May 1968. I drove down to Rehoboth Beach in my red Dodge Dart Convertible. Connie Francis was singing "Where The Boys Are" on the radio and that's exactly why I was going. Hoping someone was waiting for me. They weren't. I drove around all the regular spots and no one was out. I decided to do my second favorite thing. Eat. Grotto's Pizza. I parked got a slice and started walking down the boardwalk. Something in the newsstand caught my eye. A female dancer with three male dancers. All of them in fabulous costumes. Featured on the cover was a photo of Pzazz! '68, the Donn Arden show at the Desert Inn in Las Vegas. The photo on the cover was of Shirley Kirkes taken by Zoran Veljkovic.
I had no idea who or what any of this was about but I did know that I had to own this. Fifty cents and it was mine. No tax in Delaware. I couldn't wait to get home and look inside the cover. The next morning my subscription form and my check were in the mail. I was
hooked. The only thing about this magazine that I found odd was that it was labeled "Volume 10 Number 1". This was the very first issue. I knew just from this that "AFTER DARK" was gonna be a trip. A trip into the entertainment world and a trip into the gay world. For the next 15 years that's exactly what it was. What I didn't know was that I was gonna be the same for "AFTER DARK". This is the only magazine that I have ever really cherished. The others were always same old same old. And they still are. Not "AFTER DARK". With every issue it got more and more gay.
More gay advertisements more gay articles & more nude photos of beautiful men.
In 1977 the AFTER DARK editors were quoted as saying to their advertisers:
"Reach the Audience with Money to Spare. You'll find them in After Dark! They're affluent, successful and single. With no strings to tie them down. And the time and money to live it up, any chance they get."
In simpler terms----GAY MEN!
The magazine publishers further acknowledged the magazine's appeal to the gay community, noting that the magazine "had gotten a following in the homosexual community seven or eight years before any of the current homosexual magazines came on the market."
I'll never forget the February 1977 issue which featured Arnold Schwarzenegger and was called "Musclebound for Glory". In two of the photographs, Arnold was nude and one photograph showed his penis. "Little" did Arnold know at the time that he was "Musclebound for Glory".
Click Here If You Want To See What Arnold Is Packin
By 1977 I already had nine years of this fabulous magazine. Each month carefully stored in Zip-Lock Bags. For five more years I looked forward every month to it's arrival. Towards the end of it's publication "After Dark" turned Bi. Monthly that is. Whenever the new issue arrived the last issue was carefully stored away.
Everyone that was anyone was on the cover of "After Dark"
Shirley Bassey, Donna Summer, Bette Midler, Robert Redford, Barbra Streisand, Lauren Hutton, Mae West, Peter Allen, Dolly Parton, Jon Voight, Christopher Reeve , Lily Tomlin,Diana Ross, Zarko Halmic, Bonita George, Bo van den Assum,
Dorothy Collins, Joan Blondell, Tommy Lee Jones, Paul Newman, Brian Petersen, David Bowie, Carly Simon, Robins Cousins, Rod Steward, Jan Michael, Chita Rivera, Ann Margret, Tony Danza and the list goes on and on. 15 years of fabulous.
I left Albuquerque in 1995. And so did "After Dark", We moved to Delaware. I left Delaware in 2001. So did "After Dark". We moved to Florida. I left Florida in 2006. So did "After Dark". We moved to Los Angeles. Even though it's been years since I have looked inside the covers it brings me comfort just knowing that anytime I want to I can. Having stirred up all these fabulous memories I'm sure it won't be long before I will. Another thing I'm sure of is that it will happen "After Dark".