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Art Gelien

Oh my gawd.

Seriously, I'm here to tell you that I went on a Tab Hunter bender. You see, I watched the documentary Tab Hunter Confidential and I really had to go and watch at least three of his movies. What a breathtakingly handsome man. I think the only thing I knew about him is that he was in Polyester, the John Waters movie (John Waters is one of my heroes, but that's another post altogether). But I never knew the YOUNG Tab Hunter. Dear lord. I can imagine his impact in the industry in the fifties.

His story is pretty much Hollywood color-by-numbers: he was discovered after he was discharged from the coast guard (he enrolled at 15!!) and started doing bit parts. He acted and also sang. Apparently Warner Bros Records was started to launch his records. Then of course, there was that face and there was that body, that became the ideal of American manhood in the fifties. A face and body that was mainly enjoyed by other men, because Tab, the dream of so many girls, was basically sleeping with men. Everything was kept very hush-hush because of course, this is the fifties and all that. But rumors about him being a bachelor and going to 'limp write parties' were there. His studio battled those rumors, that were ironically started apparently to divert from rumors about Rock Hudson's escapades. So meta!

The documentary is at the same time entertaining, informative and heartbreaking. It's entertaining because it's done in a way that makes you relate to its subject, remember the book that's based on was written with a movie historian. Informative because it has all the tea about the closet cases in the fifties (Tony Perkins and Tab were an item. Oh myyyy...) and heartbreaking because you can see what the closet does to people. But Tab seemed to have gotten peace after his career fizzled down. He got a ton of recognition after Polyester, though. And went on to live in his ranch with his horses. Tab died last year at age 86 and he was still the same beautiful man he was when he did Damn Yankees.

If you have not seen the documentary, watch it at soon as you can. It's on iTunes and you can rent it for a pittance and I think it was on Netflix and Amazon, too (or do you still have a DVD player? Nostalgia!). And if you can, also watch Damn Yankees. The movie has the added benefit of having that Gwen Verdon number that every drag queen in the world should do:

So there's your idea for the weekend, then. Happy viewing!


P.S. if you wanna really go down the rabbit hole with Tab, go to MyNewPlaidPants.


  1. Mon dieu! I have not had a Tab since 1979, but I think it's time for a binge! And if I may confess...many a time I've played Lola in my boudoir with handsome gentlemen callers, and Lola does always gets what she wants. Now, if you'll excuse moi, I'm going to open me a Tab and drink, drink, drink til there's not a drop left!

  2. My favorite Tab Hunter thing was him on a TV show called Whats My Line. He showed his playful, kid like personality. But, I would kick him out of bed for his boyfriend Anthony Perkins. HAWT!

  3. Tab Hunter was simply stunning. I was so glad he survived the studio system where handsome men and beautiful women were used and thrown away almost daily.

    In case you didn't know, that clip is probably more famous for the Bob Fosse choreography than Tab.

  4. interesting docu there. I was just a young girl (single digits) when tab was at his peak. he WAS a handsome man though. sort of an "aw shucks" kinda guy.

    tab singing:

  5. Never saw Tab in a movie, but the first time I heard the name was from my mother's late sister, who was good friends with him. I remember meeting him once when I was very little, and looking back, I get the impression my aunt was his fag hag but wasn't sure. Other than that, don't know much about him.

    Living in weho, you never know you'll you will meet, and how, and from whom.

  6. Okay... no seriously I think I love you more and more each day!!! Are you a mind reader? I get obsessed with looking back at the past stars that were hot and almost without fail, I find out that they were gay or bisexual, yesssss!

  7. Sorry I’ve been MIA. Being on staycation screws up your regular schedule. But I’m glad I got back for this post. Tab is one gorgeous man. And the picture with Tony...yowza! They could get it any day. I’m going to have to look up that documentary.

    XOXO 👨‍❤️‍💋‍👨

  8. @conde: alors! We would really like to read about what happens in your boudoir when Lola gets her way (as she always does).
    @jimmy: he came across as super nice. Rare in a man that beautiful. And Tony was the psycho boyfriend (literally!) who played everybody.
    @dave: the Hollywood machine was (is) ruthless. And yes, for Fosse! I’m bingeing right now on Fosse/Verdon. What are the odds?
    @annemarie: he could sing! So talented. And you know the aw shucks guys always get it. Especially when they’re that gorge.
    @caliboi: omg that’s a story! You should write about WeWho. I’d read every word!
    @steven: baby, you know I love you too! And you read my mind as often! It happens that most of those men were forced into playing an ideal of a man even in their daily lives.
    @bae: hey bae.



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