Who’s Kidding Who?

“They called him Danny La Rue, because in drag he looks as long as a street,” whines the chatty little journalist in Film Review, published by the EMI Film and Theatre Corporation, who are also responsible for the distribution of Our Miss Fred, Danny La Rue’s entry into the mindless world of telly orientated cinema. The film is liberally sprinkled with an array of “dirty” jokes designed to make fifty-four year old disgusted Mr and Mrs Fred Nudge masochistically ‘Tch, tch’ in the rear stalls of the ABC Purley.

Technically well directed by Bob Kellet and beautifully photographed by Dick Bush, the film appears on the surface to be a mild piece of entertaining whimsy, with Danny as a small time actor, possibly this is the only element of realism in the film, who is conscripted into the army during World War Two and is sent to France to keep the lads happy and gay with his drag act. While in mid-performance his platoon is captured by the Germans who set him free, believing him to be a civilian woman. Shades of St Trinians follow as he falls in with a butcher than butch Lally Bowers leading a bunch of blue stocking schoolgirls to safety from cocks and Nazis. In the true tradition of hackneyed British comedy prose, he fancies the girls and has to be acutely embarrassed when believing him to be yet another unsullied virgin from next door, he gets asked to unzip that awkward clasp at the back of someone’s dress. Of course being a good green blooded English lad, even when he’s wearing his straight all-male clobber, he goes a bright shade of pink at the very mention of the word thingy, because underneath it all, he’s a yellow bellied, clean living heterosexual, who’s never got nearer to the sex act than a few good double entendres in the Rose and Crown on a Saturday night. In pursuit there’s also notoriously anti-gay actor/comedian, Alfred Marks (do you ever listen to “Does the Team Think?”) as a German general, who, guess what, fancies Fred or as he’s now calling himself, Frederica. So off they all go in a rickety old car trying to make their way to the Channel, with Fred continually murmuring, between innuendos: “When I get my trousers back on, they’re on for life.” But he’s putting up with it all for dear old England.

What is really disturbing about the film is the general suggestion that the character must hate wearing drag, because otherwise he’d be homosexual and undesirable, and most of the funny lines are based on this idea. Danny La Rue, whenever he’s interviewed by the Press on on TV, and that’s pretty often, goes to great pains to deny he’s a homosexual, and to suggest that it’s all a big laugh, a kind of novelty glamour act, and all the lads call him ‘Dan’. This is lapped up by the viewers who either believe it, or being British, delight in his hypocrisy, laugh heartily at his act, and shrink back in fear if they see a transvestite in the street. Those who believe him think he is aping the way homosexuals behave and that we all dress up in women’s clothes. Many gays adore him, for his luxurious attire, which is well displayed in the film, obviously made very much with the “gay market” in mind, and his public utterances give them ideal opportunity to gossip on the lines of — “Of course he lives with his mother. So and So saw him in the whats it club last week.”

What I call the real drag acts, people like Marc Fleming and Mrs Shufflewick, who you see in the pubs and clubs, make themselves look as grotesque as possible because they are sending up the whole idea of beautiful women and handsome men. Their jokes are blue and unashamedly homosexual, and by the end of their routine you are plunged into a drunken euphoria, knowing the whole damn beauty conscious world is just a farce. The radical drag queens in London GLF are attempting to express similar ideas, although in a very different way.

I’m not saying that they are not heterosexuals who like wearing drag, but like it or not drag is closely associated with homosexuality in the minds of the public.

Mr La Rue being as much in the limelight as he is, could try to be a bit more honest about his own sexuality and attempt to eradicate some of the misconceptions. Because you’re gay, you don’t necessarily like wearing women’s clothes, and you’re not necessarily a homosexual or a transvestite if you do.

Whatever your sexuality, if it’s not in out, in out heterosexuality, you’re likely to have cheap jibes thrown at you by the telly dictators like Danny La Rue and “The Comedians”, who ultimately shape people’s attitudes.

Why can’t you be constructive, Danny, and use this wonderful opportunity you have to destroy the myths in peoples’ minds, to do something about the maniacal situation, whereby Larry Grayson is the TV personality of the year at our expense, ultimately at your expense.

Gay News Christmas Presents

The Gay News collective is a generous bunch, and we would love to give gorgeous Christmas presents to everyone. But we’re broke. If we had the money here are some of the presents we would give, and the people we would give them to.

To London Transport
– the stock of exhibits from the Transport Museum at Clapham to replace rolling stock on the Northern line.

To Danny La Rue
– Liberace

To Selfridges
– an instant boycott by all the gay staff and customers of the store, which might make the bookstall manager think twice before telling us there would be no call for Gay News there.

To Lord Harwood
– an LP of Leonard Bernstein’s opera Candide, hoping it would inspire him to put it on at the Coliseum instead of another Merry Widow.

To Alexander Walker (film critic of the Evening Standard)
– a secretary, so that he doesn’t crack his nails on a typewriter, thus giving away the fact that he’s a … journalist.

To Bass Charrington
– vast profits from owning the majority of gay pubs in London.

To All Gays
– a “Welcome” from Bass Charrington.

To GLF
– lilies – and thanks for the laughs.

To CHE
– carnations and a computerised membership files.

To CHE and GLF
– the capacity to love and understand (if not to agree) with each other.

To All MPs
– a copy of Gay News, so they can tune in to the realities of the situation.

To F.I. Litho
– yet another cheque for printing Gay News

To Anthony Newley
– a nice modern theatre where he can stage all his shows – in Formosa.

To The Governor of Holloway Prison
– a big bunch of flowers for allowing Myra Hindley half an hour of light and air.

To The Festival of Light
– a power cut.

To The National Theatre
– the collected plays of Oscar Wilde to remind them of what they have been ignoring these past nine years.

To The GPO
– a two year work study programme of interfering with and losing so much of our mail and for indecent relationships with our telephone.

To Mary Whitehouse
– a pair of ear plugs and a sleeping shade.

To the BBC
– the retirement of Mary Whitehouse.

To ITV and London Weekend Television
– programmes as good as the commercials.

To Sir Gerald Nabarro
– more lady chauffeurs like his last one.

To Lord Longford
– a halo.

To Malcolm Muggeridge
– an airport at the bottom of his garden.

To Edward Heath
– a cabinet made up of ex-grammar school boys.

To Harold Wilson
– a political party

To David Bowie
– an appearance at next year’s Royal Command Performance.

To Larry Grayson
– some original jokes and a black mark for telling fibs.

To Chris Welch (of Melody Maker)
– a record player and a job on the Financial Times.

To The Daily Telegraph
– a losing law suit with Private Eye.

To The Sunday Telegraph
– Richard Ingrams as editor.

To The Evening Standard
– an ad in Gay News

To Private Eye
– a bathchair on the cliffs at Hastings.

To Martin Stafford BA
– A ‘Glad To Be Gay’ badge and a lifelong subscription to Gay News.

To Chelsea Police
– a dictionary to look up the words ‘obstruction’ and ‘malicious’.

To Kensington Police
– a manual on ‘How To Care For Your Camera’

Julian’s Column

Hello dears. I thought I would do something a little different in this issue and have a go at including a few other topics in my regular featurette. It doesn’t mean to say that I have deserted the little Bio, it’s just that the programme there for the next fortnight isn’t very exciting. The goodies that are showing I will mention at the end of my other review.

To begin with though I would like to say a few words about the Larry Grayson album that has been sent me. Then I’d like to describe some of the treats from the Royal Variety Performance that the BBC showed the other week.

Biograph Review

As I said earlier, not much on at the Bio over the next two weeks. But there are a few films worth recommending to you.

On Thursday 16th November, for three days, Borsalino is being shown. Alain Delon and Jean-Paul Belmondo get on very well together and make this super re-construction of an old time gangster movie well worth catching.

Best double bill of the fortnight comes on Thursday 23rd November for three days. The totally gripping Honeymoon Killers is showing with the really scary The House That Dripped Blood. That one, the last time I saw it, scared me so much it almost made my whatnots curdle. The former stars Shirley Stoler and Tony La Bianco, whilst the latter boasts the cream of the British horror brigade, Peter Cushing and Christopher ‘Shut That Church Door’ Lee.

A nice weepie for three days starts on Monday 27th November. Jean Simmons and dishy Leonard Whiting star in Say Hello to Yesterday. I’m sure you will all be interested to know that some of the new location scenes were shot next door to where I live. You could have blown me over with a whisper the morning I came out and found a bus stop had been erected overnight outside my front door, and parked alongside it was a double decker bus. It wasn’t much good to me though, it only went to Regents Park. Oh, I don’t know though. Primrose Hill can be very interesting at times. Anyway the man in the paper shop over the road put me right about what was going on, and saved me from rushing off to have a scream at someone at the local council offices about new bus routes lowering the tone of the neighbourhood.

Remember I was saying in the last issue to watch out for ‘Lily Law’ and her wandering at the Bio. Well, she seems to have got bored and is keeping herself busy somewhere else. Now you can get on with your relaxation without any interference, apart from that silly usherette man who still can’t keep his hands off his flasher. I hope that the batteries of his torch run out soon.

Take care of yourselves, you should have your woolly vests on by now. If you catch a cold now you’ll have it all winter. Bye all.

Everard and All

WHAT A GAY DAYLarry (Shut That Door) Grayson — York Records MYK 602

No doubt you all know about Larry Grayson and the considerable amount of success he has had this year. Firstly there’s that television series of his, and if you believe the television ratings, he’s doing very nicely. Secondly, he had a single record out called, you guessed it, Shut That Door. That too was very popular.

Now he’s brought out a 12” LP record called What A Gay Day. All the old favourites are included, such as Slack Alice, Apricot Lil, Everard, Candlewick Kate, Non-Stick Nell, and Once-A-Week Nora. I’ve met a few ‘slack alices’ in my time so I can sympathise, but Everard sounds devine! There is always room for you at my place, Ev, if that Larry gets on at you too much.

Compared to Mark Fleming, Larry is a little tame. And his album certainly is not going to shock anyone, but if you like his type of humour, this is sure to please.

The Marrow is a bit naughty, although what he’s getting at is fairly obvious. That Larry is a greedy boy.

He also sings a couple of standards – Second Hand Rose and Only A Glass Of Champagne – in his own inimitable way. Stories about all his ills and pains also appear, as well as descriptions of little adventures he’s had. Shut That Door turns up here and there, as well as him doing the original song version.

With Christmas coming up a lot of people will be buying this for their parties and festivities. Larry never goes too far, so Mums, Dads, Aunt Flo’s and the rest are not going to be outraged too much.

Have a listen, you will get a few laughs if you are in the right mood. You wait until I make my record. I’ll show that ‘Gay Day’ Larry a thing or two.

Queens at the Palladium

Well loves, did you see it? Wasn’t it a gorgeous gay event? All the stars were there, and there wasn’t just one queen there either. Apart from HM Queen Elizabeth and The Queen Mother, lovely ladies both of them, there were those pianist lads – Liberace and Elton John – and Danny La Rue looking more fetching than ever. Such stunning gowns he wears!

Liberace’s wardrobe was as fabulous as ever and he was changing his creations every two minutes. Someone forgot to light his candles though. He had a little competition from Elton, who seemed bent on showing from where he gets his fashion inspirations.

Danny was up to his usual standard and he did some sexy numbers with the chorus boys.

Of the rest of the stars Jack Jones and comedienne Carol Channing were superb, and Carol’s little piece with Liberace was very amusing. The Jackson Five were delightful. I couldn’t keep my eyes off that boy Michael Jackson. Knows his showbiz that kid. Particularly of note was Roy Hull and his Emu, who kept me in stitches throughout his act.

A very enjoyable show and such a regal evening.