Tuesday, January 8, 2013

"Are You Afraid to Challenge Me Like This? Man to Man?"










Before there was wrestling in my life, there was peplum. Gladiators, Hercules, Cecil B. DeMille, and Ray Harryhausen, these were the stuff of my prepubescent fantasies.* Fighting linked them all, especially "bare chested male fighting." (I'm happy to report that "bare chested male fighting," "evil queen," "shot with a bow and arrow," "buried up to one's neck," and "beefcake" are all designations included among IMDb's plot keywords for browsing the site. Now these are what I call genres!) As a child I was transfixed by these images, which struck my imagination with all the force of religious iconography. I remember seeing only three peplum movies in the theater, though I'm certain there were others too: Sons of Thunder (not even listed by that title in IMDb); Jason and the Argonauts; and Hercules, Samson, and Ulysses.

About an hour into the last of these, there's a great little fight sequence between Hercules and Samson, both good guys though they don't realize this fact immediately. It involves a lot of hurling of hydrofoam boulders and Mesopotamian statuary and the bending of iron beams around each other's neck. There's a good three minutes of this, and I am not ashamed to admit that the scene still makes me ticklish to this day. (Kirk Morris as Hercules is a hottie--half Steve Reeves, half Young Elvis, with Revlon strawberry blonde.) After busting up the ruins, the two heroes stop and wonder aloud (in the manliest dubbed voices ever) why they are fighting each other when they could team up and fight the real bad guys. After ditching Delilah, they turn their attention to bouldering Philistines, and Hercules helps Samson give the old heave-ho to the Temple of Dagon (a detail overlooked in the bible and DeMille).

Films like this contributed greatly to the refinement of my kink. To say they "turned me gay" would be an overstatement, but I feel they did channel and shape my gay sensibility--as did, even earlier, Popeye and Mighty Mouse cartoons and Tarzan, and, later, Robert Conrad in The Wild Wild West and Jack Brisco in Championship Wrestling from Florida. It's what I had, back in the day, before there was Glee and Modern Family.

*Sorry about going all oldie-goldie on you all, but circumstances are converging in my life to make nostalgia, a sentiment I despise on principle, almost inescapable for me. This is not the place to discuss those circumstances, but the nostalgia relates to the blog's theme, so I'm going with it.

12 comments:

  1. I watched some of the films, too. I was always rather disillusioned by them. Not enough manly grappling, too much romance. In 90 minute runtimes there was maybe 10 minutes of real fun.

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    Replies
    1. Now I would agree with you, but I'm going to assume you're young and don't remember when, given the options of the 1960s, three minutes of "real fun" equaled 72 hours of fun today.

      Delete
  2. I'm 59. I remember how difficult it was to find and see beefcake in film and on TV. It was sort of a measure of our desperation that we found something so marginal vaguely acceptable. Not that the guys were marginal. They were magnificent. But the way their talents were used was the problem.

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  3. I sympathize with both your opinions, guys. But I do remember once in the early 60's discovering that on Saturdays our local TV station began running not true beefcake but a Flash Gordon serial from the 50's that I've never been able to trace--a cast of unknowns and cheesy production values, but what made it truly wonderful and very 1950's was that every episode involved one or more wrestling confrontation between Flash and the bad guys. It fed my early sexual fantasies.

    MAwrestler

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    Replies
    1. Is this the series you are looking for?

      http://en.m.wikipedia.org/wiki/Flash_Gordon_(1954_TV_series)

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    2. From Almatolmen to MAwrestler:

      http://en.m.wikipedia.org/wiki/Flash_Gordon_(1954_TV_series)

      http://en.m.wikipedia.org/wiki/Steve_Holland_(actor)

      He was the model for the classic Doc Savage covers.

      http://www.amazon.com/Flash-Gordon-Volume-Steve-Holland/dp/B000087F1O/ref=cm_sw_em_r_dp_8.k4tb04ZGXPR_tt

      http://www.amazon.com/Flash-Gordon-Volume-Classic-Episodes/dp/B000BN3ZSK/ref=pd_bxgy_mov_text_y

      http://www.amazon.com/Flash-Gordon-Volume-Steve-Holland/dp/B004KZH5JU/ref=lh_ni_t?ie=UTF8&psc=1&smid=ATVPDKIKX0DER

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    3. MAwrestler, I also e-mailed photos of Holland to an address I found elsewhere. I hope you get them!

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  4. Talk about desperation, I have vague recollections of prepubescent arousal over an inconsequential boxing scene in The Adventures of Spin and Marty on The MIckey Mouse Club. And I once jerked off to a picture of Samson in the family bible (yeah, I'm going to hell, I guess). (Speaking of mice, I already mentioned the weirdly homoerotic impact of Mighty Mouse on me. Clearly I was LOOKING for excuses to be horny ... at a very early age!) Who knows what impact Ring of Honor, HBO, and Channing Tatum might have had on me back then (not to mention BGE or Rock Hard Wrestling).

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  5. Saw this (linked) post just now. Yes I too resemble all the remarks even Flash and Spin/Marty. I didn't know how to JO to bible pics then but I got hard ons seeing Adam and especially a pic of angels staying the hand of Abraham as he directed a knife towards the beautiful abs Isaac. (Joe, I will see you in Hell, then). Love your description of Kirk, it fits so well. Some not mentioned but what I liked as a kid were Lil Abner and Athena and Bomba.

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  6. Yeah, Mighty Mouse was a stud! I'd like to see him thrash Micky.

    I liked illustrations in this great set of books about world myths and legends and some of the Folger Shakespeares. Lots of self-pleasure in the classics! And Li'l Abner was hot. Enjoyed the movie musical and a live stage production at the Kenley Players in my hometown. Mike Douglas often featured them on his old show. I looked everywhere for hot men! And I mean everywhere!

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. Dirk Benedict played Li'l Abner in Summer 1977, fresh off his Playgirl centerfold notoriety. Local bodybuilders were also featured.

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    2. http://www.ebay.com/itm/Lil-Abner-1977-Theatre-Program-Book-Guide-Dirk-Benedict-Lucie-Arnaz-Signed/400749893868?_trksid=p2047675.c100011.m1850&_trkparms=aid%3D222007%26algo%3DSIC.MBE%26ao%3D1%26asc%3D23491%26meid%3D8817632380140170231%26pid%3D100011%26prg%3D10073%26rk%3D1%26rkt%3D10%26sd%3D400701146023

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