Page 173 - Gay Pioneers: How Drummer Shaped Gay Popular Culture 1965-1999
P. 173

Jack Fritscher              Chapter 6                        155

             switching from production to distribution. At Palm Drive Video, I gave him
             a fifty-percent discount at his newly named “Wings Distributing” where
             I dealt only with his manager, Frank Hatfield aka Drummer advertising
             director and author, “Frank O’Rourke,” the self-professed bank robber and
             ex-convict, who wrote “Prison Punk” and ran the kind of slippery postal
             operation that gives mail-order a bad name. Hatfield, who lived in a rental
             owned by Embry at the Russian River, was attacked there on Canyon One
             Road by wilding dogs who tore his chest open at the armpit, and he soon
             after died.
                Romancing his erratic video career as Embry/Payne with no irony,
             Embry wrote about the “Robert Payne Production” of The Great Slave Video
             Adventure in his Wings Catalog inside Manifest Reader 17 (1992), page 58.
             Trying to sound as glamorous as a director from the Hollywood he left
             behind in Los Angeles, he revealed his daydream and his inexperience when
             he failed to recognize that no director can simply turn his cast loose any
             more than a zookeeper might expect a group of monkeys with keyboards to
             type out Hamlet. Ten hours of tape for a sixty-minute feature can create a
             tangle few editors can cut.

                Many of us have, at one time or another, envisioned being involved
                in the making of this sort of a video. To those of us in the leather
                mode, the prospect of putting it together as a director, a producer,
                a cameraman or maybe especially a the stuff of which
                daydreams are made. Robert Payne explores such a dream, then
                turns his cast loose....The camera rolled through ten hours worth
                of tape.

                By 1990, no magazine could support itself without its own video pro-
             duction company. Tony DeBlase, to save post-quake Drummer, teamed up
             with Mikal Bales’ Zeus Studios in LA to star in and create the perfectly
             titled USSM. In 1995, the four-part series documenting gay pop-culture
             S&M activities ran into trouble with the LAPD, and became immediately
             censored and unavailable.
                As editor-in-chief in the late 1970s, I was pushing  Drummer for-
             ward to the 1980s the way Stamps and Davolt might have pushed it to
             the Millennium. Besides pitching the idea of film production, I set out to
             upgrade our leather literary fiction (rooted in my university years teaching
             journalism and creative writing); and to mix in some leather ritual and
             spirituality (after the experience gained from a lifetime of Catholic S&M
             asceticism, and from experiences researching my witchcraft book); and to

               ©Jack Fritscher, Ph.D., All Rights Reserved—posted 03-14-2017
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