Saturday, May 31, 2014

White












Here are shots of New Zealand wrestler Jay White, taken over the past three months at Wrestling Stars (in France), several of them of him in combat with his nemesis, UK Kid (in purple). I sleep better at night knowing that it's probably inevitable that, one of these days, White is going to have to lock horns with Nathan Cruz. I hope there's good video of the fight when it happens.

Friday, May 30, 2014

Fighting True Son

Earlier this week I wrote a footnote to one of my posts in which I spoke of my boyhood crush on James MacArthur, son of playwright Charles MacArthur and actress Helen Hayes. He is best remembered as "Danno" in Hawaii Five-O (the original series). I mentioned his character's sibling rivalry with Tommy Kirk in Disney's Swiss Family Robinson (1960) and its imprint on my developing sexuality when I first saw it at age seven. (In my twenties I went alone to a theater to watch a re-release of the movie and found myself growing a boner during the climactic wrestling scene in the river.)

Having piqued a nostalgic interest in my old heartthrob, I did some online research and discovered Sean Griffin's book-length critique Tinker Belles and Evil Queens (2000), which analyzes erotic subtexts in Disney films, including Swiss Family Robinson. It also mentions The Light in the Forest, another MacArthur film for Disney, shot two years earlier, in which MacArthur plays a white boy raised as an American Indian, named True Son. I had never had an interest in seeing this film (typical early live-action Disney fare: blandly white-bread and somewhat racist) until reading Griffin's description:
The success of such live-action productions as Treasure Island (1949) and Old Yeller (1957), as well as the Davy Crockett episodes of the Disneyland TV series, spurred further "Boys' Life" stories, stories that often had the potential to fodder the imaginations of proto-queer young men as much as "Spin and Marty" did [series on the original Mickey Mouse Club TV show, which I saw only when the series was rerun in the 1970s]. ... In Swiss Family Robinson, for example, Tommy Kirk and James MacArthur play brothers who come upon a young woman disguised as a boy. Both find the boy strangely appealing and have trouble coming to terms with their hormonal reactions until the ruse is revealed. An even longer sustained reading can be applied to the little-known The Light in the Forest (1958) starring James MacArthur as a white boy raised by Indians who is recaptured and must readjust to his new environment. Throughout the film, MacArthur's character rebels by peeling off his confining clothes and running off to wrestle and swim with his male Indian friend. It is only with the stern and loving hand of the Army camp commander (Fess Parker) that the young man begins to revise his attitude. It is an uphill battle, though, as a remarkable sequence in which the commander forces the boy to take a bath is supposed to demonstrate. In the scene, MacArthur sits in a small iron washtub with his knees sticking out, and Parker actually reaches between the boy's legs to get the soap and lather up his chest! Later, as MacArthur's character begins to look up to the commander, the camp holds a dance and one of the activities involves fighting for a prize, which the winner will give to the one he cares for most. MacArthur, of course, wins and immediately hands it to Parker. The rest of the crowd laughs and explains that it is meant for a girl, assuming that MacArthur just didn't understand. Such a moment makes it all the more plausible to read the feelings the boy has for the commander as an adolescent proto-queer crush.
About this time, though, MacArthur's character finds an appropriate (female, white, young) love interest in Carol Lynley. Later, his young male Indian friend, Half Arrow (Rafael Campos), is shot and killed by a white man (Wendell Corey), when Campos tries to sneak into the camp to visit MacArthur. The incident causes an Indian uprising, which forces MacArthur to choose sides once and for all. He helps the white settlers, but he's captured and humiliated by his former tribesmen, stripped of his Indian identity, his face painted half black and half white. Parker rescues him, but back at the camp, MacArthur challenges Corey to a fistfight, in revenge for Campos' unnecessary death. MacArthur wins again, and he and Corey shake hands, signifying that peace has been restored, through this archetypal male-bonding ritual. Corey praises the young victor, "He's white all right," and the settlers break for a prayer meeting. MacArthur and Lynley share their first kiss in the film's final shot, showing that MacArthur is now everything he's supposed to be: white, heterosexual, and presumably Christian.











Thursday, May 29, 2014

Fast, Cheap, and Out of Control




















UCW-Wrestling keeps churning them out fast and cheap. It's more than an ordinary fan can keep up with. The company specializes in wild, disorderly melees, each typically running for a full 30 minutes or more at bargain-basement prices (fifteen bucks a pop, with weekly specials as low as five dollars).  Two recent releases focus on champions (one current, one former) putting a couple of new guys through their paces: in #350 Eli Black puts the hurt on Hiro (with ex-champ Michael Hannigan acting as ref) and in #351 Hannigan humiliates rookie Oliver Wood, on several occasions grinding him up against the bare cinderblock wall.

If those two matches aren't hectic enough for you, there's UCW's latest release (#352), one more of its long string of "lost" videos (I'm starting to think somebody in the company needs to check out this page). This one calls  again on the talents of ex-champ Michael Hannigan, who teams up with Stay*c Adams for a two-on-one battle against Axel. The deal is that Axel's partner (Aron) is a no-show, leaving Axel to fight the duo alone.

Axel's doing just fine until, about halfway through the match, Michael and Stay*C start double-teaming him, which, as you might expect, turns the tide of the match rather speedily. At last, Aron shows up, too late to be of much use to Axel. You might think Aron would offer the poor guy some aid and support after everything Axel's just gone through.

Well, think again ...


Wednesday, May 28, 2014

Demolition Men 4

I reviewed BG East's Demolition 16, the most recent number in the series, in the spring of last year. It's a star vehicle, in which Austin Cooper explores his mean side by brutally punishing Rio Garza and Mister E. The DVD consists of just two matches, whereas earlier Demolition numbers contain three or four. Cool-as-a-cucumber Austin never fails to please me, in both his physique and attitude and his holds and moves, so in my mind he can carry the DVD alone; even so, I would have preferred three or four matches to two.

Although quite convincing as a babyface, as a heel Coop is methodical, unruffled, and totally engrossed in demolishing his opponent. That right there describes my heel ideal, that, along with wholesome good looks and a physique that never fails to make my mouth water. There are a lot of shoulda-been Demolition Men I guess we'll never get to see--Beau Nasty, Caleb Brand, Dick the Prick, Doug Warren, Dark Rogers, and Cliff Conlin. (Can you think of others? My mind's gone blank.) Excellent prospects for future Demolition Men include, in my opinion, Guido Genatto, Kid Karisma, Chace LaChance, Brute Baynard, Dev Michaels, Mitch Colby, Cage Thunder, Eddy Rey, and, of course, Lane Hartley. And is Alexi Adamov as a demolisher too much for me to hope for?

Though it's not tailor-made to my tastes (but what is?), Demolition is a terrific series, one that's been amazingly dependable in stirring my juices. After thirteen months without a new addition to the series, we're due another one, especially as we celebrate the series' twentieth anniversary. It's coming, I'm sure, and it's a safe bet that we'll see some new faces among the Demolition Men and their prey. As for Austin, I hope he plans to don his black leather vest again soon, perhaps as part of a demolition team, reuniting with (or fighting) his former partner Jake Jenkins. Just saying those last eleven words causes my fly zip to quiver like a sack of hummingbirds.






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