Remembering David Hurles. Page 162 as a Witness to History,
Excepted from “San Francisco’s Native Sissy Son”
“One day as I headed to the studio I ran into a familiar face
on the street, as we each did a double take passing one another.
“Hi Ron,” the familiar face greeted me with an
I remember you from my days working at Livingood
Lithography,” I replied, and he sensed I couldn’t member his name.
“David Hurles,” one of the photographers and models we
had worked with him years earlier. David had an interesting company,
he Old Reliable Tape and Picture Co. He prowled the streets, picking
up hustlers of Polk and Market Sts., had them make an audio recording
of their sexual fantasies and experiences and some launched
into long diatribes of verbal abuse, while he photographed them,
jacking off, he tried a few duos but his focus was usually on solo
scenarios. I thought the audio tapes odd, but David couldn’t afford them,
nor did he have the filmmaking production skills, this was
before VHS video, was an affordable and viable method of distributing
of homoerotic pornography, silent 8 mm films were still
the standard of the day. David’s recordings on cassette tapes of
these guys “talking dirty” coupled with photo sets of them jerking
off had turned out to be a viable mail-order business, and he
needed someone to produce his marketing brochures and advertising
David had a dark side, he got off sexually to verbal abuse,
voyeurism and obsession with masturbation, while paying for these
men to perform, he was pretty much a loner, he was sexually attracted
to street trade, hustlers, and thugs, he liked living on the
edge, not knowing if he was going the be robbed and beaten up.
It was all part of the excitement of anticipation, rather than the
catch or the orgasm. David got arrested, beat up, and robbed, but
chalked it up as the cost of doing business. He was shrewd, David
had found a way to hustle the hustlers, sharing his fetishes with
the world and making lots of money doing so.
David had concentrated on producing a pretty large inventory
of tapes and photos and a growing list of mail-order customers
and he hired me to help him with the marketing brochures
and advertising. He wrote erotic descriptions for the guys and
the content, all with made-up names offered in his mailings. I designed,
laid out, and typeset the brochures and had them printed,
while David mailed them out and fulfilled the incoming orders.
Eventually, he trusted me enough that we set up my dark room
and we produced the 5 x 7 photo sets he mailed out with the dirty
talk tapes. David in those days didn’t consider himself a photographer,
those photos were a means to an end, he was only interested
in producing the sleaziest, cheap, and low quality that he could.
David was a contemporary of the early erotic male nude photographers
and very envious of the work of Bob Mizer, Athletic
Model Guild; Bruce of L. A. also known as Kensington Road
Little did he know that he too was developing a genre of male nude
photography that would eventually be recognized the world over.
David always worked alone with his models, he would never
allow me to be at a photo shoot or recording session, and for good
reason. Some of these guys hung around with David because
he took care of them, admittedly, I was fascinated with some of
them, but the concept of paying for sex was totally beneath me.
But I had other ways, cocaine was just another form of currency in
those days, and with a few lines of “toot” on a mirror, it was amazing
how quickly their pants were off, and they were back for seconds
in no time at all. David occasionally would call and after he’d
finished shooting a model he thought I might be interested in and
fix me up. The dark room at 1156 Howard St. was used for more
than just photographic purposes.
Old Reliable continued to prosper and grow when VHS
was first introduced to mass markets in the mid-1970s, David was
poised to exploit the new video medium and eventually began
phasing out his audio tapes, which were rapidly becoming obsolete
in the gay porno market. hose very first video tapes were
produced while he was still in San Francisco, the marketing and
sales were difficult those first video cassettes were expensive and
his mail-order customers were slow to purchase VHS video decks.
With his video production on the rise, demand for his tapes
increasing the models became limited in San Francisco, David
Hurles moved Old Reliable to Hollywood where he had a better
pick of the hustlers and wayward men off San Monica Blvd.
Old Reliable became well-known in the porno business, David advertised
in the local paper for models, picked men up directly of the
street and found his men in the Spot Light bar on Cahuenga and
Selma Sts., in the old part of Hollywood. David’s move to Hollywood
was timely, the gay magazines were on the rise, Drummer,
Honcho, Torso, and Inches all had national distribution and
David advertised his videos in all of them. David was enjoying
the sweet smell of success and living his fantasies to the fullest.
Several years later, I had the occasion to go to Hollywood
met up with David, he was very welcoming and I was invited to
spend a couple of nights and sleep on his couch, yes that famous
a couch that hosted many Old Reliable models in the early videos.
Oh, if that couch could talk. His apartment was in the old part of
Hollywood, a big old white apartment building built in the 1920s
or 1930s I remember seeing the Capital Records building out the
window close by. David was very excited about his business success,
collaboration with met Bob Mizer, (the pioneer of male nude
photography from the 1950s and 1960s: AMG (Athlete Model
Guild). David wanted to show me the big old house where all
that history was made. When we arrived Bob Mizer was upstairs
disposed and said he be down to meet with us shortly. Meanwhile,
David showed me around the studio, it had a tarnished elegance
about it, many of the same Grecian columns and old props
used in familiar photo shoots of a bygone era were there, frozen
in time without their models, they once enhanced, the swimming
pool set, with fake rocks, large nautical glass globes, and fishing
net draped all around, these were the iconic images of the old
AMG photos in those little magazines and black and white 8 mm
AMG produced, Bob Mizer finally came downstairs only to excuse
himself again, he was very busy upstairs and so we left and
drove back to David’s apartment.
Bob Mizer’s work had little or no importance to me during
that time, I thought his work was old and uninteresting. I
had little appreciation for David’s admiration of Bob Mizer or
his significance as a pioneer in the genre of erotic male nude
photography, years later is certainly changed my opinion of Bob
Mizer’s historical significance.” (C) 2013 Ron Williams