation (most people don't get naked to commit suicide).

There's a Jonathan Brandis hookup story on Tales of West Hollywood
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