Mystery Man

 
Valentine's Day may be over but it looks like Cupid's left us with one handsome (and hairy) hunk!  This gentleman appeared in a vintage Playgirl February issue and made a big sensation.   VGMH suspects that his handsome face will probably be recognizable to some for his work in other media as well. Can you guess who this mystery man is? 

Always Hard and Horny Tom: 1982 - Present

It's reported the he first started performing for adult entertainment way back in May 1982, which would make this his anniversary month in the business.  Ever since his earliest days in erotica, straight Tom Byron attracted a loyal gay fan base, thanks in no small part to the explosion of VCR machines and video tapes at a time when the initial fears of AIDS drove many gay men to the safety of porn (both gay and straight genres).  Solo photo shoots (who was the intended audience for these photos?) suggest a slightly nervous skinny young man who appeared to be unpolished, and in physical aspects not your standard 1980s cookie-cutter model.
Tom looked like tens of thousands of horny teen aged guys, and many of his roles cast him as such.   He was oftentimes playing the virgin getting lucky instead of the stud selecting which babe to screw next.  In some respects his "average" appearance resembled many of the early smut models of the 1960s in that he looked like he could easily be the track team jock, the library book nerd, or the guy flipping hamburgers wearing a white paper hat at the local burger joint.  He also went by the names Tim Byron, Tom Byrom, Tom Bryon, Tom Bryan, and Tommy Byron.  It's been reported that between 1982 and 1990 Tom worked in nearly 1,000 films and videos.

Audiences were given the rare opportunity to watch Tom mature into manhood right on the screen.  The slightly awkward clean-shaven adolescent gradually made way for a cocksure, long-haired stud with a tan.  Along the way as he aged, his image gradually progressed to more of a mainstream business/working guy.  In 2002, Tom announced his retirement from performing to focus on his directing career.  By 2005, he had returned to performing.  It's reported that Mr. Byron continues to perform in select films and also works as an independent producer/media marketer.  Please stay tuned for a very interesting 'part two' to this story!
 

THROUGH THE YEARS WITH TOM BYRON











1947: Tough as a Marine


 
Back in 1947, Popular Mechanics had a mostly-male audience and that meant they attracted ads that would also appeal to men, including men who were interested in muscles, beef cake, and "tools" of another nature. 

This "Tough as a Marine" ad (above) actually has quite a bit of history behind it.  George Fiusdale Jowett (pictured) was a strongman/ bodybuilder/self-promoter.   By the time the ad was included in the April 1947 Popular Mechanics, George had already established a very successful mail order business, for which he wrote and sold this and many other booklets with titles like "How to Mold a Mighty Wrist",and "How to Mold Mighty Arms".  One booklet, "Molding Mighty Muscles", which sold for 25 cents, sold 25 million copies!  He was also one of the early pioneers to use the "he-man doesn't get sand kicked in his face" type of advertising, promoting that weak guys who are tired of getting bullied could become strong through the secrets he was willing to share (for money of course).  These ads promoted self-esteem as much as muscles (and they worked...at least in selling his booklets).

Born in  Bradford, Yorkshire, England, at 19 George went to Canada as a young man, where for 11 years (with the exception of 3 years in the Canadian Expeditionary Forces during WWI) he worked as a blacksmith.   By the late 1930's, George had five corporations and offices in Australia, New Zealand, parts of Europe, Britain, and the Far East.  His students included Hollywood actor Tom Mix, the Weider brothers, and Johnny Weissmuller (Tarzan). It's reported that Weissmuller was so impressed with the Seat of Health device that he endorsed it free of charge.  The story goes that George was muscular  enough but not thought to be "movie star" material himself.
Mr. America Alan Stephan took out a full-page ad (below) in the same magazine:
 
Alan signed up for the navy and after the war he was discharged on April 2, 1946, exactly two months before he would win the very first bodybuilding contest he entered: the 1946 AAU Mr. America. Several weeks later, he joined weightlifter Frank Kay and photographer Al Urban (already featured in this VGMH series) on television for Bob Wright's show, Human Interest in the News, which would mark the first time that posing plus lifting had been featured on American television. Blonde and very buff, Alan became sexy beef cake gold long before the 1950's wave of magazines. 

Magazines were important communication tools and provided information and entertainment.  And if getting mail-order muscles wasn't your thing, how about a scooter!