About the Blog..

My blog title, Ossessione, American Style, is taken from a movie by Count Luchino Visconti, who borrowed the plot of his astonishing debut film, Ossessione, from James M. Cain's novel, The Postman Always Rings Twice. Unfortunately, Visconti never paid for the rights and his film was not shown in the U.S. until many years after its release. The star of the movie, Massimo Girotti, would be People's "Sexiest Man Alive" many years running had the zine been around at the time. We first see him as a truck driver in a filthy sleeveless athletic undershirt, another of my obsessions: remember Paul Newman in an a-shirt (e.g. Hud or Cool Hand Luke)? Nowadays, they cheapen this garment who confuse it with something tank troops wore in World War I. The a-shirt is an undershirt, usually with thin bands over the shoulders; a tank top is a shirt without sleeves, akin to a "muscle shirt," only with wider bands over the shoulders. But, I digress....)

The purpose of this photo/comment column is to present a record of my obsessions. These are wide-ranging and diverse. This blog is not intended to be pornographic. The only pornography today is in politics.

Tuesday, November 27, 2012

Tab and "The Longest Schlong in Showbusiness"

I wish I had seen this photo forty years ago.  To think that there were photos thunking around showing a semi-nude duo I'd admired, fan-like, since college years.  Gay boys should be trim but not beefy.  These two are perfect.  The present trend toward buff bodies in WeHo gym definition is quite excessive, though I am sure I feel that way because of envy.  Which one is having the birthday?  Roddy broke my heart in How Green Was My Valley, and I had no way of knowing that the charming little coal-miner's son would grow up to have what rumor had it was "the longest schlong is show biz."  Friend to the late Liz and astonishingly compelling -- make that brilliant -- in The Haunting of Hell House, McDowell was as well a fine still photographer.  He was a card carrying member of the British enclave in Hollywood, and everyone knew he was gay.  Tab went to greater lengths to hide his inclinations, so one wonders, what was the idea behind the photo shoot?  What were they thinking?!

Wednesday, November 21, 2012

The Actor, Not the PAC Man

I now realize that I had my fixation on Tony Perkins about the same time that I fell in love with my friend Luke.  They had roughly the same body mass, boney chests, and widespread shoulders, in Tony's case probably the tipping point by casting when he starred opposite Jane Fonda in a routine comedy called Tall Story.  It was a college basketball romance in which the fetishistic filmmaker, Joshua Logan, indulged his image of Perkins lean and lanky in sleeveless jerseys, the silk borders luring into tops of pectoral muscles and underarm bush.  If one had, as did I, a hankering for Hank Fonda's daughter as well, their (clothed) shower scene in a cramped trailer was a 100% turn on.

Perkins came from an acting family and could do quirky geeky weirdos better than anyone alive.  I think my favorite of his many movies is Orson Welles's The Trial, which shows Tony, as Kafka's Joseph K., being given the third degree by the totalitarian government's KGB-like cops.  He stutters through the apartment until one discovers that a throw carpet hides a suspicious oval shape on the floor.  Perkins' voice almost breaks when he blurts: "Oh...THAT...that was where I kept my pornograph."  The reaction on Perkins's face when the KGB guys stare at him is priceless.  I recall at the time of international release, Welles was chided by French film writers. (Cahiers du Cinema? I read so many movie magazines in the past I cannot now recall, but it was a socialist rag.)  It seems he committed the unpardonable sin of going commercial and casting "that faggot Tony Perkins" in the leading role.

It is common to read online that Perkins was "gay" or that he was only into guys.  Some of the crabs had to have ignored the fact that Tony did not marry Berry for a cover.  These were not the Tab Hunter days.  Perkins had gone through considerable psychoanalysis, hopefully with someone who told him it was OK to be bisexual.  Some folks are made that way.  With Ms. Berenson, he had children.  He may have had acute homosexual tendencies (he died of HIV-AIDS if that is any indication), but he was married with children.  Only exclusively homosexual persons never have sex with the opposite sex.

My Next Beautiful Blond Obsession: Hint: He Inspired the First Diet Cola Drink

The next beautiful blond man that caught my eye after Carlton Carpenter was Arthur Andrew Kelm.  Little did I know that the rumors about him were true and that photos of Tab with the late Tony Perkins. (I say "late" lest you think that the theofascistic current Tony Perkins, head honcho at an organization the Southern Poverty Law Center has put on its "Hate Groups" list.  They spend small fortunes on efforts to stop same sex marriage, but they lost the battle before they started it.)  I have to think I first saw Tab in the war movie, Battle Cry, which outdid The Passion of Christ and The Last Temptation of Christ in pre-release publicity.  The scenario went kind of like this:

Fellow Student: Hey, man, have you seen that new movie, Battleground?
Student: No, why, is it good?
Fellow Student: It's really cool.  It's this war movie and there's a scene in there where one platoon is saluting the other platoon.  Giving them the finger, man.  No movie's ever shown that.

And I do not think any other movie had shown that.  Indeed, it comes well into the film, when some exhausted new recruits stop to rest only to see another, rival platoon march by, and if you know ahead of time to watch for it, one of the resting troops gives the Holy Trinity to the passers-by.  But to me, the irony is in Tab Hunter working with the All Man macho moviemaker, Raoul Walsh, and the irony of my not knowing until reading a biography of Tony Perkins (the guy who acted in Psycho, not the psycho dissing same sex marriage for the obscenely named Family Research Council) that the two men would go on studio-arranged double dates.  Just in case the tabloids, always lurking the wings, shot photos that night.

Tuesday, November 20, 2012

Two or Three Things I Know About Devon Sawa

Having once been a celebrity biographer doing hack work without a hatchet, I think I can cut through a lot of nonsense with my built in bullshit meter.  I've read a bit of the press about Devon Sawa and come to the conclusion he is an elusive star who got his acting chops on material designed to show him off to the tween heartthrob fan magazine audiences and a few older males.  I saw him first in 1996, with Night of the Twisters, as a resourceful boy in aid of his family, albeit recklessly; or was it Wild America in '97, about the time one of his co-stars was having difficulty with his sexuality, making the movie as interesting now as it was then.

I went on to see everything he had done in the years prior; unfortunately, two are TV episode appearances and one TV movie that I missed.  And I have not yet known the curious experience of seeing him as "Casper on Screen" in the eponymous film about the friendly ghost.  Just too cloying for me.  (Which doesn't mean I won't look for it in the bargain bin.)  What consistently struck me about the films is that although Mr. Sawa was a British Columbian (Vancouver, once dubbed "the most satanic city in North America") who made good on American TV, he developed his craft even as he gravitated into film.  In that medium he gave some memorable performances culminating in Final Destination, a kind of watermark in a career in that he was on cusp of juvenile-adult roles. He apparently celebrated with some tattoos, a rite of passage for every rebellious boy in my time, and de rigueur for rock stars in these times. Hey, I even loved Idle Hands, which I whimsically renamed Idol Hands.

Wilde said that the worst calamity than can befall one is to be ignored.  Now that Perez Hilton is dissing Devon for drugs and weird sex (you'd think he secretly worshiped Aleister Crowley!) we know he is part of the Celebrity Grist Mill: that self-engorging monster we, the Gods, created, fashioning it of base metal, thereby allowing us to feel good about being ordinary. But this I know: If a hundredth of one percent of what tabloid twits like Miss Hilton say is true, I'd Pac Man my blog.