Mar 10, 2018

The Blonde Phantom and the Hunk in Distress

With the glut of superheroes during World War II, comic book companies were experimenting with new types of characters.  DC had Wonder Woman, so Marvel got the Blonde Phantom.

Louise Grant is the secretary to private detective Mark Mason, but he stumbles into so much trouble that she has to get him out, so she adopts the Blue Phantom persona.  She doesn't have superpowers; she is more of a masked vigilante, like Batman. 

She is romantically interested in Mark -- what secretary in 1940s fiction wasn't into her boss?  But Mark is more interested in the Blonde Phantom.

The duo first appeared in All-Select Comics in 1943, and soon spun off into their own series, which ran for 11 issues (1943-1947).  They also appeared as supporting features in Marvel Mystery Comics, Sub-Mariner Comics, and elsewhere through 1949.  Then they were forgotten.

In some 1989 issues of She-Hulk, they are retrofitted: it appears that they married in 1949, Louise retired from phantoming, and they raised a daughter, Mason, who became the second Blonde Phantom.

You're probably wondering what this overtly heterosexual relationship is doing in Boomer's Beefcake and Bonding:

1. Mark Mason as hunk-in-distress is rather gender-bending.

2. Do you want to see him with his shirt off again?

Mar 9, 2018

Shirtless Sports Fans

I've never been to a sports match except for a couple of baseball games, but I understand that it's customary for fans to take their shirts off and spell out their team with letters on their chests.

Looks like there's more beefcake in the stands than on the field.

They can also spell out the name of their favorite player.

Or miscellaneous sentiments.

It helps to get the letters in the right order.

Two letters on a chest isn't really fair.

More after the break.

Mar 7, 2018

Beefcake in Acne Commercials

You could call my high school years "The Clearasil" years.  I carried around a little tube of the sticky white glue-like stuff or the sulfer-smelling brown stuff. One whiff today will bring back a flood of memories.

Also insecurity.

Acne is a practically universal adolescence.  Everybody gets it.  But I  thought it was a rare anomaly.  I had no idea that everyone was carrying around a little tube of Clearasil.

We all thought if you got acne, it was your own fault, for not washing your face enough or eating too much junk food.

Nope -- nothing about your eating or washing habits can prevent it.

Media didn't help.  Commercials always made it seem that acne made you hideous, thus ruining your social life forever.

Like you'd really give this guy a pass due to his small blemish.

A and B are equally likely to draw teenage attention.  B may look a little better, but only because he's smiling.

Sorry, guys.  I can't hang out.  I'm too disgusted by the small red marks on your cheek and chin.

The commercials were very good at presenting a drop-dead gorgeous guy, and trying to tell us that before the application of Clearasil, he was repugnant.  This is Mark Ruffalo in his teen-dream days.

99% of the models in acne medication commercials were girls, working from the presumption that girls but not boys were obsessed by their appearance. But that 1% of boys provided some primo teenage beefcake for all of the 15 and 16-year old gay boys watching.

Especially since they were generally depicted applying the Clearasil in front of the mirror, shirtless.

Mar 6, 2018

Captain Tootsie

Captain Tootsie is one of the more interesting  superheroes of the Golden Age of Comics.  Debuting in 1943,  he sold Tootsie Rolls, those brown sugar-corn syrup concoctions, which gave him the "quick energy" to save the day.  His half-page adventures appeared in hundreds of comics, from Action Comics and Captain Marvel to A Date with Judy:

Captain Tootsie Battles Monster Man!
Captain Tootsie Tames a Tornado!
Captain Tootsie Traps Killer Bear with Invisible Light!
Captain Tootsie and the Return of Dr. Narsty!

Sometimes his adventures were a bit less urgent:

Captain Tootsie Saves School Party!
Captain Tootsie at the Winter Carnival!

 Here he saves the world from Dr. Narsty, who has stolen a kid's toy cannon (it takes an evil genius to do that?).

Captain Tootsie was drawn as a very muscular blond in a red shirt, yellow belt, and blue pants, which didn't look anything like the familiar brown-and-white tootsie roll.

I don't have the next frame in this sequence, so I'm wondering myself what Captain Tootsie intends to do next.
His most frequent sidekick was Rollo ("roll-o", get it?), a miniature version of himself with blond hair, a red shirt, and pecs.

Sometimes he also hung out with Fisty, a petite black-haired boy wearing a suit; and Fatso, who had curly orange hair and wasn't very fat by today's standards.

Two issues of a full length comic were published by Toby Press in 1950, with no tootsie rolls in the actual story.

#1: Captain Tootsie and his Secret Legion (Rollo, Fisty, and Fatso) go to Venus, where they initiate a slave revolt and overthrow the evil Nagara.

#2: They investigate "The Stone that Lives" and "The Victory Vibrator."

I'm interested in knowing more about that Victory Vibrator.

His last appearance was in an ad in 1953 ("Try these delicious Tootsie Pops!").

Forgotten for 60 years, Captain Tootsie was revived for a story in Savage Dragon #199 (2014), along with such other forgotten 1940s superheroes as Lash Lighting, Rex Dexter, and Captain Freedom.

But it's not just his corporate job and his crazy adventures that draws my interest.

Tootsie is a girl's name.

It's derived from "tootsie-wootsie,"  a childish term for "foot."

Leo Hirschfeld, who invented Tootsie Rolls in 1896, named them after his daughter Clara, nicknamed Tootsie.

The creators weren't required to name their superhero after a girl.  Lots of product mascots have a different name from their products.

 "I'll toot for Tootsie" sounds decidedly feminine.

And doesn't the secret hand-signal look rather dainty?

When you add his oral fetish....

Mar 5, 2018

Russell Johnson: The Professor and His Gay Son

Everyone in West Hollywood knew Russell Johnson, who played the Professor on Gilligan's Island.  I met him once, and saw him a few times at events.  He was a gay ally, primarily due to his son David..

Everyone in West Hollywood knew David, too -- Alan (my ex-porn star roommate) dated him.  He was a fixture in the bars, at the French Quarter, and at the AIDS Project of Los Angeles.  Later he was named AIDS Coordinator of the City of Los Angeles (he died in 1994).

Russell's career began during the 1950s, with lots of roles in Westerns and sci-fi movies: look for him in the MST3K rendition of The Space Children (1958). 

In the late 1950s, he moved into tv, with guest spots on Twilight Zone, Thriller, Laramie, Rawhide, and such hip-detective series as Adventures in Paradise and Hawaiian Eye.  But Boomers will always remember him for Gilligan's Island, a "trapped far from home" sitcom about seven people who set sail from Honolulu for a "three hour tour" and end up trapped on a desert island.

The Professor was an egghead of the old school, an expert in every field of science from astronomy to zoology, who constantly amazed kids in the 1960s by concocting radios from coconuts.  His utter lack of interest in the two female castaways, Ginger and Mary Anne, gave me some of my first gay subtexts.

And some of my first beefcake, in his occasional shirtless scenes.

Although typecast as the Professor, Russell continued to work steadily during the 1970s and 1980s.  But he devoted most of his time to raising AIDS awareness and taking care of David.

His last screen role was in 1997, in Meego, about an alien boy hiding out on Earth. He played "The Professor."

Russell died in 2014.
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