Tag Archives: 1978

Library of Congress' National Registry Selects Sylvester's "You Make Me Feel" For Preservation.

#PRIDE2022 – “You Make Me Feel” by Sylvester – Biography and Videos

Image result for Sylvester james

Sylvester James, Jr. better known as just Sylvester, was an openly gay disco and soul singer-songwriter. Known for his flamboyant appearance Sylvester was responsible for a string of hit singles in the late 1970’s and became known in the United States under the moniker of the “Queen of Disco.”

Born in Watts, Los Angeles on September 6, 1947, Sylvester developed a love of singing through the gospel choirs of his Pentecostal church. Leaving the congregation after being persecuted for his homosexuality, he was an early founder of a group of black cross-dressers and trans women known as The Disquotays, who disbanded in 1970. Moving to San Francisco, he embraced the counterculture and joined drag troupe The Cockettes, eventually producing solo shows heavily influenced by female blues and jazz singers like Billie Holiday and Josephine Baker. During their critically panned tour of New York City, Sylvester left the Cockettes to focus on his solo career.

Fronting Sylvester and his Hot Band, he released two commercially unsuccessful albums on Blue Thumb Records in 1973. Gaining new backing singers in the form ofTwo Tons O’ Fun and Jeanie Tracy, he obtained a recording contract with Harvey Fuqua of Fantasy Records. His first solo album, Sylvester (1977), was a moderate success, and was followed by acclaimed disco album Step II (1978), which spawned the hit singles “You Make Me Feel (Mighty Real)” and “Dance (Disco Heat).” He recorded four more albums, including a live album, with Fantasy Records before signing to Megatone Records, the dance-oriented label founded by friend and collaborator Patrick Cowley, where he recorded four more albums, including the Cowley penned and produced hit Hi-NRG track “Do Ya Wanna Funk. (1982)”

An activist who campaigned against the spread of HIV/AIDS, Sylvester died from complications arising from the virus in 1988.

On September 20, 2004, Sylvester’s anthem record, “You Make Me Feel (Mighty Real),” was inducted into the Dance Music Hall of Fame. A year later, on September 19, 2005, Sylvester himself was inducted into the Dance Music Hall of Fame for his achievement as an artist.

Shortly before his death Sylvester had bequeathed all his future royalties of his music to local AIDS groups, but Sylvester died deeply in debt there was no money to distribute until the late 1990’s. Once his advances were repaid, his early-career label Fantasy Records then kept the money in an account until its proper recipient could be legally determined.

But finally in 2010 after all of Sylvester’s debts were paid The AIDS Emergency Fund and Project Open Hand split a check from Sylvester’s estate totaling nearly $140,000.

The royalty money is still being disbursed to AIDS groups today.

Don't want to trudge out to the movies? - WATCH: CHER'S One-Woman Remake of "West Side Story" (1978)

Don’t want to trudge out to the movies? – WATCH: CHER’S One-Woman Remake of “West Side Story” (1978)

On April 3, 1978 the Cher … Special aired on ABC-TV

As the show begins, there is a spotlight on the floor and the voice of Cher’s mother, is heard calling her young daughter: “Cher? Cher? Cher, is that you? I thought I asked you not to mess up my record albums.” Cher steps into the spotlight, made up to look like a younger version of herself with her hair in pigtails. The young Cher sits on the floor and tells her mother that she is upset because she is not blonde and she says that all the pretty girls have blonde hair and blue eyes. Her mother tells her daughter that she is beautiful and someday she will realize just how special she really is. Cher tells her mother that she will try to understand and explains that she got into the record albums so that she could learn the songs from West Side Story for school. When her mother asks Cher what part she is going to play, Cher replies, “all of them”.

Cher stands up, looks directly at the camera, and says, “Ladies and gentlemen, for tonight’s entertainment, I am proud to present West Side Story. I will be playing all the parts. Thank you.” For the next fifteen minutes, Cher sings and dances to a medley of songs from the musical, playing both male and female characters.

Ladies and Gentlegays we now present West Side Story starring the incomparable Cher.

BROADWAY FLASHBACK - WATCH: Carol Channing sings "Put On Your Sunday Clothes" from HELLO, DOLLY! (1978, Broadway)

BROADWAY FLASHBACK – WATCH: Carol Channing sings “Put On Your Sunday Clothes” from HELLO, DOLLY! (1978)

With the pandemic raging on so long and the return of Broadway shows nowhere in site there is not a theater queen out there who is not having withdrawals. So let’s revisit the 1978 Broadway production of “Hello Dolly” starring Carol Channing, Eddie Bracken, and Lee Roy Reams as they perform  “Put On Your Sunday Clothes” in this rare video treat.

Holy Cabooses!

Today in Gay – Happy Birthday Uncle Arthur!: Actor Paul Lynde Would Be 91 Today

Paul Lynde who was best known for his roles as Uncle Arthur on Bewitched and Harry MacAfee, the befuddled father in Bye Bye Birdie would have been 91 years old today. Lynde, a noted character actor with a distinctively campy and snarky persona that often poked fun at his barely-in the closet homosexuality

Lynde made his Broadway debut in the hit revue New Faces of 1952 had a prestigious career on both Broardway and in television. Over the years, Lynde made regular appearances on sitcoms such as The Phil Silvers Show, The Munsters, and I Dream of Jeannie, and variety shows such as The Perry Como Show and The Dean Martin Show.  Then came Lynde’s first appeared in episode 26 of Bewitched, “Driving is the Only Way to Fly,” as Samantha’s driving instructor Harold Harold, before taking on the recurring role of Uncle Arthur, Endora’s brother. He was also a frequent guest on the 1976-79 variety show, Donny and Marie and the game show The Hollywood Squares.

But despite his remarkable career Paul Lynde’s personal life was far from happy.

Paul Lynde’s sexual orientation was something of an open secret in Hollywood, although, in keeping with the prejudices and social mores of the time, it was not acknowledged or discussed in public.

In 1965, Lynde was involved in an accident in which a young actor, reputed to be his lover, fell to his death from the window of their hotel room in San Francisco’s Sir Francis Drake Hotel. The two had been drinking for hours before 24-year-old James “Bing” Davidson slipped and fell eight stories to his death, an event witnessed by two policemen, yet the event was largely kept out of the press, thus saving Lynde’s career.

Despite his campy television persona, Lynde never publicly came out as being gay and the press generally went along with the deception. In a People magazine article the magazine featured Lynde and Stan Finesmith who was dubbed Lynde’s “suite mate” and “chauffeur-bodyguard.”

In 1978, Lynde career took a downturn after he was arrested outside of a gay bar in Salt Lake City. As a result of the arrest, he lost his guest starring role on The Donny and Marie Show and acting jobs became harder for him to find, although it is unclear if this was because of anti-gay prejudice or his substance abuse problems and noted erratic behavior, which often made him difficult to work with. He had been arrested for drunk driving and, while under the influence of alcohol, he was known to make rude and racist public comments towards people. Lynde finally became sober and drug free in the early 1980s, shortly before his death.

Paul Lynde was found dead in his Beverly Hills, California, home by friend Paul Barresi on Monday, January 11, 1982.

May he find the peace and acceptance in death that he was never able to find in life.

Happy Birthday Uncle Arthur.

* Watch this rare and hysterical clip below of Paul Lynde visiting WSPD, Ch. 13, In Toledo, OH in 1978 where he does a guest weather forecast with the (now) openly gay Boston anchor man Randy Price. 

Gay Cult Movie Scenes: Mae West Wobbles and Warbles With Beefcake in "Sextette" (1978)

Filmed at Paramount Studios, Sextette was 84 year old Mae West’s final movie. Others in the cast include Timothy Dalton, Dom DeLuise, Tony Curtis, Ringo Starr, Keith Moon, George Hamilton, Alice Cooper and Walter Pidgeon.

And it REALLY needs to be seen to be believed

Legendary American movie star and sex symbol Marlo Manners (Mae West) is in London, England, where she has just married for the sixth time. She and her new husband, Sir Michael Barrington (Timothy Dalton), then depart for a honeymoon suite at a posh and exclusive hotel that has been reserved for them by her manager, Dan Turner (Dom DeLuise).

The hotel is also the location of an international conference, where leaders have come together to resolve tensions and problems that threaten the survival of the world. As the chairman, Mr. Chambers (Walter Pidgeon) is trying to call the meeting to order, the delegates are crowding to the windows in an effort to catch a glimpse of Marlo when she arrives

As they enter the lobby, Marlo, now Lady Barrington, and her nobleman husband are swarmed by admirers and reporters. When asked, “Do you get a lot of proposals from your male fans?” she quips, “Yeah, and what they propose is nobody’s business.”

Once inside their suite, the couple are unable to go to bed and have sex because of constant interruptions due to the demands of her career, such as interviews, dress fittings and photo sessions, as well as the various men, including some former husbands, diplomat Alexei Andreyev Karansky (Tony Curtis), director Laslo Karolny (Ringo Starr), gangster Vance Norton (George Hamilton), and an entire athletic team from the U.S., who all want to have sex with her.

Meanwhile, Turner desperately searches for an audiotape containing his client’s memoirs, in order to destroy it. Marlo has recorded extensive details about her affairs and scandals, with a lot of dirt about her husbands and lovers. Ex-husband Alexei, who is the Russian delegate at the conference, threatens to derail the intense negotiations unless he can have another sexual encounter with her. Marlo is expected to work “undercover” to ensure world peace.

Also featured in cameos are Rona Barrett, Regis Philbin and George Raft playing themselves. West made her movie debut in Raft’s Night After Night (1932).