Feb 3, 2018
The Legend of the Heterosexual Hercules
Iolaus, his charioteer. The three great gay couples of the ancient world were David and Jonathan, Damon and Pythias, and Heracles and Iolaus. Edward Carpenter named his anthology of gay verse Iolaus.
Nireus, the most beautiful man in the world. It was quite a coups for Heracles to win him.
Iphitos, whom Heracles won in an archery contest in lieu of a princess.
Hylas, whom Heracles won by saving the king from a barbarian invasion.
The list goes on and on.
So what do contemporary filmmakers do with the ancient hero?
In the post-peplum era:
Feb 1, 2018
Viva Las Vegas: Elvis and Cesare Danova Find Each Other
Two racing enthusiasts, working-class country boy Lucky (Elvis Presley) and elite Italian Count Elmo Mancini (Cesare Danova) accidentally encounter each other at an auto garage. They know each other by reputation, but have never met before. Mancini offers Lucky a job driving his car in upcoming Las Vegas Grand Prix, and Lucky refuses. He will drive his own car. They will be competitors.
They spend the next several days together, hitting the Vegas nightspots, ostensibly looking for Rusty, but obviously having a wonderful time without her.
Only he doesn't leave.
The two "competitors" spend the rest of the movie vaguely competing over the race and the girl, but it's obvious that they don't care much who wins, as long as they can cling together like long-lost brothers.
The gay subtext is blatant, yet so dependent upon intonation and gesture, that one wonders if Elvis and Cesare Danova were really into each other. Elvis has long been rumored to be bisexual. I haven't heard a lot of gay rumors about Cesare Danova, only that he became a born-again Christian in the 1970s, and had his tombstone inscribed with "Praise the Lord."
The music is energetic, and the dance numbers are great. Ann-Margret steals the show. Highly recommended.
Jan 31, 2018
Fondling the Biggest Schlong in Hollywood
In one of your stories, you said you didn't think Jackie Coogan would be talking about the gay hookups of his youth with his 12-year old grandson, Keith Coogan.
Well, my Grandpa Sammy talked about all that, and more! He was born in 1922, but didn't come out until 1990, when Grandma Lonny died. After that, there was no stopping him -- he moved to Palm Springs, cruised in leather bars, went to bear parties, joined Gay and Grey clubs -- nonstop schmoozing and screwing. And whenever my boyfriend and I drove up from West Hollywood to visit, he told us the raunchiest stories about his youth.
Here's one about Milton Berle's penis.
[Comedian Milton Berle (1908-2002) was famous for two things:
1. Being the host of Texaco Star Theater, an early comedy-variety tv show (1948-1956) that everybody watched -- it was single-handedly responsible for selling 300,000 tv sets.
2. Having the biggest penis in Hollywood. It was so famous, it was even mentioned at his funeral.]
When Sammy was in high school in Queens, many Jewish boys got summer jobs at the resorts in the Borscht Belt, Sullivan County in the Catskills. He was an all-around athlete and a state tennis champ, so he landed a job as a tennis instructor and life guard at Grossinger's, the biggest and most elegant of the resorts. 35 buildings, indoor and outdoor pools, three restaurants, big name acts like Glenn Miller and George Burns.
And Milton Berle, the 30-year old comedian who had been playing the Borscht Belt since he was 15, plus appearing on the radio and in movies like Radio City Revels. He had a standup comedy act involving nonstop patter, joke after joke that had the audience rolling in the aisles. When they weren't gazing at him with that vacation-enhanced horniness -- he was goodlooking, well-built -- he filled out a swimsuit beautifully
Berle always had a girl or two on his arm, but Sammy still hoped he was queer.
The rest of the story, with nude photos and explicit sexual content, is on Tales of West Hollywood.
Jan 29, 2018
Ishmael and Hagar
Ishmael was sixteen years old when he and his mother were cast out, an adult in ancient society, but a lot of artists like to make him a baby or a little boy, to emphasize the pathos.
Simone Cantarini (1612-1648) compromises. Ishmael is that chubby baby in the background, dying of thirst while a naked, muscular male angel is appearing to Hagar.
Others, like Lodovico Caselli (1817-1862) have the naked, dying youth wrapped in his mother's arms, a sort of Pieta.
At least Jean Charles Cazin (1840-1901) gives us a nicely shaped bum.
As does Edward Sheffield Bartholomew (1822-1858)
Fidardo Landi (1865-1918) skips Hagar and concentrates on Ishmael.
Jan 28, 2018
Steve Cochran: All Man
1. He grew up in Wyoming
2. He was kicked off his college basketball team for hanging out with ladies.
3. He worked as a cowboy before getting his start in Hollywood.
4. He had a very, very, very hairy chest.
5. He had a very, very, very large penis (ok, that one's not from the IMDB).
6. He mostly played villains and gangsters.
7. He had sex with lots of ladies.
9. He died while on a boating trip with an all-girl crew.
#1-9 don't necessarily require heterosexual identity. And there's more:
White Heat (1949): He plays Big Ed, the sidekick/gunsel who betrays volatile boyfriend Cody (James Cagney).
Private Hell 36 (1954): detective buddies (Steve, Howard Duff, top photo) steal money, and count it while shirtless. The headless lady is Ida Lupino.
Then there's The Beat Generation (1959), which has nothing to do with the literary movement of Jack Kerouac and Allen Ginsberg; in search of a serial rapist, detective Steve immerses himself in the seedy, decadent, gay-vague world of the Beatniks. Sort of like Al Pacino's descent into the "gay world" in Cruising twenty years later.
Even someone who is "all man" invariably has a gay subtext or two somewhere in his career.
The Gay Artist for the Catholic Schoolboy Comic Book
But there were lots of humor and adventure stories, too -- sports, jungle adventures, pirates -- which made for some odd juxtapositions:
"Get to Know the Sacraments" oddly juxtaposed with "El Vaquero the Cowpunching Bear."
The history of the Canadian Mounted Police juxtaposed with "But Aunt Eileen, does modern life help to destroy true values?"
How'd you like to read that over your Corn Flakes in the morning?
Next was a humorous story about ice hockey.
Why invisible? So you can perv on his pecs, duh!
He also drew E.C. Horror, the Flash Gordon comic strip, and a series of illustrations for Edgar Rice Burroughs' Tarzan books.
"Confirmed bachelor," right.
I imagine that George A. Pflaum, the publisher of the Treasure Chest, never realized that one of his chief contributors was a gay man.
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