Page 482 - Gay Pioneers: How Drummer Shaped Gay Popular Culture 1965-1999
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464      Gay Pioneers: How Drummer Shaped Gay Popular Culture 1965-1999

            often predictable, and repetitious. Perhaps with censors, printers, distribu-
            tors, retail sales, and photographer and model fees driving him, he selected,
            at his worst, generic torsos, or, at his best, pleasant Mr. Drummer contestants
            who posed for free. Very few of his covers leapt off the page. He had erred on
            his campy “Cycle Sluts” cover (Drummer 9). He had trashed the “Authentic
            Biker-for-Hire” Mapplethorpe cover (Drummer 24). Yet he was on the phone,
            not exactly hat in hand, but drumming up “my “writing and photography
            to recreate “his” nostalgia. In Super MR #5 (2000), page 6, Embry recanted
            his strange grudge against the 1978 Mapplethorpe cover when he reprinted
            that cover with the caption: “Robert Mapplethorpe’s first cover anywhere was
            on...Drummer 24 due to the efforts of then-editor Jack Fritscher.”

                                  The Chris Duffy Story:
                        Mr. America, Chris Duffy, in Sunset Bull(evard)

               Embry was lured by Chris Duffy’s universal appeal. Duffy had “It.” My
               cover photos of Duffy had appeared on several magazines rivaling
               Embry’s on the news stands: Thrust (November 1996), International
               Leatherman (March 1997), and Bear 62 (September 2000). My pho-
               tos of Chris Duffy also appeared in the coffee-table photo book,
               American  Men  (London,  1994),  and  on  the  cover  of  the  second
               American edition of Corporal in Charge of Taking Care of Captain
               O’Malley (2000).
                   Embry, however, had a wicked backhand. Was it spite or stu-
               pidity? He squandered the pictures of the international bodybuild-
               ing champion Chris Duffy who was passionately followed by legions
               of fans. He published him not on the glossy cover in color, but six
               times on interior pages in black and white in Manhood Rituals 2
               (1998), page 32 (as a particularly bad “inkblot”); and twice inside
               Manhood Rituals 3 (1999), pages 27 and 35—with an additional
               photo credited to “David Sparrow” which he must have found buried
               in the Drummer files he claimed he “bought” from Robert Davolt;
               and twice in Super MR 6 (2000) on page 16 as well as on page 76
               in a Palm Drive Video ad I took in trade; and in Super MR 7 (2001),
               page 42, as part of his Wings Mail Order Catalog.
                   His spiraling downgrade of the spectacular Mr. America Chris
               Duffy, fresh off his own ESPN bodybuilding show, was an esthetic
               and marketing blunder. Duffy’s face and body sold thousands of
               magazines and videos. Once again, Embry made a graphic design
               mistake. On cheap rag paper, his inkblot presentation of Chris Duffy
               lacked the punch of a glossy color cover showcasing Duffy’s “uni-
               versal appeal.”

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