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.

Saturday, 16 January 2016

1950: party boys - or stag night at the steamroom ...

What young actors had to do to get publicity in those 1950s fan mags!  My IMDB pal Melvelvit (a denizen of their Classic Film Board) unearthed this feature from a 1950 issue of "Modern Screen" featuring young chaps around town (Hollywood) entitled: "Stag Night At The Steamroom" - it was a more innocent time of course, but this comes across as so screamingly gay now - even down to a naked Rock Hudson (risque for 1950) getting a rubdown .... add in young Tony Curtis and occasional cowboys Scott Brady and Hugh O'Brien and John Bromfield (?) - all clients of that notorious Hollywood agent Henry Willson, if his other clients like Rory Calhoun and Guy Madison were included as well, the steam room would certainly have steamed up!

Rock and Tony were starting out then -both had small parts in that year's WINCHESTER 73 (see Westerns label).  Here is the full feature, with that delirious text.:

"The heat is on at Finlandia, the only place a man is put on the shelf - and likes it" ...

Saunas must have been a new concept then, as the feature goes into all the details of what having a sauna entails. There is lots of saucy banter here, and the boys get fed too: "huge cuts of roast beef, turkey, ham, scandanavian cheese and lots of potato salad". One gets pretty hungry working up a sweat - fruit juice, soda and beer were also on tap, then it was time for a nap. Eating and drinking at the sauna does seem a little counter-productive ...

Scott Brady went on to play the Dancin' Kid in that cult western JOHNNY GUITAR, one of my enduring favourites and the first film I ever saw aged 8, suddenly it seems a lot gayer now. He also paid his dues in many westerns like THE MAVERICK QUEEN with Stanwyck. It seems he did not marry until later in life ("The seemingly one-time confirmed bachelor decided to settle down in 1967 at age 43") and developed into a reliable character actor, with later roles in THE CHINA SYNDROME and GREMLINS (he died aged 60 in 1985). Hugh O'Brien, 90 now, of course did lots of westerns too (SEMINOLE, TAZA SON OF COCHISE, WHITE FEATHER, BROKEN LANCE) while Rock and Tony were soon heading for the A-list, leaving layouts like this behind them. Thirty years later in 1980 when perhaps past their prime they were reunited for the enjoyable camp farrago THE MIRROR CRACK'D
Below: Scott Brady with Crawford and Sterling Hayden in JOHNNY GUITAR.


  1. God bless Henry Willson and his eye for talented beefcake like Jeffrey Hunter, Robert Wagner, Tab Hunter, Troy Donahue, Rock Hudson...
    And this Modern Screen article - wowza!!Tony Curtis was amazingly gorgeous!! The Fifties were sexier than I thought!!

  2. I think they got away with a lot more in the 50s! I am just starting a fascinating book too, also recommended by Melvelvit - LAID BARE by John Gimore, "A memoir of wrecked lives and the Hollywood Death Trip" - as he reveals all about his times with James Dean, Bardot, Mansfield, Seberg, Dennis Hopper,Jack Nicholson, Lenny Bruce,Janis Joplin, Jane Fonda, Eartha Kitt, Hank Williams, Sal Mineo, Steve McQueen and er, Charles Manson. Yes, its all here - another HOLLYWOOD BABYLON? We will see ...

    The book on Henry Willson and his boys is a fascinating if depessing read too ... they were all so closeted then, two men could not even go to dinner together - they had to have a third one along to make it seem innocent! and Willson would not allow his boys to set up home together ....

  3. That should be John Gilmore .... another denizen of the Hollywood underworld.

  4. Even as a lad of 8 or 9 I knew what was up!!

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