Page 419 - Gay Pioneers: How Drummer Shaped Gay Popular Culture 1965-1999
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Jack Fritscher              Chapter 16                       401

                    Either the two of them had no head for finance or they were
                working very close to the bone or both. I used to walk the previous
                night’s cash receipts, complete with register tapes, paid bills, etc.,
                over to Drummer offices on—was it Natoma?—in a bank bag. John
                would either say, “Just put it down over there,” or, “Just give it to
                Mario.” In either case I never saw anybody ever count it to verify
                what was what. It sure was not like I had been taught by the scru-
                pulous Butterfield Theater Chain when I managed the Campus
                Theater in Kalamazoo. One must remember that when I worked
                for John and Mario in 1980-1981, these were the days before banks
                had widespread computer use and instant deposit.
                    When payday rolled around, Mario would take the cash and
                deposit it in a branch bank way out in the Avenues [out by the
                ocean far from South of Market] just before John would write the
                paychecks. If you took your paycheck to the main branch down-
                town, the record of the deposit would not have been received and
                the account would be underfunded to cash the paychecks. If you
                waited a day or two, and all paychecks were cashed, someone usu-
                ally came up short. John would apologize and sometimes cash it
                himself, or tell you to go back to the bank again as Mario had just
                made another deposit. What a way to run a business. Well, Max
                Morales and I finally figured out what was happening. We’d try to
                predict Mario’s moves and would get on Max’s BMW motorcycle
                and go over to the branch bank in the Avenues to cash our checks.
                An added bonus of going to the bank in the Avenues—there was
                a great butcher shop just across the street from the bank—much
                better than anything I could get at the Dented Can grocery South
                of Market.
                    Let me know if I can help you with anything else with your
                book endeavor. Since I have seriously started writing, I realize how
                much work is really involved.
                —Jim Stewart

                Meanwhile, back in 1976, Val Martin on the cover of Drummer was a
             “Wanted Poster” to LAPD Chief Ed Davis.
                Drummer became a brand name by hiring Val Martin who had the
             Universal Appeal of his face, his body, his name, his genial personality, his
             porn-film celebrity from Fred Halsted’s Sextool, Terry LeGrand and Roger
             Earl’s Born to Raise Hell, and his public appearances at popular leather ven-
             ues where crowds cheered his charisma.

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