Oct 20, 2017

Brandon Cruz and his Best Friend

Former child stars are subjected to all sorts of weird rumors.  Jerry Mathers of Leave It to Beaver died in Vietnam.  Josh Saviano of The Wonder Years donned deaths-head makeup to become Marilyn Manson.  Brandon Cruz of The Courtship of Eddie's Father became a punk rocker.

Wait -- that last one is true.

Kids on 1950s and 1960s tv were required to be emblematic of the establishment. No rebellion, no discussion of the social problems of the era, not even a Beatles moptop.  Some, like Billy Gray, grew up to savagely critique the racism, sexism, heterosexism, and materialism of their star vehicles. Others, like Tony Dow, leaped head-first into the counterculture.

Brandon Cruz, who was only ten years old when Courtship ended, has nothing but nice things to say about his co-star Bill Bixby, "a second father,"  and shrugs off criticisms of the show's conformist content: "I was a kid. I said what they wanted me to say."

Brandon continued to act through the 1970s, with guest shots on Kung Fu, Medical Center, and Police Story, an Afterschool Special ("Mighty Moose and the Quarterback Kid"), and several well-received movies, including The Bad News Bears (1976) and The One and Only (1978).

But his main interest was music.  He became involved in the punk scene of the 1970s and 1980s, performing with the bands Dr. Know (1981-2010) and The Dead Kennedys (2001-2003).

Punk resonated with many gay teens due to its anger, its refusal to conform to the conventions of mainstream rock, and its politics -- a welcome change from the "isn't heterosexual sex great?" lyrics of mainstream rock. In "Moral Majority" (1981), for instance, the Dead Kennedys savagely criticize the homophobic Religious Right:

You call yourselves the Moral Majority
We call ourselves people in the real world
Trying to rub us out, but we're still alive
God must be dead if you're still alive

And that's just the clean part of the song.

But Brandon is not all about rage against the machine.  He often performs "Best Friend," the theme song from Courtship, which sounds extremely homoromantic when it's not about a kid:

People let me tell you 'bout my best friend,
He's a warm hearted person who'll love me till the end.
People let me tell you bout my best friend,
He's a one boy cuddly toy, my up, my down, my pride and joy.

Today, in addition to his music, Brandon is active in Paul Petersen's A Minor Consideration, dedicated to improving working conditions for child actors, and he works as a drug/alcohol rehabilitation counselor.  He is a strong gay ally, and happily acknowledges his gay fans.

I Try to Pick Up a Teen Idol at a Greek Restaurant

Hollywood, February 1986

"Why do we have to come to Hollywood?" Jayson asks, looking nervously at the straight tourists posing outside Mann's Chinese Theater, as if they might yell homophobic slurs at any moment.

"There's no decent Greek restaurants in West Hollywood."

"Then what do we need Greek food for?  Let's go to the French Quarter or Cafe Etoile."

This is my third date with Jayson, one of those West Hollywood booster types who lives on Crescent Heights, works on La Cienega, and never ventures east of Fairfax. He's about my age, brown curly hair, pleasantly muscular gym rat physique, hairy chest, gigantic beneath the belt

I date mainly Asian guys from Mugi or actors that I meet at church or through my friend Marcus. Jason is an exception, not Asian, not interested in show biz.  Plus he's a tad elitist, and that "never leave West Hollywood" stuff gets old fast.  I wonder why I'm dating him at all.

Oh, right -- gigantic beneath the belt.

"It won't hurt you to hang out with straight people for awhile.  Besides, the Athens has a benefit besides the moussaka, which I will demonstrate in due time.

When we arrive at the Athens, on the corner of Hollywood and LaBrea (now it's a Buffalo Wild Wings), Jayson looks askance the twenty or so tables with plastic tabletops, the pictures of the Parthenon and whitewashed houses, the jars of plastic silverware, and the line waiting to order from a surly, big-bicep Greek guy named Eusebios.

"We have to wait in line?"

"The best moussaka and baklava in Southern California, trust me.  Plus an added benefit."

He shrugs, takes his place in line, and glances around the room.  "Why are there so many Cute Young Things here?"

"That's the benefit. Hollywood High is three blocks away, so a lot of students hang out here -- if you want a date with a teen idol, this is the place to met them.  Plus, children of tv stars.  I've been here several times when  Dad has dropped in to pick them up.  You get as many celebrity sightings as at the Hollywood Spa."

"Celebrity sightings!" Jayson sneers.  "Who cares?  It's not like we have a chance with Tom Cruise or Sylvester Stallone."

"Well, maybe not them, but guys who will be famous ten or twenty years from now, so you can say 'I dated him back in the day.'"  I look around the room.  "Case in point -- Georg Olden."


"He was in Explorers with River Phoenix, and right now he's starring in Rocky Road, a sitcom on TBS about an ice cream parlor on Pismo Beach."

"Cute," Jayson admits.

"And legal -- according to Tiger Beat, he's eighteen and single."

We reach the head, submit our orders, and then move over to the cash register to pay, while keeping our eyes on Georg Olden, wearing a pink tank top that accentuates his dark tan and hard shoulders and biceps.  He's sitting at a table with another guy who I don't recognize: college aged, straight black hair, slim physique.  They are eating souvlaki and sharing an order of fries.  Their hands "accidentally" touch.  Obviously a couple!

"Are you telling me you have a chance with that stud muffin?"  Jayson asks.

"Absolutely, no question about it."

He laughs, so loudly that heads raise to look.  "No way, Jose!  Your eyes are bigger than your stomach!"

"Might I remind you that I've only been in town six months, but I've already had dates with Michael J. Fox, Scott Valentine, Lou Ferrigno, and Bill Bixby?"  Actually, I am using the term "date" very loosely, but I don't like being doubted.

"And I'm planning a three-way with Emilio Estivez and Rob Lowe later."

We pick up our food.  "I'll join you in a moment, after I get a phone number or two.  Just observe the master at work."  I walk toward Georg's table.  Jayson takes another table close by.

I gulp.  How am I going to pull this off?

The full story, with nude photos and explicit sexual situations, is on Tales of West Hollywood.

Oct 19, 2017

The Sons of the Incredible Hulk

When you're the child of the Incredible Hulk and a personal trainer, muscles are a constant part of your life, so you'd have to expect Lou Ferrigno's kids to be rather buffed.

Born in 1984, Lou Ferrigno Jr., aka Sweet Lou, played football at USC and made his acting debut in two of David DeCoteau's beefcake horror movies, Hercules Unbound and Night of the Widow (2012).  Since then, he's been on soaps, commercials, Teen Wolf, and How I Met Your Mother

He's also a comedian, motivational speaker, and all-around hunk.

Born in 1990, Brent has not yet expressed any interest in an acting career.  But he did appear in the reality tv series The Incredible Ferrignos (2011), along with his parents and siblings, to promote the benefits of a healthy lifestyle.

The family that flexes together, stays together.