Sunday, September 1, 2013

A Labor (Day) of Love

Today is Labor Day in the U.S., the last day that most swimming pools are open until next Memorial Day in May. Naturally, we love the water and love summer, so it is with much sadness that we have to say goodbye to pool season. But we may as well go out with a bang, right?? So let's take a look at some male celebrities who are workin' a swimsuit. As usual, there will be a whole gamut of types, so hopefully you'll find a favorite or two! (And thanks also to our cover boy today, Mr. Burt Reynolds.)

Recognize this man? This was my generation and the one before it's answer to Michael Phelps, the handsome and athletic Olympian Mark Spitz.
Truly one of the most beautiful men ever created, and one who was frequently displayed in next to nothing on, is all-natural bodybuilder and sword 'n sandal actor Steve Reeves, seen here sunning his flawless physique.
Here, we see Mr. Reeves in the company of a slew of fellow bodybuilders during the production of Athena(1954) – He's the one being pinned back.
Costar Debbie Reynolds steps in to compare biceps with the guys. Is this an embarrassment of riches or WHAT?
While we're in the past, let's take a peek at some other old time stars in their swimwear... Here we see wonderful movie villain (and occasional good guy) Warren William in a snappy belted suit. He was so often covered up in his movies, it's rare to see him out of a suit (and in decent shape, too!)
Randolph Scott and his roommate Cary Grant pose on the diving board for a photo spread on their everyday life together. Grant has the peculiar distinction of having socks on, but the bigger question is: if the socks are on his feet, then what does he have in the front of that swimsuit?!?
Crooner and actor (such as in 1945's State Fair) Dick Haymes frolics in the back yard with his cute children (two of the six kids he had amongst his many wives.)
A very focused and determined James Cagney prepares to do a back-flip.
Alan Ladd (during the filming of The Great Gatsby, 1949) is shown talking to Macdonald Carey during a poolside scene.
Steve Cochran (star of the recently profiled movie The Beat Generation, 1959) is shown with some clinging seaweed, clinging Lita Milan and a clinging swimsuit in I, Mobster(1958), which has suddenly become a must-see movie for me!
We can't see too much of Cochran's Generation costar Ray Danton here, but what we can make out looks rather inviting...
Contrary film actor Edmund Purdom is shown sharing a hammock with wife of one year Linda Christian.
Tab Hunter takes part in some poolside tomfoolery with a couple of friends. Shame about those socks.
Here we see Sal Mineo (in the company of Terry Moore) taking a stroll on the beach.
Former Disney star Tommy Kirk is shown cavorting with a bevy of bikini-clad gals in one of his beach-set movies (though in real life, his tastes ran the same way mine do!)
Another teen sensation, Frankie Avalon, is seen here on the deck of a boat in I'll Take Sweden (1965.)
I wanted to include that color shot above, but he makes a somewhat better impression standing up, as shown here!
One of my faithful readers sent in this shot of French star Alain Delon about to dive into The Swimming Pool(1969.)
Next, we take a dip into the Charlton Heston wing of this swimwear exhibit. Mr H., a one-time artists model, often swam and took in the sun wearing abbreviated trunks.
The star of many historical epics was contemporary when it came to swimsuits.
This dotted one seems to have been a favorite of his.
When you spend a fair amount of time in loincloths and rags, you have to keep that tan going!
Another actor who wore a loincloth in at least one movie (Zardoz, 1974) is Sean Connery, seen here with then-wife Diane Cilento in some snugly-fitting swimtrunks.
His immediate successor as James Bond (in On Her Majesty's Secret Service, 1969) was male model-turned-actor George Lazenby, sporting a Speedo at the beach.
The villain in Secret Service was Telly Savalas, enjoying a swim in a Speedo of his own. See how I made that segue? ;-)
Speedos for breakfast?? It looks that way for actor Tony Franciosa in this cereal commercial.
Of course I cackle at the box of Grape Nuts being in such close proximity as Mr. F.'s own...
In The Producers (1967), when auditions were in full swing for the lead in the movie's deliberately awful musical “Springtime for Hitler,” one of the actors slithered down to these briefs. (Maybe not a swimsuit, but when have I ever been picky?!)
In The Gay Deceivers (1969) Laurence Casey plays gay to avoid the draft, but takes a stroll and a swim with his girlfriend.
Check out this good-looking, swimsuit-wearing couple: Granite-like Charles Bronson and his wife Jill Ireland.
Miles O'Keefe got a short-lived burst of major publicity when he played the title character in 1981's Tarzan, the Ape Man opposite Bo Derek. His loincloth was probably the most abbreviated to that time except perhaps for the one Johnny Weissmuller wore in the very first pre-Code film.
Another scantily-clad movie actor was Christopher Atkins in The Blue Lagoon (1980), who even went naked a time or two.
Not to be outdone (though when it came to the movie's lasting fame, he was) was Eight is Enough's Willie Ames in Paradise (1982), a Lagoon ripoff, in which he put forth a nude swimming scene.
The Speedo was still going strong on actor Paul Land in 1983's Spring Break (and be sure not to miss the extra to the left of him's revealing shorts!)
Mr. Land did commit one cardinal sin of the Speedo, however, which was to have a thatch of body hair on his inner thighs along the leg holes.  Ya gotta prune a little bit!
Let's turn the dial now to some TV actors. We'll call this first part the Robert Culp Wing. Culp was the star (along with Bill Cosby) of I Spy (1965 – 1968) and sometimes had occasion on the globe-trotting show to show off some very fun and tiny swim trunks.
Just look at the series of shots depicted here (again, brought to my attention by a faithful Underworld reader!)
In this montage, we almost get a bit of butt crack from him as he emerges from the water. (And note the dark brown jock strap they had Mr. Cosby in!)
This suit screams the 1960s (and I wish I could have been there to experience them firsthand.)
This next trio of shots are of a Speedo-clad Mr. Culp working on a dolly shot in which the camera will be pulled backwards away from him along the platform he's walking on.
So much goes on out of frame in TV or movies that we rarely, if ever, take time to think about when watching.
Here's a more close-up view. Culp, by the way. went “full monty” in a 1973 film called A Name for Evilif you ever come across it.
Actor John Saxon appeared in the 1973 TV-movie Linda with Stella Stevens and showed off his humpy physique. This entire movie is on if you ever want to see it. (Which reminds me, it may soon be time to hop into the vintage TVMovie Time Tunnel again!)
If you are of a certain age, you are doubtlessly aware of the extraordinary beauty and hunkitude of this next guy, Voyagers' Jon-Erik Hexum, seen in a swimsuit photo payout with The Fall Guy's Heather Thomas.
I loved both of these people when I was a kid, though my mother saw Thomas as a car show that was in town and thought she seemed “hard.” LOL Maybe so... (Incidentally, Thomas has just stepped before the cameras again after a fifteen-year hiatus, in a warm, fuzzy, family-oriented opus called Girltrash: All Night Long!) 
When Hexum died in 1984, his replacement on the series he was then starring on (Cover Up) was Antony Hamilton, shown here in a Speedo.
Hamilton's life ended far too early as well when AIDS claimed him in 1995 at only age forty-two.
Soap opera fans might feel themselves getting into a lather over these next two men. Doug Sheehan worked on General Hospital from 1978 to 1982 before moving to primetime on Knots Landing from 1983 to 1987.
Peter Reckell caused a sensation onDays of Our Lives from 1983 to 1987 before leaving and coming back from 1990 to 1992.
he came back a third time, ironically his longest stay, from 1995 to 2012.
Do those pictures remind you of anything? They ought to put you in the mind of Battle of the Network Stars if you're old enough to recall that series of specials which pitted actors and actresses from NBC, CBS and ABC against each other in various sporting events. (Thankfully, two or three of the events meant that the men were shoehorned into Speedo bathing suits!)

Since this was my FAVORITE PROGRAM EVER as a kid and I happen to have collected a fair amount of pictures from it, we'll end this post with them. What a shame we couldn't get a better look at Gary Sandy (of WKRP in Cincinnati, 1978-1982), an actor famous for his tight pants, rowing a kayak in the lower right corner of this montage.
This shot is likely from another occasion (you can usually spot Battle pics from the distinctively colorful, solid-design swimsuits), but I'm tossing it on the pile anyway. Lorenzo Lamas of Falcon Crest (1981-1990.) Lamas appeared in every one of Crest's 227 episodes.
Preparing for a swimming relay is B.J. And the Bear's Greg Evigan. He starred in that show from 1978 to 1981.
Here's another shot of Evigan (and, again, I'm thinking this is from another occasion, due to the style - and size! - of suit.)
Frequent team captain Robert Conrad (of Baa Baa Black Sheep, 1976-1978) takes a breather with an unfortunately-located can of Coke.
Tom Selleck of Magnum P.I. (1980-1988) is wearing one of the ghastly rust-colored, velour warm-up jackets over his Speedo.
This is Daniel J. Travanti, star of Hill St. Blues from 1981 to 1987.
Dynasty's John James towels off after a swim. James was one of only two cast members to stay with the show (departing only to spend two seasons on its spin-off The Colbys, 1985-1987) through its entire run from 1981 to 1989.
Mark Harmon (of Flamingo Road, 1980-1982, and St. Elsewhere, 1983-1986) is pointing eastward.
And here is Vega$ (1978-1981) star Robert Urich.
Fans of Andrew Stevens are in for a treat now. First we have this shot of him in his official ABC warm-up jacket and swimsuit. He was costarring on Code Red (1981-1982) at the time.
Now we get a glimpse of him after a moist ride in the kayak relay race.
About to dive into the water for the swimming relay, his li'l trunks are becoming quite the eye (and mouth?) openers. Ha!

I always try to save the best for last and so here I give you young Andrew Stevens alongside the incredibly gorgeous Sam J. Jones, his Code Red costar. And these two together ought to get anyone's alarms blaring! I hope you had a wonderful weekend and enjoyed this Labor Day special.


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