Retrostuds of the Past: Focus on Johnny Rahm


Johnny Rahm

Once in a Blue Moon, directed by Toby Ross, is truly a gem in our collection of vintage gay porn. Each vignette is essentially a “short story” that probes different dynamics in gay relationships, feeding off archetypal images that can be found in so much “mainstream” art, movies, and literature: a scene in hell, a soldier tortured by an enemy interrogator, and a prison inmate finally meeting his pen-pal. 

Once in a Blue Moon DVD cover

The second vignette in this movie is called “Better Sooner Than Later,” and stars Marcus Braun as a soon-to-be-departing executive headed for a new assignment in Paris, and Johnny Rahm as the coworker he is leaving behind. Their intimate, realistic and passionate dialogue reveals that not only are both gay, but that they have longed for one another for some time. They lovingly share cocksucking and fucking, switching off throughout the segment. The scene concludes with the title comment, “Jerry and Bob eventually both settled in Boston and lived happily ever after.” 

What makes this vignette particularly poignant is the life story of Johnny Rahm. (In my opinion, he has some of the most intense eyes not just in porn movies, but in all movies. Maybe it is the way his cheekbones set them off. According to an interview in Manshots in 1991, he is 30 to 40 percent Cherokee Native-American. Whatever the case, he is gorgeous!) 

Johnny Rahm

Johnny Rahm's real name was Barry “J.T.” Rogers, and like so many guys born in the 1960s who became porn stars, he ended up fleeing a straight white Christian upbringing, but in this case, a particularly strict one. 

According to his obituary in SouthernVoice.com, he actually attended Bob Jones University, the place to go for particularly fundamentalist Baptists like Rogers aka Rahm's parents, who, Rahm reveals in the interview, hated him for being gay. 

The California gay scene called him the in the late 1980s, and he worked for ten years in the gay porn industry, kind of falling into spontaneously after an interview with J.J. Casting. 

He chose the name Rahm, but really wanted it to be Ra-m, but that didn't fly, and in the interview he relishes the irony of the name, as most viewers assume he would be a top, that is someone who does the ramming! 

In fact, Johnny was a hot bottom who admittedly liked dominant tops (especially those with mustaches) in his films and in real life, perhaps someone like his co-star in Once in a Blue Moon, Marcus Braun (Johnny and Marcus pictured below). 

Johnny Rahm and Marcus Braun fucking in Once in a Blue Moon



The interview with Manshots reveals a high-spirited, honest, and intelligent artist who is really trying to work on his craft. 

Some particularly cogent quotes from the piece: 

Manshots: When did you come out? 

Rahm: I think I realized something was different about me when I was thirteen or fourteen. I didn't have the really serious sexual fantasies about guys until I was about seventeen. I remember wanting so bad to be on the baseball team in high school, because there were three or four guys on the team I really wanted to see in the shower. My first experience though was when I was twenty. It was with an amateur bodybuilder who lives in Atlanta, Georgia. It was phenomenal. 

Manshots: In your relatively short career in video so far, you've already made a reputation for yourself as an actor. My favorite was in Bedtime Stories for Catalina, where you played a black cat. You stayed in character as the cat through much of the actual sex. How much acting training have you had? 

Johnny Rahm in Bedtime Stories

Rahm: I'd say I started “studying” – and that's in quotes – when I was six years old. I used to have an old cassette recorder, and I'd record TV shows off the air and lock myself in my bedroom and turn the player on and act out the shows – playing all the parts....I was a big Monty Python fan... I was only kid in my junior high school who was weaned on public television. 

Manshots: Having something of a background in Monty Python style humor, do you ever get this moment on a set in the process of making pornography, where you get an overwhelming sense of absurdity? 

Rahm: Extremely, yeah, I get the idea that sometimes people who rent these videos think the work is so glamorous. But it's hard work – getting a hard on in a scene where it feels like it's twenty degrees below zero in the room. 

Manshots: What was working with Toby Ross on Once in a Blue Moon like? 

Rahm: It was a very good experience. His group was very laid back... He (Ross) asked us a lot of questions like “What would you like to do?” and “How can we make you more comfortable?” – and I liked that, and I've seen the movie and I liked it, but as usual, I'm never happy with the scenes I'm in. 

Manshots: Oh? 

Rahm: I'm never happy with my hair. Boy, is that the queeny phrase of all time or what? 

Some of his notable videos, in addition to Once in a Blue Moon, include The Devil and Danny WalkerStraight to the ZoneBadlands, and Hey Tony,What's the Story?

What happened to him is really sad, especially as the interview reveals his ambitions to work behind the scenes and put his background in film and acting to use as a directory. 

Johnny committed suicide in Atlanta in November 7, 2004, at the age of 39, by hanging himself with a wire on the fence line of the Atlanta Botanical Garden. At that time, according to his roommate, Adam Kahn, he was struggling financially. He was HIV positive, but in good physical health. 

Johnny, who lived happily ever after with his ideal man on screen, never found that happiness in his real life. 

But in all his life work, he really wanted to make his audience happy (and turned on, of course). In a talk with his cousin, he reflected, “It's good to know that I made a difference to some gay guys out there … even it was inadvertent. I feel honored to have that kind of devotion.” 

Johnny Rahm


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