Some Historical Perspective of Male Iconography
in Photography and Videography of Gay Culture
Single-handedly, videographer Jack Fritscher, as founding San Francisco editor of Drummer magazine (1977), virtually invented the glorification of "daddies" in their thirties, so the then 20-somethings could grow older wiser, and hotter, in whatever decade, on page and on screen. As critic John F. Karr wrote in June, 1985: "Jack Fritscher is an anarchest of gay sexual prose, the man who invented the South of Market prose style...as well as its magazines." He worked with porn legend Wakefield Poole and wrote the screenplay and novelization of J. Brian's Flashbacks. First photographed as a model by Lou Thomas of Target Studios (1970), Fritscher was the editor who discovered David Hurles' photography in 1977 and caused in 1981 the start-up of the video arm of Old Reliable Video Studio. Fritscher, in an unusual turn for screen artists, is the deeply established literary author of more than 400 published articles, stories, and screen plays in the masculine-identified gay press. As Drummer editor, he designed Robert Mapplethorpe's first magazine cover and for three years was Mapplethorpe's bi-coastal lover. His memoir of their high-media life together was the basis of his 1994 non-fiction best-seller, Mapplethorpe: Assault with a Deadly Camera. He is the author of nine other books including the epic 90's hit novel of the gay 70's, Some Dance to Remember (about a gay video pornographer and his models), as well as the 1996 coffee-table photo-book titled (like Fellini Satyricon), Jack Fritscher's American Men. He has shot the covers of novels such as James Purdy's Narrow Rooms (GMP, London, 1995) and interior photographs for books such as Brian Pronger's The Arena of Masculinity: Sports, Homosexuality, and the Meaning of Sex (St. Martin's Press, NY, 1990). Fritscher also shot the only professional video of the first then-termed "Gay Olympics" Bodybuilding Contest on the stage of the Castro Theatre. His photographs often appeared in Drummer under the alternate name "David Andrew Sparrow." In 1981, he discovered and photographed Roger Koch who became the professional Mapplethorpe model and Colt Studio legend known as Frank Vickers. For ten years, at university level, he taught film-making and journalism courses such as "Reviewing for the Press." Fritscher often composes and shoots videos for other producers and directors; in 1989, he shot on location in Europe the sequel to Marathon Films' Dungeons of Europe Trilogy, a six-title series, Bound for Europe, for Roger Earl and Terry LeGrand renowned for their classic Born to Raise Hell. For Mark Hemry's Palm Drive Video he has directed more than 125 feature-length videos including the scandalous Mr. America, Chris Duffy (aka Bull Stanton), in Sunset Bull which earned the silver medal as "Best Solo Video of the Year." Some pertinent auteur titles are the 2-hour bodybuilder documentary, The Blake Twins Raw (Twincest), My Nephew/My Lover, and When Bodybuilders Collide starring a re-vamped Don Russo who always seems to give Fritscher more "Russo-ness" than any other director can get. The director himself can be seen in such cult-ish videos as 8 Guys in Gasmasks, 2 Guys in Let's Play Doctor, and the most talked about Midnight Video ever, the fabulous Hot Lunch with Terry Kelly which requires parental discretion even if you're 50. Palm Drive Video was founded in 1985 and in 1986 released its first video, Blue-Collar Men.