Super NOVA

By Josh Eliot

 

Nova Studios logo

 

When I saw on the Bijou website that they are offering Nova Studios note cards (Set 1 and Set 2), I thought to myself, what a great collector’s item! I remember my older brother’s collection from 1966 of the Lost in Space “Topps” trading cards, especially the ones featuring my first crush at age 5, Don West. Card sets came in various sizes, small enough to include a flat piece of bubble gum and as large as Lobby Cards showcased in theaters. What an incredible taste of the 60’s and 70’s, and it’s no surprise to me that Nova Video’s founder Robert Walters (known to me as Scott Masters) included such items in his mail order business.

 

Lost in Space trading card and Nova note cards

Lost in Space trading card (left) and Nova note cards (right)

 

Walters started his business in 1967, producing male photo sets for bookstores, and then partnered with Reuben Sturman to shoot and print magazines. In 1970, magazines segued into loops (8mm short films designed for peep shows) and by 1976, Walters had directed more than 100 of them. The same year, he founded Nova Studios and shot their first production, Tub Tricks. The silent films were now 20 minutes in length and sold through direct mail as well as at adult bookstores.

 

Images from Nova's Tub Tricks

Images from Nova's Tub Tricks (DVD | Streaming)

 

Nova’s offices were right across the street from Pink's Hot Dogs, a Los Angeles landmark, where on any given day you can see A-List stars in line or in their limos waiting for Pinks’s Famous Chili Cheese Dogs. Several blocks away was another wiener stand called Oki-Dog, which was not as famous. Instead of Hollywood elite as their customers, the place was always crawling with street hustlers, making it a great location for Walters to pick up lunch and discover new talent for photographing.

 

Oki-Dog and Pink's

Oki-Dog (left) and Pink's (right)

 

The Robert Walters Nova era was prior to my meeting him in 1987, but my friend Chet Thomas worked for Walters at Nova from 1984 to 1986, when Nova stopped production and they both signed with Catalina Video. Once I moved to Los Angeles, Chet and I were attached at the hip and he would tell me stories about his times working for Robert Walters. William Higgins hired Walters as head of production, and he shot his first movie for Catalina called The Bigger They Come. Chet Thomas became the company editor. Walters, now known to everyone as Scott Masters, hired me in 1987 in San Francisco and then brought me to L.A. in 1989. He set me up in a fabulous condo on Sweetzer Street just a block from The Spike, a gay bar that Chet and I would hang out at.

Being new to Los Angeles, Scott Masters had me shadow him everywhere. Any day that we weren’t shooting sex, he had a list a mile long of “things” for me to do. At times I felt like an indentured servant, frequently getting him his favorite lunch (curry chicken sandwich from a Sunset Blvd deli) or organizing and inventorying his garage, which was filled floor to ceiling with wardrobe from his Nova and Catalina movies. Masters was a “costume queen” producer, always spending money from our budgets on them to satisfy his own fetish. Obsessed would be an appropriate word. When he wasn’t focusing on the latest Members Only jacket, he trained me on producing, budgeting, directing photo layouts, scouting locations, model scouting, and grooming. One day, we headed to San Diego to meet a potential new “exclusive” model, but stopped on the way to see a penthouse in Hollywood for a possible shooting location. The penthouse unit had the highest ceilings ever with a massive balcony overlooking the living room. It was beautifully furnished, very high end, until we got to one room in particular. Inside that room was a wall to wall wrestling mat, making it look like a sports facility.

The owner led us to an attached room where a couple of guys looking very “Street-Wise” were throwing back some beers. The owner of the penthouse was David Hurles, one of the first reality porn moguls famous for the Old Reliable video line. David would pick up ex-cons, street hustlers, straight dudes looking for bucks and pay them pretty well to smoke cigars, wrestle, flex their muscles, flip off the camera and jack off. His collection feels very authentic… because it is! The guys are exactly what they portray on the screen, hard edged and a little frightening in a very HOT way! It felt a bit tense being around them, for me. David invited us to stay to watch him film, which I thought would have been amazing, but Scott declined, as we were on our way to San Diego.

 

Old Reliable movies and audio recordings

Old Reliable movies (DVD | Streaming) and Old Reliable audio recordings

 

Once in San Diego’s Seaport Village, we waited at a table for the potential new model to meet us. Adam Grant came walking up with a huge smile, great personality, and very excited at the prospect of being an exclusive model for Catalina. We talked, then went back to his apartment where Scott Masters got some hard shots of him (fattest dick ever) while I waited in the other room with his female roommate - awkward! He was cast to star in Head of the Class 2, which we ended up shooting in Palm Springs instead of David Hurles’ penthouse. When grooming the new star, Scott Masters went all out, taking Adam Grant to stylist of the stars José Eber's salon. Adam looked great after the makeover, but introducing him to Eber kind of backfired. Once Head of the Class 2 finished shooting, Adam Grant and Eber started a decades long relationship and Grant was no longer interested in becoming a Catalina Exclusive Model or shooting any more movies.

Scott Masters produced all of my and John Travis’ features from 1987 to 1992. Catalina ownership changed hands and Masters and Travis could not come to terms with a new contract and left the company. It was a huge loss for Catalina Video, and the same year they both started Studio 2000. I was offered the role of producer with Catalina, which I worked at until 2007 when the company was sold yet again. I’ll write much more about Scott and John, as there are so many adventures that need to be told. In 2020, Scott Masters passed away at the age of 86 in Bloomington, Illinois. He was one of the very first in our field, paving the way for adult photographers and filmmakers to come. His star shines bright in the skies like a supernova.

 

Nova DVDs

The Nova film collection - available through Bijou on DVD and Streaming

 

Bio of Josh Eliot:

At the age of 25 in 1987, Josh Eliot was hired by Catalina Video by John Travis (Brentwood Video) and Scott Masters (Nova Video). Travis trained Eliot on his style of videography and mentored him on the art of directing. Josh directed his first movie, Runaways, in 1987. By 2009 when Josh parted ways with Catalina Video, he'd produced and directed hundreds of features and won numerous awards for Best Screenplay, Videography, Editing, and Directing. He was entered into the GayVN Hall of fame in 2002. 

 

You can read Josh Eliot's previous blogs for Bijou here:

Coming out of my WET SHORTS
FRANK ROSS, The Boss
Our CALIGULA Moment

That BUTTHOLE Just Winked at Me!
DREAMLAND: The Other Place
A Salty Fuck in Saugatuck
Somebody, Call a FLUFFER!
The Late Great JOHN TRAVIS, My POWERTOOL Mentor
(Un)Easy Riders
7 Years with Colt Model MARK RUTTER

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If You are in Self-Isolation and Need to Find Some Pleasure...

Posted by Madam Bubby

 

I just consulted the office's copy of the 1960s chapbook, The Guild Dictionary of Homosexual Terms.

These are a few of euphemisms for something you can always do if you are in self-isolation; as Helen Reddy sang, "My best friend is myself," and adding to that, your right or left hand or whatever you use for maximum pleasure:

Ball off, beat off, come your mutton, come your turkey, flog the bishop, jerk the gherkin, manualexercises, pull the pudding, squeeze off, whank off

Note the food imagery, which makes sense, as both are sources of primal pleasure, and the "end result" of jacking off can also be delicious, depending on what turns you on.

And Bijou Video is here to help you in this area. In fact, we sell a series of video and audio which were specifically tailored to autoeroticism: David Hurles' Old Reliable series. Now mostly straight "rough trade" might not be your cup of tea or whatever liquid you imbibe, but these studs talk dirty to the camera and play with themselves and flex muscles and smoke.

 

Old Reliable catalog page
Vintage Old Reliable catalog page

 

But most significantly, their focus is on you and your cock in these pioneering solo jack off videos.

I can recommend an audio of one nasty (in the most enticing, exciting way sense) stud Tom V. (Audio clip at link.) He's straight, and you can always skip the tracks about "pussy" if that's not your thing, but the track about an incident when he was in jail ... it could certainly fuel even more fantasies. He's also got a rough, gravely voice, so despite the fact he is one macho guy visually, the voice itself could be enough to whank off to.

 

Tom V. Old Reliable Audio

 

We carry many Old Reliable series videos on DVD and streaming and several Old Reliable audio collections on CD.

Please note that we are still selling online at Bijou World and our ebay store, our streaming site is running, and we will still be taking phone orders during our regular business hours, 10 am to 6 p.m.

Our mission at Bijou Video has always focused on spreading joy and pleasure as part of a healthy, nonjudgmental philosophy of sexuality, all kinds of sexuality.

We intend to continue that mission during these life-changing times.

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Featured

What Exactly is Rough Trade? Inquiring "Sissies" Want to Know

 

Hairy Old Reliable model flexing


In the recent funny and campy and touching movie Florence Foster Jenkins, Cosme McMoon, her naive waif-life closeted gay accompanist (played by the absolutely adorable Simon Helberg), is late to Madame Florence's infamous 1944 Carnegie Hall recital. Why? He claims breathlessly, implying perhaps post-coital euphoric exhaustion, he was “jumped” by a bunch of sailors, and that they were “most disrespectful.” (Interestingly enough, the real McMoon later in his life was a judge at ostensibly straight bodybuilding contests; some even claim he also ran a gay escort service or even brothel, but the latter is probably more faux news.) 
 

Scene from Florence Foster Jenkins

Madame Florence of course has her mind on other matters, and Cosme's chum, Florence's common-law husband St. Clair Bayfield played by a suave Hugh Grant, also ignores the remark. But one gets the sense he knows what really happened. 


So, apparently, that “little McMoon” was into rough trade. I've thrown the term around a bit in blogs and tweets and other communiques, but I've always wondered what it actually meant, and, as it turns out, it isn't just the cliched doin' it with sex-starved sailors on the wharf (apparently, by the time McMoon experienced the joy of rough trade brothels for women weren't located seaside, another cliché, or were they?) 
 

Sailor with knife in Querelle

Trade (also known as Chow) is a gay slang term originating from Polari (a gay slang encoded language) and refers to the (usually) casual partner of a gay man or to the genre of such partners. Often, the terms trade and rough trade are treated as synonymous. Often the attraction for the gay male partner is finding a dangerous, even thuggish, straight, or bisexual partner who may turn violent. That is not to say that people necessarily desire to be physically hurt, but the danger of seeking a partner in a public park, restroom, or alleyway may be exciting. For example, in the Chicagoland area, the suburban forest preserves (especially on Sundays) supply a convenient local for such trade. How do I know this? I've seen it (that's all I am going to say). 


Another variation is in comparison to regular trade, rough trade is more likely to be working-class laborers with less education and more physical demands of their work, therefore with a body developed naturally rather than in a gym. They may also exhibit a less polished or clean-cut style than an office worker or professional businessman. 

For example, remember that book Maurice by E.M. Forster and the movie made of it starring Hugh Grant as well? Aristocratic Maurice Hall, after being rejected by the bisexual Clive Durham (Grant's role) falls in love with Alec Scudder, the lower-class gamekeeper, played by Rupert Graves. Maurice and Alec's future as a couple is thus doubly doomed, not just because of their gayness, but because of the social division. It would be more acceptable if Alec was just a rough trade fling rather than a partner in a loving relationship. 
 

Maurice and Alec in Maurice

In the world of Bijou gay porn, the Old Reliable series (available on DVD,streaming instantly, and on audio CD) made by David Hurles reveals one of the more authentic “rough trade” or “trade” scenarios captured for posterity before the days of down-low and overt (and thus lacking the real danger of actual trade) Sean Cody gay-for-pay DVDs. Hurles hired admittedly rough-looking, blue-collar, conventionally “thuggish” guys to talk dirty for the camera and also beat their usually awe-inspiring meat for the audience. 

 

Director David Hurles

According to a couple of sources, "David likes psychos. Nude ones. Money-hungry drug addicts with big dicks. Rage-filled robbers without rubbers. And of course, convicts." Apparently these guys were really dangerous, like they could kill him. Yet somehow David could manage them and get them to perform. Wow! However, Hurles also said: "There have been several thousand models. When they are not in prison, or very married, it has been my practice to stay in touch with many of them, often over decades. They are my friends." On another occasion he said that one of the hardest parts of his job was not getting caught up "in the miserable lives of my models." The gay viewer could vicariously experience rough trade without subjecting himself to the very real, terrifying dangers. 

 

Two muscular Old Reliable models
Three Old Reliable models, two smoking cigars and one flipping off the camera
Three Old Reliable models, one tattooed, one with boxing gloves, one smoking a cigar
Hairy Old Reliable model flipping off the camera

 

In fact, rough trade sexual encounters resulted in the deaths the gay silent film icon Ramon Navarro and the famous Italian cinematographer Pier Paolo Pasolini. 


Now, based on the above tragedies, I might think twice about the phrase “dick of death,” but I also remember how sex and violence and even death can erupt as one terrifying conflagration. Orgasm is after all le petit mort, both beautiful and terrible. 

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