Page 396 - Gay San Francisco_Eyewitness Drummer
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376                                     Jack Fritscher, Ph.D.
               The irony was that soon after I started editing and filling the pages of
            Drummer, John Embry, who liked the “upside” of publishing my writing
            and photos, began disliking what he saw as a “downside” in crediting so
            much of my work: “It looks like you’re writing the whole damn issue.”
               This was not, for me, an arm-wrestle over ego as much as it was
            an issue of law — specifically of the new 1977 copyright law and how
            it protected my intellectual property in Drummer. Always a notorious
            scofflaw (I thought), Embry balked at having both my byline and my
            copyright notice which the new law stipulated had to appear at the end of
            my articles in order to protect my copyright. I didn’t want to surrender the
            one, and I couldn’t surrender the other. He did not understand, or did not
            care, about the specifics of this change in the law requiring specific copy-
            right notice to be published. Irritated by my insistence on following this
            inconvenient law, Embry, himself the seeming king of Byzantine intrigue,
            became suspicious that by doing the very thing I’d been hired for — fill
            each Drummer issue — I was hijacking his baby. After Jeanne Barney in
            Los Angeles had been the first editor in chief of Drummer and had fallen
            out with Embry, Drummer fled to San Francisco and Embry — made so
            initially suspicious of self-starting editors — had to deal with me who was
            no babe in the woods. Not counting the pro-tem editor “Robert Payne”
            aka Embry himself, I was the first male editor of Drummer, and a San
            Franciscan to boot. Embry who was very LA had a lot to learn in San
            Francisco where most of his business troubles around Drummer occurred
            because he acted, San Franciscans thought, “too LA.”
               It should be noted that when the names “John Embry” or his pseud-
            onym “Robert Payne” appear listed on the Drummer masthead as “editor
            in chief,” it means Embry was actually between editors and was himself
            stuffing the mag with all manner of writing that seemed — at least as
            some of us then gossiped —  “stolen” from straight men’s magazines (e.g.:
            Saga and Argosy). His faux editorial layouts were all too often masked
            advertisements for his mail-order sex toys. In my theory, Embry’s 1970s
            concept of Drummer was that the magazine was little more than sheet-
            sugar to fold around his all-important mail-order brochure. In all my
            years of working with him, I was never of the opinion that he ever really
            much cared about the editorial content of Drummer. From start to finish,
            Embry was the tinker king of mail order. He has written that he never
            expected Drummer to take off and be anything much.
               John Embry was not prepared for the Being and Becoming of Drum-
               How clueless was Embry about the essence of Drummer? In Drum-
            mer  1,  Embry,  acting  as  “Robert Payne,”  offered  for  sale  through  his
            Alternate mail-order “Leather Emporium” a set of bed sheets made from

          ©Jack Fritscher, Ph.D., All Rights Reserved—posted 05-05-2017
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