Jul 1, 2023

Barry Van Dyke

Speaking of show biz dynasties, Barry Van Dyke (shown here with Dick Van Patten on The Love Boat) is the son of comedy legend Dick Van Dyke and the nephew of sitcom standby Jerry Van Dyke.  His siblings, Carrie, Stacy, and Christian, are also performers (mostly in Dad's vehicles), and his kids, Shane, Carey, Wes, and Taryn have all made small-screen appearances (Philip Van Dyke is no relation).

The younger Van Dyke got his start at the age of nine, in guest spots on The Dick Van Dyke Show and The New Dick Van Dyke Show (naturally), but he soon struck out on his own, with a brief scene as a hunky volleyball player in Stalk the Wild Child (1976)   Soon he was playing square-jawed, muscular hunks, on The New Adventures of Wonder Woman, Tabitha, The A-Team, The Dukes of Hazzard, and so on (he was on the Love Boat four times).

He also had time for buddy-bonding roles, such as Lt. Dillon in Galactica 1980, who time-travels with buddy Captain Troy (Kent McCord of Adam 12). 

Or St. John Hawke on Airwolf (1987), MIA brother of Stringfellow Hawke (Jan-Michael Vincent).

And he often had time to take off his shirt, revealing enormous biceps and a tight, smooth chest.

Barry is most famous for Diagnosis Murder (1993-2002). He played Steve Sloan, a Manhattan detective whose physician dad (Dick Van Dyke, naturally) keeps stumbling upon murders.  They investigate, along with a team of doctors, detectives, and pathologists, usually of the young hunk variety: Charlie Schlatter, Scott Baio, Shane Van Dyke, and so on.

This was a gay-free Manhattan, so there weren't any gay characters, except for an episode which parodied Scientology and had a closeted gay actor as a suspect.  But the beefcake and buddy-bonding were enough.

More recently Barry starred (with his father again) in a series of Murder 101 movies.

See also: Looking for Muscles on The Dick Van Dyke Show

Phillip Van Dyke

No relation to Dick Van Dyke or the muscular Barry Van Dyke of the show biz dynasty, Phillip Van Dyke was a popular child star of the 1990s, with guest spots on Picket Fences, Baywatch, and Step by Step.  His teenage roles lasted for only a few years: he starred in Safety Patrol (1998), as the leader of the bullies who bedevil Bug Hall, and in The Modern Adventures of Tom Sawyer (1998), as a Tom Sawyer whose best buddy (Adam Dior) is named Chuck, not Huckleberry.

Nickelodeon fans will also recognize him as the voice of "football head" Arnold on the animated teencom Hey, Arnold (1997-2000).  Fourth grader Arnold and his best friend Gerald negotiate a dangerous world full of menacing teachers, crotchety grandparents, neighborhood hazards, and girls with crushes on them, notably the female bully Helga.

Phillip had his own Nickelodeon teencom, Noah Knows Best (2000), which lasted for only 13 episodes.

But he's probably most famous for his role as Luke, the goblin-turned human who assists the teenage witch sisters in Halloweentown (1998) and Halloweentown 2: Kalabar's Revenge (2002).  Except for a few feeble flirtations, Luke displays no interest in girls.

He received massive media exposure for his blond hair, blue eyes, and massive biceps, which he showed off whenever possible, even while playing a goblin.

As often happens with teen stars, when Phillip moved into adult roles, his adolescent buddy-bonding dried up.  He played some aggressively heterosexual characters on Boston Public and NYPD Blue before retiring from acting. Today he lives in San Francisco with his second wife and works in the corporate world.

  He's getting a little gray around the temples, but obviously still has an amazing physique. And he's totally a gay ally.

Jun 30, 2023

BJ's Angels: A Righteous Gemstones Parody


Announcer: And now another episode of BJ's Angels.

Intro (BJ narrates off-camera): Once there were three little muscle boys who went to work on another show called The Righteous Gemstones, two in Kelvin Gemstone's God Squad, and the other as Eli Gemstone's driver. (Sarcastic) And they were each assigned very sexy duties. (Shots of Liam falling from a human pyramid, Titus being lowered into a tiger cage, and Gideon driving in a car chase).

But I took them away from all that, and now they work for me. My name is BJ. 

Montage:  Skyler Gisondo as Gideon (jumping from a window).  
Miles Burris as Titus (running from a burning building).  
Joel Rush as Liam (pulling a gun from his crotch).  
Tony Cavalero as Mr. Keefe (trying to answer six telephones at once).
Adam DeVine as Kelvin (giving Keefe a bag lunch as he rushes out the door, like a 1960s housewife).
 And special guest star Tim Baltz as BJ (a mysterious hand on a computer keyboard)

Scene 1
: The Angels in their dressing room. Gideon, fully clothed, is tying his tie, but Titus and Liam are still in their underwear.

Titus: Hey, this t-shirt is just extra-extra-large. Liam, I think you got mine by mistake.

Liam: (Checks.) Oh, right, this one is extra-extra-extra large. Sorry, Titus, I'll take it off. Of course, the only way I can do that is by taking off my jockey, too (Rips off his t-shirt, then lowers his jockey, displaying his bare butt.) That's one, by the way.

Gideon: (Glancing over) One what?

Liam: We're contractually obligated to display our butts twice per episode.

Jun 29, 2023

The Homophobia of "Rocky and Bullwinkle"

Rocky and Bullwinkle (1959-64, and rehashed into many different series during the 1960s) is often praised as genius, a classic of animation. Amazon promises: "the wittiest, most inspired, and relentlessly hilarious animation ever created!"

No one thought it was great in the 1960s.  It was relegated to the Sunday morning ghetto, with Totalitarian Television and Davy and Goliath.

Either of which were preferable to the Moose and Squirrel.

Ok, maybe I was too young to understand the clever satire, so a few months ago I  purchased and watched Season 1 on DVD.

I still hated it.

50% of each episode was devoted to repetitive, incomprehensible filler:

When the mountain they are climbing is destroyed by lightning, Rocky and Bullwinkle fall to their deaths, but are resurrected in a field of daisies.  Why is this funny?

Magician Bullwinkle tells Rocky, "Watch me pull a rabbit out of my hat."  He pulls out a scary monster instead, and quips, "I take a 7 1/2."  I assume that refers to his hat size, but how is it an appropriate punchline?

When you finally got to the story, it was an endless serial cut into five-minute segments.  I never saw the first or the last of them, so I had no idea what was going on.  But the titles were bound to involve incomprehensible puns.
The Treasure of Monte Zoom
Maybe Dick
The Guns of Abalone
Kerwood Derby

I know what most of them refer to now, except "Kerwood Derby."  It's a malapropism of "Durward Kirby," a very, very, very minor tv personality of the early 1960s.

And the animation!  There wasn't any.  Incomplete art, splashes of color instead of filled-in lines, no backgrounds, static scenes with only the tiniest mouth movement or gestures.  Abysmal!

The only things I liked were:

1. The scenes set in Frostbite Falls, Minnesota, the home town of the Moose and Squirrel, where they behaved and were treated like romantic partners.

2. Boris and Natasha, the Cold War spies from Pottsylvania assigned to steal the couple's secret or just grift them in various ways.  Although a male-female dyad, they were obviously not a romantic couple, nor did they express any heterosexual interest.

3. Some of the supporting features, like Fractured Fairy Tales, Mr. Peabody's Improbable History, and Aesop & Son.  

4. Some of the parodies of dull poets, like Henry Wadsworth Longfellow and William Wordsworth (really, who would write an entire poem in praise of daffodils?)

5. Edward Everett Horton, who narrated Fractured Fairy Tales, played "pansy" roles during the 1930s.

The Moose That Roared (2000), a history of the program, reveals that Bill Scott, Jay Ward's partner and the voice of Bullwinkle, often made homophobic statements.  "Women's dresses today look like they were designed by fags," he would rant.  Or he would tell a voice artist, "for this story, do your Fag Prince voice."

Of course, lots of people in the 1960s were homophobic, but it is shocking how Moose That Roared author Keith Scott (no relation) gushes about the homophobia as if it somehow made him endearing: "'There are too many fags in Hollywood,' Bill said with his characteristic wit."

See also: Peabody and Sherman

Jun 27, 2023

Connect: Cute Guy, Bisexual Villain, and "The Eyes of Laura Mars"


The Hulu/Disney Plus series Connect has an icon of two men gazing at each other, so I figured it was a Korean BL series.  Or at least full of subtexts.  I watched the first episode.

Scene 1: An amazingly attractive young man named Dongsoo (Jung Hae-in) looks at the moon through telephone wires and sings a song about loneliness.  As he drudges down the street, a van stops, and the man inside says "Pretty eyes."  Wow, this got homoerotic very quickly!.  "Nice eyes."  Then he attacks with a hatchet!

Switch to an operating room with lots of chandeliers.  Dongsoo naked -- beautiful body!  A mad doctor slices open his chest and squelches out his eyeball.  Oh, the guy didn't want to have sex with him -- he wanted an eye!

Switch to an old man in an alley, smoking a cigarette, when a plastic garbage bag starts to move, and sliced-off body parts burst out to attack him!  He awakens in his room, hearing the word "Connect!"

Scene 2: An eyeglassed girl, no doubt the Love Interest, searches the internet for an urban legend called "Connect" to use in her web novel.  The next morning, she is walking through the city, when she stumbles onto a crowd taking pictures of a statue of a naked lady.  Except blood is dripping from her -- it's a corpse!

Scene 3: Detectives and police at the scene of the corpse statue.  The body was embalmed and coated with resin to preserve it, then marked with the "artist's" signature: the Latin letters P and L.

Scene 4:
Night.  Dongsoo, the boy who got his eye gouged out, sits in his very upscale apartment, wearing an eye patch, singing his usual song about loneliness. Suddenly his apartment evaporates, and he sees another room, with someone searching the internet for astrology predictions.  He's seeing through the person who got his eyes, a standard fiction motif.  The subtitles name him as Jin-seop (Go Kung-pyo, also in the running for Most Gorgeous Guy in Korea)

Scene 5: Flashback to the chandelier-filled operating room: the mad doctor removes two eyes from Dongsoo.  Suddenly he gets a phone call: "The liver, too? But there's not enough time!"  Behind him, Dongsoo's guts re-insert themselves into his body through weird Cthulhu-like tendrils  His skin sutures itself.  He jumps off the gurney, in shock.  One of his eyes re-inserts itself, but before the second one can, the mad doctor returns, and he runs from the room and jumps out the window, naked (nice butt).

In the present, Dongsoo complains: "I should have taken both my eyes back.  Now I'm seeing whatever the jerk who got the other one sees!" Yeah, I figured that out in Scene 4.   Fireworks explode over his all-glass-ceiling.  Narration tells us that a large crowd has gathered for the Seohan City Fireworks Festival. Not a real city.

Scene 6: 
 Detectives Park, Choi, and Yeom (Han Tae-hee) are  watching the fireworks, too, as they go through the case to date. Two victims, the lady and a man, both turned into naked statues, but no other connection (nice physique on the man).   Hey, no fair!  Dozens of close-up shots of the naked lady and her boobs, but only one shot of the naked man, in a photograph.  

By the way, when Detective Choi gets a good lead, his nose bleeds.  I'm guessing that this will be important.

Scene 7:  In the junkyard. While Dongsoo is repairing some discarded electrical equipment, he overhears three college-age guys bullying an old man, a definite affront to Confucian principles, and rushes to the rescue.  The old man runs away, but the bullies beat Dongsong, then slash his face and cut his ear off!   It re-attaches itself with Cthulhu-like tentacles, while he flashes back to when he was a kid: he fell from a tree, breaking his arms and legs, but they healed themselves, causing the other kids to call him a "Monster."  I remember a Singaporean series where the guy had to hide his instant-healing powers to avoid being screamed at.  Must be an Asian cultural motif.

Running away, the three bullies encounter an even bigger bully, who demands to know what they saw.  "I thought he left town," he muses.

Scene 8: Apprised that Dongsoo is still around, Evil Crime Lord sends his goons out to find him. Two stay to get really chummy, as if they are lovers, and tell each other things that they already know: a body that can't die would be worth a fortune to us!  By the way, Love Interest works for the Crime Lord.

Scene 9: Wandering around the city at night, Dongsoo encounters a man singing his song, but with a different melody.  "Where did you get it?" "Youtube."  He goes back to his apartment to check, and likes this new melody better.  Except it triggers his visions of the guy with his eye!  Darn, I thought the musician was going to become a gay-subtext ally.

Scene 10: Dongsoo approaches the Crime Lord's hideout, a karaoke bar.  Everyone starts chasing him, but Love Interest intervenes and leads him down a side passage. Why did he go back?  I don't understand.  

But it leads to a balcony hanging over a 5-story drop!  She misdirected him on purpose, to see if he coult really self-repair.  She slashes his knee, and watches it heal.  Then she throws him off the balcony, and grins as he stumbles away.  Personally, I'd choose someone less lethal to fall in love with, but heterosexism is heterosexism.

Scene 11:  The killer unloads his van: a naked boy in a wheelchair, unconscious.  He tells us that he agrees with Plato that there is no single answer to why women are so beautiful: face, figure, blood.... Um..dude, Plato was gay. He shows us his notebook -- some of those drawings are men!  So this guy isn't just into women, in spite of his "women" diatribe.  I wonder if the subtitles translated it wrong.  

He goes into the operating room to work on his next corpse-statue.  To create the greatest beauty, you can't just model the corpse.  You have to make artistic changes.

Scene 12: A young woman listens to Dongsoo's song on youtube, then gets off the bus to stumble upon the boy corpse-statue.  This one has his arms on backwards, and an eye gouged out.  This is the Killer's idea of the boy's greatest beauty?

She then goes to work and flirts with the Killer (without knowing, of course). Dongsoo peers through his eye and a giant statue of a man and a woman's heads behind him.  He knows this place!  

Scene 13: Dongsoo gets another vision: the Killer has spilled water on his sketchbook.  He sees all the corpses!  "The person who took my eye...is a murderer?" he concludes.

Meanwhile, Detective Choi sees a boy with an eyepatch in a video of the crowd around a corpse-statue.  He gets a nosebleed: an important clue.  Dongsoo is now the prime suspect!  The end.

Beefcake: Dongsoo's swoonworthy body several times.

Gay Characters: The Killer is obviously bisexual.  I would ordinarily be upset over yet another LGBTQ villain, but he is actually responding to male and female beauty rather than just swishing around.

Episode 5 has Dongsoo trying to rescue "Z and the Junkyard Owner" from the Killer.  Maybe Z is a gay-subtext friend?

  I'm sure that the Love Interest and Dongsoo will fall in love. In the original webcomic, they look like a couple.  (They also look like high schoolers.)

The Superpower:  I don't understand why instant-healing would make you an outcast.  It wouldn't come up very often, and unless you were hit by a bus, it would be easy to hide.  Cut yourself -- slap on a bandaid.  Break your ankle -- hobble around for a few weeks. 

My Grade: B+

Jun 26, 2023

The Gay Artist for the Catholic Schoolboy Comic Book

A Treasure Chest of Fun and Fact was a Catholic comic book, published every two weeks during the school year from 1946 to 1972, meant to be given away at parochial schools.  Its main emphasis was religion and patriotism (since American Catholics in those days were often stereotyped as anti-American, in the pocket of the Pope).

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?"

My favorite juxtaposition is from the November 19, 1959 issue.  "Tarcisius Protects the Holy of Holies," an adaption of the novel Fabiola by Cardinal Wiseman.  Tarcisius was a twelve-year old boy who was trying to save the Blessed Sacrament from desecration, when an irate crowd beat him to death.

How'd you like to read that over your Corn Flakes in the morning?

Next was a humorous story about ice hockey.

Many stories were drawn by Reed Crandall (1917-1982), a Golden Age comic book artist who also drew such superheroes as the Ray, Dollman, Blackhawk and Ka'anga Lord of the Jungle, and invented Firebrand, a muscleman in an invisible shirt.

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.

 His beautifully detailed drawings of muscular men inspired a generation of beefcake artists, including Frank Franzetta and Boris Vallejo.

After Crandall graduated from the Cleveland School of Art in 1939, he moved to New York with his mother and sister to seek work in the fledgling comic industry.  Eventually they moved back to Wichita, and Crandall lived by himself, a "confirmed bachelor," for many years.  He died in 1982.

"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.

Jun 25, 2023

Bondage doesn't solve everything: A Kelvin/Keefe Romance


Judy, Kelvin's older sister, answered the door. "Keefe, darlin', you're crying.  What's wrong?  Did that jackass Kelvin do something?  Did he hit you?"

"Not like that," he managed to stammer.  "I...I....think I left him." 

She led him to the couch in the parlor, and sat with her arm around his shoulders.  Soon BJ appeared, and sat on other side.  It took a moment for him to speak. "I need somewhere else to stay tonight.  And maybe...."  He broke down again.

"Of course you can stay here until you get things sorted out,"  Judy told him.  "And even if you don't.  You're part of the family, with or without Kelvin.  You'll always have a home here.  I'm sure Daddy will be happy to give you his father's house, since Gideon doesn't want it."

"It's too early for plans like that," BJ told her sternly.  "Right now we just need to get Keefe through the night.  Could you go into the kitchen and make us some tea?"

The full story is linked at Gemstone Pride:

Related Posts Plugin for WordPress, Blogger...