Saturday, March 26, 2016
Lane's Hookup with Batman, Robin, and the Joker
Everybody in West Hollywood had a good celebrity dating story.
Older guys claimed to have dated Marlon Brandon, Cary Grant, or Rock Hudson.
Younger guys claimed hookups with Scott Baio, Johnny Depp, or Keanu Reeves.
Everybody claimed sausage sightins of Rob Lowe, Tom Selleck, and Sylvester Stallone.
Since nearly every actor was closeted in those days, and vehemently denied any "accusations," it was hard to tell which story was real, which an exaggeration of a casual meeting, and which just wishful thinking.
But Lane didn't have any good stories. Oh, he had dated some actors: a minor cast member of M*A*S*H, the star of a Saturday morning tv show, a guy who played a Klingon on Star Trek. But nobody really famous.
For someone who grew up a stone's throw from Paramount Studios, it was downright embarrassing.
"You can have my Celebrity Boyfriend," I told him one day. "We broke up a while ago, but I'm sure I can arrange some sharing."
"The guy who starred in one tv show that nobody watched? I'd rather stick to my M*A*S*H story."
"How about Michael J. Fox?"
"I don't want a getting-coffee story. If I'm going to do this, I want at least a sausage sighting out of it!"
Lane frowned. "The guy who played the Joker in the old Batman show?"
"You mean Sophia's boyfriend on The Golden Girls," I corrected him. "And also the Cisco Kid. And a Latin lover in about a hundred movies. He was a big heartthrob, back in the day."
"How do you know the Joker?"
"You know that love seat in my room that's impossible to sit on? I got it from him."
A couple of years ago, I answered an ad in Frontiers and bought a gold-and-white loveseat from Cesar Romero. It turned out to be horribly uncomfortable, hard and scratchy -- I used it to throw clothes on that I was too lazy to put in the hamper. But I kept in contact with the barely-closeted Hollywood legend.
"Isn't Cesar Romero like a hundred by now?"
"He's a distinguished older gentleman," I answered, "But still in good shape -- I've seen him at the gym, walking on the treadmill or cruising in the steamroom. Besides, when you tell the story, you can push it back a few years. You can be a naive teenager asking for his autograph on the set of Batman in 1968.
"Um...in 1968 I was twelve. But ok, I like Daddies. We can go out, and if something happens, I'll tweak it a little into a celebrity dating story."
I arranged for us to have lunch at the Greenery, an al fresco restaurant on Santa Monica Boulevard.
Cesar was taller than me, white haired, and heavily tanned, an affluent retiree wearing a pink shirt unbuttoned a few buttons, and white shorts that displayed a considerable old-guy bulge.
We prepped by renting two of his old movies, Lost Continent (1951) and The Castillian (1964), assuming that he wouldn't want to talk about Batman, but he said the Joker was his favorite role.
"I had a blast! I played the Joker 20 times, and every time I got to 'accidentally' fondle Adam West (Batman) and Burt Ward (Robin). Sometimes more than that. Not that they minded -- we all became good friends. I think Burt looked up to me as a role model."
After dinner we drove back to Cesar's apartment in Brentwood, on the other side of UCLA. It didn't look like an old person's apartment -- all black leather and ultra-modern chrome. He must have remodeled (that's why he sold the loveseat, I concluded).
Cesar sat between us on the couch with glasses of lemonade and, getting a little frisky, told us about the guys he had been with:
A long-term relationship with Tyrone Power. Dating Cary Grant. Hookups with Walter Pidgeon, Tony Perkins, and William Holden.
"Usually I went down on them. That was the main thing gay guys did in those days. And the guys receiving, they didn't think of themselves as gay. It was just a friendly gesture. Desi told me, 'Come on, Cesar, let's just get it over with, and then we can be friends."
"Desi Arnaz?" I asked. "Junior or Senior?"
Desi Arnaz (1917-1986) was the star of I Love Lucy in the 1950s. His son, Desi Arnaz Jr. (1953-) was a former teen idol, with a band and some movie roles.
Cesar grinned. "Why, both of them, of course."
"So, anyone recent?" Lane asked.
"Tony Randall. Raymond Burr. And..."
Suddenly the doorbell rang. Cesar brushed Lane away and stood, tenting, to ring in...Burt Ward!
He was in his 40s, chubby and squinty, but still recognizable as Robin the Boy Wonder from the Batman series. Later we found out that he was still acting, appearing mostly in low-budget sexploitation movies like Cyber Chic and Beach Babes from Beyond.
"Hey, I just wanted to return the book," Burt said, staring at us with surprise. "I see you're busy."
"Not at all," Cesar said. "Just entertaining some friends. Care for some lemonade?"
"Oh...thanks, but I have to be going. Nice meeting you, though." He vanished.
"I have to apologize for Burt," Cesar said, returning to his place between us. "He's very nice, really, but not really comfortable with my lifestyle."
"But you've been with him?" Lane asked.
"How big is he? I mean, he had a huge bulge on the show. I can't believe it got past the censors."
"He's quite the Boy Wonder. Kielbasa+."
"I can do better than that," Lane said, unzipping and pulling it out (I'm not allowed to reveal his size).
Cesar got on his knees and went down on him.
Soon they were on the floor in the 69 position. Cesar had a Bratwurst+, very thick.
I didn't participate -- I wanted this to be Lance's story, not mine.
Lane finished very quickly -- Cesar brought sixty years of experience to the task. But Cesar took awhile. Finally Lane tired of using his mouth and switched to his hand.
When he finished, Cesar said "Thanks" rather brusquely and pulled his shorts back on. "More lemonade, anyone? I always drink lemonade or something acidic after sex. It kills the germs."
When Lane told the story later, he started with "I'm going to tell you about my date with Batman, Robin, and the Joker," even though Burt Ward was just there for a moment, and Adam West, not at all.
As if Cesar Romero wasn't impressive enough.
See also: Batman and Robin; The Satyr's Hookup with Sylvester Stallone.