Page 495 - Gay Pioneers: How Drummer Shaped Gay Popular Culture 1965-1999
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Jack Fritscher              Chapter 18                       477

             it with Embry? It is worth some scholar’s essay in queer studies to opine why,
             like Tom of Finland, the iconic Colt Studio went missing for years from
             Drummer? What a perfect twenty-four-year marriage of homomasculinity
             and leather that could have been. Perhaps Colt was too sunny and too LA,
             and Drummer too dungeon-dark and too San Francisco, to be a match the
             way Lou Thomas’ sweaty Target Studio in New York, spun out of the origi-
             nal Colt Studio, was just right for a dozen Drummer covers and centerfolds.
                In later and less outlaw incarnations, Colt, like the Tom of Finland
             Foundation, launched a clothing line of leather fashions. Imagine if back
             in the  day, mail-order retailer  Embry, who  sold  Drummer  t-shirts, had
             designed his own label of Drummer jeans, jackets, and boots, suitable, of
             course, for the fashion-week runway at the Mr. Drummer Contest and at
             the International Mr. Leather Contest. A man need only sniff his armpit to
             figure how a Drummer cologne in the 1970s might have been distinct from
             the scent introduced by the Tom of Finland Foundation in 2008: “Etat
             Libre d’Orange, ‘Tom of Finland,’ Eau de Parfum Spray, 50ml, $90, free
             shipping.” While Embry had advertised his mail-order amyl nitrite poppers
             as potent “aromas” and fragrant “room odorizers” enhancing wild sex, Tom
             of Finland separated its Parfum from the “stank” of sex with the assurance
             that it was “...not a pornographic scent. Nor is it shocking.”
                My longtime associate, Robert Mainardi, editor of the handsome
             Gmunder book, Jim French: The Creator of Colt Studio (2011), mentioned
             to me the possibility that French perhaps refused to allow Colt photos
             in Drummer because French, taking a page from David Goodstein’s The
             Advocate, did not want his noble Olympian photographs sharing a page
             with ignoble dildo ads. Such ostracism is a part of a possible answer because
             French’s Colt photos and display ads appeared in dozens of other gay maga-
             zines and papers, all rivals of Embry when he was his most contentious in
             the late 1970s and early 1980s, including The Advocate, Blueboy, Honcho,
             Mandate, Numbers, and Stallion. They all featured erotic toy ads of one
             kind or another, so was there some personality conflict, or creative differ-
             ence, that flared up between the tempestuous French and the tempestuous
             Embry shortly after French moved Colt Studio to LA’s San Fernando Valley
             in 1974? French’s former New York partner in Colt, Lou Thomas was happy
             to have his Target Studio photos published on the covers and centerfolds
             of Drummer in return for the free ads Embry gave in trade. In 1989, when
             Thomas died, however, he bequeathed his 1970s Target Studio photos not
             to Drummer, but to his pioneer inspiration, Chuck Renslow, founding pho-
             tographer of 1950s Kris Studio and of the Leather Archives & Museum in

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