What Was Your First Gay Movie? Please Share!

posted by Madam Bubby

 

A friend of mine told me he used to sneak into gay porn movie theaters in the seventies and eighties. At that time in New York City, where he lived, such establishments were plentiful. Specifically, he remembers first seeing Fred Halsted in leather in the movie L.A. Plays Itself (newly restored by MoMA and re-released on DVD, Blu-ray, and streaming and never forgot the experience, both watching the movie and the “extracurricular experience” that occurred in the seat next to him. Minus the hanky-panky in the seats, the grandparents and even great-grandparents of the current generation can tell a similar story, going to the movies to see a particular movie star they idolized, even seeing a movie that changed their lives and made them decide to go into show business. 

 

Fred Halsted
Fred Halsted

  

Now that most guys can get their porn over the internet, in fact, any movie via streaming and youtube, the “big event,” almost like a coming out to oneself (or in some cases, others as well) of going to see a gay movie may have lost its social and psychological importance. By gay movie, now, I don't just mean a gay porn movie. It could mean any movie with an overtly gay character or a gay theme. More of these movies were appearing in the seventies and eighties, following the wake of the groundbreaking Boys in the Band. Check out Vito Russo's The Celluloid Closet (the book and the documentary film) to find out more about some of these movies, such as Sunday, Bloody Sunday and Making Love.

 

The Celluloid Closet book cover

 

One of these movies was my first gay movie: Victor, Victoria. I saw it when it first came out, in 1982. I didn't know at the time about the movie's gender-bending and gay content, nor did I know that the person who asked me to go (who was ostensibly dating a female friend of mine) was gay. I got more of the humor about opera and singing and cockroaches in restaurants than its complex, contradictory messages about who is really a man or a woman in this movie about a woman pretending to be a man pretending to be a woman.

 

Victor Victoria poster and image
Victor/Victoria

 

Overall, the movie seemed more escapist for me at that time, an escape into a fictitious Paris of the 1930s where you could be gay (even though that term was not used at that point, and I still tended to see that word as meaning happy) and go to fancy nightclubs and live in art deco hotels. Maybe all the singing and costumes appealed to a stereotypical “gay” sensibility in me, but I'm not sure. Other than the initial poverty of Julie Andrews and Robert Preston before they concocted their brilliant scheme, the movie was nothing like my current reality of being a college student in a sheltered Chicago suburb that seemed leagues away from what was happening on Wells Street, the center of gay nightlife in Chicago at that point and where the Bijou Theater was showing gay porn films starring Al Parker and Jack Wrangler. Looking in hindsight, I see a profound disconnect between what I thought I knew and what I really didn't know about sexual identity, not unlike the appearance versus reality conflicts the characters in the movie experience.


What was your first gay film? Reply to this blog and share with us! 

 

 
 
 
 
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Recent Comments
Carlos
Hi, about the subject, the first gay movie I saw, there were two actually, I don't recall which one was first but I saw them about... Read More
Friday, 28 January 2022 19:12
DAVID MCKELLAR
The first gay film I saw was 7 In A Barn by J Brian, around 1972. I screwed up my courage to go in and see it. What an experience... Read More
Friday, 28 January 2022 20:40
Lawrence King
My first gay movie was actually an ABC MOVIE OF THE WEEK. "That Certain Summer" with Hal Holbrook and Martin Sheen. Funny how pla... Read More
Sunday, 30 January 2022 07:18
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Forty Years Ago: Fred Halsted and Jack Wrangler Debuts

Forty Years Ago: Fred Halsted and Jack Wrangler Debuts

In the spring of 1975, states were repealing sodomy laws, though on April 12 the Arizona House passed an emergency measure to ban same-sex marriages, and the Colorado Attorney General ruled such marriages were illegal too.


Despite these setbacks the gay liberation counterculture was in full swing, despite so many setbacks, and the gay porn industry, at that time a major outlet for expressing openly (and often artistically) gay men's sexuality, was flourishing in its film to movie theater format.

 

For example, on April 30, Fred Halsted's film Sextool came out. Its definitely experimental approach - which involved surrealistic imagery, BDSM sex, and disjunctive editing - turned off rather than on many reviewers, but it did get a write up in the mainstream press. Variety actually claimed Halsted was “the Ken Russell of S & M homoerotica.” Bijou's review is here.

On May 19, Jack Stillman made his debut as Jack Wrangler when he performed a striptease on cowboy gear at the Paris Theater in Los Angeles. He was dressed like a cowboy. He took his surname from those cowboy jeans that really show off a cute ass, of course.

 

Later that year, he starred in his first gay porn film, Ranch Dudes, a 15-minute loop where he jacks off his big member in a corral. He must have really been into that cowboy look early in his career. We have remastered an edit of this loop, calling it Cowboy, in our Magnum Griffin 14 compilation.

 

Here at Bijouworld.com and Bijougayporn.com (where both of these titles can be found) we are dedicated to the preservation and dissemination of key artistic mediums that shaped and continue to shape gay sexuality.

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The World of Gay Personal Ads: Glimpses Then and Now

The World of Gay Personal Ads: Glimpses Then and Now

They were a world all their own in the days before Craiglist and Grindr and Scruff. 


I remember when you had to run print ones in newspapers and magazines, and there was this elaborate procedure involving ad numbers and passwords for calling in to see if you got any messages. If you wanted a picture, you were prepared to pay for it, handsomely.

 

And close to the personal sections there were so many of those 1-800 numbers like “The Leather Line” advertised where you could get a person, I guess, if you didn't want to wait for a response. That was as close to immediate gratification you could get in those days without leaving the house to try and find a hook up at a bar.

 

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