Chasing the Boys and Chasing the Sun: My Story of Sun Worship and Where It Got Me

By Will Seagers

 

Summer has always been my favorite time of the year. Bathing suits, bulges, boys and of course a good suntan! Growing up on the East Coast in New Jersey meant one thing in the summer - The Shore.

Starting off as a youngster, the boy stuff hadn't quite kicked in, but I was already indoctrinated into the tanning thing by the age of seven. With an above ground pool in the backyard in north central N.J. and frequent trips down the Garden State Parkway to Asbury Park and other points on the "Shore" during each summer, I wasn't happy unless I had a nice deep tan... it was sort of a merit badge.

I remember around the age of seven or so, my parents rented a bungalow in the Ocean County hamlet of Ocean Beach. That's where I got my first bad sunburn and some sun sickness, as well. I remember I felt terrible and was shivering and unable to sleep with the pain. The next day I had a huge blister on my shoulder as a memento.

Will Seagers childhood photo
Will Seagers childhood photo

Fast forward a decade or so when my family actually lived at the shore. I guess you can figure I was always tan. Now is when the "Boy Thing” started to kick in. I didn't go to the beach where the rest of my family went. I chose the next town up from us... it had a gay beach. I learned the ropes and the art of cruising pretty fast. Meanwhile, unbeknownst to me, my skin was taking a beating and "remembering” all of the sun I was throwing at it.

Moving along to my Flight Attendant days. Now in my early twenties, I trained in Miami Springs for what used to be Eastern Airlines. No need to say this, but Miami = Sun. Even though my first six months were based out of JFK, I opted for every Florida or San Juan flight that I could get. I particularly loved being dark tan in the dead of winter!

Flight attendant crew in 1972 and Will Seagers Puero polaroid in Puerto Rico at age 21
Flight attendant crew (1972) and polaroid in Puerto Rico at age 21

Next stop San Juan, Puerto Rico! As soon as my first six months were up and I could make my move, I transferred to San Juan. Here, my goal was to attain the tan of a lifetime! (Little did I know that it was more like a life sentence!) Lots of sexy Latino men on the beach, too. All it took was a certain nod and we'd be off the beach and headed to bed! I wound up playing too hard in P.R. and losing my job. I was having too much fun and missed a couple too many flights! Oh well!

Back up north to NYC (and a summer on Fire Island!). Fire Island was my first experience with nude beaches. Boy, did that make things easy! Lol. But I left the NYC area in the fall to help a friend in Phoenix. It had a neat gay community and WOW, the Desert Southwest Sun. It was just about as powerful as it gets!

Will Seagers on Fire Island beach in 1976 and in the Arizona desert
Fire Island beach (1976) and Arizona desert

Then there was the migration to San Francisco, where I lived for fourteen years. Although one could get a pretty good bronzing up on their rooftops, like I did in my apartment, it was the Russian River and its resorts that beckoned. So, for the first few years, every Friday was the hour and a half pilgrimage north to The Woods or many of the other Russian River Resorts. Great California Sun and lots of wild sexy places to visit! And when in town during the winter, there were the tanning salons. It was from overuse of a tanning bed that I got a Malignant Melanoma! Should have stopped there, right?

After returning once again to the East Coast in 1991 to N.J. and ultimately NYC, I discovered a little gem of a beach just outside the waters of N.Y. on the Jersey shore - Sandy Hook - and it was a nude beach! Yay! For where it was and what it was (a state park), it was the wildest beach that I have ever experienced. All sorts of bodies in all levels of arousal.

And what kind of beach story would be complete without the addition of South Beach, Miami Beach, Fla? By this time, I was 44. It was an international port of call. With that came some extraordinary beauties... and raring to go! I remember walking the beach in my favorite black speedo and being summoned by this gorgeous, long haired Adonis to come up to his beach front house. I still get out of breath remembering that one! But wait, there was more. Here I am again, walking the beach in my favorite little speedo, and what had to have been the most spectacular specimen of mankind walked right up to me, gave me a peck on the cheek and started rubbing my crotch. In broad daylight, we had sex on the beach. "Mr. DeMille" - where were you? We were quite ready for our close up!

Will Seagers in the '90s
40th birthday in S.F., on a cruise (1990), South Beach (1996)

Ok. Fast forward through nearly twenty-five more years of sun recklessness to the (sort of) moral of the story. At age 71, I have just undergone my sixth Mohs Procedure for skin cancer. I have not forgotten my fabulous times on the beach. And, neither has my skin. The one thing I have to share with everyone it is this: the sun is not your friend. Please be careful.

Will Seagers bandaged after a Mohs Procedure
Recovering from a Mohs Procedure, past and present

 

Thank you to Will Seagers for use of his photos.

 

Bio of Will Seagers:

Will Seagers (also credited as Matt Harper), within his multifaceted career and participation in numerous gay communities across the country in the '70s and '80s and beyond, worked as a print model and film performer. He made iconic appearances in releases from Falcon, Hand in Hand, Joe Gage, Target (Bullet), J. Brian, Steve Scott, and more, including in lead roles in major classics like Gage's L.A. Tool & Die (1979) and Scott's Wanted (1980). He brought strong screen presence and exceptional acting to his roles and was scene partners with many fellow legends of classic porn.

 

Will Seagers, present day image

 


You can read Will Seagers' previous blogs for Bijou here:
Welcome Matt/Will
What's For Dessert?
On and Off the Set of L.A. Tool & Die
Wanted, Weekend Lockup and Weekends in Hermosa Beach
Honeymoon in the Palms
Birds of a Feather
The Stereo Maven of Castro Street
The Pass Around Boy
The Ecstasy and the Agony
Fitness and Fantasy: The Early Gyms

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Welcome Matt/Will

By Will Seagers

 
Man's Image introduction of and nude calendar featuring Matt Harper (aka Will Seagers)

Man's Image introduction of and nude calendar featuring Matt Harper (aka Will Seagers)

 

Born in Jersey City, N.J. in January of 1951, I spent the early part of my youth in the northern part of the state and my teens at the Jersey Shore. The very beginning of my teens was when I realized that I was gay and enjoyed it at every chance! Also, in my family's move to the shore I made a life long friend, Michael, who was also gay. Although we had no sexual relationship, our friendship made it a lot easier for both of us to better understand our blooming sexualities.

My education was fairly typical for the times. Parochial school for the first two years and then public school through high school. My 2nd grade public school teacher was from France and helped to create a life long interest in the country, language and culture of France. Oui, je parle français!

College years were not productive. I was in the tumult of coming out and exploring my sexuality. I studied engineering and journalism. I did not have the discipline for either of them. During these years I lived in Jersey City and would take the "PATH" train over to Christopher Street and see what trouble I could get myself into. That is where I was "discovered," while cruising the streets, by Man's Image Studios and Lou Thomas. (Lou, with Jim French, started Colt, and later went on to start Target Studios in 1974). Lou and I hit it off and remained friends for years.

 

Portrait of Will Seagers

Photo by Lou Thomas

 

Realizing college was not right for me at the time, I decided to take a break. I went to work for Eastern Airlines as a flight attendant. I spent two years with them. First in New York at JFK, where I got to utilize my French in flights between NY and Montreal. The following year, I was based in San Juan, Puerto Rico.

After my stint with the airlines, I moved around the country a lot in the '70s. I moved back to NY in '74. I had several more episodes of being "discovered" on the streets. Two of the photoshoots were actually straight. One for a hair magazine and the other for a ladies' magazine, Viva.

 

Will Seagers on the cover of a men's hair magazine, 1975
Will Seagers on the cover of a men's hair magazine, 1975
 
Photo from Viva Magazine

In Viva Magazine

 

After NYC came Tempe, Arizona (near Phoenix). My roommate/friend from San Juan had won a scholarship at A.S.U. and wanted to know if I wanted to move out there with him for the school year. Not tethered to NYC by anything serious, I agreed. My first gig was bartending at the Newtown Saloon and then the local disco - Maggy's, both owned by the same men. That lasted for most of my one year stay in Arizona. My final gig in AZ. was working for a man named Phil in his porn warehouse. He owned most of the "Book Stores" in the Phoenix area. It was interesting to view the workings of the porn industry.

In 1976, I received a phone call from Lou Thomas asking me if I was interested in working on Fire Island for John Whyte. It was perfect timing; Arizona was winding down.

I worked in The Pines for John Whyte for three summers... glorious ones at that! Mostly as a bartender, waiter and life guard; my job was loosely structured to say the least. Lou Thomas imposed on John Whyte to "borrow" me for a few hours one afternoon while I made a flick with Bruno ("Bruno and Will" in Bullet Videopac 6). It was a hot and steamy flick and I went right back to work that afternoon after a quick cleanup! Lots of other movies were shot in a similar fashion on Fire Island. 1976, my first season on F.I., I met Chuck Holmes, owner of Falcon Studio. He invited me to come to San Francisco and work for him. I took him up on that and wound up living in S.F. for 14 years... 3 were bi-coastal with summers on Fire Island.

 

Promotional photos from Jack Deveau's Fire Island Fever (Hand in Hand Films, 1979)

Promotional photos from Jack Deveau's Fire Island Fever (Hand in Hand Films, 1979)

 

At the end of the first Fire Island season, 1976, a large group of the guys from John Whyte's "Boatel" moved en masse to San Francisco. I had a job waiting for me with Chuck Holmes.. so I was set! I couldn't believe S.F. - I thought that I had died and gone to heaven! The men, the men, the men! Lots of work with various studios commenced, including working with Al Parker and his lover. This went on for over a decade, intertwined with various other full time jobs including manning San Francisco's first gay gym, The Pump Room, and becoming an electronics maven at Eber Electronics in the Castro, which was my first real selling job.

Shortly after moving to San Francisco, I met the first love of my life, Tom Beebe. He knew exactly who I was and placed no expectations on me in terms of my "film career." We lived together in his small one bedroom apt. in the South of Market neighborhood for thirteen years until he passed from AIDS.

Music. Another big part of my life. During the last year that I worked on Fire Island, I had a wonderful affair with a man named Michael. Michael moved to San Francisco, as well. He was instrumental in creating the club Dreamland. He asked me to be part of the family and work on lighting. I had been making tapes and circulating them around town with success. Eventually, I was asked to DJ at the club. Easter Sunday Tea Dance 1980 was my debut. I played there briefly and then moved to playing music at the bars in the Castro... primarily The Badlands and Moby Dick Bar. I could feel a change coming. On Labor Day Weekend of 1991, I left S.F. and returned to the east coast to start a new version of myself.

After a few brief solo years, I met my spouse Alan in 1995. We met on the dancefloor of NYC's Roxie - a NYC dance club. It was the very weekend I returned from a non-productive year in South Beach. From this point on I rekindled the salesman part of myself as well as the musical part. I sold pianos and organs and taught the basics of organ techniques. I still have and play a massive Allen Theater organ. I also revisited the consumer electronics field in Santa Fe, N.M at The Candyman, where I managed the audio/video department.

Now at 71 and retired in the Southwest, I frequently reminisce about this great adventure called my life!

 

Will Seagers & Richard Locke on the cover of Drummer in an image from Joe Gage's L.A. Tool & Die (left); Will Seagers on the cover of Playguy Vol. 1, No. 1 (right)
Will Seagers & Richard Locke on the cover of Drummer from Joe Gage's L.A. Tool & Die (left); Will on the cover of Playguy Vol. 1, No. 1 (right)

 

Bio of Will Seagers:

Will Seagers (also credited as Matt Harper), within his multifaceted career and participation in numerous gay communities across the country in the '70s and '80s and beyond, worked as a print model and film performer. He made iconic appearances in releases from Falcon, Hand in Hand, Joe Gage, Target (Bullet), J. Brian, Steve Scott, and more, including in lead roles in major classics like Gage's L.A. Tool & Die (1979) and Scott's Wanted (1980). He brought strong screen presence and exceptional acting to his roles and was scene partners with many fellow legends of classic porn.

 

Will Seagers, present day image

Will Seagers, present day image

 

Thank you to Will Seagers for providing the photos featured in this blog.

 
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Recent Comments
Jim Steele
OMG! OMG! OMG! I am delighted to learn that he is alive and well. I was so in love with him! He was my ideal of a 'real' man. When... Read More
Saturday, 19 March 2022 03:59
BJ
yeah! glad to read this post, and yeah to having "Matt/Will" write it himself - thanks for sharing some of your life with us - and... Read More
Sunday, 20 March 2022 14:17
Joseph D. Kahoonei
Aloha. I Am So Happy To Know That Mr. Matt Harper Famously Known As Will Seagers Led A Great Life. I Always Looked Out For Him In... Read More
Sunday, 20 March 2022 18:32
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