RetroStuds of the Past: Focus on Dick Fisk

posted by Madame Bubby

Dick Fisk

On October 31, 1983, Falcon Studios model Dick Fisk was killed in a car accident with his lover, Joe Howard and the driver of another vehicle in Marietta, Georgia, a suburb of Atlanta. He was only 28 years old.

Dick's real name was Frank Ricky Fitts, and at the time of his death, he was employed in Atlanta gay clubs.

Dick was very much one of the famous faces of gay erotica during this period when the unabashed gay macho culture of the 1970s was still in full swing. Yet ominously, the mysterious “gay cancer,” (still not called AIDS) was beginning to claim victims in the urban gay ghettos of the period.

From the research I did, his porn career was not prolific, but he appeared in two of the main gay rags of the period, Mandate and Torso. His most famous image has become almost iconic: he appears as one of a trinity of porn gods of the time: Al Parker and Casey Donovan in Falcon's classic movie, The Other Side of Aspen.
 

Dick Fisk, Al Parker and Casey Donovan on the cover for The Other Side of Aspen

In the Bijou Classics repertoire, he makes an appearance in the star-studded Cruisin' the Castro, but admittedly, he does not appear in one of the more distinctive points of the movie (Richard Locke reigns supreme here).

He really ascended to the pantheon of gay gods in the famous eight-page spread in the February 1978 issue of Mandate magazine, called “A Man to Size Up.”
 

A Man to Size Up Dick Fisk spread in Mandate

Yes, he's got that overall macho look, and it's not just the mustache. It's the combination of a supremely confident (one might say arrogant) facial expression on a face that is both mature and youthful, the perfectly muscled chest, arms, and abs (muscled, but not overly bulked up), and the towering thick cock that rises like an obelisk between amazing legs that I could easily dub the Pillars of Hercules. And just enough hair, sexy growths in the most lickable places (I am thinking of the armpits).
 

Dick Fisk image from Mandate

I think he will always be an iconic image of a masculine ideal that so many gay men aspired to during that turbulent period in LGBTQ history. He died before the horrible plague, and perhaps the attraction, at least for me, is that he remains untouched by it. Of the trinity of porn gods I mentioned above, he did not suffer in body and spirit.

He is pure image, an Adonis killed tragically and suddenly as in the mortal beauty loved by the goddess Venus in Greek mythology (he was gored by a boar). But he does not (and nor does his lover) come back to life.

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The Sears Catalog

Sears department store exterior

Sears has been dying for some time, and after its recent filing for bankruptcy, it’s self-evident: the former retail giant will be as dead as a doornail.

Many folks of my generation remember the Sears catalog, especially the Christmas Wishbook edition. In fact, Sears began as a mail order outfit only, appealing to a mostly rural America in the late nineteenth and early twentieth century. Those isolated on homesteads could order items from a catalog; imagine the thrill of a package arriving in those days!
 

Sears Christmas Wishbook, 1964

As Americans became more citified and then suburban, Sears built department stores, and then became the main anchor in shopping malls. Now Americans with their ubiquitous automobiles could now travel to a consumer’s mecca and buy appliances for their newer homes designed to accommodate washing machines, refrigerators, and television sets.
 

Sears department store opening advertisement

Yet the catalog remained, and one of my memories as a young gayling was that catalog, and it wasn’t because of the underwear models (that dynamic arrived later). No, it was because of the home décor. I was fascinated with the living room sets Sears sold in the catalog, especially the French provincial and Early American lines. (No, I exhibited no intention at that age, even subconsciously, of becoming the clichéd gay decorator.)
 

Sears furniture in catalog, 1970s

Confined to mostly interior activities because of lack of athletic skills, I would cut up older catalogs and create my own rooms. I remember a sofa with a brown slipcover that featured prominently in my fantasy rooms, next to a ginger jar lamp. I guess I may have been going for a more lower middle class look than I had intended (think Roseanne, definitely taking place in a Sears household), but home for me equals comfort, sinking into a cushy sofa in a room softly illuminated by lamplight.
 

Ginger jar lamps

When puberty hit, I was drawn to the catalogs for another reason: the macho mustached guys wearing plaid shirts, Levis, and boots. That was the style of the time, and Sears sold “gay macho” wear because its customers were actual construction workers or even cowboys. I really like the pictures of guys posing in tight jeans and boots with clunky heels. And they were usually posing together, as clothing was sold in the catalogs based on gender. Yet the groups of good-looking, well-built guys hanging out together could produce a definite homoerotic vibe. For example, I remember one ad featuring guys leaning against a fence, that pose drawing the eye to the bulge in the jeans. I cut it out and pasted into a secret notebook.
 

Sears catalog cowboys

There’s more going on than just nostalgia for an American icon. I do find it brutally ironic that the supposed “making American great again” does not include the return of Sears, in so many ways a symbol of a time when a strong, blue-collar (and mostly white) middle class made good. But their descendants now shop at Walmart and/or Amazon, or, in some of the areas that suffered the most economically, dollar stores.

And the new generation of gaylings don’t have to stealthily cut up Sears catalogs to express forbidden fantasies. They can use phone apps, but most significantly, they don’t have to hide their artistic and sexual interests in a world where girls were girls and men were men. Yet I still feel like the effort involved in cutting up those catalogs stimulated creativity. I had to work for my fun. And part of the fun was the work involved in attaining it.
 

Sears catalog '70s fashion
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Retrostuds of the Past: Focus on Malo, a/k/a Arnaldo Santana

Malo

Malo is pretty much an icon in the Bijou Video filmography, as he appeared in Jack Deveau's Hand in Hand Films productions of A Night at the Adonis, Dune Buddies, and The Boys From Riverside Drive.
 

Malo on the set of Dune Buddies
Malo on the set of Dune Buddies

Malo and Jack Wrangler in The Boys From Riverside Drive
Malo and Jack Wrangler in The Boys From Riverside Drive

His scenes in A Night at the Adonis literally sizzle with electric sexual tension (both in the barber chair scene and in the orgy), and he wields in all three movies an stunningly beautiful uncut cock.
 

Malo and Jayson MacBride in A Night at the Adonis
Malo and Jayson MacBride in A Night at the Adonis
Malo and Jayson MacBride in A Night at the Adonis
Malo and Geraldo in A Night at the Adonis
Malo and Geraldo in A Night at the Adonis
Malo and Geraldo in A Night at the Adonis
Malo, Jayson MacBride, and Geraldo in A Night at the Adonis

Not only is his cock stunningly beautiful. His overall physical beauty made quite an impression on many viewers when he appeared in the movie Cruising under his real name Arnaldo Santana. Yes, the controversial Al Pacino movie.

He plays Loren Lukas, the first victim of the psycho. Young macho beauty (especially his perfect bubble butt which could have been lifted from a Greek statue of Apollo) violently mutilated. The whip the psycho runs across seems almost ancillary in this scene which seems to find its orgasm in the knife penetrating the flesh, not a hole in the body. Check out the scene on youtube; go to about 11:30 to see Malo in his beautiful agony.
 

Loren Lukas, afraid, in Cruising
Loren Lukas with a knife to his throat in Cruising
Malo/Arnaldo Santana in Cruising

And, believe it or not, Arnaldo was a friend of Al Pacino, and Al got him a part in the movie Scarface, as Ernie. According to imdb, “his acting career took a nose-dive when the handsome, muscular Santana gained over 100 pounds and became a heavy-set character actor.” You can see him as Ernie (and yes, he is heavier) in this youtube clip.
 

Ernie in Scarface
Ernie and Tony Montana (Al Pacino) in Scarface
Malo/Arnaldo Santana and Al Pacino in Scarface

Other than references to his roles in films (he also appeared in Rage of Angels), I have found no biographical information about Arnaldo Santana, but as Malo he is an iconic figure from that first period of gay liberation in the 1970s, when sex was popping out of every nook and cranny. What was hiding in the shadows became passionately, violently free.
 

Malo
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