Why our queer history matters
Is vintage porn an important part of gay history? It’s certainly been a powerful influence in our lives.
The concept of “vintage” porn depends a bit on your frame of reference. If you’re a young guy just discovering the joys of porn, you could look at the early work of Brent Corrigan and describe that as vintage.
In general, when we’re talking about vintage porn, we’re talking about porn that was created during the era of VHS tapes. The emergence of VHS tapes made the production and distribution of porn exponentially easier.
This was a time before the internet – the only way to get porn was to buy a magazine, or go to an adult cinema, or buy a VHS tape to watch at home.
The period that we’re talking about is the late-1970s into the early 1980s. The emergence of HIV in the early 1980s forced porn studios to adapt their content to feature condoms. Then, in the 90s, the internet took off and changed the game completely.
Vintage Porn Classic: New York Construction Company
New York Construction Company is a vintage classic.
Released in 1979, this is a film that was produced by Mustang Productions.
The film stars Jack Wrangler, and also stars Ryder Jones, Jayson MacBride, Pepe Moreno, Johny Kanuuk, Gerry Gallo, and Sean Costellano.
Like most erotic gay films produced in this era, New York Construction Company was a film that was designed to be watched in adult movie theatres.
The story revolves around Jack Wrangler’s character – one of the foremen on a building site in New York City.
It’s got a really good soundtrack – throbbing disco at its finest.
Definitely worth checking out.
Vintage Porn Classic: Games
Released in 1983, Games is a vintage porn classic distributed by Bijou.
Directed by Steve Scott, this is a collaboration with Al Parker.
The storyline is loosely structured around a champion swimmer, played by Leo Ford. Al Parker plays a photographer.
Also featured are Johnny Dawes, Mike Davis, Russ Franklin, Jim Rogers, Giorgio Canali, Ben Barker, Brian Nichols,
The story is set amidst the first Gay Games – held in San Francisco. The film includes actual footage from the real-life event.
This is an ambitious project. Judged by today’s production standards, it feels a bit clunky, but it creates a watchable narrative and showcases some sizzling sex scenes.
Games includes a lot of signature Steve Scott filmmaking – including dream sequences and disembodied cocks, and this film is a further example of just how magnetic Al Parker is on screen.
It’s also a treat to see Leo Ford in action at around the height of his career – he epitomises the blond all-American porn-star image that really set the standard for the industry.
Vintage Porn Classic: Below the Belt
One of the vintage porn classics is Below the Belt.
First released in 1985, this is a production from Bijou Video.
Directed by Phillip St. John, Below The Belt stars Jim Steele, Chad Douglas, Michael Cummings, Brian Michaels, Suhm Yung Mahn, David Ashfield, Chris Burns, Nick Schultz, Scott O’Hara, Jordan Moore, Matt Ramsey, Michael Ram, and Grant West.
There’s a loose narrative that links the scenes together – the guys are all part of the same karate club.
There’s some great pairings between the guys, a hot threesome, and the film finishes off with a bang. Literally. A super-hot group scene with the entire cast.
Chad Douglas plays the karate instructor – he’s got a moustache and a big dick. An icon.
There are pirated copies of Below The Belt floating around on the porn-tube sites, but you can get a high-quality copy or watch online through TLA Video.
Vintage Porn Classic: Turned On
Directed by Steve Scott, Turned On! was released in 1982.
As well as Al Parker, appearing in the film are Beau Matthews, Jim Rogers, Gian Carlo, Joel Thomas, Rick Faulkner, Bob Moore, Scott Taylor, J.W. King, Greg Dale, Sky Dawson, Mike Davis, John Trent, and Lee Brubaker.
The action kicks off in a bar. Sky Dawson catches the eye of Al Parker.
Al follows Sky into the men’s toilets and fucks him.
From there, we’re immersed in a sexual fantasy. There’s lots of dreamlike sequences of Al servicing anonymous men in jockstraps.
The pace and staging of this film really explores the potential of this genre, drawing on the early examples of gay porn that had more of an arthouse feel than the fuck-films we’re generally used to seeing.
You can find scenes from Turned On! on the free tube sites, but it’s worth tracking down a good-quality version so you can appreciate Al Parker from every angle.
Vintage Porn Classic: Big Guns
Released in 1987, Big Guns was filmed by the Laguna Pacific studio and distributed by Catalina Video. The film was directed by William Higgins.
The cast includes Mike Henson, Kevin Williams, Chad Douglas, Chris Gray, Jeff Boote, Jeff Quinn, John Davenport, John Rocklin, Kevin Wiles, and Mike Ryan.
This is a “pre-condom” – probably one of the last of the era before the studios all switched to producing condom porn as the HIV pandemic took hold.
Top Gun was released in 1986. This isn’t a parody of that film, but it’s clearly takes its inspiration from the homoeroticism of that movie.
Big Guns gives us eight mildly-connected stories involving US naval lieutenants.
In the first scene, Mike Henson awakens, decides to skip school and rub one out before starting his day.
Scene 2 gives us a sore-assed paperboy recounts his vigorous sexual manhandling by an overly well-endowed customer.
In Scene 3, John Davenport gives his civilian buddy, Chris, a shooting lesson in firearms before they had back to John’s apartment to fuck.
Scene 4 gives us a bet between Mike and John. Mike bets that he can nail the lad swimming in the pool. Taking along a video transmitter to prove it, Mike, claiming he’s the hotel masseur responding to a paid-for order, pays a call on the kid while his parents are away. The naive kid nervously lets Mike in and receives his first massage (and first all-male sexual experience) as John watches everything on his military issue monitor.
In Scene 5, Mike picks up two friends from the base – Mike Ryan and Jeff Boote – for a Palm Springs trip. Staying over in a nice hotel suite, the three buddies quickly turn some horseplay into a threesome.
Scene 6 takes us to a bar where Lieutenants Henson and Davenport discover that the kid Mike seduced at the motel is none other than the admiral’s son.
In Scene 7, Lieutenant Quinn – after seeing Lieutenant Rocklin rejected by a bar pick-up – decides to give his buddy a well-needed introduction to erogenous zones, but his lesson soon turns into a full-on erotic seduction.
In the final scene, Lieutenants Mike Henson, Jeff Quinn, and Rocky play a survivor paintball game, agreeing that whoever loses gets stripped and strung up for the night. Since Rocky is the admiral’s arrogant favourite, Mike and Jeff form an alliance to guarantee that it’s he who’ll get strung up.
Vintage Porn Classic: Heavy Equipment
Released in 1977, Heavy Equipment is a vintage gay porn classic.
Directed by Tom DeSimone, Heavy Equipment puts a gay twist on the Jekyll and Hyde story.
The story of Heavy Equipment focuses on a nerdy guy who works at a bookstore. A homeless man gives him a book – it turns out to be a book of magic. The nerdy guy unlocks the power to transform himself into a sexy alter ego who gets to fuck any man he meets.
The film stars Jack Wrangler, Roger, the Christy Twins and Al Parker.
Jack Wrangler plays the sexy alter ego, so that’s all fairly believable.
The Christy Twins were Tim and Christopher Christy – American twin brothers who appeared in a number of porn productions in the 1970s and 1980s. As well as Heavy Equipment, the twins starred in Everything Goes, Busy Boys, School’s Out, Take Ten, and Twins.
Also in the cast were Chris Adams, Steve Tracy, Adam Neumar, and David Warfield.
This film is also notable for including a 3-D effect. It was a film designed to be watched in adult movie theatres.
Vintage Porn Classic: Inches
Released in 1979, Inches is directed by Steve Scott. It stars the iconic Al Parker in one of his best roles.
Inches gives us the story of Doug (Al Parker), who works at an art gallery. Doug is in a troubled relationship with Lee (Steve Taylor). After coming home from a business trip, Lee announces that he’s leaving Doug. That night, Doug dreams about all the men who’ve had his partner. After some resistance he gives in to the advances of Tony (Bob Blount), a photographer who’s being exhibited at the gallery. They go away for a romantic weekend at a mountain hideaway but decide to keep their options open.
What makes Inches a notable film is its powerful visuals, solid acting, and super-hot sex.
The film does an excellent job of exploring how gay men navigate relationships, monogamy, and open relationships.
You can find scenes from Inches on the free tube sites, but make the effort to rent a high-quality version from somewhere like TLA Video.
If Al Parker is the kind of guy that gets your attention, then this is the movie for you. The guys are all bearded, regular looking guys. Hairy, guy-next-door types who like to fuck.
The opening sequence starts with heavy breathing. Al Parker is in a dream sequence looking for someone, but is then woken by the alarm. He is in bed with his lover, Steve Taylor, and initiates foreplay, but his advances are resisted. There is tension between the lovers, and the dialogue is subtle and realistic in showing they are breaking apart. And there is a poignancy in the scene as Taylor goes off to the shower to jack off alone while Parker jacks off in bed – the two men are clearly distant. Parker’s famous cock is meaty and his balls huge, and you feel like you’re watching a real man masturbate for his own needy pleasure, not for the camera and a paycheck. The two men cum together, yet alone, each in his own room.
In the next scene, Bob Blount comes onto Al Parker, but is rebuked because Parker is already in a relationship, albeit one that is coming apart. Parker goes home and again tries to initiate sex with Taylor. Taylor gives in. The sound of Al Parker slamming up against his lover’s ass while they fuck is highly erotic and you feel like a true voyeur seeing and hearing them – it’s that level of realism.
The next scene is a wild dream sequence, famous for its visual imagery. Steve Taylor breaks up with Al Parker, and Parker has a dream in which Taylor is having sex with three men, all wearing eerie white masks, symbolic of all anonymous sex he imagines his ex-lover had during their relationship. Taylor sucks the men off with wanton, greedy enthusiasm, working from one cock to another. He deep-throats the cocks, pressing his nose deep into their dense pubic hair. With wild abandon he rides one of the big cocks, then takes it on his back, his strong hairy legs spread wide in the air. It is eerie and sexy and taunting all at the same time, making for one of the best dream sequences ever done in porn.
Dejected from the breakup but still horny as always, Al Parker picks up Buck Stevens in a hot outdoor scene in a car. Again the feeling is highly authentic and realistic, both in the low key dirty talk and the fact that they never take off their clothes: the cock sucking is done with their hard dicks pulled out of the leg opening of their shorts, which is what real guys usually do when they connect for an anonymous blowjob from a stranger on a secluded stretch of highway. Parker’s cum-shot is truly impressive. He splatters his load all over Stevens’ face, in a long leisurely shot showing cum dripping from his thick hair, eyebrows, and moustache.
At an exhibit of dick photographs called “Inches” – hence the title of the film – Bob Blount gives Al Parker a lecture on the joys of anonymous sex, but Parker claims he’s more interested in a relationship. Yet intrigued by Blount’s words, he explores a bar where there is a backroom with anonymous sex going on everywhere. This scene captures the milieu of the ’70s very well, complete with disco hits “Sunset People” and “Hot Stuff” playing in the background. There is anonymous cock-sucking, and a young guy rides a man’s cock. Realism is captured in the small details of the scene, like jeans bunched around the ankles and the underarm sweat stain of the kid getting fucked, which make it feel like a real back room. Al Parker runs into Bob Blount and Blount invites him home.
This encounter turns out to be the most romantic of all the scenes, with a romp in the snow naked, and sex in front of a fireplace. There is a long, leisurely session of rimming, Parker’s beard pressed deep in Bob’s hairy hole. Then, in a hot cock-sucking scene, Bob blows Al, his handsome manly face and full beard slobbering over Parker’s thick meaty cock, teasing the plum-like purplish head with his tongue. They finish with some serious hard pounding, Bob’s legs in the air, realism captured in the sexy moans and groans and the sweat dripping from their faces. Bob blows his load over his hairy stomach and chest, and the film ends a romantic embrace.
You can find scenes from Inches on the free tube sites, but try and get a better quality version from somewhere like TLA Video – this is a classic that deserves to be seen in all its glory.
There’s not many adult theatres around these days, but back in the 70s, you could go to an adult theatre not only to watch some porn on the big-screen, but also to get off with the other guys there.
Porn films of that era – often what we describe as ‘vintage porn’ – were produced with the intention that they would be screened in adult theatres or adult cinemas. That’s one of the reasons that the soundtrack was important, and the pacing of the films is quite different from what we see today.
There’s something incredibly exciting about watching porn with a roomful of men. Obviously, you were also there for some action with the other audience members, but the sexual energy and sense of community is something pretty special.
When is LGBTQ History Month?
In the UK, the month of February is designated as LGBTQ History Month.
In the US and Canada, LGBTQ History Month is celebrated in October of each year to coincide with National Coming Out Day. The UK focuses on February as it aligns with the 2003 abolition of Section 28 – government legislation that prevented teachers and schools from discussing LGBTQ issues.
Why have a queer history month?
It’s important for us to be aware and respectful of our history at all times, but having a dedicated point of the year where we focus on the history of our community helps us all to focus our energy on events and activities that celebrate and showcase key people and milestones from our past.
For much of our history, LGBTQ people have had to hide who we are, to conceal our identities and our sexuality. Dedicating a month to celebrating our history is a small step to try and rectify some of the harm that this has done.
One of the contributing causes of homophobia is ignorance – we need to show the world who LGBTQ people are, to celebrate the contribution that we make, and to demonstrate that we are an integral part of society.
How can I take part in LGBTQ history month?
There’s no limit on how you can celebrate LGBTQ history month. Here’s a couple of suggestions.
Read up on some of the key historical moments in our history. Make sure that you understand how the law has changed over time. Research some of the key people who have been leaders of our community.
Share information with your wider networks. Use your social media to promote relevant information about LGBTQ history. Put up some posters at work. Let your friends and family know that history month is important to you.
Celebrate LGBTQ culture
Watch a queer film. Read a queer book. Go to a queer play. Connect with your queer friends. Log-on to Gaydar and set up a date.
In years gone by, these things weren’t possible or had to be hidden. By simply celebrating LGBTQ culture, you’re paying respect to the people who have fought for equality and the freedom to be ourselves.