Page 459 - Gay Pioneers: How Drummer Shaped Gay Popular Culture 1965-1999
P. 459

Jack Fritscher              Chapter 18                       441

             its magazines. For instance, in title and layout and “feel,” Countrywide’s
             National Mirror imitated the National Enquirer. As Robert Stone recalled
             in The New Yorker, October 16, 2006, page 130: “The lord of this empire
             of the ersatz was a man we called Fast Myron...who had many such repli-
             cant....[and] ringer schlock magazines whose names were bogus household
             words....‘If Myron wanted to make a magazine like Harper’s, he would call
             it Shmarpers.’”
                At the same moment Embry established the first of his own “MR” brand
             magazines, a new gay rival came into existence, Mr.: A Magazine of Men,
             published in San Diego. On its masthead was printed: “Mr. is a registered
             trademark of Dawn Media.” Embry’s Manifest Reader published its first
             quarterly issue in December 1986. Mr. was first published in January 1987.
             Soon after, Embry began printing a great big graphic “MR” on each cover
             of Manifest Reader, imitating his competition again, as he had done with
             The Advocate and Man2Man. In all this publishing incest calculated to lure
             subscribers, Donald Hauck, the publisher of Mr., affected a 1970s Drummer
             “look” in his design for his Mr. which, besides the Drummer-esque cover,
             type face, and page layout, featured the photographs of Drummer discovery
             David Hurles in Mr. 24 (1989).
                When Embry asked me in 1978 to also edit The Alternate, I suggested
             he hire my friend, photographer Hurles, owner of Old Reliable Studio,
             as editor. The charming Hurles, who was no screamer, lasted four days
             before he went yowling into the streets to escape the snake pit of Embry’s
             office. Because nature abhors a vacuum, Embry scanned the room where
             the office boy/cleaner was literally running the vacuum over the wood floor.
             Rowberry was Embry’s understudy for anything and everything. That’s how
             he became editor of the little orphan Alternate. That Advocate-clone was
             floated on the unpaid salaries and fees owed to staff, writers, photographers,
             and artists, and was funded, Embry years later admitted in print, by the
             profits of Drummer.
                I went deep into creating the essential Drummer-ness of being Drummer.
             I was a leatherman. Embry went wide into generic publishing. He was a
             business man. I wanted Drummer to have its own pop philosophy the way
             Hugh Hefner nurtured his Playboy philosophy. Embry liked my work. He
             never threatened to fire me. In 1978, he even asked me to start up a third
             magazine he wanted to title Macho. In the way the word Alternate sounded
             like Advocate, he wanted his Macho to beat up Honcho which had premiered
             its first edition in New York.
                Macho was “designed,” he wrote in Manifest Reader 26, page 54, “to take
             some of the wind out of Modernismo’s new Honcho sails.”

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