Jun 7, 2014
But he is also an accomplished singer, dancer, and actor. Of course, his theatrical roles tend to emphasize his physique.
Early in his career, when he was still doing regional theater, he starred in several Disney plays, including Tarzan, The Little Mermaid, and Aladdin.
Bye Bye Birdie, The Rocky Horror Picture Show Live (as Rocky, naturally), Joseph and the Amazing Technicolor Dreamcoat (as both Joseph and the Pharaoh), and Miss Saigon.
Pippin, All Shook Up, Les Miserables, and How the Grinch Stole Christmas.
Top photo: he poses in underwear with Michael Jason Blaine (his stage son Theo) in Pippin.
You can also see James on tv in True Blood, Passions, and in the movie Star Child.
Jun 5, 2014
The family has gathered in front of the tv set, as usual: the tv is on every night from dinnertime to bedtime, a backdrop to all of our other activities.
7:00: Welcome Back, Kotter. I look up briefly to see Horshak (Ron Pallilo) explain, yet again, that his name means "The cattle are dying."
7:30: What's Happening!. I look up briefly to check out Haywood Nelson's butt and bulge.
Lance Kerwin. So I watch on my small portable set upstairs.
At 9:00, I turn off the tv and start doing homework. A few moments later, my brother Ken comes clomping up the stairs. "You'll never guess what they're watching down there!" he exclaims. "Barnaby Jones!"
"You're kidding -- Jed Clampett as a private eye?" The oldster detective is played by the star of the Beverly Hillbillies.
"And Catwoman is his secretary!" Lee Meriwether, who plays Barnaby's daughter-in-law, was Catwoman on Batman.
"Gross! Next they'll have Scooby-Doo!"
Ken laughs. "Don't take my word for it -- you have to watch to see how terrible it is."
"Come on!" I complain. "Old people tv?" My friends would rib me unmercifully if they found out I had watched something as lame as Barnaby Jones!
Ignoring me, he flips the tv on, and clicks the dial to CBS.
"You're the man for me!" Muscle Shirt says.
"Let's not get carried away!" Tight-Jeans protests.
"This looks good...I mean, awful." I stammer.
Looking back, I'm surprised that I didn't come out at that moment. But no, I absolutely did not connect I want to see those guys kiss! with gay.
"What did I tell you?" Ken flips the tv set off, flops down on his bed, and opens a math textbook.
What about Muscle Shirt, with his baseball-sized biceps and the romantic plaint of "You're the man for me?" He must have been a guest star.
Before the days of the internet, there is no way to track down the episode. I'll have to wait for summer reruns.
But during the summer, I am working at the Carousel Snack Bar on Thursday nights. The scene of gay romance is lost forever.
youtube: "Gang War," starring 31-year old Asher Brauner. My memory changed the dialogue a bit: he's not in love with Mark Shera, he's about to kidnap him.
Asher Brauner has been in a few movies of gay interest: he played "Buddy" in Alexander: the Other Side of Dawn (1977), about a teenage runaway who becomes a hustler, and "Ted," in the gay-themed Making Love.
He played the hero in the Indiana Jones spoof Treasure of the Moon Goddess (1987), and a man-mountain who takes out entire countries in American Eagle (1989) and Merchants of War (1989).
And he was the hero of a gay romance that I misread 30 years ago on Barnaby Jones.
Jun 4, 2014
1. The gay bff (Jeremy Dozier) is chunky, not svelte (although still a swishy stereotype named Clarke).
2. He actually has sex, with a hitchiking hustler (Nicholas d'Agosto).
3. He doesn't turn straight at the end.
He is naked most often in Fired Up! (2009), in which two goofballs (Nicholas, Eric Christian Olsen) sign up for cheerleader camp in order to get girls, but find that they actually like cheerleading. They have a swishy gay-stereotyped roommate (Adhir Kalyan)
Nicholas is currently starring as Dr. Ethan Haas on Masters of Sex (2013), about the homophobic sex researchers Masters and Johnson. There's a closeted gay character.
Jun 2, 2014
Very few photos have survived of Novarro with his lovers.
In those days before the Hays Code, you stripped your stars out of their clothes as much as possible. Novarro has semi-nude scenes in Ben Hur: A Tale of Christ (1925), The Pagan (1929), The Barbarian (1933), and probably lots of other movies that haven't survived.
They both received sentences of life in prison, but were paroled within seven years. You didn't do much time for killing gay men in the 1960s.
See also: Ben Hur, a Gay Tale of Christ.
But Barry Williams (Greg, left) was hot right then, every Friday night during the 1972-73 school year, when you were working on your algebra homework and reading Donald Duck comic books.
He didn't get as many gay subtexts as his brother Peter -- in fact, every other episode seemed to be about Greg liking some girl -- but sometimes beefcake is more than enough.
He's also done his share of stunt casting:
In 2002, he boxed with former Partridge Family kid Danny Bonaduce (Danny won).
On an episode of That 70s Show (2006), Barry and his tv brother Christopher Knight played a gay couple who move in next to the 1970s Formans. They got a big audience reaction from their on-camera kiss.
In Bigfoot (2012) Barry and Danny played a folk singer and music promoter, respectively, who go on the offensive after Bigfoot invades a rock festival.
See also: Christopher Knight/Peter Brady; and The Brady Bunch Dad
When I was a kid, I hated fairy tales. All about princes rescuing princesses, or else being told "if you accomplish this quest, I'll give you the princess." I'd rather get a prince.
And the worst of the lot was Perrault's Sleeping Beauty. You can't even say her name without objectifying women, and what's with the sexual symbolism? A girl lies sleeping, waiting for a guy to climb into her bed and "awaken" her?
Maleficent (2014) turns the tale on its head, starting with the evil fairy herself: she's a young girl with horns and bat-wings (Isobelle Molloy), who enjoys zooming through the stratosphere and playing with the various elves, fairies, and nature spirits of her kingdom (no one explains why she was named "Evil-doer"). She and the human Stefan (Michael Higgins) meet and fall in love, and on her sixteenth birthday, he gives her "true love's kiss."
But the adult Stefan (Sharito Copley) betrays her and cuts off her wings in a scheme to become king. Now crippled and desolate, the brooding Maleficent (Angelina Jolie with prosthetic cheekbones) gets revenge by putting a curse on his newborn daughter, Aurora: on her sixteenth birthday, she will fall asleep, and can only be awakened by "true love's kiss."
As Maleficent and her crow-turned-human sidekick Diaval (Sam Riley) watch Aurora (Elle Fanning) grow up, they begin to care about her, and even invite her to live among the fairies. As her sixteenth birthday approaches, Maleficent tries to remove the curse, but is unsuccessful: she falls asleep right on schedule.
Aurora had been flirting with Prince Philip (Brenton Thwaites) earlier, so Maleficent drags him to the castle and forces him to kiss her, but it's not "true love's kiss."
You'll never guess what finally awakens Aurora. I was completely surprised.
Hint: it's not hetero-romance.
Hetero-romance is of minimal importance in this brave new world. None of the adults display the slightest heterosexual interest, not even King Stefan, and there is no wedding at the end. Instead, same-sex or cross-sex friendships drive the plot.
I especially like the platonic friendship between Maleficent and the gay-coded Diaval.
Incidentally, Sam Riley's nude scene provides the only beefcake in the movie, although both Brenton Thwaits and Jackson Bews (the teenage Stefan, top photo) have displayed respectable physiques elsewhere.
Jun 1, 2014
Born in Italy, he came to the U.S. in 1930 as a boxer, and won his first seventeen bouts by knockout. In 1932 and 1933 he became the tallest heavyweight boxer in the world. Later he fought such greats as Max Baer and Joe Louis (both of whom knocked him out). By the time he retired in 1945, he had 89 wins and 14 losses.
In 1946, searching for a second career, he became a professional wrestler, and continued to draw the crowds through the 1960s.
His film career began in Hollywood in the 1930s, where he played himself in The Boxer and the Lady (1933) and Mr. Broadway (1933).
Umberto found a way around that little problem.
Roberto, a young, timid law school student (Jean-Louis Trintignant, left) meets the brash, devil-may-care, 40-ish Bruno (Vittorio Gassman, below), and they both abandon their obligations for two days of driving around Italy, buddy-bonding and having picaresque adventures.
Of course, they are attracted to each other: that's the whole point. They just have to sublimate it through discussions of girls and their lack of interest.
Their idyll ends in sudden tragedy -- a convention of the 1960s commedia alla italiana, but also a way of punishing Roberto for his "deviance," choosing homoerotic freedom over a "respectable" life with a job, a house, a wife, and kids.
Vittorio Gassman, one of the greats of the Italian theater, had a few gay-subtext movies, such as Big Deal on Madonna Street with Renato Salvatori.
But apparently there were some "ha-ha, it looks like a penis" jokes.
And he has a respectable physique.
His only specifically gay role is in The Curiosity of Chance (2006): he played the flamboyantly feminine and gay Chance Marquis (when will they have a gay character named Bob Smith?), who forms some friendships with other outcasts at his high school while exploring his drag persona.
Since then he's played mostly in slasher films, which of course I haven't seen. .
The original has some amazing gay subtexts.
See also: Corey Haim's Bubble Bath.