Dedications: My four late friends Rory, Stan, Bryan, Jeff - shine on you crazy diamonds, they would have blogged too. Then theres Garry from Brisbane, Franco in Milan, Mike now in S.F. / my '60s-'80s gang: Ned & Joseph in Ireland; in England: Frank, Des, Guy, Clive, Joe & Joe, Ian, Ivan, Nick, David, Les, Stewart, the 3 Michaels / Catriona, Sally, Monica, Jean, Ella, Anne, Candie / and now: Daryl in N.Y., Jerry, John, Colin, Martin and Donal.
Tuesday, 21 February 2012
Its certainly a fascinating read! - the book they are all up in arms about ... Scotty Bowers' story of the sexual services he provided for the in-crowd of Hollywood during the 1940s and later, from his gas station in downtown L.A. - the biggest stars turned up ...
I feel I am the only one in on the joke - this is surely Gore Vidal's last throw of the dice, a gigantic spoof, on the lines of his novels MYRA BRECKINRIDGE and MYRON - that pansexual world he advocates where everyone can have sex with everyone else regardless of gender or age, and may be his final revenge on people he doesn't like ...
I can well believe Scotty really exists (he is now 88) and was pimping out not only himself but also other guys and gals at the gas station in L.A. back in the '40s - Gore certainly knew him and has taken his story and added all the star stuff - "spilling the beans" on Hepburn, Tracy and the rest. Scotty seems to get his dates mixed up quite a bit - just after the war in about 1946 he describes a lunch meeting with Hepburn and Cukor and hair stylist Sydney Guilaroff (another happy client of Scottys of course) and they are arguing over Kate's hair style in ADAMS RIB, which is a 1949 film !
Also rich famous and goodlooking stars like Cary Grant and Randolph Scott would surely have to be very careful if they needed hunky marines to spice up their relationship between all those marriages of theirs. And then there is the peculiar story of Spencer Tracy and Scotty - and Walter Pidgeon (who knew? my mother's favorite actor!) outed as an early client of Scottys! Of course closeted stars back then couldn't be seen hanging out in bars, cruising the seafront or attending George Cukor's or Rock Hudson's exotic parties - not after Tab Hunter was caught at a "pyjama party". Also a lot of these actors had lines to learn for the next day, and could not be out late at night - so a discreet service set up by a hunky ex-marine who kept his mouth shut would have been ideal.
Despite my fascination with this tawdry side of hollywood it is not gossip as such I am after, but the truth of things - it is always the work that is important to me, and they certainly worked in those days, with 2 or 3 films a year !
I don't know how the lesbian scene works but would one of hollywood's top stars like Kate Hepburn want (or trust someone to get) young girls sent to her ? Supposing they talked afterwards ... why have none of them come forward, some must still be alive. And I think Vivien Leigh was quite adept at picking up truck drivers on her own, without Scotty's help ...
The book seems very disjointed - it begins with him being an innocent arriving in hollywood in 1946 after the war - Gore's golden age, as he often wrote about - and starting work at the gas station - as if he was an innocent and knew nothing about the goings on of the early 40s ... but as he tells his story in the following chapters he is the new kid in town in the early 40s on a weekend pass from the marines, and the first guy who picks him up turns out to be Orry-Kelly ! the famous dress designer (and a close pal of Cary's - who is not mentioned then). Then George Cukor turns up and invites him to his pool party the next sunday ! Then he is having threesomes with Cary and Randy - whom I thought lived together in the mid-30s - but this was the early 40s when they were at the height of their carrers and married to women, so they were hardly living together then, so maybe Scotty is getting his wires crossed - and he says he also bartended at a party/orgy of theirs in 1950!
Oh, and he meets Katharine Hepburn at the first Cukor pool party he attends, where she comes across as a very mannish lesbian ... so was Kate a regular at George's famous pool parties then? and it turns out George hates Garland ! It seems too that these guys like Cukor and Cole Porter are only interested in oral sex -maybe back then famous gays always paid for every sexual encounter and never wanted a relationship or to live with someone, but just to suck off an endless parade of johns - what a way to live!
And it seems every man Scotty ever met wanted to have sex with him, even when he was a kid, even all the married ones! Its a great read but one can hardly believe some of it! - plus no notes or index. Trash, then - utter trash, but try putting it down ... Scotty comes across as a saint, he never charged for his services, and didn't even want a cut on the sale of (then hard to get) pornographic pictures he posed for! Of course gay liberation and the gay lifestyle did not exist back in that post-war 1940s golden era, so young guys (and gals presumably) could sleep with or provide tricks for either sex without thinking about it too much or having to label themselves ... and there wasn't that 24 hour news media, mobile camera phones, or internet or inquisitive press to spoil things - as long as the fan magazines were kept happy!
Then of course in the '50s he helps out Roddy, Rock, Monty, Tony Perkins et al, (and later in the '60s Brian Epstein when The Beatles hit America) but he certainly didn't like Jimmy Dean! (who could get his own pickups) - his view on Rock's sham marriage is certainly interesting too - she, Phyllis, was of course a lesbian. How did they get away with it?, with all the PR people and fan magazines colluding in the fantasy; that couldn't still happen today could it? An interesting companion too to that William K Mann's tome on KATE a few years ago ... which also mentions Scotty. Plus if you read it you won't ever see Charles Laughton in the same light again!
(Coming soon: all those photos of Cary and Randolph ...)