What did we do before video and Tumblr?
Gay magazines, also known as pictorials and of course as fitness magazines. Today’s fitness mags much more inside in the way of content (the articles) and advertising for workout products, but this is where it all started
Back in these days, you couldn’t easily pick up the latest copy at the grocery store, or get in in the mail in a clear plastic wrap. These were the days of sneaking into the adult bookstores, or getting things in the mailin a “plain brown wrapper.”
Here’s some interesting pieces from Aughra’s half century old collection:
Foxy Lady cover model Joey Stefano
We aren’t familiar with this foxxy magazine from the mid 1970s (this one is Feb., 1976.) It features one of the great porn names in the gay adult biz over the years, this time it’s Tony Stefano. We had a number of Stefano named stars over the uears, the most famous being uber bottom star of the late 80s and early 90s, Joey Stefano. Probably the first big name all-bottom gay porn star.
This ain’t him. We will try to find more pictures of him for a later vintage porn stars installment.
Physique Pictorial, Vol 12 No. 1 cover model Larry Scott
Physique Pictorial was an “illustrated” (with photograps) type men’s magazine that went back as far as the late 1940s in this format, and prospered most in the 1950s, into the early to mid 1960s. These were the McCarthy Era gay mags, when the idea first hit to disguise them as physique mags, with the occasional article scattered in about the benefits of physical health, getting plenty of sunshine, and avoiding women. (OK – we made up that last one.) It wasn’t until up into the 1960s that nudity became commonplace in the pictorial spreads, and rarely if at all was there any sign of an erection, or self-touching. Those type pictures were way-underground, and only got passed around to friends, by friends. A man could go to jail and have his life ruined just for owning one of the all-nude, all-hard publications back then.
Three cheers for the First Amendment in the Eisenhower years. 🙁
Physique Pictorial interior page showing Glenn “Bikini” Bishop
This is an example of what the inside pages might be like in most of the late 50s magazines. Some had very elaborate settings with Romans or cowboys battling Indians, or some classical pose. In this case, our model Glenn “Bikini” Bishop has been “caught napping” (yea-right) on the set in his ubiquitous bikini.
Today you would expect maybe showing some wood or some other reason for showing the model asleep. In those days, it was the idea of this “natural” (Ha!) pose, well bronzed and oiled muscles, perfectly coiffed hair, nice leg stretch, wearing a demure “bikini” type swimming trunk (even more fabric than we seen in racers today,) and then his stomach sucked in so much that it looks to have stripped the wallpaper off the wall behind him.
Pure. 50s. Bliss.
Re-imagination in he Late 60s: Times Square Stud with cover model Billy Ward
This is the (undated) cover of the pictorial mag Times Square Stud, featuring our cover model, one Billy Ward. We also have an interior shot from the magazine showing the same photo that was on the cover.
No, your eyes are not playing tricks. Even though Times Square, New York City was a vast urban sexual wasteland by the mid-1970s, as far as we know, there weren’t any pastures or green fields where one could ride a street bike in the nude, while wearing your little sister’s bike helmet.
The “Times Square” part of the title was surely to leave the impression that Billy Ward was a hustler in the city, and had plenty of junk to show off, if you could ever get him out in the country. After all, who would go riding down the streets of New York in nothing but a My Little Barbie helmet, other than wheeling their way to Bellevue?
Back in the days before Times Square became a Disney park, the popular fantasy was that men walking around those street were the ones you could easily find to fuck – unless they were there to rob and kill you.
Rough trade, indeed. And you thought Vietnam was dangerous.
Probably the last of this concept – as the 1980s Times Square and 42nd Street area became a boarded up set for Mad Max, was an early 80s film-then-video starring the blondest-of-blond of the 80s stars: Leo Ford, in New York City Pro.