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78                                      Jack Fritscher, Ph.D.
            stressed by a due date every thirty days. I had experienced that kind of
            pressure, on a much smaller scale, with the H.E.L.P. Newsletter.
               So John embarked on his new venture with (to me) an unlikely
            assortment of people. (’Nuff said on that score.) Still, despite any number
            of problems, he got the magazine off the ground and seemed to be doing
            well with its mail-order and subscriptions until, when Drummer was not
            quite a year old, he decided to host a charity “Slave Auction” in April 1976.
            This was almost the end of Drummer, because the LAPD raided the event,
            “freed the slaves,” and afterward hassled John and the tiny Drummer staff
            so badly that by February 1977 John fled to San Francisco where he hired
            Jack Fritscher as editor in chief.
               I could write a novel on this publishing and arrest drama, but during
            those five years from 1975 to 1980, John and I were on bad terms and
            I was not privy to every detail due to the love-hate relationship that has
            always dogged John’s and my friendship. My estrangement from John
            kept me aloof from Drummer, which, thankfully kept me from attending
            his “Slave Auction” where I would have been arrested along with John
            himself, his lover Mario Simon, Fred Halsted, Val Martin, and forty oth-
            ers. The only top Drummer personality not arrested was Bob Opel who
            so much loved being arrested that on other occasions he mooned LAPD
            Chief Ed Davis and streaked Elizabeth Taylor at the Academy Awards.
            My longtime friend Jeanne Barney was the only woman present at the
            great arrest. As the cops were hauling her off to jail one of them asked if
            she was a real woman, to which she made her classic response: “Of course
            I’m a real woman; if I were a drag, I’d have bigger tits.”
               During the several months after the “Slave Auction,” the LAPD
            harassed the Drummer staff — tailing them on foot and in cars, tapping
            their phones, and raiding the tiny Drummer office allegedly (according to
            the search warrant) to find and confiscate copies of the straight porn film,
            Behind the Green Door. They never found anything, but they managed to
            totally disrupt the magazine’s production to say nothing of terrorizing the
            few employees who were brave enough to stick it out. Attorney Al Gordon,
            a mutual friend of John’s and mine was defending them against all of this,
            but he told me how frustrating it was to have the LAPD and the district
            attorney’s office constantly seeking some new way to inconvenience John
            and his mail-order business. That was of concern to me because of my
            own mail-order business selling my books. At the urging of several of his
            friends, John decided to relocate outside the repressive jurisdiction of the
            Los Angeles authorities who constantly raided leather bars and outlawed
            theater screenings of gay films by Drummer contributors Fred Halsted
            (LA Plays Itself, Sextool) and Terry LeGrand and Roger Earl (Born to Raise
            Hell).

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