Mapplethorpe, Schwarzenegger, & eBay
by
Jack Fritscher
9-Piece Collection, "Schwarzenegger Shrine"

This is the controversial "Shrine" collection posted for sale on eBay auction and written up by the Washington Post and condemned by Catholic World News, which alerted the Drudge Report, the Associated Press, PlanetOut.com and print and television media around the world. After receiving more than 61,000 hits, the auction was removed by eBay - with no explanation - the same afternoon Schwarzenegger's behavior towards women hit the news: the Thursday before the Tuesday of the California recall election, October 7, 2003.

This posting that first appeared on eBay is also available in Acrobat pdf.
February, 1977 issue of After Dark Magazine + Conan The Barbarian, bound shooting script (third draft) + postcard of “Schwarzenegger Torso” shot by the controversial gay photographer Robert Mapplethorpe used as invitation to a 1979 "Hot Dirty Man" party handwritten by Mapplethorpe to the seller, plus an autographed copy of Mapplethorpe: Assault with a Deadly Camera.

I AM SELLING THE UNIQUE 4 PIECES OF THIS 1-OF-A-KIND “SCHWARZENEGGER SHRINE” FROM MY PERSONAL COLLECTION.


            I was the bi-coastal lover of the notoriously gay Robert Mapplethorpe who photographed Arnold Schwarzenegger. (In a national scandal in 1989-1990, Senator Jesse Helms denounced Mapplethorpe on the floor of the US Senate and took away government funding of art, virtually destroying the National Endowment for the Arts. Considering Arnold’s posing for Mapplethorpe, one wonders what is the Schwarzenegger position on government taxes paying for uncensored art?) In my best-selling bio-memoir book titled Mapplethorpe: Assault with a Deadly Camera, Mapplethorpe answers my direct question about Schwarzenegger’s heterosexuality in the gay and gay-friendly world of bodybuilding where adoring fans pay good money to enjoy “muscle worship.”

            To vet my less than “6 degrees of separation” in this unique package, go to my website www.JackFritscher.com. Herein lies a tale! The original publisher of my Mapplethorpe book became a Kennedy in-law the same as Arnold became a Kennedy in-law. Was political pressure brought to bear on the original publisher to distance herself so that the best-selling book was passed to the second publisher of record? Do mysterious forces guide Kennedy in-laws?    

Item #1, therefore, in this “Schwarzenegger Shrine” is the personal and provocative Mapplethorpe: Assault with a Deadly Camera memoir book which is a crisp-paged hardcover, with perfect dust jacket, first edition, in brand-new condition, 316 pages, 34 pages of photographs, signed by the author. (When the “Mapplethorpe movie” is made, who will play Arnold?)

Item #2. The next very personal item (which was given directly to me by Mapplethorpe) is extremely rare, and, after all these years, probably one of a kind. It is an original Schwarzenegger-Mapplethorpe photo postcard, approximately 3x5, featuring a black-and-white photograph of Arnold titled: Robert Mapplethorpe “Torso” 1978. Arnold’s 240 pounds appear in a 5-ounce posing brief artfully tinted a subdued red. (Do the math!) The postcard is surrounded by a red border. (The photo was exhibited at the Smithsonian in 1978.) On the reverse side of this historical card from the wild “Titanic 1970s” is an invitation, handwritten in black ink by Robert Mapplethorpe, to a “Hot Dirty Man” sex party at 652 Hudson Street, with arrival “required before 11:30" when the doors closed. The postcard, signifying Arnold’s gay sex appeal, is in excellent condition. (Mapplethorpe, his own work expensively valued by collectors, died from AIDS in 1989. This Mapplethorpe postcard written in his own hand is, on its own, unique and extremely valuable.)

Item #3. Here is the soul of this 4-piece Schwarzenegger Shrine. I am also including from my personal collection my VERY RARE AND VERY COLLECTIBLE FEBRUARY, 1977, ISSUE OF AFTER DARK MAGAZINE. I have carefully stored this 26-year-old treasure to keep it in excellent condition. The photo layout features 22 photographs (including the full-color cover of Arnold) selected by After Dark who combined the very exhibitionist photos for maximum sex appeal to its gay demographic.

Two color photos shot by George Butler are outstanding CANDID NUDE PORTRAITS in the frank style of the free-wheeling 1970s:

            1) a color FULL-FRONTAL NUDE of Arnold Schwarzenegger and

            2) a color NUDE BUTT-SHOT taken from Arnold’s left side.

The photo layout’s 22 photographs, some of them full page, include, as mentioned, the full-color cover “selling” a very tasty beefcake photograph of Arnold shot by Jack Mitchell. Inside, another large photo drips with After Dark’s layer of come-and-get-it, because it reveals Arnold sitting alone in a very huge bed wearing, on a ribbon, a gold medal resting in the cleavage between the mounds of his naked chest.

            In another iconically gay-friendly photo of “3-way” geometry shot in the style of the Joffrey Ballet, Arnold at the gym stands bent over from the waist, resting on his elbows, with bodybuilders Ken Waller and Denny Gable sitting on his back. (Gable appeared in the movie, Sextette, with Mae West.) In my analysis of what was once a legit work-out combo, it is as if the two handsome men are 450 pounds mounted astraddle a muscular Harley motorcycle. (Arnold is famous for playing “machines” in movies.) The strawberry-blond Waller’s legs virtually sandwich Arnold’s head. Gable sits behind Waller, his inner thighs “wish-boning” Waller’s rear, with his hands on Waller’s waist. (In 1970, in the iron pit at Muscle Beach, Venice, California, I shot several 35mm color slides of longtime work-out partners Schwarzenegger and Waller, but those are not included in this package.)

            In another After Dark shot, Arnold is reclined, like painter Ingres’ Grande Odalisque, toward the camera in what can only be reviewed in a randy gay magazine as “a delirious shoulder-and-pec-loaded crotch shot.”

            Yet another gorgeous photo, formally posed by Arnold and formally composed by Pumping Iron’s George Butler, glorifies Arnold standing majestically outdoors (in the “archer” pose) with three young black adolescents sitting, I myself think, very Suddenly Last Summer at his feet; one reaches his hand up to the top of Arnold’s striated thigh.

            As a sidebar: In keeping with the subtly erotic messages of After Dark magazine, two of the group physique-contest photos, and one other photo, also show another attractive bodybuilder, [name omitted out of fair play], who allegedly early on, frankly and rather famously, appeared in at least one gay underground film about a muscular priest’s desire for a muscular manly Jesus.

            (Note: I imply nothing about the personal sexual preference of any man mentioned here. Over the years, many straight bodybuilders have appeared in gay-themed erotic films, usually as the untouchable object of desire. Nor am I mentioning the long list of prematurely dead bodybuilders–for instance, Gable, the Mentzer brothers–done in allegedly by steroids, the most popular drug of choice among many bodybuilders in the 1970s. At Amazon, see my bodybuilding novel, Some Dance to Remember.)

            Two more color photographs of Arnold by Jack Mitchell are particularly appealing in their youthful innocence.

            One is a full body, double-biceps shot.

            The second is an incredibly penetrating close up of a very young Arnold’s boyishly sweet and athletic face which comes across quite creamy-lipped, succulent, and different from the face of the gubernatorial candidate.

            Each photo is outstanding in itself. Yet, in a very hot way, the photos are tweaked by the gay-culture mystique of the After Dark layout which loads them with innuendo Arnold may not have intended, but his publicity handlers could hardly have ignored–and probably even courted–in the photos’ essential appeal to the “queer eye for the straight guy.”

            There is also a 4-page article wherein Arnold is interviewed about his “father’s footsteps” among other topics he addresses frankly..

Item #4. Here is a real Arnold treasure. This is a rare studio-bound copy of the shooting script for Conan the Barbarian,” the screenplay written by John Milius, marked, “Third Draft.” I believe it to be a studio-produced photocopied shooting script, 468 shots, in 120 pages. The cover is clear plastic; the back is black leatherette stock. Interestingly, unlike the final edit of the film, this version of the shooting script does not have a voice-over, which was added later, some say, to both guide the narrative as well as cover for Arnold’s then unfamiliar accent. A prize.

Items #5-9.

            Ironman December 1989: Arnold color cover and “history according to Arnold”;

            Ironman July 1988 (sealed unopened in original plastic, addressed to seller), Arnold color cover plus feature on “Movies, Muscles, & Maria”;

            Muscle Builder, November 1975, Arnold color cover plus “bizarre events” during shooting of Stay Hungry;

            Conan: World’s Greatest Muscleman special edition magazine from Starblazer with Arnold color cover including Grace Jones, 72 pages plus color centerfold in amazing codpiece;

            Sun tabloid, April 18, 1989, with color cover of Arnold, naked to waist in water, smoking a big cigar and brandishing a sword, talking of his “dreams.”

  

This information, analysis, and write-up is copyright 2003 Jack Fritscher. For reprint permission, whole or in part, contact the seller.

Copyright 2007 by Jack Fritscher, Ph.D. & Mark Hemry - ALL RIGHTS RESERVED