Page 238 - Gay Pioneers: How Drummer Shaped Gay Popular Culture 1965-1999
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220      Gay Pioneers: How Drummer Shaped Gay Popular Culture 1965-1999

            in the ointment until the night Drummer was burgled and the typesetting
            machine that Marge Anderson had driven up from LA was stolen along
            with other items necessary to the production of Drummer. We were robbed.
            Our little sanctuary of art and sex had been invaded. Alarmed, I asked
            Embry, “Have you called the cops?” He said, “No.” I asked, “Why not?” He
            shrugged mysteriously and walked away.
               That broke one bond of trust. A publisher should be a protector giving
            artists and writers and staff safe space to create. In that den of thieves, I was
            not about to leave my manuscripts and my Fritscher-Sparrow photographs
            in a desk in a tres gay office to which so many temporary boyfriends and
            momentary slaves and disgruntled employees had keys.
               From all that the media has written about Begelman and Caudillo,
            who was guilty and who was innocent? Was Begelman Mafia? The book
            Indecent Exposure: The True Story of Hollywood and Wall Street written by
            David McClintick characterizes Caudillo as a bureaucrat, “a stocky man in
            his early thirties with thinning hair...who rather enjoyed pricking wealthy
            show-business personalities with little government forms.” (Pages 9 and 10)
            While Caudillo was pricking us unpaid mag-business workers with cost-
            cutting concerns meaningful only to bean counters, my concern was only
            how the creative side of Drummer could continue because so many of our
            monthly contributors, like Ed Franklin, were beginning to hold their future
            writing and pictures hostage for want of back pay. Caudillo’s boss Begelman
            had led a long, secret life as a thief who had also tried to shake down stars
            like Judy Garland until Oscar winner Cliff Robertson called the cops. In the
            1960s, Begelman had been Garland’s agent at his company Freddie Fields
            Associates. He was also the suicidal Garland’s lover who bandaged her wrists
            and pushed her out on stage to sing live.
               No one can even allege that Caudillo was the thief who burgled
            Drummer; but, Caudillo seemed a nasty moment in time. I found out later
            that during 1976 he was president of the “ACLU Gay Rights Chapter of
            Southern California” which, if he were like Embry infiltrating the H.E.L.P.
            organization, seemed little more than a political maneuver to drum up busi-
            ness contacts. Did he bring out a deeper venality in Embry? From Caudillo’s
            first arrival, the publicity hungry Embry bragged that Caudillo was “a star
            in a big Hollywood scandal.” It was on the nightly news for months. The
            complicated legal case involving the IRS whipped up a variety of media
            speculation including the laundering of Mafia money and embezzlement.
            Who knows the truth of what Caudillo did or did not do before, during, or
            after Drummer, but several books and articles pro and con have investigated
            the complicated scandal.

              ©Jack Fritscher, Ph.D., All Rights Reserved—posted 03-16-2017
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