Jlewis

A discrete discussion on "adult" films and their social impact

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"Boy In The Sand - Casey Donovan - All-American Sex Star" by Roger Edmonson is a heartbreaking read.

 

His nude photos in "After Dark" magazine were such a sensation.

 

He started out as a teacher.

 

His love affair with movie star, Tom Tryon, was kept under wraps.

 

Since it is highly unlikely that TCM will make him Star of the Month, are there any interesting tidbits to add about him here? On Amazon, checking out your book, I saw another called Casey Donovan: Blond Bombshell by David Bret published only a few months ago. What a title! He and Jayne Mansfield do have a bit in common.

 

I tend to view the major stars of 1970s and early '80s porn much like silent stars of the 1920s before talkies came in. (After all, Boys In The Sand is a silent movie with a music score, all done to pantomime.) As Norma Desmond would say, "we had faces then". Yes... and other physical attributes. Yet there are great facial expressions in these movies, especially the Metzger films with their trademark shots of women... and Casey... shifting their heads around.

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Since it is highly unlikely that TCM will make him Star of the Month, are there any interesting tidbits to add about him here? On Amazon, checking out your book, I saw another called Casey Donovan: Blond Bombshell by David Bret published only a few months ago. What a title! He and Jayne Mansfield do have a bit in common.

 

I tend to view the major stars of 1970s and early '80s porn much like silent stars of the 1920s before talkies came in. (After all, Boys In The Sand is a silent movie with a music score, all done to pantomime.) As Norma Desmond would say, "we had faces then". Yes... and other physical attributes. Yet there are great facial expressions in these movies, especially the Metzger films with their trademark shots of women... and Casey... shifting their heads around.

I'd read "Boy in the Sand" - it's a very interesting read.

 

Tom Tryon was a very serious lover, but, when he felt that Rona Barnett was going to expose him to the movie-going public, he paniced and ran.

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I remember AFTER DARK mag but I don't think I've ever seen a copy.  There were some great magazines in the 1970's; I miss them.  RAMPARTS was a great leftist magazine.  SATURDAY REVIEW covered all the arts.  VIVA was a competitor of PLAYGIRL run by Bob Guccione, Sr.'s wife.  Lots of sexy romantic soft focus photography.  

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I remember AFTER DARK mag but I don't think I've ever seen a copy.  There were some great magazines in the 1970's; I miss them.  RAMPARTS was a great leftist magazine.  SATURDAY REVIEW covered all the arts.  VIVA was a competitor of PLAYGIRL run by Bob Guccione, Sr.'s wife.  Lots of sexy romantic soft focus photography.  

"After Dark" had two runs - its' original run - then, it closed down - then there was an attempt to revive it.

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After Dark likely had more copies circulating in Greenwich Village or downtown Times Square than, say, a place like Defiance, Ohio, so I am sure that its "sensation" was limited in scope. Lol! I also find it highly unlikely Boys In The Sand played in many of the same theaters showing Bedknobs And Broomsticks and Diamonds Are Forever even if that movie is very tame compared to so much else that followed. (Yes, those who find male/male sexual activities vile and disgusting will unlikely bother with that or Score, but it is not like the more explicit footage takes up more than 5 minutes of the entire running time in either and at least everybody involved look like they are enjoying it, unlike some of the women featured in the other kind.)

 

David Bret wrote books on Joan Crawford, Greta Garbo, Elvis Presley and Freddie Mercury, so Casey/Calvin just blends in with that crowd. I haven't read his and Roger Edmonson biographies, but having two covering you after your passing isn't bad when you consider just three cover Ramon Navarro and it took a lot longer. (I enjoyed Andre Soares' version.) John Calvin Culver was his professional non-porn name.

 

Sadly, like other stars in his particular genre, the younger Al Parker being another famous name, he was swept up in the Great Plague of the 1980s, the same plague that Jerry Falwell and other devoted "Christians" successfully pressured the Reagan Administration to do nothing about. Mister Reagan only acknowledged the disease's existence in a press conference one year before Casey/Culver died and one of the commentators in CNN's The Eighties claimed that more money was spent flying Rock Hudson to and from France during his final months than on AIDS research that particular calendar year. It was also a sign of the times that many gay porn films featured condoms starting in the middle '80s and mostly do today too (unless the "B" warning), unlike most heterosexual porn from the seventies right through today since, after all, many think God is less vengeful if you are unprotected doing one "kind" than the other.

 

I guess one could also argue that Culver reaped what he sowed by living his life recklessly, especially in his unhappy final years. I am not sure if Bret's claim that he was intimately involved with Rock Hudson, Paul Newman and Christopher Reeve is true. Regarding the former Disney "Texas John Slaughter" breaking up with him, it should be added that he was still there for Culver in his more desperate years when he hired him to assist with his published works. Culver was quite literary after all. Even taught Latin. Too bad Derek Jarman didn't make use of him.

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After Dark likely had more copies circulating in Greenwich Village or downtown Times Square than, say, a place like Defiance, Ohio, so I am sure that its "sensation" was limited in scope. Lol! I also find it highly unlikely Boys In The Sand played in many of the same theaters showing Bedknobs And Broomsticks and Diamonds Are Forever even if that movie is very tame compared to so much else that followed. (Yes, those who find male/male sexual activities vile and disgusting will unlikely bother with that or Score, but it is not like the more explicit footage takes up more than 5 minutes of the entire running time in either and at least everybody involved look like they are enjoying it, unlike some of the women featured in the other kind.)

 

David Bret wrote books on Joan Crawford, Greta Garbo, Elvis Presley and Freddie Mercury, so Casey/Calvin just blends in with that crowd. I haven't read his and Roger Edmonson biographies, but having two covering you after your passing isn't bad when you consider just three cover Ramon Navarro and it took a lot longer. (I enjoyed Andre Soares' version.) John Calvin Culver was his professional non-porn name.

 

Sadly, like other stars in his particular genre, the younger Al Parker being another famous name, he was swept up in the Great Plague of the 1980s, the same plague that Jerry Falwell and other devoted "Christians" successfully pressured the Reagan Administration to do nothing about. Mister Reagan only acknowledged the disease's existence in a press conference one year before Casey/Culver died and one of the commentators in CNN's The Eighties claimed that more money was spent flying Rock Hudson to and from France during his final months than on AIDS research that particular calendar year. It was also a sign of the times that many gay porn films featured condoms starting in the middle '80s and mostly do today too (unless the "B" warning), unlike most heterosexual porn from the seventies right through today since, after all, many think God is less vengeful if you are unprotected doing one "kind" than the other.

 

I guess one could also argue that Culver reaped what he sowed by living his life recklessly, especially in his unhappy final years. I am not sure if Bret's claim that he was intimately involved with Rock Hudson, Paul Newman and Christopher Reeve is true. Regarding the former Disney "Texas John Slaughter" breaking up with him, it should be added that he was still there for Culver in his more desperate years when he hired him to assist with his published works. Culver was quite literary after all. Even taught Latin. Too bad Derek Jarman didn't make use of him.

Ironically, Casey Donovan made "promos" for safe sex.

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... like a good parent. "Do as I say, not as I do." Ha ha!

 

By the way, after checking other vintage After Dark issues, who is that on the cover of July's issue that same year? Maybe it is Casey's doppelgänger. Of course, it has to be Fire Island fashions.

 

16b52dcc86aa7d498679bd7e4c721721--s-part

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One wonders - what would have happened if he had been able to remain a teacher?

 

Eli Wallach and his wife, Anne Jackson, managed to get him fired from his teaching position, because the two of them felt that he had been unkind to their darling daughter, Roberta.

 

As a porn star, Casey Donovan had a goregous body and a goregous guess-what.

 

He drove gay men WILD.

 

Score.JPG

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... like a good parent. "Do as I say, not as I do." Ha ha!

 

By the way, after checking other vintage After Dark issues, who is that on the cover of July's issue that same year? Maybe it is Casey's doppelgänger. Of course, it has to be Fire Island fashions.

 

16b52dcc86aa7d498679bd7e4c721721--s-part

 

What I wonder about is what After Dark had to say about Gene Tierney in July of 1972.   Her last film was the Pleasure Seekers in 1964 and she wasn't in the public eye after that.   She died in 1991.    

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What I wonder about is what After Dark had to say about Gene Tierney in July of 1972.   Her last film was the Pleasure Seekers in 1964 and she wasn't in the **** eye after that.   She died in 1991.    

Since I read "After Dark" back in the day, I can assure you that the article would have been very complimentary.

 

d99611a6205d86e8c4c1cb62a2009962--after-

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Thanks for sharing all the wonderful After Dark covers, especially the Crawford cover.  I guess it didn't make it to my little corner of Illinois back then.  Didn't the Borat character wear a swimsuit like the one that man is wearing on one of the covers?  Looks uncomfortable and if somebody pulled on the top part the wrong way it might have been painful.

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Since I read "After Dark" back in the day, I can assure you that the article would have been very complimentary.

 

d99611a6205d86e8c4c1cb62a2009962--after-

 

Nice picture of Joan.     Note that when this issue was released Joan had passed the prior year,  so I still wonder about the timing of an article about Gene Tierney in July 1972.         Also,  I used the word p-u-b-l-I-c (like the 1931 Cagney film,  p-Enemy) and that was censored.    Maybe I incorrectly used the word related to unseen hair and that is why??? 

 

Strange.  

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One wonders - what would have happened if he had been able to remain a teacher?

 

Eli Wallach and his wife, Anne Jackson, managed to get him fired from his teaching position, because the two of them felt that he had been unkind to their darling daughter, Roberta.

 

As a porn star, Casey Donovan had a goregous body and a goregous guess-what.

 

He drove gay men WILD.

 

Score.JPG

 

16b52dcc86aa7d498679bd7e4c721721--s-part

 

He still remained a teacher, educating in other ways. Gee, the word "gore-geous" makes it sound like he belongs in one of Lynn Lowry's horror movies.

 

This has to be him. Look at the ears and hair. Some sources claim that Score was shot in July 1972, except that there is a July 1973 calendar featured in a key scene. Then again, there is the running joke about the Olympics in the movie but Munich would be no laughing matter. This may explain why the release was postponed until early 1974, so viewers wouldn't make the unfortunate connection. Regardless, he must have been using the same hair stylist for both movie and magazine cover.

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Some of those After Dark covers are  https://youtu.be/RpQr_ojmQvc very stimulating... ;)

 

Surprisingly it didn't last all that long ('68-'83), although it was a reboot of an earlier magazine that had been around for a while. The seventies was such a groovy and provocative decade. Too bad the eighties was such a let down with everybody getting prudish and capitalistic greedy post-Reagan.

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He still remained a teacher, educating in other ways. Gee, the word "gore-geous" makes it sound like he belongs in one of Lynn Lowry's horror movies.

 

This has to be him. Look at the ears and hair. Some sources claim that Score was shot in July 1972, except that there is a July 1973 calendar featured in a key scene. Then again, there is the running joke about the Olympics in the movie but Munich would be no laughing matter. This may explain why the release was postponed until early 1974, so viewers wouldn't make the unfortunate connection. Regardless, he must have been using the same hair stylist for both movie and magazine cover.

 

It was filmed in 1972. Confirmed this with the "making of" documentary. They even include home movies showing it being shot on location, all really great stuff. TCM has the uncut version available: http://shop.tcm.com/score/881190009499 Again, there is also an R-rated DVD too that edits out the explicit material involving the guys together. Both versions have Criterion-worthy extras.

 

There's a really great interview with Lynn Lowry, explaining that her scenes with Claire Wilbur took ten days to shoot and a lot less happened than you would think. Neither wanted the other touching her and the director never pressured them further than necessary. When she saw it for the first time in a theater, she was shocked more by the footage of the guys which, of course, involved more than enough without camera trickery.

 

She was comfortable being nude for the cameras though, but had a falling out with director Metzger because they borrowed a house of one of Bob Guccione's friends and apparently he wanted a magazine spread for Penthouse. She agreed to pose for a magazine shoot with his arch rival Hugh Hefner. Oops! Yet she and Metzger made up three decades later. He was still alive when the DVDs were put together and contributed to the audio commentaries.

 

Lynn was just a naive 24 and blurted out by accident how much she was making on the movie when the cast was flying to Yugoslavia. This hardly pleased co-star Claire Wilbur, who was paid less despite being the only performer carried over from the original play production. Lynn made up with her years later just as she did with Metzger, with Claire most apologetic about her temperamental behavior on the set. Sadly she died in 2004.

 

Lynn wasn't terribly fond of Carl Parker who expected to "score" with her off camera. He was the frisky heterosexual one she had to deal with, while both Cal/Casey and Gerald Grant were the gay "gentlemen". She absolutely adored Calvin. They were like the best sister and brother combo, double dating together when in New York. Everybody loved Cal because he was very professional.

 

The director was labeled the adult film industry's Ernst Lubitsch and that may be a good description. The dialogue in films like this remind me of Trouble In Paradise and One Hour With You.

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Surprisingly it didn't last all that long ('68-'83), although it was a reboot of an earlier magazine that had been around for a while. The seventies was such a groovy and provocative decade. Too bad the eighties was such a let down with everybody getting prudish and capitalistic greedy post-Reagan.

 

I agree with what you say about the seventies but you're off about the eighties.  Reagan was president for most of the eighties so it's not post-Reagan and the eighties were hardly prudish.  Even when AIDS and HIV finally made the mainstream media news (and it was made clear that it was not a "gay disease" and anybody could be vulnerable including those getting blood transfusions or Magic Johnson) , it was about wearing condoms for protection but not giving up sex altogether.  You are right about capitalist greed - that seems to be a part of every decade.

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Oh... I was being generalized and exaggerating a bit. Also each of us view each decade differently on account of what we were experiencing in life.

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I agree with what you say about the seventies but you're off about the eighties.  Reagan was president for most of the eighties so it's not post-Reagan and the eighties were hardly prudish.  Even when AIDS and HIV finally made the mainstream media news (and it was made clear that it was not a "gay disease" and anybody could be vulnerable including those getting blood transfusions or Magic Johnson) , it was about wearing condoms for protection but not giving up sex altogether.  You are right about capitalist greed - that seems to be a part of every decade.

 

Ooooohhhh... let's go down memory lane, shall we? Yes, we all see the different decades in our own ways. The seventies were my childhood years, reaching puberty right around the time Reagan entered the White House.

 

I was roughly 9 or 10 when there was a TV commercial showing people stepping out of a closet dressed up as all kinds of professions: doctor, teacher, fireman, etc. I will never forget what my mother said: "they should all go back into the closet because we want nothing to do with them". I had no idea what she was talking about then.

 

Being that my family were all prudes and I rarely even saw my parents naked, I knew nothing about sex. At age 4-5, I waited patiently for my baby sister to grow hers just like my buddy Harold's baby brother had grown his already. When I asked my father why she wasn't growing one yet, I was severely reprimanded and never given an answer. I think I was about 7 or so when I officially learned that girls and women never grew one... or generally didn't. Had to learn the truth from other kids my age since teachers certainly weren't going to discuss it.

 

By the time I was 12-13 and forced to take showers in gym class with only members of my own gender and with no regard for my own prudishness, the teachers were finally showing us educational 16mm movies explaining "growing up", although very nebulous about "how it is done". I had some idea by then, knowing it involved the parts that distinguished boys from girls. However it was a VHS of  Nothing To Hide when no parents were supervising that... thanks to actor John Leslie... I no longer had any more questions regarding where all of the parts go. Mind you, I don't think he was the proper role model... any more than John Cleese in Monty Python's The Meaning Of Life teaching teenagers.

 

After high school, I saw plenty of this stuff in college dorms, thanks to the wonders of VHS. Usually somebody else's copy though.

 

Therefore the eighties weren't exactly prudish for me, but rather the Age of Enlightenment. Of course, thanks to the AIDS scare, nobody was doing anything but we were all watching others do it on TV screens.

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Oh... I was being generalized and exaggerating a bit. Also each of us view each decade differently on account of what we were experiencing in life.

 

True, you are like 20 years younger than me so our perspectives are a little different.

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On ‎10‎/‎12‎/‎2017 at 8:12 PM, ChristineHoard said:

 

True, you are like 20 years younger than me so our perspectives are a little different.

I think it also makes a difference whether or not you experienced life both before and after Stonewall. Whether or not you were even aware of the riots at the time, life for gay people changed immediately after, especially in terms of the press, when things like The Manhattan Review of Unnatural Acts all of a sudden became possible. After Dark was a relatively timid overture to the new gay readership, rationing out generous amounts of male skin while still defining itself as being all about "the arts". There was a similar publication in the 1960's called Show Business Illustrated which covered film, theater and "the arts" using great color photography, a good percentage of which exploited male and female flesh. (Not that I'm complaining.) Gentleman's Quarterly was another publication which survived on giving closeted readers permission to check out the gay male models. My personal favorite magazine in the early 1970's was called In Touch and it was truly gay, neither timid not strident, just forthrightly by gays for gays. Plenty of cute naked guys, but also great columns and hilarious commentary and features. It was also the only publication I can think of which regularly checked in on Divine, the ultimate drag goddess so emblematic of gay social progress in the 1970's. 

Before Stonewall, the press coverage I remember most was a Life Magazine cover story on the homosexual "problem". Lots of fear-mongering text about threats to the social fabric, accompanied by grainy black and white (and totally staged) photos of men lurking in doorways late at night, with black bars covering their faces because they were too abominable for Life's gentle readers to be forced to contemplate. I totally get Jlewis' early confusion, because mine was the same. I knew I was gay but, looking at Life, I knew I wasn't that. What do you do with that kind of confusion when you're young? Just try to hang on, basically. 

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8 hours ago, DougieB said:

I think it also makes a difference whether or not you experienced life both before and after Stonewall. Whether or not you were even aware of the riots at the time, life for gay people changed immediately after, especially in terms of the press, when things like The Manhattan Review of Unnatural Acts all of a sudden became possible. After Dark was a relatively timid overture to the new gay readership, rationing out generous amounts of male skin while still defining itself as being all about "the arts". There was a similar publication in the 1960's called Show Business Illustrated which covered film, theater and "the arts" using great color photography, a good percentage of which exploited male and female flesh. (Not that I'm complaining.) Gentleman's Quarterly was another publication which survived on giving closeted readers permission to check out the gay male models. My personal favorite magazine in the early 1970's was called In Touch and it was truly gay, neither timid not strident, just forthrightly by gays for gays. Plenty of cute naked guys, but also great columns and hilarious commentary and features. It was also the only publication I can think of which regularly checked in on Divine, the ultimate drag goddess so emblematic of gay social progress in the 1970's. 

Before Stonewall, the press coverage I remember most was a Life Magazine cover story on the homosexual "problem". Lots of fear-mongering text about threats to the social fabric, accompanied by grainy black and white (and totally staged) photos of men lurking in doorways late at night, with black bars covering their faces because they were too abominable for Life's gentle readers to be forced to contemplate. I totally get Jlewis' early confusion, because mine was the same. I knew I was gay but, looking at Life, I knew I wasn't that. What do you do with that kind of confusion when you're young? Just try to hang on, basically. 

There is not doubt that post Stonewall there was an explosion of publications aimed at the gay audience- GQ in the late 70s early 80's was a lot gayer in its fashion spreads specially those done by Bruce Webber

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"In Touch" magazine - long gone & long lamented - it was a breezy walk on the gay side once a month - it celebrated - openly - the beauty of the male body -

image.png.1a6df2a39f47145008679be6925083ea.png

 

 

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On 10/25/2017 at 9:53 AM, DougieB said:

Before Stonewall, the press coverage I remember most was a Life Magazine cover story on the homosexual "problem". Lots of fear-mongering text about threats to the social fabric, accompanied by grainy black and white (and totally staged) photos of men lurking in doorways late at night, with black bars covering their faces because they were too abominable for Life's gentle readers to be forced to contemplate. I totally get Jlewis' early confusion, because mine was the same. I knew I was gay but, looking at Life, I knew I wasn't that. What do you do with that kind of confusion when you're young? Just try to hang on, basically. 

Plus the job of Life was to present the "consensus" view that reached the widest audience. The 1960s were a backlash to the '50s when there was TOO much focus on what people did behind closed doors, so at least there was a gradual increase in empathy year after year. Remember that it wasn't until after the Holocaust that a great many Americans suddenly realized "gee, I guess antisemitism isn't all that great after all". Likewise, just as there was still a stigma over homosexuality, interracial relations were not exactly championed either. Guess Who's Coming To Dinner attracted a huge audience primarily because it wasn't The Norm. I don't think the number of interracial marriages had increased THAT much in the two decades following its release. Today is different, fortunately.

Back in 1961, Sid Davis produced that horrible warning film Boys Beware. To be fair, he also made the heterosexual Girls Beware as well, the main point was to instruct the kiddies not to take rides with strangers. However he was too eager to incorporate the personal opinions of the local police officers, hardly sympathetic to "the homosexuals", into the script. By the time CBS Reports was covering "the homosexuals" in 1965/66, it was at least viewed more as a sympathetic "problem" like alcoholism or drug addiction. The next step, of course, was to prove there was no problem... just as Katharine Houghton's Joey thought and Sydney Poitier's "Doctor" John Prentice repeated to her parents.

Baby steps. Baby steps.

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