Thursday, October 31, 2013

Halloween - Past and Present

The first Halloween I can remember was when I was about eight years old.  I lived on Washington Avenue in the small town of Downingtown, Pennsylvania (pop. 5,000).  Our family lived on  great street for trick or treating, Washington Avenue was right in the center of town.

This is the first time I'm revealing my first costume but it was a southern ball gown.  Yep folks, old "butchie" (now anyway) Ron went dressed up as a GIRL! Specifically a Southern Belle.  

Going to school in the Fifties I was transfixed by all the crinolines in my females classmate's dresses. Oh how I loved that swish and swish when they got up from their desks to change classes.  Oh yes folks, I had the big hoop dress!  What was I thinking?  No wonder when I went trick or treating up and down Washington Avenue with all the cowboys, scarecrows, and skeletons I was the ONLY hoop skirted eight year old boy.

 I think I only did this once before it sunk into my eight year old brain that this WASN'T the way to go.  I mean talk about horror scenes……

In succeeding years I trick or treated as a bum (which wasn't a big stretch since we were almost dirt poor) and as a scarecrow but never as an eight year old drag queen again.  God, if I did who knows what I would be doing today?  Probably giving our local drag queen Mona Lotts a run for her tip money at the Blue Moon in Rehoboth Beach.

After we moved from Washington Avenue I didn't do Halloween again until 1979, when I was 38 years old. Thank God by now I was out of my drag diva mode and into my monster mode.  I've posted those 1979 Halloween pictures several times in my past blog postings. 
Me and my friend Bob McC. - Philadelphia - 1979

Fast forward to 2007 (oh how the years go by).  Bill and I had just moved to Delaware.  We were invited to a Halloween party.  The first and last Halloween party I've been invited to since we moved to Delaware.  I went with my butch monster outfit again.  First I tried it out on my neighbor Barbara.

Barbara loved it/me!  It was a go!

Me and my neighbors Don and Al.  We're off to the party!

The party was a bust.  I didn't know anyone and since I had my mask on, no on knew me.  They wouldn't of known me anyway, I'm not part of the "In Crowd."  Never been invited back.  Oh well.

Taking a break from the Halloween part, and giving my face refresher from that hot mask.

One of these Halloweens, before I get too old and end up in an assisted care facility I would like to do just one more Halloween.  The below picture of from the 1979 Halloween I celebrated in Philadelphia when I took a tour of the gay bars on Halloween night.  I saw some of the best costumes. This is "Lady Marmalade."  

Maybe next time I'll go as Jason or is it Michael Myers? I also get those movies ("Halloween" and "Friday the 13th") mixed up.

But for tonight, I'm trapped at the Inn.  Yep, I'm working tonight in my regular Hotel Front Desk drag.  I'm not going anywhere tonight but I may scare a few unsuspecting hotel guests.

Wednesday, October 30, 2013

Great Horror Movie Scenes

Believe it or not some of the other scariest movies I saw were the Abbott and Costello series of movies where they meet several Universal Studios monsters. Funny thing, I knew these were comedies but they still scared the bejesus out of me.

This is what an impressionable 10 year old I was. I loved Abbot and Costello. I knew they were comedians. I knew this was a movie, but still.

I look at these movie clips now and a broad smile breaks out across my face. I see the humor now but man oh man, I didn't when I was that scared 10 year old in that darkened Roosevelt movie theater in Downingtown back in 1951.

Now here is one movie that didn't scare me a whit, "The Creature From the Black Lagoon." Are you kidding?  Nice musical score but I did enjoy the movie if for nothing else that its camp effect.  Doesn't this movie clip sort of remind you of a precursor to "Jaws?"

Ah yes, "Chrissie's Last Swim." Who can ever forget this scene?

Now that I'm dusting the cobwebs from my brain I remember another horror movie that scared the bejesus out of me, "The Thing."  

 What was good about "The Thing" was that you never really got a good look at the monster, who was played by the young James Arness, the future Matt Dillon of "Gunsmoke." Which reminds me now of probably the second scariest movie that I ever saw, "The Haunting" by Shirley Jackson. This was the tried and true formula of a group of people spending a night in a haunted house. I remember when this movie was over I was exhausted and I remembered something else, I never actually saw a monster which in the end is the true horror, it is our fear of the unknown.

Tuesday, October 29, 2013

The Scariest Movie I Ever Saw

Charles Laughton's bride

That my friends would be "Frankenstein."  I first time I saw the movie "Frankenstein" was when I was ten years old (1951) at the Roosevelt Theater in Downingtown, Pennsylvania.  

My last date Frankenstein's Monster

It cost me 20 cents and I think I was with my younger brothers John and Isaac.  I knew we were going to see a "monster" picture but I had no idea just how scary "Frankenstein" was.  But I soon found out.

Frankie "come hither look" - a sure grabber

When Dr. Frankenstein raised The Monster (who is commonly erroneously referred to as "Frankenstein" but is really The Monster) on that raised platform to opening at the top of the decrepit castle to the lightening bolts of the thunderstorm which was to give life to Frankenstein, I thought "Oh, what did I get myself into?"  

Be still my heart

Then when he lowered that platform and Dr. Frankenstein looked for a sign of life and he saw the monster's fingers move, I thought "Oh, I want to get out of here."  I was scared to death.

I sat glued to my seat, fearing to make a move in the darkened movie theater.  For the first time in my life I was SCARED.  Seriously, I can never remember a time before that I was so petrified.

My house guest last month - I told him to take off his shoes
As the movie progressed I was transfixed.  One scene that especially got to me was the one where Dr. Frankenstein's bride was waiting for him in their luxurious living room and Frankenstein was tromping around outside. I saw him go past the glass paneled French doors, then stop when he saw Dr. Frankenstein's bride seated in her pure white virginal glory waiting for her crazy assed Dr. Frankenstein.  I wanted to shout "GET OUT OF THERE!"  

There were many scary moments in this film that had me transfixed but perhaps the most memorable was the ending and the windmill scene.  The one scene where the monster and Dr. Frankenstein made eye contact through the spokes of the windmill wheel.  I don't know why, but that few seconds of "I know what you did" has stayed with me my whole life.  

Just like the shower scene in "Psycho" (not near as scary but still pretty good), that eye contact scene has never left my memory.  

Someday I may be old and in some care facilities, with little of my brain function left but I'm sure I'll remember that eye contact scene.  

But then I'm sure many of you will remember the "Daisy" scene.  

For some reason that didn't have as much resonance with me although it probably should have because the monster comes out of nowhere on a bright and sunny day, plucking petals from a daisy with a delightful little girl.

Somehow I identify more with the flung body of Dr. Frankenstein on the windmill fan, and his body dropping to the ground.

This picture reminds me the the present day Republican Party (left, Dr. Frankenstein) and the Tea Party (right, The Monster)  
The Republican Party Dr. Frankenstein ends up destroyed on the windmill blade - attention Ted Cruz!  Lesson here.

I'm sure there is a logical psychological explanation somewhere there but I haven't been able to figure it out after all these years since I saw my first and scariest horror film ever, "Frankenstein." By the way, I always thought Dr. Frankenstein (God no, not the Monster) was sort of cute.  

Monday, October 28, 2013

My Attraction for Older Men

My friends (left to right) Tommy, Bob H., Clayton, Louis (older guy) and Bob McM. - 1980 Philadelphia
Who is the most interesting guy at this table?
Right! Louie
It is no secret for those who know me well that I have always been attracted to older men. I've never been attracted to young men unlike many of my gay peers.  

"Raffles", a popular Philadelphia gay bar in the 70's.  NOT my style at all.  Older men were discouraged from attending.

When I came out into the so called "gay lifestyle" in 1963 when I was 21 years old I wasn't seeking to meet another 21 year old.  In fact, the first man I was intimate with was an "old" 29 years old.  Ironically, I felt I was doing him a favor even though I was very attracted to him.  That's how much I was brainwashed that since I was gay I should only be attracted to young men.  While my friends were cruising and meeting guys their age I was secretly eyeing the older guys in the bar.  I was embarrassed that my friends would know that I had this so called weird attraction to the OLD GUYS.

Don't tell anyone, I like older men

A year into the gay bar scene I met Bill.  Bill was 35 to my 22 years old.  Perfect.  Was I looking or a Father Figure?  I don't know.  Maybe I was.  

A really good example of my attraction for older men is the actor John Kerr.  I remember the first time I saw him in "South Pacific."  When he appeared on screen, in those tan military khakis, with that smoky voice of his, I had to catch my breath.  
John Kerr - actor - South Pacific
God, I never saw such a handsome man in my life.  Farley Granger?  Forget it, John Kerr soon supplanted Farley in my fantasy.

John Kerr with his co-star Mitzi Gaynor in "South Pacific"

I thoroughly enjoyed the movie "South Pacific" but not for the warbling of Mitzi Gaynor (who I liked) but to just watch that beautiful face of John Kerr.  I fantasized that John Kerr was gay and would rescue me from my mundane existence on Washington Avenue in Downingtown, Pennsylvania.

John Kerr and France Nuygen

I cannot exactly pin down my attraction for John Kerr other than he had this sad quality about him that wanted someone to love him.  He wasn't your typical, self-absorbed Hollywood actor.  He was quiet.  He had bags under his eyes, another strange attraction I have in men.  

Mitzi Gaynor and John Kerr - many years after "South Pacific"

After watching "South Pacific" in 1958 I eagerly awaited his next movie.  I missed his movie "The Crowded Sky" in 1960 but did see him in the Vincent Price cheapie Roger Corman thriller movie "The Pit and Pendulum" in 1961.  I had a strange reaction to seeing my fantasy man in "The Pit and Pendulum."  I felt sad that he had "progressed" from a big production like "South Pacific" to a schlock movie like "The Pit and the Pendulum."  I thought he was destined to be a major movie star. However, watching him in "The Pit and the Pendulum" I discovered I actually enjoyed seeing Vincent Price tying him down.  OMG!  So sexy.  Oh I know, I should be ashamed of myself but hey, it is what it is.  I was really turned on now.  Maybe it was because my fantasy man was tied down and couldn't get away.  

Vincent checking the sharpness of the blade 

Well folks, so I had my guilty pleasure in seeing John "secured" and then I didn't see him anymore.  I heard he appeared in some films and some TV show but he eventually left acting and got a law degree.  

Over the years I always wondered what happened to him.  Then one slow night at my hotel front desk job I did an Internet search to find out "Where is he now?" and I found a picture of a very attractive older John Kerr.  OMG!  Wow!  

An older John Kerr

See what I mean folks?  I find the older John Kerr so much more attractive than the young John Kerr, even though I thought he was also very attractive when he was young.  

I am so thankful I'm not like most (I think all) of my gay friends who go for the young stuff.  Oh no, I find an attractive older man much sexier and interesting.  Especially a man who has taken care of himself both physically and mentally.  

Another example of my strange attraction for older men was Guy Madison, "Wild Bill Hickock" of the old television series.  Whenever his show came on I was glued to the set, watching his every move.

Guy Madison had a brief movie career before "Wild Bill".  He was perhaps the handsomest (in my opinion) movie actor ever to grace the silver screen.

However, he may not have been the most talented and soon his career was as a TV cowboy, albeit one sexy and very watchable TV cowboy.  After "Wild Bill" I heard he went overseas to star in cheapie Italian films.  I never saw him again.

Then, one slow night at the hotel I looked him up and here is what I found:

And older and much more interesting "Wild Bill."  
Wow.  And he IS looking right at me.  At least that's what I choose to believe.  I love my fantasies.

Now hey, look at this older gentleman.  I'm even more attracted to him.  

So folks, I'm not making a case for older men just because I are one.  Oh no, I've always been attracted to a good-looking, slim older man.  Lucky me!

Sunday, October 27, 2013

When I Fall In Love

Have you ever been in love?  If you're among the fortunate few you can answer "yes."  

Love comes in many forms.  Parents love their children.  We love our pets.  If you're really lucky, you love your job.  You may love where you love.

Some love food, and some others love to travel.  But the love I'm talking about is old fashion romantic love.

I remember as a 10 year old sitting in the Roosevelt movie theater in my small town of Downingtown, Pennsylvania watching the twenty foot high beautiful men and women of Hollywood kissing.  I thought to myself "This is what I should aspire to. This is what life is all about"  But something wasn't clicking.  Although the men and women (especially the women, the beauty of Hedy Lamarr just took my breath away) were certainly beautiful, I knew I didn't look like that.  Watching all that face sucking just did nothing for me.  I knew I was missing something.

Hedy Lamarr - most beautiful film actress - ever

Then came the day I saw the actor Farley Granger in a movie.  OH.MY.GOD.  I thought Hedy Lamarr took my breath away....when I saw Farley's beautiful, soft, sensuous features I just melted in my seat.  It was then and there in that darkened movie theater in which I paid 20 cents to enter that I "got it."  I.WAS.IN.LOVE.  

Farley Granger

I think I saw every movie Farley Granger was in, including that whole series with Shelley Winters.  I remember being so jealous of Shelley because she had him and I didn't.  

Shelley Winters and Farley Granger

So Farley Granger was my first big movie screen crush.  How ironic that many years later I saw him on a soap opera.  He was still attractive although aged quite a bit and had lost that youthful luster that he projected on all those old black and white movies of the Fifties.  I'm on of those gay guys who find older men, even in their 70's and 80's attractive - always have always will. However, when I saw him on a talk show promoting his autobiography I was very disappointed.  He turned out to be just another New York "theatah" queen. He even tried to peddle that he was bisexual. Give me a break.  But be that as it may and I'm getting off subject.  You see folks, I never have a problem writing about ANYTHING on a blog.

Farley Granger - New York theatah actor

So let's get back to our program in progress about falling in love.  Farley was my first "love"....albeit from afar.

Farley doing a pretty good job of faking it on the beach a la Burt Lancaster and Deborah Kerr

Well, in the ensuing years since that 10 year old boy naiveté, I have been so fortunate that I have fallen in love several times.  I'm talking about good old fashion romantic love. The love I have for Bill (my spouse) is totally different.  I love Bill but it is a love that has grown over the almost fifty years we have been together.  It is not nor has ever been the storybook romantic love that many of us have dreamed about.  But Bill and I will be together as long as both of us are alive.  Our love for one another is unbreakable. 

Now I know what some of you are thinking.  Was he in love or in lust. Well folks, I'm the first to admit that I'm no Goody Two Shoes but romantic love has always been my preference than just notching up scores on my gun holster.  

The thing is about me and love is that once I'm in love with somebody I've never fallen out of love.  So what happened?  They fell out of love with me. Everyone. Maybe they weren't in love with me in the first place but in lust or just looking for a sugar daddy place to live.  Been there, done that.  Oh have I ever.  The scars are still tender.

Burt and Deborah in "From Here to Eternity"

I know what it is like to be in love and it is the absolute best feeling in the world.  You know when you're in love when all those love songs have real meaning. When your world is in technicolor now instead of black and white.  When little things don't bother you anymore because you have someone who you love and loves you in return.  

Doesn't it seem like we're all just marking time until we can find that one special person with whom we can fall in love with?  And when you do then you realize why you were born and what the purpose of life is:  to love and be loved in return.

Saturday, October 26, 2013

Self Esteem, Self Respect

"Stand up straight!"

This evening I read a blog post by a friend of mine.  He hadn't posted in a week he said because an incident happened that he "allowed his feelings to be hurt."  Who hasn't been in this place?  I certainly have as I am sure most of the folks reading these words I'm typing now have had their feelings hurt by intentional or unintentional verbal assaults.

When we're young most of us lack the ability to fend off the slings and arrows of disrespect, insults, and humiliations.  As we grow older we gain armor to shield of those who seek to bring us down because they either fear us or are just not nice people.  Of course one never grows enough armor to completely insulate oneself against others who seek to cause us pain because of their own shortcomings.

A few days ago I wrote a posting about how self conscious I was about my big nose. I grew up in a household where my father never ceased to find delight in mocking my prominent nose by calling me "beak."  It wasn't until I left home that I found out my nose was no bigger than most and as a matter of fact, was even considered attractive by some (imagine that).  

Another physical aspect of my body that was often thrown at me was my poor posture.  "Hump back,
hunch back, round shoulders."  You name it, I was called it by some who felt a need to deride me.  I was so ashamed of my posture.  I envied my classmates who had a straight back.  I tried to hard to "stand up straight"
as some of my teachers would bark at me.  I would throw those shoulders back but still I didn't have that perfect posture.  And after I went into the Army I really got slammed for my "slouch."  It wasn't until I was in my thirties I discovered that I had a condition that is very common.  It is called curvature of the spine.  In other words, no matter how I tried to "stand up straight", I would never have that ramrod straight back.  And thus, I relaxed.  

Those two aspects of my life, once I came to terms with them did so much to increase my self esteem and self respect.  Of course I still had the "biggie" which was being gay.  I was the "fairy",
which is what gays were called in the Fifties (oh, I do love me some glitter).  I dealt with that issue after much self introspection and angst when I came out fully in 1963, which I've written about in previous blog postings.

These days I'm on the receiving end of the "you're old"
slings and arrows.  That doesn't bother me.  At least I've told myself it doesn't bother me.  What does bother me though is when I come upon a group of people, whether it be at the work place of somewhere else where they know me, and they're talking about me and giggling.  I have no idea what they're talking about (well, maybe I do but I'm not going into details here) but here we go again. Signs of disrespect and derision from folks who I assumed respected and liked me but now find me as a source of mockery.  How do I handle such a situation these days?  I ignore them but I do have to tell you that when I think I'm being disrespected from friend or foe, I find that my level of respect also drops for them in direct proportion.  

Hey folks!  This is me, and I'm doing the best with what I have.  If you like me, fine.  If not, then I can't do anything about it but I'm not going to go into a fetal position because you don't like me.  Maybe you don't like the way I look or what I say. Maybe you're jealous so you feel you have to tear me down to build yourself up.  What ever.  The fact remains that I am here and right now?  I'm having the best time of my life.  Wish you were here!

Doing alright - slouch and all

Random Observations on a December Morning

Late yesterday afternoon sun on our cozy home (in the background).    What? Yet another selfie of yours truly in a hoodie on his property in...