Last week, PJ and I watched two documentaries about 1970s gay porn stars: Wrangler: Anatomy of an Icon and That Man: Peter Berlin. Both documentaries trace their subjects from childhood to success as gay icons to their more recent lives. I thought that they were both excellent and informative documentaries.

Wrangler: Anatomy of an Icon looks at the life and career of Jack Wrangler, who became famous for embodying the butch, masculine gay role model that dominated the queer subculture of the 1970s. Here’s the trailer:

Born Jack Stillman in 1946, Wrangler became one of the most famous gay port stars of the decade. In the 1980s, he crossed over into straight porn and eventually became involved with Margaret Whiting, a cabaret singer. Despite his marriage to her, Wrangler continues to identify as a gay man, which makes this documentary, which is narrated by Wrangler himself, an interesting study of identity and sexuality during the last four decades.

That Man: Peter Berlin explores similar territory, in a way. Its subject is another icon of butch 1970s gay culture: German born Peter Berlin, who became a celebrity figure in San Francisco. Here’s a clip from it:

(more…)