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Sunday, March 21, 2010

After Dark June 1972

Where did my love of After Dark begin? It began with this issue.

My favorite actress was Carrie Nye (the wife of Dick Cavett) and because she was basically a stage actress, she appeared in only a handful of movies and guest starred on even less television shows. I was always on the lookout for articles, photos or memorabilia related to her. But more on Carrie Nye in a future post.

While searching through eBay for Carrie Nye, I found this magazine called After Dark which the lister had luckily listed many of the articles found inside. Carrie Nye was one of them. Mom Smackley was a fan and eventually a friend of Susan Tyrrell and there was another issue of After Dark which contained an article on her. Mom Smackley and I were also fans of Paul Lynde (yeah, I know, a stereotype) but there was another issue that featured him. Well I immediately bid on all three.

Well, I won all three of course and I was floored by them. The articles featured actors and actresses that were mainstream as well as those that weren’t. Many of the photographs were by Kenn Duncan and they were breathtaking. There were ads featuring acts in New York nightclubs and stage shows. And men, men, men. This magazine was not billed as a gay mag, but if you ever looked through even one issue, you’d realize that they were catering to that readership.

I immediately began searching for more issues and more issues. My collection is almost complete with only a few issues still eluding me. I began scanning them and posting them to a photo sharing website which was then linked on many other websites and views reaching over 5 million over 3 years. Many articles linked back to my photos and collections. Even the Wikipedia article on After Dark has a cover photo that was originally linked to my sets. The problem was I also posted screen grabs that were considered copyright infringement because I wasn’t actually reviewing the movie. Because of a few screen grabs, those archives were lost. Luckily, I still had the issues.

Information regarding After Dark is scarce and in some cases incorrect. I know this much, Rudolf Orthwine, Jean Gordon and William Como began this magazine by incorporating Ballroom Dancing Magazine and turning it into the magazine I love. It ran from May 1968 until January 1983. It covered the times from before the Stonewall Riots until just before the AIDS epidemic. To have been an adult gay male during that time would have been fun and exciting, but in hindsight very dangerous.

Well that first issue that featured Carrie Nye also featured Dennis Cole in a Kenn Duncan photo on the cover. Dennis was an actor and male model who frequently guest starred on Charlie’s Angels and married star Jaclyn Smith. I always thought he was a beautiful looking man. The inside article featured Dennis talking about his acting in Paradise Bay and his love of women. It also featured a fashion spread with him and actress Elizabeth Ashley.

After Dark Editor William Como could often be found in photos throughout issues of After Dark, like this photo of him with model Brian Rutley, actor Alex Wilson and actress Sylvia Miles.

An ad featuring Nocturnal Dream Shows promoting the Cockettes and Divine.

Norma McLain Stoop, an After Dark Associate Editor, wrote many articles throughout the run. In this issue, she wrote an article about Lily Tomlin featuring photos by Kenn Duncan.

Glenn Loney did an article on dancer turned choreographer turned director Bob Fosse, here pictured with Viveca Lindfors.

Paul Williams was featured in another article with the hilarious title, “An Erotic Teddy Bear…An Obscene Boy Scout…” by Henry Edwards.

Kenn Duncan’s photographs of men were always a joy to look at as the dancers featured in an article on Netherlands Dance World show.

Mrs. Dick Cavett, Carrie Nye, was featured in her article with photos by frequent contributing photographer, Martha Swope. At this point in her career, she had mostly been on the stage, with only a small appearance in the film The Group.

He ain’t John Travolta, he’s better. Barry Bostwick was nominated for a Tony for his role in the musical Grease and performing in the rock musical Salvation.

Called the most beautiful woman in the world is Vera Von Lhendorf aka Verushka in a photo by Scavullo.

Another highlight of After Dark were the ads for products or fashions like this one for Eleganza…I would totally wear the outfit on the right.

And lastly for this issue was the ad for the photobooks by After Dark’s own Kenn Duncan. They were called appropriately enough “Kenn Duncan Nudes” and “More Kenn Duncan Nudes“.

There were many other photos and articles and features to be found in this issue, but I wanted to hit the highlights that I found. If you can find a copy of this issue, it is worth the price. Some back issues of After Dark can be found for as little as $4.99 or you could pay upwards of $75.00 or more for some of the rarer issues. I've been pretty lucky. It seems that when I was buying them, there wasn't quite the run on them that I've seen lately.

I’ll be featuring other issues as time goes by, but I wanted to give the history of my love for them first and what better way than with (not the first issue ever) my first issue.


  1. It's almost too much to handle in one sitting. More!!!

  2. this was great and made me feel so old as i actually bought after dark when it was published. aaahhh!! and yes, it was the most thinly veiled gay magazine ever.

  3. When I was 19 a writer for After Dark asked if I could lower my pants so that he could take a Polaroid of me. I did.

  4. Oh, Lordy! I lived for each new issue of AFTER DARK. Why did I ever get rid of my collection.
    I was never quite afraid or embarrassed to buy it because it was about "the arts".

    Great post!

  5. Keep watching! Another After Dark post is coming up REAL soon.

  6. what a great magazine! I'm just discovering your blog and enjoying this memory lane trip. There's a fun account of Diana Vreeland's discovery of Veruschka in one of her autobiographical books.



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