Friday, August 31, 2012

Going Into Labor (Day)

Wow, here it is Labor Day weekend already... In the U.S., this generally signals the end of swimming pool season. Thankfully, a friend or two may keep theirs going for a while yet, but the grand finale of lollygagging in the water and reading in the sun by the pool is definitely on the horizon. To punctuate the occasion, I'm going to share with you some more pictures of male celebrities in their swimwear. (Above right we have cutie-pie Gregory Harrison.) There's quite an array here and hopefully some shots you've never seen before!

You might recall a recent post I did that featured various vintage teen magazine covers. I held this one back because I knew it would be appropriate for this post. Teen “heartthrob” Leif Garrett is shown sporting the swimsuit of choice for the late-'70s, the Speedo!
How many of you recall watching Shazam! as a kid? The Saturday morning series is pretty agonizing to sit through now, but at the time it was fun.  Michael Gray played young Billy Batson who with the words "Shazam!" would transform temporarily into the older, stronger Captain Marvel.  Gray was far more covered-up on the show than he is here. He exited the biz in 1976 after Shazam! ended and now operates a florist business with the wife he marred when he was forty-three. He is sixty-one now.

In doing arduous research for this post, I happened upon pictures (and accompanying articles) on two other teen stars wearing Speedos. I had never heard of either one before this! Up first is Christopher Franklin. Whatever small role he had in the exploitation flick Mag Wheels (1978) isn't even credited at imdb.com and his part in Blood Beach (1980) had to have been nearly as small. These both being R-rated movies, he would have had to have parental accompaniment to even go see them! His next outing was the prestigious 1984 outing Hollywood Hot Tubs with his fourth and final role coming in 1988's Saturday the 14th Strikes Back, a cheesefest starring Ray Walston, Avery Schreiber and Patty MacCormick!

This next young man, Anthony Cistaro, had done the TV-movie Lady of the House (with Dyan Cannon) at the time of this article, but then disappeared from screens for quite a long while, concentrating on the theatre. When he came back, all grown up, he maintained a steady career as a TV and movie actor from the late-'80s to 2010, guest-starring on Cheers, Seinfeld, Angel, Friends, Charmed, Nip/Tuck and even costarring in the 2001-2002 series Witchblade. It's startling to see the way these young men were depicted back then and I almost didn't post these pictures, but after all, they're from mainstream “legitimate” publications! (And I'm not even going to make a joke about John Travolta moving over!)

Another teen magazine staple was Scott Baio. Like several others in his age group at the time, he was called upon to don a Speedo for the television specials called Battle of the Network Stars. You can see by his tan lines that he most often wore more traditional trunks, but, luckily for viewers, no one on these specials was given a choice in the matter. You wore a team-colored Speedo for all water events and that was that!

Other shots in this post that stem from Battle include a young Mark Harmon...
...and two of Dynasty's John James. Here, he's seen conferring with team member William Shatner, who employs a t-shirt to help obscure his exposed body.
Most shocking to me about this one is the fact that he's fresh out of the pool after a strenuous swimming relay and is smoking! I knew that he smoked all through his career, but he deftly covered it up almost completely in public for whatever reason (and this was long before so much legislation about it came down the pike.)
In the mid-'80s, when the suit's popularity was starting to wane, one most often found the suit on European stars. Here we have a rather scowling George Michael, captured by the lens for Teen Beat magazine.
After that, it was even harder to come by the Speedo and it was practically unheard of in America, unless wearing one was part of a sporting event. Still, the occasional guy (like once-hot romance novel cover model Fabio) slid one on. I believe this picture is from before the time he broke a wild goose's neck with his face while riding on a speeding roller-coaster. (Yes, it happened!)
In 2009, Jerry O'Connell comedically attempted to bring the Speedo back by posing for a variety of photos wearing nothing but.
We're still not ready for it (if we ever will be)...
...but he looked cute nonetheless!
Of course, even before the Speedo, swimsuits had been rather snug and diminutive (unlike the baggy, multi-layered monstrosities one sees on guys today.) Take '60s singing and acting idol Bobby Sherman. Here, he reveals his love of the sun and his backyard pool, sharing a series of pictures of himself.
Most amusing to me was the strip of headshots along the bottom of this page. 1 and 2 are so similar it hardly seems worth the trouble to have printed them both! Sherman, who is now sixty-nine, retired from acting in 1986 and eventually began working as a trainer of emergency medicine to police recruits.
Sherman got his first real encouragement in the business from fellow teen idol Sal Mineo. Mineo produced two of Sherman's early songs and even gave him a set of drums. We now segue to Mineo, sporting a clingy swimsuit of his own in a shot from the 1965 flick Who Killed Teddy Bear.
Bodybuilder and longtime costar of the TV series Mission: Impossible Peter Lupus poses inside some sort of spa while wearing a trim pair of trunks.
Hunky singer Tom Jones looks about as good as anyone ever did in his teensy suit.
British actor Alan Bates is seen here exiting the surf in an abbreviated set of trunks.
If you've been around here a long while, you know of my affection for Hugh O'Brian. Here, he goes over his lines (possibly for the 1966 film Ambush Bay, considering the gun belt he has lying on the chaise!) while taking in some rays.
A more revealing look at Hugh, and little Hugh, (taken during the filming of 1965's Love Has Many Faces) is shown below.
If you only know Robert Stack as the portentous host of Unsolved Mysteries, you might be pleasantly surprised to see him looking young, fit and handsome here by the pool.
Likewise, those of you who only know Frank Gifford as the aged husband of blabbermouth Kathie Lee might delight in seeing him as an impossibly hunky young man.  There's much more about Frank to be found here.  (I just realized that the picture below is also at the link I just mentioned, but it's slightly better here, so I'm keeping it.)
Lean Irish actor Stephen Boyd takes in the sun, sand and surf (perhaps during the filming of 1957's Island in the Sun?)
As far as I'm concerned, Burt Lancaster was never more sexy or handsome than in 1953's From Here to Eternity.
Tony Curtis is lookin' pretty good here, too, as he lounges on the beach in a cute li'l white pair of trunks.
In a later photo (from the movie Don't Make Waves in 1967), he is rescued from the ocean by a curvaceous Sharon Tate (and might even be starting to pitch a pup tent over it. Who could blame him?)
In this shot (from 1970's Beyond the Valley of the Dolls), it almost looks like David Gurian needs to be rescued from Edy Williams! She's looking hungry. Despite the fact that he was attractive, this movie was a hit and his part was a substantial one, Gurian never made another appearance on film besides this.
Do you recognize this surprisingly hairy, in-shape and virile man working out by the pool?
Staggeringly, this is none other than that infamous Sultan of Sequins and Wrangler of Rhinestones, the ivory-tinkling pianist extraordinaire, Liberace! Who knew that under all his costumes and capes, there was such a well-toned physique?
In recent times, we still catch the occasional glimpse of something other than board shorts, but unfortunately it is most often on the bodies of overweight retired actors, singers or aged rock stars who let it all hang out. Take Rod Stewart, for example, in good shape for his age (sixty-seven), but perhaps not enough to pull this suit off.
We'll cut vision-impaired vocalist Andrea Boccelli some slack for obvious reasons.
Worse still is sixty-four year-old Aerosmith front man and American Idol judge Steven Tyler! No. Just no... (He now has the same small, rounded breasts as those of the 1970s groupies who used to follow him religiously while on tour!)
Let's wipe our eyes clean with a few shots from the 1958 Otto Preminger film Bonjour tristesse. Apart from the stunning French Riviera scenery, there is also the eye candy present when young Geoffrey Horne appears on the scene.
As the love interest of Jean Seberg, he sometimes seems as if it's too much trouble to wear anything but some skimpy trunks. (He does wear clothes in several sequences, but not too many!)
One of the few saving graces of the hideous 1989 Roseanne Barr film She-Devil is the chance to see A Martinez (as Meryl Streep's hunky houseboy) in a Speedo.
For fans of the tight, teensy trunks, few films can compare to the 1976 film Lifeguard. Though the title figures wear shorts through the bulk of the movie, there is a big competition in it during which they all have to wear Speedos. They're everywhere, in all imaginable patterns and colors, though I'm partial to the brown ones with yellow stripes.
One of the lifeguards is star Sam Elliott and kudos to him for showing off his macho body this way! There's more of Sam to see at The Underworld here.
His teammate in the yellow and green striped suit has a bit of a close-up during one of the events.
Another costar, Parker Stevenson (in red), takes part in the fun, too.
After the competition, we get a glimpse of all three of these gents standing together and they do not disappoint. I was born too late...
If you noticed the off-kilter tan lines on the men above, you might have to try going with no suit at all, like silent film legend Douglas Fairbanks Sr. and friend! The swashbuckling superstar tanned so much that occasionally his Caucasian ethnicity was called into question. He died of a heart attack at the premature age of fifty-six.

The cover is now being pulled over the deep end of this swimming-oriented post. Cross your fingers that I can cull together some more like this in time for next Memorial Day in May. In the meantime, I leave you with one very fine specimen, the hunkalicious Mexican actor Jorge Rivero. If you like him, there's plenty more to see of him here. I'm off now to yet another convention, this one a state theatre one. I'll be back with more fun soon!

3 comments:

Scooter said...

I miss the Speedo...considering I can no longer wear one without looking like a old European man with no mirrors in his house.

Poseidon3 said...

I'm right there with ya, Scooter. I think they were passe by the time I would have had anything resembling the figure for them and that physique, such as it was, is going, going, .... LOL

Narciso Duran said...

As promised, I am devouring your older (vintage?) posts. Your observation of Steven Tyler's appendages is spot on; they cry out for an inexpensive cotton training bra.