Narcissus Magazine Bob Mizer Foundation Film Archive

The father of physique magazines was Bob Mizer (1922-1992). In 1945 Mizer started the Athletic Model Guild in Los Angeles as a modeling agency for male body-builders. Mizer, a self-taught photographer, recruited and photographed the models, carefully listing their vital statistics along with their real names and ages. Mizer sold his photos by mail, advertising them in men’s magazines. By 1951 Mizer’s catalog was so extensive that he began to collect his photos and sell them in a magazine format. Thus began Physique Pictorial. The first publication of its kind, Physique Pictorial showcased a generation of male pinups and bodybuilders, including the recently-deceased Jack LaLanne, Little Joe Dallesandro, Steve Hercules Reeves, and Mickey Hargitay (the husband of Jayne Mansfield and the father of Mariska Hargitay). Physique Pictorial also showcased the art of George Quaintance, Tom of Finland and Art-Bob. Physique Pictorial became a hit with thousands of men, and it was soon joined by a slew of imitators who hoped its success would rub off on them.

The Bob Mizer Foundation Film Archive is the world’s largest repository of original moving images documenting the twentieth century underground physique movement. Spanning five decades (1942-1992), The Bob Mizer Foundation Film Archive documents the evolving landscape of Postwar sexual mores through the lens of pioneering artist Bob Mizer.  With over 3000 film masters and one million still images, this immense body of work was directly and indirectly instrumental in overcoming legal obstacles to basic human rights regarding censorship and enjoyment of basic personal freedoms.

Back the late 1950s, American photographer Bob Mizer began making short physique films to supplement his growing photo studio called Athletic Model Guild. These films, and the thousands that would follow, would eventually become the largest archive of moving images by a single artist in the world. The films range from posing films to short story and fantasy films to full length features by the 1970s. They span genres from westerns to sci-fi to teen melodramas to wrestling, with characters ranging from gladiators, bandits, scientists, doctors, magicians, to juvenile delinquents. Within a few years of his launch, he had his own Hollywood type studio system, and created a demand for beefcake films that hundreds of other photographers would soon copy.

Foundation President Dennis Bell said: “These films are some of the earliest gay erotic media that exists. They were created in a time that opposed the mainstream morals of America, helping to pave the way to events like Stonewall. They are truly a slice of historic Americana.“

This project produces a series of DVD compilations to become part of The Bob Mizer Foundation Film Archive, by digitizing and remastering a number of films that will equal many hours of footage. This will create permanent master digital negatives for the Foundation, and also make these films available to the public for the first time in decades.

In the 1980s, Bob Mizer produced over 7500 hours of recorded photo sessions on BetaMax masters.  Now, the Foundation is remastering this footage and making it available to the public.

Films from 19,99$

By Eric Lanuit