Sex Work

5 Freaky Fetishes of Golden-Age Hollywood—And The Enduring Question They Still Raise


In the grand, effluvia-soaked tradition of Hollywood Babylon, Scotty Bowers' recent memoir, Full Service: My Adventures in Hollywood and the Secret Sex Lives of the Stars, lets it all hang out when it comes to exposing screen giants' erotic excesses.

Like MGM in its heyday, the book has more stars than there are in heaven. From silent-screen royalty such as Gloria Swanson and Ramon Novarro to classy Brits such as Cary Grant and Elsa Lanchester to American legends such as Mae West and Rock Hudson, Bowers dishes long and hard on just who preferred what kind of sex, how often, and with what sort of partner(s).

What elevates Full Service from a simple—if riveting—catalogue of the ultra-decadent lifestyles of the rich and famous to something far more interesting is Bowers' bracingly non-judgmental view of human sexuality. As long as sex is consensual, he says, let it rip. As he told The New York Times, "So they like sex how they liked it. Who cares?"

A World War II vet who fought with distinction in the Pacific (his memories of Guadalcanal and Iwo Jima are terrifying), Bowers was born on a Midwestern farm and ended up pumping gas in Hollywood in 1946. Working at a service station on Van Ness Boulevard, he was picked up one day by Canadian actor Walter Pidgeon, an Oscar nominee known for star turns in films such as How Green Was My Valley and Mrs. Miniver. They drove back to Pidgeon's house and the two of them, joined by a male friend of the actor, engaged in "some really hot sex" for an hour or so.

Thus began Bowers' decades-long role as Hollywood's leading boy toy and procurer of sexual favors for the stars. Although he accepted "tips" for his amorous romps, he never engaged in prositution per se. And as he became the go-to guy to set up all manner of trysts for publicity-shy celebrities (many of whom were closeted gays and lesbians), he never became a pimp either. Rather, he was a fixer who delighted in bringing together stars and people who wanted to sleep with them. The tricks may or may not have been tipped, but Bowers says he never took a cut.

His reaction to his romp with Pidgeon set the tone not just for the next 40 years of his life but for the book he's produced. Bowers lived with a woman and his daughter at the time and, while he freely admits to early and often homosexual experiences, doesn't consider himself gay (he "prefers" the company of women). Here's his take on a love that back in the '40s dare not speak its name:

The only thing that made them a little different than straight men is the fact that they enjoyed having sex with other men as well as with women. And, quite frankly, I saw absolutely nothing wrong with that.

Elsewhere, Bowers writes of a leading set designer who "told me that he had found it very difficult being in the Marines and had cultivated a very masculine image to avoid harassment." Again and again, Bowers' comes back to a basic message of tolerance for anything that's peaceful.

I was simply providing a service to those who wanted it and, as recorded history has shown, throughout the ages there has always been a need for good, old-fashioned, high-quality sex. As I've said before, I don't think there is anything wrong with that. I never thought so and I still don't.

Which isn't to say that his book won't cause even the most libertine of readers to check their premises at various points. There's some weird, wild stuff in Full Service. At the very least, Guess Who's Coming to Dinner? just got a whole lot more interesting.

Here are five of the freakier fetishes Bowers recounts from his adventures in Tinseltown.

Next: And You Thought Cole Porter's Love for Mussolini Was Hard to Swallow…

Indiana native and Mussolini enthusiast Cole Porter is still remembered as one of the main composers of the Great American Songbook. Yet Bowers recalls that the openly gay and ultra-promiscuous Anything Goes creator had a huge appetite—and narrow tastes—when it came to the boudoir:

"I soon learned that Cole's passion was oral sex. He could easily suck off twenty guys, one after the other. And he always swallowed. There are many people, both male and female, who really enjoy the taste of semen. Porter was one of them. On one later occasion I took about nine of my best-looking young guys over to his place and he sucked off every single one of them in no time. Boom, boom, boom and it was all over."

Next: Spencer Tracy: Know Your Lines, Hit Your Mark, And Learn to Cuddle…

Spencer Tracy was a "a generous, good-hearted man," says Bowers, who liked to cuddle after drinking himself into a stupor.

Just not with his most famous leading lady, Katharine Hepburn, whom Tracy despised (he told Bowers that she treated him "like dirt. She was contemptuous of him"). Tracy's P.R.-driven relationship with the lesbian Hepburn was a "pseudoromance," "a non-existent fairytale romance" whose fraudulence helped drive the actor's actor toward becoming an alcoholic's alcoholic, writes Bowers. He recalls many tender moments such as this one:

"I turned off the lights, undressed him, then got undressed myself, climbed into bed with him, and held him tightly like a baby. He continued to slobber and curse and complain. By then he had had so much to drink that I hardly understood a word he was saying."

But Tracy, ever the trouper, wasn't done performing just yet. Indeed, he proved that his famous ethos of knowing his lines and hitting his marks extended to his off-stage life too:

…[Tracy] lay his head down at my groin, took hold of my penis and began nibbling on my foreskin. This was the last guy on earth that I expected an overture like that from, but I was more than happy to oblige him and despite his inebriated state we had an hour or so of pretty good sex.

Next: Kiss Me, Kate Hepburn—As Long As You're Going Easy on the Makeup and Don't Have Any Pimples…

Speaking of Hepburn, Bowers contends she was purely lesbian in her tendencies and that he set up the Bryn Mawr grad with over 150 women. None was more bewitching than a young beauty named Barbara, with whom Hepburn maintained a 49-year relationship.

Which means rumors of a physical relationship between the germaphobic industrialist and movie mogul Howard Hughes and Hepburn are pure hooey. Bowers did a fair amount of setup work for Hughes but the guy got off with the same success rate as The Spruce Goose.

"Howard was as straight as an arrow and really liked women but, ironically, he hardly ever had sex with them. He was so fanatically fussy about his own health as well as the cleanliness and pristine beauty of the young lady that if she ever wore even the slightest hint of makeup that he did not like he would make her take a shower immediately and wash everything off. And if, heaven forbid, she had even the tiniest blemish or a pimple he simply would not touch her."

Next: Close Your Eyes And Think of England's Abdicated King…

The former Edward VIII, who abdicated his right to the throne of the United Kingdom in 1936 so he could marry twice-divorced American Wallis Simpson, is remembered nowadays mostly as a crypto-Nazi punchline on Seinfeld.

Bowers remembers the Duke of Windsor, who spent a lot of time in Los Angeles, far more vividly and fondly: "Eddy was good. Really good. He sucked me off like a pro."

Bowers avers that one of the major reasons Edward turned down the throne was that his rampant bisexuality could only lead to scandal at some point. The perfect way out of such a conundrum was to marry Mrs. Simpson, who herself "shared similar bisexual urges." The result was a match made in heaven.

"He liked boys. She liked girls. Occasionally they even had sex with each other but, essentially, he was gay and she was a dyke. What better way to save face and ensure that they would have the freedom to live their lives in peace and out of the public spotlight than to marry one another?"

For Bowers, who doesn't plumb the question of their Nazi sympathies (indeed, Simpson is rumored to have been a lover of Joachim von Ribbentrop, Hitler's foreign minister), their scandalous romance should be nobody's business but their own:

"Who cared a rat's ass whether they preferred men or women outside their marriage? If that's what made them happy, what else mattered?"

Next: Charles Laughton: How Quasimodo Liked to Ring His Bell… 

Among the most memorable roles of the great actor and director Charles Laughton was his titular turn in The Hunchback of Notre Dame. Quasimodo was a regular client of Bowers' for years, with a fetish that will turn the stomach of even the most jaded reader of Hollywood bios and inveterate watcher of Danny Thomas Show reruns.

"Was this true? Had Charles asked [his trick] to defecate into the pot? Is that what he had smeared on his sandwich? Well, apparently it was. Charles sat down, carefully placed one slice of bread on top of the other, neatly cut the stack in two, and then, without saying a word or even giving us a cursory glance, bit into it. After he had downed the entire sandwich, he got up and went to the sink to rinse off the plate."

You can say at least this much about Laughton, who took home an Oscar for his performance in The Private Life of Henry VIII: He was no Tyrone Power.

Bowers avers that the Mark of Zorro heart-throb was a "doo-doo queen" (Bowers' term) who liked to have female partners shit on him during sex. Where most people would find perversion, Bowers only finds different strokes for different folks:

"The practice certainly didn't turn me on but it was patently clear that it was regarded as a normal and acceptable part of sexual activity by its devotees, with Charles Laughton being one of them, and Ty Power another. So who was I to judge? To each his own."

Books such as Full Service immediately raise questions of credibility: Is this stuff really true? Bowers juices that question even more by reminding the reader that his memory is indeed fading. He's in his late 80s, after all, and lived through the Depression, the Pacific theater in World War II, and a number of Carol Channing tantrums. But Bowers swears by all he writes, much of which falls into the "too good to check" category.

To benchmark his truthiness, it makes sense to look at his treatment of J. Edgar Hoover, the FBI head long suspected of being gay. Bowers recalls a weekend in the 1960s spent at the La Jolla home of wealthy friend named Fred. Hoover, says Bowers, showed up with a young, hunky driver, and the two shared the same bedroom (which had only one bed) the whole time. And there's this:

"Adding spice to the weekend, Fred kept a very extensive wardrobe of women's clothing locked up in one of the spare bedrooms. On Saturday and Sunday evening he and Hoover got dressed up in drag. A lot of fun was had by all, I can tell you."

Well, maybe.

But then there's this in Enemies, the excellent—and highly critical—new history of the FBI and Hoover by Pulitzer Prize-winning author Tim Weiner:

"The one thing everyone seems to know about Hoover is that he had sexual relations with his constant companion Clyde Tolson. The idea was imprinted in the public mind long ago, in a book by a British journalist that included indelible descriptions of Hoover in drag. It would be fascinating if true. But it is almost surely false. The allegation rests on third-hand hearsay from highly unreliable sources. Not a shred of evidence supports the notion that Hoover ever had sex with Tolson or with any other human being."

So if Bowers is bullshitting about Hoover's fondness for black cocktail dresses, does it mean he's faking about Tyrone Power, Kate Hepburn, and all the rest? And if he's wrong about them, is his easygoing take on sexuality in turn equally mistaken? Are the kinks he describes in Full Service simply vivid examples of human variety or evidence of psychological problems? Bowers does a public service by documenting the extent that legal and social conventions enforced rigid and stultifying sexual codes and there's no doubt that such repression helps breed the extreme behavior it seeks to prevent.

But Howard Hughes' aversions seem to be a textbook case of self-defeating Freudian neurosis and the end of his life underscores long-serious mental problems; Bowers' description of prodigious drinking and blackout behavior by Spencer Tracy, Errol Flynn, and Ramon Novarro speaks to something other than mental health too. As a good libertarian, I don't believe the state should regulate or police what goes on between or among consenting adults. Yet Full Service certainly forces readers to ask themselves: Is consensual sex, no matter how odd and off-beat, nobody's business but the folks involved?

Regardless of Bowers' accuracy, that's a question that each of us will answer for ourselves, all without ever knowing for sure whether Charles Laughton preferred whole wheat or plain white bread on his sandwiches. Or, mercifully, what the great actor ate for dessert.

Nick Gillespie is editor in chief of and and the co-author, with Matt Welch, of The Declaration of Independents: How Libertarian Politics Can Fix What's Wrong With America.

NEXT: Secret Service Agents Should be Allowed to Rent Hookers

Editor's Note: We invite comments and request that they be civil and on-topic. We do not moderate or assume any responsibility for comments, which are owned by the readers who post them. Comments do not represent the views of or Reason Foundation. We reserve the right to delete any comment for any reason at any time. Report abuses.

    1. FIST?

      Yes! pages…37,38, 54-70, 92, 104, and 231!

    2. How appropriate.

      1. First!ing a thread is never appropriate. And anyone who does it is a fucking idiot.

        1. He did say “Fist”, though, which is entirely appropriate for this thread. Context, Hugh! It’s all about context.

          1. Shrinkage, Jerry! Shrinkage!

  1. Bowers is scum and not fit for decent society. He attacks those who are dead and unable to defend themselves. Who cares what the sex habits of stars are or were? This book does nothing to help advance freedom.

    1. He didn’t attack anyone, so your criticism is entirely irrelevant.

      1. So, you don’t mind a wag telling people you like to eat feces? That is a freaking attack.

        1. Not if you actually like to eat feces, dipshit.

    2. This book does nothing to help advance freedom.

      But, no homo, right?

      1. I could care less what people do in the bedroom.

        1. Riiiight. That’s why you posted here after reading enough to know what it was about.

    3. This book does nothing to help advance freedom.

      So which page described your mother?

      1. The page right before the one that described yours.

        1. Wait, I thought attacking individuals had nothing to do with advancing freedom. I r confused.

          1. Now you see how easily the advance of freedom is checked.

  2. Concerning the book and the issues it raises, I agree with Peter Griffen.

  3. This is all fascinating, but it smells exactly like Albert Goldman’s book about John Lennon (which I thoroughly enjoyed, and also didn’t believe for a second): a projection of personal fantasies onto famous people. It’s all a little too good to be true, and has absolutely zero backing evidence. I couldn’t care less if all these people were exactly what Bowers says, I just don’t believe it from a statistical perspective. Approximately 3% of Hollywood should be gay, not 100%. The fact that it’s 100% with Bowers says this is his fantasy.

    1. Approximately 3% of Hollywood should be gay, not 100%.

      If Hollywood is/was a more friendly place than the rest of America, it would make sense that gays might congregate there, making the percentage of gays in Hollywood higher than 3%.

      Then again, I find more interesting stories like that of the allegedly devout Catholic Loretta Young, who got knocked up out of wedlock courtesy of Clark Gable, and went off elsewhere to have the kid and “adopt” her daughter.

    2. Approximately 3% of Hollywood should be gay, not 100%

      That would be true if Hollywood were a cross-section of the general population. But since they are a self-selecting community, it is likely to be somewhat higher.

      You wouldn’t say that an enclave like Broadway or the Republican National Committee is only 3% gay would you?

      1. That would be true if Hollywood were a cross-section of the general population. But since they are a self-selecting community, it is likely to be somewhat higher.

        OMG Hugh! Are you seriously suggesting that a slice of the population actually and willingly consolidates and clusters, even self-segregating? Get outta town!

        You wouldn’t say that an enclave like Broadway or the Republican National Committee is only 3% gay would you?

        Depends on how many are prone to breaking out in showtunes. Apparently, Glee is a documentary.

        1. OMG Hugh! Are you seriously suggesting that a slice of the population actually and willingly consolidates and clusters, even self-segregating? Get outta town!

          I know what you’re thinking Doc, and I’m way ahead of you. I have already contacted the office of the Equalizer General, and I’m sure that SWAT teams are being dispatched to ensure that Hollywood doesn’t have more than their allotted proportion of homos.

          1. It’s the fair and equitable thing to do. Hollywood has had its monopoly on interior decorators, entertainers, hospitality industry employees, and hairdressers for far, far too long.

            Our lefty prog commenters couldn’t find fault with this scheme: there must be a fair, equitable, and homogenous distribution of gay labour and their economic spoils.

            1. More gay janitors! And assembly line workers! More neo-Nazi ballet dancers and bakers! And we clearly need to have more right-wing evangelicals on MSNBC. CLEARLY.

              Libert?, ?galit?, fraternit?!

    3. Bowers specifically said that they weren’t necessarily gay. If you are part of the elite, relatively idle wealthy, you may be inclined to engage in more indulgences, either because you can, because you’re bored, or both, than your average American.

    4. Exactly. Some of this stuff may be true. But there is no way to know. And this guy has every reason to lie and make up tails. So there is really no reason to believe a word of it.

      1. “And this guy has every reason to lie and make up tails.”

        Heh heh, I see what you did there, even if unintended.

    5. From the Hollywood actresses that I know personally, 100% of them are bisexual.

      n = 2. You’ve probably never heard of one of them, and the other one you might have heard of, but she’s not a huge celebrity or anything.

    6. Approximately 3% of Hollywood should be gay, not 100%

      3% sounds waaaay low for the general populace, if you count bi and heavily closeted single and married people who aren’t going to admit to any homo behavior in a survey.

      And a creative mileau like Hollywood is gonna attract more gays than the general populace.

    7. Approximately 3% of Hollywood should be gay, not 100%. The fact that it’s 100% with Bowers says this is his fantasy.

      No way, you have to accommodate for teh gayz friendly environment. I give it about 10%.

  4. Five freaky fetishes? I counted exactly two. Blow job fixators and scatophiles. BORING! Where is Fatty Arbuckle having Kaiser helmeted midgets shot out of cannons into his ass while he strangles hookers?

    1. Or Orson Welles drunk on Gallo messing up a standard stage show magic act by accidentally cutting Black Dahlia in half at one of John Houston’s sex parties hosted at a day care center?

      If you are going to make shit up, roll you some bones!

  5. Shit sex, shit sex, shit sex! Doesn’t anyone Chinese Basket Fuck anymore?!

    1. Okay, I remember the punchline, but not the original joke. Gotta be 40 years ago.

      1. Red Riding Hood and the wolf. Remember now?

        1. Eat, eat, eat, doesn’t anyone fuck anymore.

          Thanks for the trip down amnesia lane.

  6. Is consensual sex, no matter how odd and off-beat, nobody’s business but the folks involved?

    No. Apparently it’s also the business of anyone willing to slap down hard-earned scratch for Bowers’ highly suspect book.

    1. +69

  7. Interestingly, every quote from this guy in the story has this type of disclaimer.

    And, quite frankly, I saw absolutely nothing wrong with that.


    As I’ve said before, I don’t think there is anything wrong with that. I never thought so and I still don’t.

    Who are you trying to convince, yourself?

    If there is nothing wrong with it, well, obviously you are not doing it right!

    1. No offense, but have you ever made a completely factual statement and then been attacked as if that factual statement carried a normative prescription as well? Because I have – all the time.

      1. Of course, intent doesn’t always translate well.

        1. And there’s absolutely nothing wrong with that.

          1. We’re assuming the statements were completely factual.

            I would like some fact-checking first.

            1. There are no facts in Hollywood.

  8. Um how could Tracy’s romance with Hepburn be a PR driven sham when those same PR people were busy covering it up because Tracy had a wife and kids?

    1. There’s no such thing as bad publicity.

      1. Um Tracy leaving his wife and disabled son for Hepburn would have been bad publicity back then which is why it was covered up until Tracy’s death.

        1. Of course he already left her. And she wouldn’t give him a divorce. So maybe he was running around with men and the Studio figured an affair with Hepburn, who had her only problems, was the best damage control.

          1. Tracy and Hepburn’s relationship was not acknowledged until after he died. Not sure why the studio would orchestrate a sham relationship that couldn’t be publicly acknowledged which is the point of a sham relationship.

            1. Case in point: Tab Hunter had PR-driven sham relationships with Debbie Reynolds and Natalie Wood (not at the same time). The inside joke in Hollywood was “Natalie Wood and Tab Wouldn’t”.

              1. What Bowers is saying is more like if the PR people hooked up Tab Hunter with a married mother only to cover it up since they don’t want Tab to look a homewrecker. Isn’t a secret beard pretty much a contradiction in terms?

  9. Like Episiarch and John above, this reads like the line, “and then we invited the unicorn to join in” would be right at home in this completely and 100% historical (and not at all embellished) account.

    And honestly? Sugarfree does these sort of things way better.

    1. Sugarfree is the best. I once asked him if he could write up a short piece with Sarah and James Brady visiting John Hinckley jr for a conjugal visit on Thanksgiving. He wrote back, it was my idea I have to do it. Tried, but any content involving weiners, I mean, once there are fingers feeling around under foreskin in a description, my toes start clinching the ground, and a queasy feeling goes up my shaft veins. Happened just then.

      1. May I get your opinion on this little, SugarFree inspired, ditty?

        Saccharin Man is truly the master of slash fic. A veritable DaVinci, I daresay.

        1. I laughed, but the mental image of Joe Biden sucking off Barry O is not one that will soon fade (and not in a good way. THANKS. >_>).

          My favorite line: He thought fondly of Rahm and his elegant technique, his forceful approach, and his limber frame honed from his years as a ballerina.

          1. I vaguely remember another one early on in my H&R voyage, in which SF referred to someone groping Nancy Pelosi “where her nipples should have been”.

            That line spoke to me in a disturbing way that I’ll always treasure.

            SugarFree is, indeed, the best.

        2. Some nice touches in there. The White Sox pitch. I would bet it really is a nice shiner on his ego. Joe’s hair plugs. I recall joe bragging about owning a convertible with a red head attached to the passenger seat. Perfect characterization. Puking up Kobe beef, that is how I would handle visceral detail too, given full on SugarFree description is out of my range. A nod to the transcendent evil that is Rahm. Good stuff.

          1. Oh, Biden. Forgot for the day that he exists.

        3. I threw up in my own bile.

          Well done.

    2. “And honestly? Sugarfree does these sort of things way better.” Indeed. The more I read the legitimate “article,” the more it began to sound like these comment threads, only with less imagination.

  10. Posthumously outing your friends. Seems like a real classy guy and not at all like someone who would make shit up to sell a book. I’ll just go ahead and take him at his word on everything.

    1. “Outing” is, as they say, outdated. It’s the wrong terminology here. By saying that one cannot discuss the sex lives of others if one is going to “out” someone, you are implicitly conceding that there is something to be ashamed of in having homosexual sex.

      Hanging on to the old “outing” terminology just gives the shame power.

      1. It also occurs to me that we have, now, a version of the “one drop” rule when it comes to homosexuality, especially with men. If a man has sex with another man one time, he is gay for life, even if he never does it again. It’s considered “scandalous” or shameful unless he commits to being a “pure” homosexual, i.e. he’s a hypocrite and a sellout to the gay community for “leaving” and a pariah to the straight community for trying to become something he’s “not”.

        1. In my experience, many Gay men and women tend to be extremely bi-phobic.

          1. Bisexual erasure… reminds me of ausradieren.

        2. Catching a trout doesn’t make me a fisherman, BUT suck one cock…

          1. Francisco, I thought of that joke too.

            1. Great minds…

        3. I think it because there is just a stigma on men doing things with other men. Women can play around with another girl and not really have much of a stigma. So as a result, women will do it because their friends at college tried it or to make their b/f happy or any number of other pretty shallow reasons. They can do it for shallow reasons because there isn’t much social downside if there is any at all.

          Men in contrast since there is such a social stigma, really can’t do it for shallow reasons. A guy has to really want to do it. No guy ever got with another man just to make his g/f happy. For this reason, a single homosexual act on the part of a man is a stronger indication of full blown homosexuality than it is when done by a woman.

          1. That’s because lots of men will masturbate to videos of girls playing with each other or pay money to watch them rub all over each other. Women, by contrast, don’t often say “Aw, sweet!” when someone says “So my boyfriend also likes manly buttsex.”

          2. No guy ever got with another man just to make his g/f happy.

            I can assure you that this is not true.

          3. For this reason, a single homosexual act on the part of a man is a stronger indication of full blown homosexuality than it is when done by a woman.

            No, if a man has only had a single homosexual experience in his life, and the remaining 99.9% of his sexual experiences have been with women, that is a pretty strong indicator that he is NOT a “full blown” homosexual.

        4. It is very interesting that men were more willing to admit to doing such things in boarding schools and as adolescents during the Victorian Age, when it would literally get you thrown in jail, than they are now. Victorian and Edwardian memoirs are full of that kind of stuff. And it is unthinkable that anyone now who wasn’t guy would ever admit to such in a memoir.

          1. I think one paradoxical result of the “sexual revolution” has been to make the culture less tolerant of deviant “heteronormative” behavior in certain ways. 100 years ago “full-blown” homosexuality was so far out of bounds that a little of it either didn’t get noticed (a “confirmed bachelor” with a roommate, a “Boston marriage” of two women) or was no big deal (boarding school stuff). Also, back when single men did not generally hang out with single women alone or in groups, I think that someone like Walt Whitman could be seen hanging out with men exclusively and only arouse suspicion among the “dirty-minded.” But once homosexuality became a “lifestyle” and a political issue, more people became more concerned about any sign of it.

            The Walter Pidgeon story is the worst for me. Totally disrupts my sense of who he was.

            I’ve read that the original source for the Hoover-in-drag story is one woman with a grudge. Add in all his enemies and there’s a meme that will never die. He may have been black, though.

        5. It also occurs to me that we have, now, a version of the “one drop” rule when it comes to homosexuality, especially with men. If a man has sex with another man one time, he is gay for life, even if he never does it again.

          Depends on the social context, TAO.

          Exhibit A: Prisons.

          They are full of straight, heterosexual men, who by proxy of locale, engage in homosexual behavior willingly for a number of reasons (such as emotional fulfillment, protection, loneliness, release of sexual energy, etc.), but do not consider themselves “bi-sexual” or “gay”, and by their definition, are not.

          Most of these men resume sexual pursuits consistent with their default sexuality upon release from incarceration and refrain from pursuing homosexual encounters.

          1. That’s pretty much just the mermaid rule taken to the logical extreme.

      2. By saying that one cannot discuss the sex lives of others if one is going to “out” someone, you are implicitly conceding that there is something to be ashamed of in having homosexual sex.

        Well, no. Just because you have open-minded views about sexuality doesn’t mean everyone else does. And so “outing” someone — knowingly revealing sexual information about someone who you know wants to keep it a secret, whether they are ashamed of it or just of the consequences of it being public knowledge — is still a relevant phrase.

        1. I can see that you’re really not following. First of all, you are not obligated to keep other people’s secrets unless they ask you to do so. Assuming that someone has been keeping their homosexual activities a secret is condescending and should not be the default – if you assume “I shouldn’t tell So-and-So because s/he might not know s/he is gay”, you are presuming there is something wrong with being gay.

          1. No, we all follow. You’re just wrong. No one is really obligated to do anything but eat and sleep, in that sense. But good, honest people don’t go around sharing other’s secrets just to make a buck. I’m sure the author’s discretion was one of the reasons he was looked to to set up these trysts. If you are revealing information about someone that they do not want known, you are outing them, regardless of wether or not you think people need to hide the information. That is the correct terminology, you don’t get to change it.

  11. Way OT, but I’ll just leave this here:

    A Seattle man accused of planting his face in joggers’ rears at a West Seattle park was sentenced Friday to nearly 10 years in prison.…..-buttocks/

    1. Am I evil for wondering whether this was Dunphy?

      1. Dunphy carries his manhood on his hip.

  12. Is consensual sex, no matter how odd and off-beat, nobody’s business but the folks involved?

    It’s like people have four basic needs.

    *Food and water
    *Voyeurism and gossip

    I wonder when some of the women who…um…cooperated with the Secret Service will come forward.

    I wonder what they look like.

    …No I don’t! I meant you all do–and you should be ashamed of yourselves!

    1. I wonder what they look like.

      They’re Colombian.

      1. I know.

        It must be something in the water.

        1. I came

      2. holy fuck. Thanks dude.

  13. It’s fun to follow along as Larry Harnish of The Daily Mirror blog fact checks the book. Twenty-four posts so far and he’s all the way up to page 7.

    Things aren’t looking very good regarding truthiness.

    1. Now, that is how you do reporting.

      This is interesting. The city of Beverly Hills has compiled a list of architects and builders, arranged by street address. And although the list is from 1986, it doesn’t matter for a historic house like the one at 1110 Benedict Canyon Drive, where Scotty Bowers purportedly had his first Hollywood tryst with Walter Pidgeon and Jacob/Jack/Jacques Potts.

      In examining the document, we find that the permit for the home is dated Oct. 11, 1923, the architect is L.G. Scherer Co. and the contractor is G.A. Kiffe.

      So much for the “John Woolf Regency.” Just real estate hype.

      At this point, all of our online resources have been exhausted. Pursuing this question further will require a field trip to the Beverly Hills planning department to examine the permits on the house. That may take some time to arrange. I always miss the great UCLA interns I used to have when the Daily Mirror was at but especially now!

      Meanwhile, I’ll be pressing forward. On to Page 7!

    2. Thanks for the great link. He seems to be well on the way to debunking the Walter Pidgeon story, which strikes me as unlikely anyway. Back then every star had a studio contract with a morals clause, so would top stars really pick up random gas station attendants?

  14. What I want to know about – and I think this would offer a richer source of libertarian discussion – is the drug lives of the classic Hollywood elite.

    Intuitively, I know those pre-DEA era medicine cabinets must have held treasures beyond what we can dream…and yet there are so few anecdotes.

    1. I have a feeling that it was not all that different from today, just classier.

    2. There are more than a few. Check out the Hollywood Babylon books.

  15. Given the will it must have taken to get where they were, you can assume they weren’t normal people. No one who claws their way into celebrity is. If they are by definition abnormal, why would you expect their sexual tastes to be baseline?

    You are rich, have plenty of available sex partners, a proven ability to suppress dignity, shame and to slip into and out of roles involving non-internally-generated modes of thought. Top that off with the cloistered studio system, the more obvious corruption of the press at the time and the fact that everyone involved had a vested interest in not killing the golden goose. It seems like a ripe time for perversion to grow in the fertile soil of boredom and power.

    What wouldn’t you do in a completely consequence-free environment?

    1. Saccharin Man, you do realize you have described, to a tee, the profile of the perfect serial killer?

      And Baron Vladimir Harkonnen.

      And Congress.

      1. And The Jacket.

      2. El sue?o de la raz?n produce monstruos

        It is only when you are free to do anything that your morality emerges, crawling, mewling, blinking back tears from the fierce light of a sun it has never known.

  16. Stop me if you’ve heard this one:

    A guy complains to the bartender that his girlfriend dumped him because he was too kinky for her. The woman next to him offers her sympathy and reveals that she had had the same problem. She suggests that they go back to her place. Once there, he sits on the couch while she gets changed. She comes back dressed in leather holding a whip only to see the guy putting his coat on. She says, “What’s wrong? I thought you wanted to get kinky.” He says, “Lady, I fucked your dog and I shat in your purse. How kinky do you want to get?

    1. I laughed, I cried… I was entertained. 🙂

  17. Article does remind me of my all time favorite blog post:


    Snip> Every adult must at some point have paused during some slapstick piece of debauchery and thought, “Christ, this is ridiculous”. Having testicles is like being chained to the village idiot. Sad, but there it is. And when we have solved every racial, political and economic problem, we will still be stuck with that one. < UnSnip

    1. Yep. Can relate. I recall looking up in an intense moment of passion and seeing in the mirror in front of me the mirror behind me reflecting my own ass bumping its fool tail along. I cracked up laughing and had to pull out. It was too funny to keep going.

      1. If it isn’t a beautiful and sexy moment of sharing you see, you’re doing it wrong. Or doing the wrong person.

        1. O_o, I thought you were older and knew better. Some things are just funny, and sex is the funniest of all sometimes.

  18. Roger Gary 2012

  19. I don’t like the casual attitude in the article to what I would think is the central question concerning the book: Is it true?

    “Regardless of Bowers’ accuracy, that’s a question [about sex] that each of us will answer for ourselves”

    That’s not quite as bad as the publication which said that the genuineness of the [Godwin edit] diaries almost didn’t matter (they were fake), but it goes down that same road.

    If it’s true, then we we can have a National Conversation about whether it matters that famous Hollywood stars got off on eating shit, or whether there’s anything wrong with it.

    But without verification (which this book sorely needs), then it’s premature (no salacious pun intended) to debate the cosmic significance of incidents which might not have occurred.

    It would be like saying, “is it anyone’s business if Senator Biden enjoys putting on a maid suit and swinging upside-down from the ceiling at the Kennedy Center?” First show it happened, and only then consider What it All Means.

    1. But without verification (which this book sorely needs), then it’s premature (no salacious pun intended) to debate the cosmic significance of incidents which might not have occurred.

      But you do believe the book exists, right?

      I mean, if you are going to use a book full of made-up crap as a jumping-off point for a discussion, why not just make up the book?

      P.S. – Nick, you seriously need to come back home.

  20. Somebody was having fun?
    Before even I was born?

    1. I’m sure that’s a verifiable statement, but don’t use this book as a source.

  21. As Bowers told The New York Times, “As long as sex is consensual, he says, let it rip. So they like sex how they liked it. Who cares?”

    Maybe a tad disingenuous, coming from the author of a gossipy book detailing the sex lives of consenting adults.

    1. Some people like to woolgather. Some people think their stories are worth telling.

      Ironic that you are judging those who you think are too judgmental, OR caring about those who you think “care” too much.

      1. I’m not judging the book’s author “for being too judgmental”, I’m judging him for being hypocritical.

  22. Excuse me, I thought I was going to the Reason website but evidently stumbled into Star Magazine’s dead celeb section.

    What the hell point is there to this book or article that makes you think it belongs in Reason Magazine?

    Trying to appeal to a more valuable demo?


    1. Welcome to weekends without trolls. It is a new feature, so give it some time to settle in.

  23. Eh. so when does Warty get an article about is festishes? Or do we have to wait until he dies?

    1. If you are lucky, you will die never knowing the extent of Warty’s fetishes.

  24. This is exactly the kind of writing we have come to expect (and welcome) from this mighty edifice of freedom, to whit BTW; while i found some of the article hard to swallow, most of it was truly uplifting.

    1. Kuwanki, while don’t you be a good lad and stop posting.

  25. Wow, I think I finally figured it out man. WOw.

  26. What elevates Full Service from a simple… catalogue of the ultra-decadent lifestyles of the rich and famous to something far more interesting is Bowers’ bracingly non-judgmental view of human sexuality.

    Highly promiscuous bisexual has “bracingly non-judgmental view of human sexuality.” Get outta town, Gillespe!

    1. I mean, seriously, what do you expect from the memoirs of a man who spent his life fellating Hollywood stars? Did you expect this book to read “I rounded up nine dudes for Cole Porter to blow, and I immediately got grossed out because he’s such a filthy fag”? What is “bracing” about Bowers’ entirely predictable take on the things he did?

  27. I can tell you for a fact that Edward VIII was a raging queen, so that much of Bower’s account at least is true.

Please to post comments

Comments are closed.