Thursday, September 22, 2016
Dick Sargent, Cary Grant, and Groucho Marx in the Same Bed
It is the evening before the AIDS Walk, an event almost as big as Halloween or Gay Pride, and Lane and I are having some guys over for dinner, including Will the bondage boy, Randall, the muscle bear with the pierced penis, and Scott from MCC.
During the time between dessert and sharing or hitting the bars, we swap stories about gigantic penises, homophobic home towns, and hookups with the captain of the football team, and the question comes up, "Who's the biggest celebrity you've ever been with? Big in stardom, or big in size?"
Scott: David Hyde Pierce, star of Frasier
Lane: Batman and Robin
Me: Michael J. Fox
Will: Peter Fonda
Randall the muscle bear sits back in his chair, looks slowly around the room, and says "Cary Grant, star of North by Northwest and Indiscreet."
The famous movie star! We all wait expectantly. I haven't heard this story before.
"Dick Sargent, who played Darrin Stevens on Bewitched," he continues.
"Um...I'd rather hear the Cary Grant story."
"...and Groucho Marx. All on the same night, in the same bed."
Hollywood, Summer 1958
A hot day in June. Randy was 18 years old, newly drafted into the navy, enjoying his last few weeks of freedom before shipping out. He went to a Dodgers game with his brother, ate his mom's chocolate chip cookies, watched The Red Skelton Show with his grandmother -- and went cruising.
Los Angeles was still a netherworld. Police chief William H. Parker hated "perverts." The sodomy law wouldn't be revoked until 1976. There were bar raids, entrapment scams. Randy was afraid to go to the bars.
So he stood on the corner of Hollywood and Highland, outside of Coffee Dan's, and waited for someone to pick him up.
He looked much different than the muscle bear that we met 33 years later. Cleanshaven, a boyish face, short black hair in a military crewcut. Thinner but still built, smooth chest, nice biceps. And a Kielbasa, which he augmented with a balled-up sock in his jeans.
It didn't take long to get offers. He rejected two before climbing into the car with a guy in his 30s with a round face and a warm smile. They drove to a deserted parking lot off Selma, and kissed and talked, and the guy went down on his massive Kielbasa -- not pierced yet. He offered $1, but Randy rejected the money and went down on him in return. Then they sat and kissed and talked some more.
"The second Darrin on Bewitched!" Lane exclaims.
"So..." Will says. "How big was he?"
Randy knew him from Bernardine (1957), about a high school boy who invents a fictional girlfriend. Dick was doing that a lot in the studios!
One of his buddies in the movie was played by his ex-boyfriend Hooper Dunbar, who had also dated James Dean and Sal Mineo. He left Hollywood for Central America, where he would become a painter and important Bah'ai leader.
His other buddy was played by singer Pat Boone, straight but open to suggestions. His "Long Tall Sally" which hit #8 on the charts in 1956, was about a drag queen.
"I haven't slept with him." Dick said. "But I've seen him in action. Not bad."
"Sounds like everybody in Old Hollywood was gay," Lane says.
"That's what I told Dick."
"You don't know the half of it. There are so many guys like us in the studios. Some of them you'd never guess. Marlon Brando, Wally Cox, who plays Mr. Peepers on tv. Cary Grant. He's such a ladykiller, you'd never know he's in the fraternity."
"Cary Grant! I loved him in Indiscreet!"
"Would you like to meet him? There's a party Sunday afternoon, if you can make it."
It was held at a gay casting agent's house in Beverly Hills. About thirty men, all ages from oldster to teenager, talking, dancing, flirting, swimming naked in the pool. Randy had never seen anything like it.
Some guys he had heard rumors about:
Van Johnson, who starred in Brigadoon.
Tab Hunter, whose "Young Love" caused bobby-soxers to swoon.
Antony Perkins, who almost won an Oscar for Friendly Persuasion (left).
Others he had no idea of:
Ronnie Burns, the teenage son on the Burns and Allen Show
Rock Hudson, who starred in a lot of war movies.
And Groucho Marx!
The star of all those anarchic 1930s comedies like Duck Soup and Monkey Business, and now the host of the game show You Bet Your Life on Thursday nights. He was sitting by himself, smoking his trademark cigar and drinking whiskey and being ignored: at 68, he was a bit too old for all the cruising going on. Besides, the cigar stank.
Randy left Dick to mingle and approached him. "Hey, Groucho, what's the secret word?" he said, stupidly, kneeling in front of him like an acolyte. "I didn't know you belonged to the fraternity."
The aging jokester grinned. "How old are you, Beany Boy?"
"Two years younger than my grandson Andy. Well, Beany, in my day tricks weren't just for fairies. Any red-blooded all-American could grab his buddy's penis, no questions asked." He put his hand on Randy's shoulder and pushed him forward. "Now, how much do you charge to go a little lower?"
Then Dick appeared, arm in arm with the handsome, svelte 54-year old Cary Grant.
"Hello, what's this?" Cary exclaimed. "The party's getting a bit wild, isn't it?"
Randy stood, embarrassed by the implication. Dick and Cary towered over him. "It's an honor to meet you, Mr. Grant."
Cary took his hand and held it for a long time. "And you as well. Dick, my boy, how do you conjure up all these foxes? You must have a magic wand."
"Well, I do, actually," Dick said. "But it's nothing compared to Randy's."
"Hey, Mr. Blanding, take a number," Groucho called. "I believe the bobby-soxer had a previous commitment."
Cary grinned. "You're into the Geritol set, huh? Well, maybe we can work something out."
They ended up going to Groucho's house on Hillcrest Road, a few blocks away ("Don't worry, the wife is in Europe, playing 'Marco Polo' with an Italian gigolo"). Groucho served them all whiskey sours and put on a record of Dinah Shore singing "It's So Nice to Have a Man Around the House." Dick and Randy kissed and fondled, while Cary and Groucho watched. Then they all took off their clothes and went into the master bedroom.
Cary had a Bratwurst+, and Groucho -- incredible! A Kovbasa++, easily a foot long once it sprang to life! While Cary went down on Dick, Randy tried his best to go down on Groucho. He just managed to get the head.
"Noble attempt, kid," Groucho said. "Better than Rock Hudson, I'll give you that."
Then Randy went down on Cary -- much easier. He finished in a few minutes with a monumental shudder.
"Time for the floor show," Groucho said. "Live on stage, Randy and Dick, the Magic Wand Twins."
Dick topped Randy, his legs in the air -- bareback -- no condoms in those days! Then he kissed Randy and helped him finish, while Cary and Groucho watched.
Then Groucho gave Randy $5 and sent him and Dick out the door.
A week later, Randy was on a ship headed for Guam. He wouldn't be back in Hollywood for eight years.
"I never saw Cary Grant or Groucho Marx again," Randall says. "But Dick and I stayed friends. He and Bert used to have me over for dinner and sharing. He wasn't happy with my Prince Albert."
Dick Sargent came out in 1991, and became a "retroactive role model" for gay youth. He and Elizabeth Montgomery, his Bewitched co-star, were the grand marshalls of the 1992 West Hollywood Gay Pride Parade. He died on July 8th, 1994.
See also: The Muscle Bear with the Pierced Penis; Bewitched, Bewildered, and Gay; and Dick Sargent's Three-Way with Pat Boone.