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"Ray Daniels," June 4, 1993


Depiction of Roman god Janus, logo of Janus Society.

by Marc Stein. Copyright © Marc Stein 2014. All rights reserved.


I interviewed "Ray Daniels" on 4 June 1993 at his home in Philadelphia. Several months earlier, "Daniels" had contacted me at the University of Pennsylvania after learning about my research in the local press. In a handwritten letter, he wrote, "I have information about the Janus Society and other experiences that may interest you in writing your thesis. I would consider an interview after talking with you further about the publication of your research." After we spoke by telephone, "Daniels" agreed to do an interview with me, but asked that I use a pseudonym, which I did. I remember that I was very interested in doing this interview because "Daniels" had worked for Clark Polak, the leader of Philadelphia's Janus Society, and I hoped that he would provide helpful information and perspectives on Polak and Janus. In 2013 and 2014, I unsuccessfully attempted to locate "Daniels." In 1993, "Daniels" provided me with the following biographical information:

Year of Birth: 1941

Place of Birth: Pennsylvania

Place of Mother's Birth: Virginia

Mother's Occupation: Homemaker

Place of Father's Birth: Pennsylvania

Father's Occupation: Insurance broker

Race/Ethnicity: White

Religious Background: Catholic

Class Background: Middle Class

Residential History

1941-46: Philadelphia, Pennsylvania

1946-58: Pennsylvania

1958-59: Philadelphia, Pennsylvania

1959: Pennsylvania

1959-82: Philadelphia

Interview Transcript

Marc Stein Interview with “Ray Daniels,” 4 June 1993. Transcribed by Kate Wilson, Nathan Wilson, and Marc Stein.

MS: We agreed that we should start by talking about your work for the Janus Society. I wonder if you could tell me how you got the job working for Clark Polak.

RD: I had graduated from college and I was in between jobs. And I needed something to tide me over until I got my career started. And there was an ad in the paper. It said, “Clerical position available, Janus Society,” and it had a phone number. And I called the phone number and Clark answered the phone. And he told me what it was. I told him my situation. He said the hours were like eleven to four, something of that sort. It was short hours. I liked that. Then he said to me, “Do you know what the Janus Society is?” And I said, “No.” And he said, “We are a homosexual organization.” And I said, “What do you mean?” And he said, “Well, I deal with issues related to the gay community.” And then there was a pause and he said, “Are you gay?” And I said, “Yes.” And he said, “Oh great, you can come in for an interview.”

clark polak<br /><br />

Clark Polak, from Drum, March 1965. Photo courtesy John J. Wilcox Jr. Archives at the William Way LGBT Community Center.

MS: Do you think he used the word gay or the word homosexual? Do you remember?

RD: I think he used the word gay. I think he did, but it’s thirty-five years ago. It's kind of hard to remember.

MS: Right. Do you remember what newspaper you saw the ad in?

RD: It was the Philadelphia Inquirer.

MS: So you went into the office to interview?

RD: Yes I did.

MS: Do you remember much about it?

RD: It was in the Middle City Building on 17th Street, right down from Bonwit Teller. It was on the second floor. It was a very old building. It was kind of decrepit, but the rent was real cheap. So there were a lot of studios there. Artists, places like Janus Society, etc. would be able to get space there. Clark had just moved from the one-room office to the two-room office. Things were still in boxes. There was an outer office and that was where the boxes were. And then there was a large inner office and that’s where his desk was and then there was an L-shaped desk where the receptionist’s area was and that’s the position I would have.

RD: Do you remember your first impressions of Clark?

RD: He was very jovial. He laughed and joked and whatever. I was kind of nervous. I wasn’t quite sure what to expect from him. I really wasn’t sure what I was walking into. And I was apprehensive. "Do I really want to work for this place or not?" At that time, that was not the kind of thing you did. You didn’t go and work for a homosexual organization. You just didn’t. It was risky during the sixties.

MS: It must have taken some courage to go in and apply for this job and then take it when you were offered it.

RD: I needed the job. And jobs were not easy to get back at that time. And the hours I liked and the salary was decent. So I went in and he asked me questions. He told me he had several other people who had worked for him. One fellow who had started with him was very good and had set up everything and did a really nice job setting up the addresses and the mailing for Drum and all that sort of thing. And then he left and then there were several people who came after him and each one was worse than the other. And they messed everything up, so he needed someone who he thought would be intelligent enough that could put things back in order. And he said that that’s basically what really had to be done.

MS: And do you remember how many other people were working in the office? Was it just you and Clark?

RD: When I went in, there was Clark and I think there might have been one other person the day I went in. There was another fellow there. What he was doing, I don’t remember.

MS: Now we’ve been trying to figure out when exactly you worked for Janus and I know that was hard for us to figure out, but I know that Clark was elected president of Janus in December 1963 and Drum didn’t start coming out until October of 1964. And what you were saying was that this other guy had set up the mailing for Drum before you got there.

RD: Then I must have started in ’65 then. I was mistaken. If Drum was started in October of ’64, I remember I was hired in the spring. That’s when I went for the job interview. It was in the springtime, because I remember working there all through the summer.

MS: And do you think it was the first year of Drum that you worked there. Were there only a few issues previously published?

RD: There weren’t a lot of issues. No, there were not.

MS: So maybe it was the spring of ’65. How long did you work there?

RD: I worked there somewhere within the vicinity of a year I would say.

MS: Did a lot of people come by the office?

RD: I wouldn’t say a lot of people. There were more phone calls than there were actually people. People would call on the phone. They would have inquiries. They would ask different questions and things. Clark told me when he hired me to expect harassment type phone calls, obscene phone calls. People would call and say, “Fuck you queers,” and all this kind of stuff. He said those kind of calls would happen, to expect that. And sometimes it did happen. I just hung up the phone. Clark handled it differently.

MS: How did Clark handle it?

RD: He would curse back at them.

MS: And what would people call about who weren’t calling for that?

RD: They would call about issues, things that had happened to them. For example, they might have been arrested and they needed legal advice. They didn’t know what to do. They needed a lawyer. They were in trouble and they didn’t know where to turn and they had heard through the grapevine about this organization, that there was someone there that could assist them. So they would call and those kind of calls I immediately referred to Clark. He handled them. I did not handle those calls.

MS: Right. Did you get a lot of calls from people looking for bars and those sorts of calls?

RD: Yes. People would call asking about coming to Philadelphia. And his other business, the bookstore business, had a guide to all the gay bars throughout the country. And people would subscribe to that, ask for that, and then you’d refer them to Trojan and they could buy a copy of the guide there.

MS: Right. Now you had said when I talked to you before that Clark made a big effort to keep Janus separate from Trojan.

RD: That’s correct.

MS: And keep Drum separate from Trojan?

RD: Yes.

MS: How did he keep them separate?

RD: They were in separate rooms. Trojan was located down the hall and it was a separate business. That was a business. Janus was an organization. It was a non-profit organization. It did not generate money. Trojan did. And that’s where Clark made his money to live on.

MS: What kind of staff did Trojan have? Do you remember?

RD: Trojan had one fellow who worked there who was very competent. It was mostly a mail order business. But occasionally people would come in off the street and they would be directed to go down there. None of those transactions ever took place inside of Janus. Clark kept a separation there.

MS: And what was your sense of the full range of what Janus did during the year that you worked there?

RS: It seemed to me that Clark was committed to equal rights. I don’t like to use the word gay rights, because I don’t think there is such a thing as gay rights. I think there’s such a thing as equal rights. Clark back at that time used the word persecution. He believed that gays were persecuted. We lived in a world where there was actual persecution, where there was a lot of hate. And you really had to remain invisible if you wanted to survive. You had to keep your mouth shut and you had to stay invisible. And Clark felt that the people, the heterosexual population, needed to be educated that homosexuals were not this awful terrible force of people who did these awful terrible things, but they were really people who were just like everybody else and they were all over, in every profession, every phase of life. There were bisexuals who were married and had families, etc., etc. So basically, when he would give lectures like at the Ethical Society, he would give a lecture on the homosexual in our society. And he used the word homosexual, because if you used the word gay, people wouldn’t have known what was going on because that was the word that was used by gay people. It was within the group. The heterosexual population used the word homosexual when they were being polite.

MS: So you just mentioned that one of the things Clark did was lecturing. And he obviously was publishing Drum.

RD: Yes.

MS: What were his other activities?

RD: He had frequent meetings with the police over entrapment, over plainclothes detectives in places where gays would cruise and hang out. And he was against that, so he would meet with the vice squad, which is what they called it back then. And representatives from the vice squad came in and met in Janus’s offices with him.

MS: Did Clark meet with them alone or would he have lawyers with him?

RD: I think he did have someone else with him. It probably was an attorney, yes. There were several people. There was Clark and maybe one or two other people with him and then this contingent of people that came from the vice squad. And they would sit in the back in a conference area and they would talk back there. But we’re not talking about an office that was paneled and all. I mean it was kind of a dingy. It wasn’t any elaborate office or anything like that. It wasn’t like that. It looked like he was just moving in or he was moving out. He wasn’t organized. He was very sloppy. And I’m very organized, so I was constantly putting things in order and he was constantly messing them up. We got along well. We sort of balanced. It was a nice balance of working together. He was nice to work for.

MS: So you had good experiences working for him?

RD: Yeah, he had a good sense of humor. And he would laugh and he liked a good joke. Yet he took what he did very seriously. And he would scold me or joke with me or kid me. He’d kid me a lot about spending money for trendy things and going to the bars and stuff. And he’d say that’s not where it’s at. This is what you should be doing. You should be joining the board, bringing more people into an organization such as this. Clark, I think, had a vision of organizations like they are today. Like the Gay and Lesbian Task Force or an organization like ACT UP or something like that. Those are the kinds of organizations I think he envisioned. But of course back then, it just was impossible. It couldn’t be. Clark was kind of like the Rosa Parks, the lady that took a seat in the white section of the bus. Clark broke ground. He broke ground in Philadelphia by starting an organization that had not been there before. And then from that organization, other organizations really grew, really and truthfully.

MS: Back to the police for a second. Do you have a sense that any of these meetings with the police were successful? Was Clark able to help people out in those situations?

RD: Yes. There were people that he did help. There was some area in Suburban Station, if I remember correctly, where gays would go and they would congregate down there and cruise and whatever. And police were constantly putting plainclothes detectives down there. And Clark was successful in getting them to agree that they would curtail that practice. Whether in actuality they did or not, I don’t know. Clark was always suspicious of them. He didn’t trust them. When they would leave, he’d say, “Yeah right, lots of luck, I’m going to have to keep on them. I’m going to have to keep at it and keep at them and keep at them.” He was a very good letter writer and he was constantly writing letters. He wrote letters to everyone. I typed them, because he would write and I did all the typing. So there were a lot of letters. He was into sending letters to just about everybody and anybody.

MS: Why do you think the police bothered to come to his office? Why did they care?

RD: I’ll tell you the truth. They might have been a little curious as to the organization, what this organization was all about. Clark told me when I first started to work for him that he had never been arrested, but he expected that he would be at some point. He said the only thing was he didn’t know when. But he said he was surprised that he had not been arrested up to that point. But he fully expected that at some point the police would arrest him. That was something that he was prepared for. He just didn’t know when it was. That was what kind of made him nervous, like when is it going to happen? And will it be by the Philadelphia police? Will it be by the FBI? Which group?  “Who’s gonna get me?” And I think the police maybe came in because they were curious as to what it was all about, what he was all about. And I’m sure they were building a file or whatever on him. And also, too, they didn’t want things made public. I discussed with you about the young man who was beaten. There was a young man.

MS: Can you tell that story again?

RD: There was a young man who was picked up by two police officers in the vicinity of 20th and Spruce, which at that time was called the Merry Go Round. And instead of taking him to the police station, the police officers took him to what is now Judy Garland Park, which back then was a parking lot and a wooded area. And they beat him very, very badly. And he ended up in the hospital. And they might have even done some other things as well sexually. There were a lot of things that happened concerning that. The mother was very upset. She called Clark. She had heard about the organization or she had called the American Civil Liberties Union. And they would make referrals to Clark as well. And she talked to Clark and Clark wanted very much for the young man and the mother to press charges. He wanted that very much. And he met with the police on that issue. I believe they came to Janus and he also went down to the police administration building and had meetings down there as well. They did not want a lawsuit. You see that kind of stuff they didn’t want. They didn’t want you to go to court. They didn’t want you to go to the newspapers. Not that the newspapers maybe would have even printed it, but the kinds of things they did when they did that kind of harassment, when they beat people and stuff, they didn’t want anyone to know they were doing that. It was like it was O.K. to do it, but it’s our business.

MS: Was Clark able to convince them to bring charges?

RD: They agreed that they would bring charges, but then, after the young man got out of the hospital, he didn’t want to do it. But what Clark considered a very big victory, which today people would laugh at, is that he did manage to get the two police officers transferred out of that district. The police department did agree to move them to another area and not to keep them in the Center City area. And Clark felt that that was a very big victory. In actuality back then it probably was, that he was able to do that. So by doing that, the police department did admit some wrongdoing, without admitting it. By the very fact that they moved the two police officers, they knew that some wrongdoing had taken place. And that they could possibly face some kind of legal challenge and they didn’t want their dirty laundry put out in public. They wanted to be able to beat up queers and not have people know about it.

Drum June 1965

Cover, Drum, 1965. Photo courtesy John J. Wilcox Jr. Archives at the William Way LGBT Community Center.

MS: Do you remember any other individual cases?

RD: There was one in Delaware County where two lovers had a house. They had a property and they lived together. And they had met a hustler type guy, a young man, and I guess there had been some activity of people coming and going. But not underage. The people were all over age. I mean they all were within the legal boundaries. So it wasn’t anything where they were doing things with people under age. But the neighbors and the police knew. It was a small area and the police found out. Maybe some of the neighbors called or whatever and they started checking out and watching them. And they at one point came into the house and they arrested the two men. And they had to go to court. And it was really more harassment. They really did not have any evidence. There was nothing concrete that they had that they really could use, but they really wanted to keep dragging it out and dragging it out. The one man was extremely nervous and the other one was apparently better able to deal. He was the one who called and Clark talked to. The other man stopped going to work; he became very depressed; he worried that they would lose their house, their property, the legal fees and everything. It was very expensive. Clark, under the circumstances, advised them to plea bargain and take a lesser charge and just get out of the situation. And I believe that’s what they did.

MS: Would you say Janus was an organization of lesbians and gay men or just gay men?

RD: I would say it was basically gay men.

MS: Did you ever see lesbians around the office?

RD: I never saw lesbians in the office, no. I know there was Barbara Gittings, but I never saw her in the office. I never saw any lesbians in the office, no, only gays.

MS: What about a woman named Barbara Harris, who wrote the newsletter? The Janus Society Newsletter?

RD: I do remember the name. But if she did it, she didn’t do it from the office. She might have done it from home and then sent the things in, because there were only three desks in the office. One was Clark’s, one was where I sat, and the other one was where the other person sat who would come in and work on the publication of Drum. And that was not Barbara Harris who put all that together.

MS: Do you remember the public lecture series with Cory and Kameny?

RD: I remember the one at the Ethical Society. There was one he had at the Ethical Society. I do remember that.

MS: Did you go to any of them?

RD: No. I never did.

MS: Do you remember hearing about the sit-in at Dewey’s?

RD: Yes.

MS: Do you recall anything about it?

RD: I remember that Dewey’s on 17th Street. There was a Dewey’s on 17th and one on 13th. And 13th was the one where all the gays would go after the bars closed and the drags. The bar scene was very different back then than it is today. And then some gay bars started opening on the other side, west of Broad Street. So gays started going to the Dewey’s on 17th Street. And apparently they had had some complaints from some of the people, some of the hotels, some of the Center City people in that area. Or something must’ve happened. I don’t know what happened. But suddenly they had this policy where anyone who they suspected was a homosexual, they would not serve them. And that was what prompted the sit-in.

MS: What did Clark do?

RD: I don’t think I was working for Clark at that time. When was it? I don’t think I was working for him then.

MS: Either ’65 or ’66, I’m not sure.

RD: Yeah, I think it must have been ’66. I think I heard about it, but I don’t remember being actively involved. I believe that was after I had worked for Clark. Yes, there was a protest. And they went in and they protested this policy. It was something that was really unenforceable and so after a while, when things quieted down, everybody kind of went back again. But for a while there they wouldn’t let you in. You couldn’t go in.

MS: Do you think a lot of people in the gay community knew about the Janus Society?

RD: No, I don’t think a lot of people did.

MS: You were talking before about the police. I’m wondering if you could also talk about the Post Office and Customs, because I know that they were also monitoring Drum and Trojan and Janus. Do you remember hearing anything about that?

RD: Yeah, Clark did have trouble with shipments of Drum, because Drum had to go across the state lines because it was all over the United States and even went outside the country. And also the material for Trojan was all imported and that also had to come through Customs. So there were problems. He did have a lot of problems with the postal authorities, yes he did. And they would hold up shipments of materials, boxes of books and magazines and whatever. It was more of a harassment kind of thing. He would get them, because then he would go to the American Civil Liberties Union and then he would get them released. And he would say, “They’re just trying to break my balls. That’s what they’re really trying to do. But I’m not going to let them do it. I won’t let them. I just won’t give in.”

MS: Did they ever come to the office?

RD: Yes they did. Once they did. Yes they did. They came to the office. The time I remember when they came was when I was there by myself. That was a very unpleasant encounter.

MS: Can you tell me what happened?

RD: Well Clark would come in around twelve, maybe one. But he stayed late. He worked until nine, ten, eleven, twelve o’clock. I was supposed to be there at around ten, eleven, somewhere in that vicinity. I would come in and I’d leave around four. I guess it was after eleven and Clark wasn’t coming in that day until later. I think he was going to come in around one. He had called. He would usually call in. There was an answering service and he would call in and get the messages from the answering service. Or I would get them and then he would call in and we would talk. Usually I would talk to him in the morning. When I got there, he would call or I would call him and we would plan the day out, what kinds of things he wanted me to do. On this one particular day, these guys came in and they all were dressed in suits and ties and they were very stern faced, very unfriendly. And they all started flashing all these cards and badges. And I didn’t know what was going on. And my first thought was, “I’m going to go to jail.” And I don’t want to go to jail. And I didn’t even know what they were talking about. And I just said, “I just work here. I type.” And they said, “What else do you do?” And then they started walking around. They started opening closets and looking in his desk and going through things. They never showed a search warrant, but they did poke around. And I was too nervous to object to them doing that. All I said was that I just worked there. I was an employee and I couldn’t answer the questions. And truthfully I couldn’t. I did not know the answers to the questions they were asking about these particular materials that they were holding at Customs. And I didn’t know about it. And I told them, I said, “Well, that has to do with Trojan.” I said, “And this is not Trojan.” And they were saying, “Well, what is the difference?” And I said, “Trojan is down the hall.” And they said, “Well, there’s no one there.” And I said, “Well, you’ll have to come back later.” And I just wanted to get them out. I just wanted them to leave. I told Clark afterwards that I would quit. I was going to quit after that. And then I calmed down that evening. He called and I had calmed down and he said, “It’s all taken care of, don’t worry.” And I went back the next day.

MS: Did you call Clark while they were there?

RD: I might have called him. I called him either while they were there or after they left. I don’t remember exactly. It was so much happening and I was so nervous. It’s hard to say what sequence of events occurred in what order. It was difficult. I did call him. It might have been while they were there or it might have been after they left. I don’t know. I know that I was extremely nervous. I was scared. I was afraid.

MS: You mentioned the ACLU. Did Janus have any other friends who could support what they were doing?

RD: Yes, there were other people that did support Clark. There were people who donated money. But most of those people wanted to remain anonymous; in fact, all of them to my knowledge remained anonymous. When I first went to work for Janus, Clark told me there was a board of directors. And he told me that he was the president and then there was the board of directors. After being there for a short while, it didn’t take me long to figure out that this board of directors was not like twelve people who sat down at a conference table with Clark. It might have been his lawyer, it might have been Spencer Coxe, it might have been some of these people, Harris, some of these people who he relied on and talked with. But there really wasn’t a board of directors as we would think of a board of directors.

MS: So would you say it was a one-man organization?

RD: I think it was a one-man show. My impression was that it was a one-man show. But yet Clark knew people, I believe, in some higher places. And I think some of those people were very generous and made contributions to help Janus. They did not wish to have it made public. They kept quiet. I think there were some people that might even have been in government, within the city government, maybe one or two people. Not even necessarily gay people, but heterosexuals who were sympathetic to what Clark was doing.

MS: Why do you think that? Why do you think that he had friends in high places?

RD: One reason I believe that is because I think personally the police would have shut him down long before they did. And the fact that he survived, that he kept that organization going for several years before the police really moved in on him, he had to have had some connections. That’s just my own feeling. I have no proof of it.

MS: And when you left Janus, was Clark upset?

RD: He had brought another person in. He had started to expand the staff. And there was another fellow that came in. He had a relationship he was involved in and he didn’t have to work. He had a lot of free time. So he was donating his services and he didn’t take any salary. I was taking a salary. So this guy sort of moved in and then Clark saved money that way. So financially he was sort of glad, because there wasn’t a lot of money, let’s put it that way. He always paid me. That was never a problem and he paid me by check. And then he cashed the check. So this other fellow then moved into my place. And I had trained him. So it was a smooth transaction.

MS: Do you remember his name?

RD: No I don’t. I don’t remember his name.

James (Jay) Mitchell

James (Jay) Mitchell, 1970. Photo: Richard Schlegel for Pace!

MS: I want to ask a bunch of questions about other people who I know were involved with Clark or with Janus. One of those was Jim Mitchell. What did you know about Jim?

RD: Jim was Clark’s lover. And they lived on 17th Street at that time in a one-bedroom apartment right above Lombard Street. Later he moved to the building at 15th and Pine, the high-rise there. Jim was younger than Clark. He was very good-looking. And he and Clark were together for a while. Jim was there before I came and he was there after I left, so I assume that there was a while there that they were together. Jim would come in, but he didn’t really work in the office. That he didn’t do. That’s about all I can think of. I mean he was friendly.

MS: Did you ever go to their apartment?

RD: No. I understand it was a mess. I understand he was very sloppy. And it was a small apartment and the reason I know is because later on, years later, I met someone and I went to visit them and that’s where they lived. And I said, “Oh, this is where Clark lived.” And I saw the apartment and I said, “Oh my gosh, this is so small.” I could understand why he always kept saying they needed more space. They needed more space. It was really an apartment for one person. It was a very small one bedroom apartment.

MS: Was Jim doing photography? Physique photography?

RD: Yes, he did do that. Yes, he did do photography.

MS: Did they take photos in the office or at home? Do you know where they did that?

RD: I was never there for the photo sessions. There were photo sessions that were held in the office for Drum. I believe they were for Drum. But I was not there at the time that they were done. They were done in the evening. And Clark invited me one time to stay for it, but I wasn’t interested. I just said no. I said I had other plans or whatever and I didn’t stay.

MS: Do you know how they found models?

RD: Well, some of the people sent in. A lot of envelopes would come, manila-sized envelopes, with pictures, photographs, that people sent in. What would you call that when people have a set of pictures when they send out when they’re models? Well they would send something like that to him and ask if they could be considered for Drum. So there were people who actually sent things in. And Clark had a cabinet that was filled with photographs that people had sent him. Now some of those he might have used and the rest, I don’t know if there were replies made or what. I did not make replies to those. Those I referred to him.

MS: Do you know if there were underage guys involved with this?

RD: To my knowledge there were no underage people at all. In fact, Clark was very careful about that sort of thing for the very reason of the police. Since the police were so watchful, he knew they were watching him so carefully, I would say quite frankly I never saw any. There was no one underage when I was there and I think Clark would have been really careful about that.

MS: This is something I’m curious about. Say a seventeen-year-old came in who looked much older. How would Clark have checked it out? Do you have any idea?

RD: It never happened while I was there.

MS: O.K.

RD: So I don’t know how to answer that.

MS: O.K., fair enough. Let me try a few other names. Lou Coopersmith?

RD: No.

MS: Richard Schlegel? Joan Fraser?

RD: No.

MS: A. Jay?

RD: A. Jay.

MS: He did the comic.

RD: Yeah, O.K.

MS: “Harry Chess”?

RD: “Harry Chess.” I forgot about that one. That was a long time ago. Yeah, I do remember that one, yeah.

MS: Was A. Jay a Philadelphian?

RD: I don’t know.

MS: Any other names?

RD: Well there was Spencer Coxe. He was a close friend of Clark’s.

MS: They were friends? What did you know about Spencer?

RD: Clark talked to him a lot and would confer with him. Spencer was very supportive of Clark and his organization.

MS: Was Spencer gay himself?

RD: No. To my knowledge he was not. I was not ever given the impression that he was. The only one that Clark had any sexual liaison with would have been Jimmy, to my knowledge. Now Clark did go to the bars. I mean he and Jimmy would go out and socialize. When you asked me about my first impression of him when I walked in the office, my first impression was that he was very sloppy. Clark did not dress. We would be very trendy and dress with the Lacoste shirts and whatever people were wearing at that particular time. Clark would wear khaki pants, white t-shirt, white socks, black loafers, kind of like what the kids wear today. That’s kind of the way he dressed. Or jeans and that was it. I mean that was the extent of his wardrobe. He was not into getting dressed up. That was not his thing.

MS: Right. A lot of people seem to have found him very irascible and argumentative. Did you ever see any of those arguments?

RD: Yes. Yes I did. There was a side of him that was very stubborn. Yes. He believed very strongly in what he was doing and if anyone treaded on that territory, he would go after, he would argue back. He would do that in the bars. People in the bars would make jokes about him. And they would say that he was a nut and they would say things about Janus, that it’s just so that he can meet people and stuff like that. And I’d say, “Well that’s not really true. I worked there and I haven’t seen that going on at all.” But some of them would go over and they’d be talking and they would try to pick an argument with him or try to rile him up. And he would hold his ground. He was argumentative. He liked to debate.

MS: Did you stay in touch with Clark after you stopped working?

RD: I saw Clark from time to time, but we were never really friends outside of work. We were acquaintances.

MS: What did you hear about his departure from Philadelphia? Did you hear anything at the time?

RD: I ran into Clark. I knew about it. I knew he had had problems with the law. I talked to Clark around that time. He told me that he’d had it with Philadelphia. And at that time he was not the only one. Other people were moving on to California. I made the trip out there myself. For a while that was kind of the trend that people were following. So it was not unusual for him to also join that exodus to the land of plenty, where all the gays were running to San Francisco and out there. So I never asked him. No, I never asked him details about his troubles with the law. I felt badly for him. I’m sure there was some discussion. It was touched on. I mean I’m sure he said, “I guess you know.” It was like a general kind of thing. “I guess you’ve heard.” And I said, “Yeah, I do Clark, I hope things work out for you.” That kind of thing. Or I might have said something like, “Well, you knew it was going to happen. You held on this long. You knew they were going to come down on you and they did.” And he said, “Yeah, they finally got me” or “they tried to get me” or whatever. But he wasn’t sentenced or anything like that. I mean he wasn’t convicted of anything.

MS: Well he got probation for an obscenity charge.

RD: Yeah, but what did they call obscenity? What were they calling obscenity? I mean the publication of nude photographs? I mean the things today are so graphic, the videos and stuff. They didn’t have stuff like that then. All the magazines Clark had, none of them were of anyone having sex. They were just nude photographs. That’s all they were. I mean how can that be considered obscene? That’s obscenity? Is that what they convicted him on?

MS: Yeah.

RD: I mean that’s ludicrous. I mean by today’s standards people would laugh at that. That would just be a joke. You can look at television and you can go to any movie theater and see people naked. What’s the big deal? They were out to nail him. Now you had asked me about his death. And I told you my feelings about that.

MS: Do you want to say?

RD: Well you had heard that he committed suicide. And I told you that I don’t believe that. And I don’t believe it. I don’t believe Clark ever would have killed himself because Clark was not a quitter. Clark was a fighter. And even though he got knocked down in Philadelphia, Clark, when he moved on to San Francisco, probably was in his glory.

MS: To L.A.

RD: To L.A. excuse me, I’m sorry. Well people were going to both places. But he would have gotten involved out there. There was a lot of stuff going on.

MS: So what do you think happened?

RD: My own feeling is that Clark might have gotten into drugs because people were doing that out there at that time. And he might’ve done too much and o.d.’d. Something like that could have happened. But I don’t think he deliberately tried to kill himself. I really don’t believe that. That’s my personal feeling from what I know of Clark. I will say this, that Clark would have loved the way it is today. And I did tell you this, that the vision that Clark had for Janus Society is kind of like ACT UP today or Queer Nation or one of those groups. That’s what he would have liked. And if he was here today, he would be right up there with Queer Nation and ACT UP marching down, at the head, laying down in the streets. He was all for civil disobedience, all that kind of stuff. I mean Clark would have been right out there in the front line. He would have. And he probably would have had a video studio on the side and made lots of money.

MS: Sounds about right.

RD: Yeah, he probably would have.

MS: We’re going to shift gears now and talk about the drag queen parade in Philadelphia, which I know that you remember having gone to. So I’m interested in whatever you can tell me about the parade. How young do you think you were when you first went? How many people were participating in it?

RD: I would have been probably a teen. I was a teenager then, probably just starting college, although I did come into town when I was in my last year of high school. I was about sixteen. And at that time we used to go to Rittenhouse Square.

MS: Oh really?

RD: That was the hangout. Yeah that was the place you went. And it was interesting because the gays would hang around on the outer part of the Square. And the hippies, or back then they called them the beatniks, their turf was the middle, the center part of the Square. There was a drag parade that was held on Halloween. I remember one year, I think there was one more year, and then I think it was stopped. The police did stop it. How long it went on before that I don’t know. I just know that a woman friend of mine actually had found out about it. It was really by word of mouth that this parade took place on Halloween night. And it took place on 13th Street and went around down Locust Street. That’s where most bars were located, in that area, at that time. They were on 13th Street, Locust Street. The Pirate Ship, I think, was one that burned down. That was really going back a long ways. And then there were the small streets, Camac Street, the bars were located along there. The parade, this friend of mine had told me about it, so a group of us decided we would go. And the police knew about the parade, which I was surprised about. I just thought it would be something where you just stood on the curb and you watched some people walking around in drag. That’s what I thought it was going to be. But it wasn’t. It was really quite a group of people. They had police barricades up. A lot of people came from South Philadelphia. The police closed off Locust Street from Broad Street down to maybe I would say 12th. They came down Locust, I think, starting around Walnut and maybe Chestnut.

MS: They came down 13th starting at Walnut?

RD: They started down 13th. Then they turned and went on to Locust.

MS: And headed east?

RD: Headed east, yeah. And it was elaborate. It was much more than I would have expected. They had limousines. Well they didn’t have limousines then; they had convertibles. And they would be in their convertibles and they were all done up to the hilt. I mean piles of hair and jewels and big wide dresses and gowns. And you stood behind the barricades and the police all stood there. They kept everything in order and everyone was joking and laughing. There was no hostility or anything like that. And it was really a nice mixture of gay and straight people who were watching it. And people clapped and applauded the person who they thought was the best. And there was one group that came, the guy was dressed as a bride. And he had this big wide dress on with the long veil. And he had bridesmaids, a maid of honor, a groom, the best man, the ushers. And they were all guys, these really good looking guys who I assume were straight. I mean I don’t think they were necessarily gay. It was a regular wedding party.

MS: So you don’t think this was all gay drag queens? Some people were straight guys cross dressing?

RD: I think some of them could have been cross dressing, but I think most of them probably were drag. But I would say that there might have been some cross dressing, yes. And some of the people who were there who escorted them were not necessarily gay. They could have been guys who they knew, who said, “Hey, I’ll do this with you ’cause it’s fun or whatever.” “What the hell, I don’t really care.” Of course the bars all had parties that night.

MS: Is that right?

RD: Every bar had a party. I mean that was Halloween night and there were big parties everywhere.

Postcard Rittenhouse Square 1940s.

Postcard, Rittenhouse Square, Philadelphia.

MS: So would everyone come out of the bar when the parade would go by? How would that work?

RD: People stood outside and watched and then when the parade was over they went into the bars.

MS: I see. Because someone described to me going into a bar and the parade would go through the bars.

RD: Yes. The part I remember was them coming down 13th Street and going on to Locust. And then you went into the bars and then the bars would have individual contest kinds of things that went on within each bar. They would have judging and they would give prizes and that kind of thing. So there would be sort of another kind of a parade within the bar that you were in at that particular time. And they would give prizes and trophies; trophies were usually what they gave.

MS: So you don’t remember spectators being violent?

RD: Oh no. No, there was nothing like that at all. No. Everybody got along. There were a lot of women there. It was a very mixed crowd.

MS: And the police?

RD: The police were fine. Everyone was laughing and joking. There was no harassment. It was just kind of a fun thing. And then the following year they had it. And then after that they stopped it. The police wouldn’t allow it anymore. You see it had grown. That was apparently what we were told at the time. Of course everything was through rumors. They didn’t put things like that in the newspaper, so the rumor was that it had gotten too big and someone in City Hall or the vice squad or whatever had said, “Hey, this is too much, let’s stop it, we don’t want this now.” So before when it was smaller and there wasn’t so many people coming with the barricades and the police, it was allowed to go on, but once that started, then I guess they figured it was getting too big and it was time to end it.

MS: If you had to guess, how many drag queens marched in the parade?

RD: Oh, I would say anywhere from fifty to a hundred, easily.

MS: And were they all white? Mostly white? Some white?

RD: I would say they were predominately white. Back in those days, the bars were separate. I mean there were white bars and I guess there were black bars. I don’t know. I never was in a black bar. But there were some blacks. Occasionally you’d see a black person. Some black people would come into the bars. Like Sarah Vaughan was popular. I don’t know if you’ve ever heard of Sarah Vaughan.

MS: Yes.

RD: Sarah Vaughan was very popular and Sarah Vaughan went from one bar to another. So there were people who were black who did go into the bars. I’m not saying that there weren’t. But the bars were I would say ninety-nine percent white and the parade was, too.

MS: If you had to guess, how many spectators were at the parade?

RD: I would say about a thousand. Yeah I would.

MS: Back to Rittenhouse Square for a second. Did you go to any of the coffeehouses that had sprung up around Rittenhouse Square? The Humoresque?

RD: I went to all of them.

MS: The Gilded Cage?

RD: Yes. The Artist’s Hut. And then there was the Proscenium. I believe that was one of them.

MS: Proscenium? Were they gay hangouts?

RD: The one that was on Sansom Street, the one that Rizzo was known for, when he was the head of vice and he raided the coffeehouses, there was one he raided. I think it was the Humoresque. Yeah that was the one on Sansom Street. That one was very mixed. Yes, there was a mixed crowd in the coffeehouses. There was a mixture of gay and straight, predominately straight, but there were gays there as well.

MS: What kind of straight people would hang out at the coffeehouses?

RD: The beatniks.

MS: Yeah?

RD: The beatniks obviously, sure. And they didn’t care. They were very accepting of gay people. That’s probably why gays were able to integrate into those coffeehouses, because of the beatniks. I feel so embarrassed using that word. It really dates me. I sound ancient. Beatnik. I can’t even use hippie. But that’s what they were back then. They were beatniks.

MS: Was it a hangout for lesbians as well as gay men?

RD: Yes. Lesbians also would go into the coffeehouses, yes. There was a mixture of lesbians, gay men, straight men, and straight women. Yeah, there was a nice mixture there. In fact, that was probably, when I come to think of it, the only place where there really was that kind of mixture that took place openly.

MS: And were you ever hassled in the coffeehouses by the police? Did it happen while you were there?

RD: I saw police outside. And I saw them giving individual people a hard time. I myself was never harassed by the police at the coffeehouses. I was harassed with my friends in Rittenhouse Square. They would come through the park and they would chase you.

MS: The police would?

RD: Yes they would. They would chase you out. And then you’d go somewhere for a cup of coffee or go to one of the coffeehouses. Then you’d come back an hour later and start all over again, hanging out.

MS: How would they chase you out? What would they say?

RD: They told you to get the hell out. That’s what they’d say. They’d say, “Go on, get the hell out. Clear out of here you queers.” And they’d start using that kind of language. They’d curse at you. They’d tell you f-ing this and that. Yeah, they weren’t nice. They weren’t nice at all.

MS: Was it a young crowd at Rittenhouse Square or mixed age?

RD: I would say it was basically young. And there was also a mixture of gays. There were drags. There were those who weren’t in drag. I knew Harlow from Rittenhouse Square. Harlow hung out in the Square.

MS: Is that right?

RD: Yeah, I knew Harlow when he was, oh gosh, what was his name, Joey? I can’t remember the name now. It’s on the tip of my tongue and then I lost it. But that was before his operation. He hung out there.

MS: Tell me what you know about Harlow.

RD: Harlow was very nice, very gentle, very nice person, very thin. He looked like an effeminate boy. That’s how he looked. Bleached hair, blond hair. The thing that most impressed me about Harlow was that knowing Harlow before, when he hung out in the Square as a guy, and then after the famous operation quote unquote, he/she was always a nice person, always friendly. “Hello, how are you?” Remembered people, had a very good memory.

MS: Why don’t you tell me about the operation? You said the famous operation.

RD: Well that was something new and that was a big thing in Philadelphia. Harlow was a celebrity.

MS: When did it happen? Was it in the sixties?

RD: It would’ve had to have been late sixties, early seventies, somewhere around there.

MS: And did Harlow perform?

RD: No. You mean like sing, dance, that kind of thing?

MS: Yeah.

RD: I don’t remember anything like that, no.

MS: More just a character.

RD: Oh a celebrity, not a character. Harlow was not a character. She was a celebrity and very classy. I mean when Harlow was dressed up, right after the sex operation, she was beautiful. There was no question.

MS: Is it true that Harlow married a politician?

RD: There were rumors that she had a politician as a boyfriend. And the politician I know the name of, but I don’t want to say it.

MS: Really?

RD: I don’t want to say it. I won’t say it on tape. But the rumor was that yeah, there was a politician.

MS: I think I want to know, so I’ll just put this on pause [pause]….  What can you tell me about Sarah Vaughan?

RD: Oh Sarah Vaughn is ageless. Even today, Sarah Vaughan has managed. No one knows how old Sarah Vaughan is. It’s impossible. It seems like Sarah Vaughan always was and always has been and always will be. She’s always, always there.

MS: Do you remember the first time you saw her?

RD: Yes and she was outrageous but very nice.

MS: When?

RD: I was very young. I was like sixteen years old. And here was this person. And I thought it was a real woman. And the thing about Sarah Vaughan was that when she did drag, she was very realistic. Some of the drag queens really looked draggy. Sarah Vaughan would just wear very plain clothes. And I’m sure she had some glittery things, but when she got dressed up, she dressed very ordinary, which is like a regular woman would dress to go to work, that kind of thing, and styled her hair, didn’t wear a lot of makeup. And really just looked like a real woman. She really did.

MS: And where did she perform?

RD: I remember her from the bars, like the Forrest Bar. I remember her from there. And there was a black bar at Broad and Spruce on the corner, right down from the Allegro. And she used to go in there and we also used to go in there occasionally. Those were the two places I remember Sarah Vaughan from. Then later on she would come into the Allegro. She didn’t have any trouble going back and forth. She seemed to be able to. Bouncers at the door, I don’t think they ever hassled her. I don’t think anybody would have. I don’t know if they’d be afraid to or not. Sarah Vaughan was tough. It was not easy for her. First of all, he was a drag queen and he was a person of color. So he had two things right there. And he had a double battle. He was a strong person.

MS: Were there other famous drag queens in Philadelphia that you remember from the fifties and sixties?

RD: I don’t remember. No, they’re the only two I remember. Harlow and Sarah Vaughan are the only two that come to my mind. I call them celebrities. I think Harlow was a celebrity. She was a celebrity. I mean she was written up in newspapers and in the Inquirer magazine section. They did all kinds of stories on her. She was on television talk shows. I mean Harlow was a celebrity, absolutely, positively, yes. I saw Harlow recently a couple of years ago at Cha-cha. And she’s married now.

MS: Is that right?

RD: Yes, Harlow is married. She introduced me to her husband.

MS: Do you know where she lives?

RD: Not currently, I don’t.

MS: In Philly?

RD: I assume that she does. And she looked good. I mean she’s gotten older. Hey, we all have. But she still looked good. She was still dressed nicely and she looked like a woman. And she is a woman. She had the operation, so she is a woman.

MS: Do you know where she had the operation done? Was it in Philadelphia?

RD: I thought it was University of Pennsylvania, but I could be wrong. Or maybe it was Johns Hopkins. I think that’s the hospital. Back then Johns Hopkins was the place that was doing all that kind of surgery. So maybe it was there. Maybe she went to University of Pennsylvania to a doctor to get the hormonal stuff and then had the actual operation down at Johns Hopkins. That’s where they all seemed to go at that time.

Maxine&#039;s Bar Philadelphia, Street View

Maxine's Restaurant, Camac St., 1950. Photo: "Wasko" for Philadelphia Evening Bulletin. Urban Archives, Temple University.

MS: I want to change subjects if that’s all right and start talking about the gay bar scene in Philadelphia. And my first question is if you remember the first time you walked into a gay bar?

RD: Yes I do. And it was with a woman friend of mine. And I was a teenager, sixteen, seventeen, somewhere in that vicinity. And the bar was Maxine’s.

MS: And where was Maxine’s?

RD: Maxine’s is on Camac Street. It’s where Raffles is today. It’s the exact location.

MS: That’s between Walnut and Locust?

RD: No, it’s between Spruce and Locust.

MS: O.K., right.

RD: That was the street. The Venture Inn, but see back then the Venture Inn was a college bar. And the college students from Penn and whatever would go there. Then the Venture Inn became a mixed bar and then it went gay. The Venture Inn back then was not considered a gay bar.

MS: So when you say it was a college bar, it wasn’t a college gay bar.

RD: No, it was straight.

MS: But Maxine’s?

RD: And Maxine’s was on Camac Street, yes, where Raffles is today.

MS: And how did you end up going there?

RD: Well, it’s a funny story. My friend Rose, she liked to run around with gay people. Back then they used the term fag hag, which is a terrible name, but that’s what they used to call girls who hung out with gay guys. They’d call then fag hags or fruit flies. That was the expression, one or the other. So Rose was like a fag hag. She was a fag hag; she hung out with gay guys. And she discovered Maxine’s. I knew nothing about the gay bars. I had just started coming into town. I was doing the coffeehouses. I would sit around the Square and that kind of thing. I was not into bars, although I had probably had heard in conversation such and such a bar. But I didn’t know where it was. I didn’t have an interest to go to it. It wasn’t really where I was at that time. Rose, however, found Maxine’s. And I remember we had gone to see a film, I think it was the one with Joanne Woodward and Paul Newman. I want to say A Long Hot Summer, but I don’t know, it might have been something like that. And she said afterwards, “Let’s go for dinner. I know this great place.” So I said, “Fine.” We went down this little street. And I said, “Oh, this is a nice street.” And we went in this little bar. And they had a nice restaurant. One part was the bar and then there was a restaurant area. And I remember there was a lady, the hat check, and she had a big hat. And she was very loud. And she was making all these jokes and then there was a piano player that sat in the restaurant area. And we sat at tables with the tablecloths. And that was all very big for me. I was young. I’d been in restaurants like with my parents and whatever, but not anything like this. So this was like a special dress up kind of thing. And you wore a suit and a tie or a jacket and a tie when you went there. And we were sitting there and Rose said, “Do you see anything unusual?” And I said, “No.” And she said, “Oh, come on. Look around.” So I looked around and I said, “No, I don’t see anything unusual.” I said they had red flocked wall paper; I remember that.

MS: Red flocked?

RD: Red flocked wallpaper. You probably don’t even know what that is, do you?

MS: No.

RD: Well that was like a velvety kind of thing. It was all in a pattern and it had satin and it was gaudy. And they had crystal chandeliers and gold, something like that shit over there on my wall as a matter of fact, something from my past. Have to get rid of that. And so she said, “Look around.” And I said, “The only thing is that woman.” I said, “You and that woman are the only two women in here.” And she said, “Well what kind of bar do you think this is?” I said, “A bar where a lot of guys go.” And she said, “Oh, for crying out loud, you’re so stupid. We’re in a gay bar.” And I said, “We aren’t.” She said, “We are.” And I was very nervous. I started getting very unnerved and then I said, “Well they’ll never serve me. I don’t have age cards.” She said, “I’ll take care of everything.” And she did all the ordering.

MS: Was she older?

RD: No. No, she was about the same age I was. But she looked older. She wore her hair piled up and she was all dressed up. She looked kind of like Liz Taylor. And she was very mature and sophisticated. No one would have asked her for an age card. They probably would have been too intimidated to ask. She had an air of authority about her. So we sat there and we ate and then we talked to the piano player. The piano player talked to us. And then we watched the people and we stayed. And then she wanted to go into the bar area. So reluctantly I consented. I said, “Well, all right I’ll go.” But I was nervous. And we went over to the bar area and of course she started talking to people. And people were very friendly. And that was my first introduction into a gay bar. And I would say it was friendly. The people were friendly. People talked to us. The bartenders were friendly. It was a place where you apparently came together, as I later found out, to socialize. It wasn’t so much the cruising like it is today or had been for awhile where people just went in to do a pick up and leave and that kind of thing. I’m sure that went on, but that didn’t seem to be the primary focus of the gay bar at that particular time in the very early sixties. Maybe ’60, ’6, well no, it might have been late fifties. Late fifties, early sixties.

MS: So you started going there regularly?

RD: Then we started going back, yeah. And then I went with some of my friends and gradually over the next two years I started going to the bars more frequently.

MS: And what were some of the other bars?

RD: Well the other one Rose took me to was the Forrest. And that was located at the other end. That’s located where the Bike Stop is now. That was the Forrest, which I always thought was ironic, because the Forrest was a bar where a lot of drag queens went. And they served dinner. They all had to serve dinner. I guess that’s how they got their liquor license.

MS: For the tape, why don’t you say where the Bike Stop is now, because anyone listening isn’t going to know where that is necessarily?

RD: I’m not sure the name of that street. It’s a small street. It’s not Camac. It’s the next street, between 12th and 11th. I can’t remember. It’s between Walnut and Locust and it’s between 11th and 12th. There’s a small street that runs there. It’s right by the Forrest Theater and that’s how they got the name, the Forrest. That’s why they called it that, because the Forrest Theater doors opened out on to this small street. I guess that’s how they got the name the Forrest Bar. And they had big heart shaped booths. And it was like something that had been like probably from the forties. And you’d walk in. You’d see the drag queens sitting there with their big piles of hair teased out and lots of rhinestones. And then you’d see other gay people who were dressed in regular clothes. And now of course it’s the Bike Stop, which is a leather bar. And I always joked with my friends that it went from one type of drag to another. It seemed to keep its tradition.

MS: Did you find the atmosphere there to also be friendly?

RD: Yes, oh yes. People were friendly. They would talk to you. Yeah, everybody talked to one another. That was what it was. As soon as you walked in and sat down, then whoever was sitting there would say, “Oh hi, how are you, I’m so-and-so.” And you’d say, “Hi, I’m so-and-so.” And all of the sudden you all start talking. It was that kind of thing. It was very social. It wasn’t an attitude kind of thing, no. It wasn’t like that then, not that I recognized. I wasn’t aware of it, no, I wasn’t aware of that at all.

MS: So there was Maxine’s and the Forrest.

RD: Then there was the cruising bar. And that would of course have been the Allegro at Broad and Spruce. And the Allegro was considered the naughty bar. You went there to pick up people. And I didn’t go there for a long time because if you went there people would say, “Oh, I know what you’re going there for.” So I didn’t go there for a while. I would say that was the one I stayed away from. That was the last one I went to.

MS: Do you know who owned all the gay bars?

RD: The gay bars at that time were owned by heterosexuals. And I believe the Mafia controlled the bars at that time. I’m sure there was no other way they could have operated. They would have had to been Mafia controlled. In fact later on, back in the eighties, they had the investigation of the corruption in the police department. All that information came out about the gay bars, about that dance bar over on St. James Street. I forgot the name of it now.

MS: I think you mentioned it to me when we talked before about the first gay owner of a gay bar.

RD: Yes, that was Bill Earhart.

MS: How do you spell his last name?

RD: I don’t know. But Bill is not alive. He died. A woman and a man, a husband and wife, owned the Allegro. And the Allegro was the scene of a raid. And I believe that raid probably took place sometime in the very late fifties, maybe ’58, ’57, somewhere in that vicinity. And the story as I remember it back then, we’re going back a very long time, but the way I remember the story being told to me, I of course was not in the bar and I was not going to the bar at that time. This is before I went there. The owner of the bar knew there was going to be a raid, that the police were going to come in and raid the bar. So the wife told all the people who she liked to stay away, but she didn’t tell them why. She just said, “Don’t come on such-and-such, on Friday night, stay away.” And they didn’t know why, but they stayed away. Of course back then when they raided a gay bar, it was very different. They were very vindictive. They were out to get you. And of course they came in. I mean I was in when LCB came in, later on, years later, when LCB would come in and check you over, put the lights on and all that shit. I remember stuff like that happening. I was never arrested. They weren’t doing that then, but back in the late fifties, they were actually out to do that. And they had a raid and they went in and they arrested the patrons. And of course the rule was the first ones that went were the drags. Anybody in drag was the number one person they took. Then they took the effeminate men. The macho-ey guys were the last. They weren’t interested in that, because they wanted to stereotype. They wanted to show effeminate men, drag queens, because that’s what people saw homosexuals to be.

MS: Did they take the bartenders?

RD: Yes. My understanding was the bartenders were always taken in. In fact it’s very funny. There was this raid and after the raid was over, there was a movie I Want to Live with Susan Hayworth. And it was about a murderess and she went to the electric chair. And there’s a line in it where she says, “I want to live, I want to live!” And she’s screaming this. And there was this guy and he called himself Rita Hayworth, this drag queen. And he wore red hair. Of course he no more looked like Rita Hayworth. I mean Rita Hayworth was beautiful. This guy was not. And in the course of the raid, he jumped up on the bar and he said, “I’m Rita Hayworth. I want to live. I want to live!” And he started running around the bar. And of course he was handcuffed and thrown into the wagon very quickly. After the raid was over, the people who had stayed away were very angry because they realized why they had been told to stay away, that she had done them a favor. But there were people who were friends of theirs who were arrested. And it went into the Philadelphia Inquirer. They published at that time when they arrested people. They published your name, your address. They deliberately tried to ruin you. They wanted to ruin you from your job, have you fired, disgraced by your family, because everybody, ninety-nine percent at least, was in the closet. And they held the people overnight. They kept you in a cell. They held you on what they called a morals charge, which is ludicrous. I mean you were seen in a bar drinking a beer and it was a morals charge. They put a picture in the paper showing the men. People would cover their heads with coats and try to cover their faces so they wouldn’t be photographed as they were taken out in handcuffs. They were taken out in handcuffs as criminals and put in the patrol wagon to be taken to city hall and booked. The gays that I knew told me about this, because I was not there, but there were people who told me of this. They were very angry about it. And they complained. In fact, there was a group of people who said we will not go back to the Allegro. They used to call it the big A. That’s what it was referred to as, the Big A. And they didn’t go. They stopped going. It was their own way of protesting what had happened, what they had considered to be a dirty thing to do. And then the Allegro was sold. It was on the market. It was put on the market and sold. Bill Earhart bought it. And the Allegro had of course lost business and Bill Earhart brought it back.

MS: Do you remember when he bought it, when he became the owner?

RD: I would say it was in the sixties. And that’s when I really started going there; I would say that’s when I started going. And I remember the theme was “Happy Days Are Here Again.” And they had a band and they played “Happy Days Are Here Again” and they had big buttons that they gave out.

MS: You mean when they opened?

RD: Yeah, they had a real big opening. Everybody went to the Allegro for this big opening. And it was three floors. There were three bars: one on the first floor, one on the second floor, and one on the third floor.

MS: Dancing?

RD: No. Dancing was not allowed in the gay bars then. Two men could not dance together under LCB. That was forbidden. You could lose your license for that.

MS: Were any of the bars mixed lesbian and gay? Were there lesbians in any of these bars?

RD: To my knowledge, I would say no. I don’t remember any.

The Westbury - Bar Sign and Ad

Left: Sign of the Westbury Bar, The Gay Dealer (1970), cover. Right: Advertisement for the Westbury, c. 1950.

MS: O.K. And you mentioned you being in an LCB raid?

RD: Yes.

MS: Was that in the sixties?

RD: Yes. It was at the Allegro.

MS: Can you tell me about it?

RD: Well when they would come in, they had a signal. They had a bouncer, of course, at every bar. And the bouncer was there to check age cards but also to keep out any people who might come in to cause trouble. You know it’s really interesting. People, when they think of gay bars, don’t seem to realize that the gay bars really had practically no violence. When you think of straight bars, there’s fights, there’s people hitting each other with liquor bottles and they get drunk. Gay bars, you didn’t have that kind of thing. So actually there was really no crime or violence within the gay bars. And yet the bouncer was really there number one to check the age cards. And then they got those LCB things where you had those cards with the photograph, which I believe they still have today. And also to keep out people who might want to come in, like hustlers. Those kind of people. They were called neshenu back then, which is a word I don’t think most people would remember. The neshenu were the guys who would come in to cause trouble and beat up faggots and whatever. And they would screen and keep those people from coming in. Because they would just be in there to cause trouble. So when there was going to be a raid, if they got a tip, because sometimes they would get a tip. Someone would call and say, “They’re on. I’ve got a tip. They hit such-and-such a bar. They’re heading for the Allegro.” Or they arrived at the door. There was a buzzer and they would hit the buzzer. And that signaled. There was a light and the light would flash. And that was the signal that the police or the LCB were in the establishment. The first thing that happened was that the bartenders would lock the register. And then they would jump over the bar and mingle with the patrons, because the bartenders knew that they would be automatically arrested. Back then they didn’t have stereos like they do now; they had a jukebox. The jukebox was shut off and lights went on. And everybody had to line up along the wall. And then the police would walk down the aisles and they would start checking. Sometimes they would just pick out a couple of people who they thought looked young. I was checked for cards. Fortunately at that time, I did have cards and I was twenty-one. I was lucky. And then as soon as they checked the cards, they would say, “O.K., get out.” They were not pleasant. They did not smile. They did push people around. If anybody protested in any way or tried to question them about why are you doing this to me or something like that, then that person got pushed and they were arrested. They were handcuffed and they were considered a troublemaker and they would be arrested. You really had to keep your mouth shut and just do whatever they said. But you were lined up. Everyone had to line up along the wall. Or they would line you up and as you left the bar, they would check you then. And if they thought there was any discrepancy, they would say, “You, over there.” It was kind of like a concentration camp kind of thing. Those that were going to be questioned or interrogated or checked further were put on one side. Those who were going to be allowed to go would be allowed out. I was in at least two or three that I can remember.

MS: All at the Allegro?

RD: No. I was at one was at the old Westbury, which was at the Westbury Apartments at 15th and Spruce.

MS: And was that also in the sixties?

RD: Yes.

MS: And you said it happened another time as well. Was that at the Allegro or the Westbury?

RD: I believe that one was in one of the private clubs, like the PBL or one of those clubs there.

MS: Can you tell me about the private clubs?

RD: Well the private clubs started in the sixties. That’s when the dance craze hit. It started in New York. And then it came to Philadelphia and then they started opening what they called private clubs where you paid a fee and they gave you a membership card. And then you could come in there after the bars closed.

MS: What did PBL stand for? Do you know?

RD: I don’t know. It was a corporation. That was the initials for the corporation. Who knows what it stood for. Who knows? Who cared?

MS: Somebody told me the Pennsylvania Bowling League.

RD: It might have been something like that. It may have meant that or some queen made it up because it sounded like that’s what it should be. I don’t know. The only way you’d know is if you went back and looked at the corporation’s papers. But I understand it was a corporation. They had to do that to open it.

MS: So you were a member there?

RD: Oh yes. And there was also the one that was on Locust Street. The first one was the one on Locust Street across from what would be the Academy House.

MS: What was that one called? The USA&A?

RD: Yeah, USA&A. That was the first one we ever went to. And it was really funny because it was kind of like Prohibition. Because there was a little door, a little box in the door, and there was a bell. And you rang the bell and the guy would open the door and look out to see who was there. And then he’d close it and open the door and let you in. It was kind of like something forty, thirty years back. To think that that’s how you had to get in, but that’s how you got in. And then when you went in, there were two rooms: a back room and a front room. And there was a bar and there was dancing. You could dance there. And you could drink. Yeah, you could.

MS: And were these legal places?

RD: Well they were legal. We thought they were legal. I mean did they pay off? I was in a gay bar one time when it was close to closing, last call, and two police officers came in. One police officer talked to the manager. He was sitting on a stool. The manager signaled the bartender. The bartender took money out of the register and then stuffed it in an envelope, handed it to the manager. The manager handed it to the police officers and the two police officers walked out of the bar. Now you tell me, what was that?

MS: What bar?

RD: I don’t want to say. I’d rather not say what bar it was.

MS: Sure.

RD: But I did see that happen.

MS: And that was in the sixties?

RD: Yes, I would say it was about middle sixties. It was around the Janus Society time. So the bars did pay off.

MS: What was Clark’s favorite bar? Did he have a favorite one?

RD: Clark, I think, liked the Westbury. That’s where he seemed to go.

MS: Why do you think he liked that?

RD: It was a small bar. The Allegro was big. The Westbury was small and there were a regular group of people there. Now the Allegro is probably the oldest bar and now it’s at 12th and Spruce. It’s moved down there. And of course there was the Drury Lane on Drury Street.

MS: What kind of bar was that?

RD: Well that was a dress-up bar. That was like the pissy bar, where everybody wore suits and ties and got dressed up and they had a restaurant upstairs and you went there for dinner and then you mingled. And that was suit and tie, definitely suit and tie. You have to remember that back then gays did what straight people did. On Saturday night straight people got dressed up. Women wore their best, their dress up clothes, men wore suits and ties. You didn’t go into a restaurant on a Saturday night not dressed. All your hotels required suit and tie, jacket and tie. And in the gay bars, gays did the same thing. When they went into a restaurant, they did the same thing. They got dressed up as well. You see even though people are gay, they still mirror the straight society, which is where they live.

MS: Right, right. When do you think the bars started getting a little desegregated where there was more mixing between blacks and whites?

RD: Probably in the seventies.

MS: Do you remember it happening to any of the bars that you were going to?

RD: You know I feel uncomfortable discussing this because it sounds so racist and I don’t think of myself as a racist. It’s an awkward subject, but people would say things and stuff back then. I feel uncomfortable.

MS: O.K. Well other people have told me what some of the expressions that were used were.

RD: I’ll tell you this, but it’s embarrassing. I remember I went home with a black person who I met at the USA&A. But I didn’t tell any of my friends because they used to use the word dinge queen. If you went to bed with a black person, they would say you were a dinge queen. They would use expressions like that. And it was years and years and years before I ever told anyone that I did something with a black person. And then when I told one of my friends about it, my friend said, “Oh I’m so glad you told me because I did, too.” So you know people were doing it, but they didn’t want other people to know, because it was like a stigma. Isn’t that awful? That sounds so awful. I’m embarrassed to relate that. And that was probably back in the sixties, the late sixties. When bars started to get black, then the whites moved over to another bar. Kind of like the way, back then, when more blacks moved into a neighborhood, the whites moved out. Well that was the way it was with the bars as well.

MS: Do you remember that happening to any specific bars?

RD: It happened to the Allegro. And people moved to the Westbury.

MS: And when did that happen?

RD: One would go up and one would go down, that kind of thing. I think it was probably in the seventies sometime. And then of course the DCA opened. And that was a dance bar on St. James Street. That was the after-hours club. That was the disco. When disco came in, that was like late seventies, early eighties, that was disco time. And people were like wow, spotlights twirling. Everything was like Studio 54 in New York.

MS: And that was mixed black and white?

RD: Yes. By then, the DCA was more mixed. I would say yes it was.

MS: You mentioned a black bar on Broad Street?

RD: There was a black bar on Broad and Spruce, yes. Sarah Vaughan used to go there.

MS: Do you remember the name of it?

RD: No I don’t. But Jimmy Neff’s was there. I don’t know if you ever heard of that. I’m going to say hoagies, but it really wasn’t hoagies; it was the meatball sandwiches and stuff and pizzas and stuff. He sold steak sandwiches and stuff and people would hang out there. And that was a real gay hangout. That would have been on Broad Street right below Spruce, on the west side of the street. I don’t know what’s there now. I’d have to look. I don't know what's there.

MS: What were some of the other gay restaurants? You mentioned Dewey’s and Jimmy Neff’s and then there were a lot of restaurants in bars. But were there any other restaurants that a lot of gay people hung out in?

RD: No. Every gay bar had a restaurant. You had to serve food. I know that’s what they told me. That’s what I remember. If you didn’t serve food, you couldn’t have a liquor license. And gay bars were not open on Sunday back then. Sunday they were closed. So there were no gay bars open then at that time. Sunday was a day of rest. You didn’t go barring on Sunday.

MS: But then you said there was Dewey’s and Jimmy Neff’s. Any other places where you might go to dinner if you didn’t feel like going to the bars?

RD: Well there was New Hope. We would go up to New Hope. We would go up there. The Cartwheel, we would go up there. And then there were the trendy little restaurants up there, because New Hope was very mixed. So New Hope was an attraction.

MS: Did you ever go to the Lark Bar in Bridgeport?

RD: Yes. In Bridgeport, yes I did. Yeah. Now that was a mixed bar.

MS: Mixed?

RD: Yeah, that was mixed. That had lesbians and gays. Because it was the only gay bar in that area of Delaware County, I think it was Delaware or Montgomery. I don’t know, Norristown area. I’m not sure if that’s Montgomery or Delaware. Now that was a bar that I was very aware that it was mixed. And that was probably the only gay bar that I can remember going into at that time where there were lesbians and gays together and in fairly equal numbers.

MS: Did you ever hear about the club that they ran called the Ell Club?

RD: When was that?

MS: At the Lark Bar? Late fifties. You would have been very young.

RD: No. I was just in Philadelphia, in Center City. I wasn’t in the Lark.

Hopkinson House

Hopkinson House, Philadelphia. Photo John W. Cahill, Council on Tall Buildings and Urban Habitat.

MS: We’re going to switch now from the bar scene to people’s homes. And you were saying, I think, something very important about the way people lived their lives at home and how important that was to gay life in Philadelphia.

RD: It was another part. There were the bars and then there was our home life. I mean everything just didn’t revolve around the bars, which I think people seem to think. When they think of gay people, they think of bars, cruising, that kind of thing. And there was another whole aspect of our homes which were very important to us. Landlords tended to like to rent to gay people, strangely enough. And the reasons, of course, were that they were clean and they would fix the place up. They would paint it, they would wallpaper it, they would decorate it, and they would be great neighbors. So landlords didn’t mind having gay tenants for that reason.

MS: So you never had trouble with a landlord?

RD: No, I did not. That’s the truth, no. Spruce Street was the area.

MS: To live?

RD: We used to call that the street of broken hearts because everybody at one time or another lived on Spruce Street, fell in love, and had their heart broken.

MS: Both sides of Broad?

RD: Well it would have gone down to that end, too, yes. When I was living there we lived in the vicinity of 23rd, 22nd, 20th, 17th, 18th, 19th, down all through that area of Spruce Street: the brownstones, the walkups. And some of the buildings were very well kept. They were very large high ceilinged apartments with big fireplaces, hardwood, parquet floors. And they were just the thing that you could have fun with decorating and putting it together.

MS: Were there other gay neighborhoods in Philadelphia where a lot of gay people lived or lot of gay people socialized?

RD: Well Rittenhouse Square area was always known for that. And as apartment buildings like the Dorchester went up and then the Hopkinson House, they used to call that Pansy Palace, because when it was built, all the gays flocked to the new buildings, the ones that had the money. But we didn’t have the money; we couldn’t have lived in a place like that.

MS: Which place was called the Pansy House?

RD: The Hopkinson House. It was referred to as the Pansy Palace by the gays, because all the ones that had money ran there, rented an apartment. Now Society Hill area, there were places down there as well. I lived at one point at 6th and Waverly. I mean there were gays down in those areas, sure.

MS: Were there parts of the city that people thought of as off limits to gay people?

RD: Yeah. I would say the areas of the city would be the ethnic neighborhoods like Kensington. You wouldn’t have gone into what’s called Northern Liberties like you would now. Those areas, the Art Museum area, you wouldn’t have gone up there to seek that out as a place to live, no.

MS: South Philly?

RD: No.

MS: West Philly?

RD: No.

MS: What about Germantown and Mount Airy?

RD: Well I don’t know about those two areas. I don’t know that. There was no Graduate Hospital area back then. That was all a black neighborhood. That area down there now has become very gay, Kater Street and all that. That was all low income housing. Lombard Street wasn’t even developed then. Lombard Street was all black. It had not been redeveloped. Pine Street was the borderline. Then it started to expand. But getting back to what we were talking about, there was another aspect of gay life that was very different from the bars and Rittenhouse Square and all that kind of scene, where we lived lives, we went to work, we came home. We talked to our friends. We had people come over. We entertained. On Saturday night it was very traditional to meet at someone’s house before you went clubbing or barring or whatever. And you’d meet around nine o’clock and there’d be cocktails and whatever. Everybody would sit around and talk and socialize and then you’d decide where you were going to go. And maybe you’d go to New Hope for the evening. You’d drive up. Someone would have a car and you’d drive there for the evening or you’d go to the bars so-called downtown. All of the apartments that I went to and even my own apartment included were done. We did them. We got into what it was at that time. And they were done. And they were clever. Some of the apartment buildings weren’t so great, but you’d walk in and say, “My God, look at this apartment. It’s a knockout.”

MS: So these were very middle class people?

RD: Yes, they were very middle class. Well gay people basically are very middle class people. There wasn’t drugs and stuff back then. It was alcohol. You drank. That’s what you did. You had drinks and you drank. And then there were parties. Like Sunday night, bars weren’t open on Sunday night. So you’d have parties. You’d have cocktail parties. You’d go to brunch. Then there’d be a cocktail party afterwards. And you’d go to somebody’s house or apartment or whatever and there’d be a party. And there’d be themes. Someone would have what they’d call a white party where everybody came and they had to wear white. And then around Easter they’d have a hat party, where everybody had to wear a crazy hat. And you’d make these things up; it would be like a project.

MS: Did you ever have parties yourself at your apartments?

RD: Yes I did.

MS: How many people would come?

RD: Well I remember when I lived on Waverly Street, I had a party. I had a roommate. And I decided I wanted to have a housewarming party. So my roommate had said, "Well fine." He would go for that. I was still in school, so I didn’t have very much money. My roommate was working at the time and he made what I thought was a lot of money back then. It probably wasn’t, but it was much more certainly than what I had. I had what my family was giving me plus what I was earning part time. So we agreed that we would invite about twenty-five close friends. That was the agreement. But I got carried away and I mimeographed invitations and I wrote them on a duplicating thing and I mimeographed them at school. And I started giving them out in the bars as I saw people. I started saying, “Oh, we’re having a party. Here you come, you come.” And after a while it increased. We lived in a trinity house. It was two bedrooms, a kitchen and small dining room, and a living room. And all of a sudden these people started arriving. Well first the friends came and they brought gifts and everything was going fine. And then all of a sudden more and more people kept coming and coming and coming and coming. And my roommate finally said to me, “Who are these people?” And I said, “Well that’s so and so and so and so and so. Oh I met that person, I had to invite them. I had to invite.” He said, “My God! The house! All these people, they’re all over our house.” And after a while the street; the people were outside. So I had managed to have the party of the year. I did manage to do that. And everybody brought food and they brought liquor and stuff with them. And they crashed until about two o’clock in the morning. And we all had a great time. And I remember a girl named Iva. And it was the movie Breakfast at Tiffany’s, I guess, where she got the idea. It probably was before Breakfast at Tiffany’s because that came out later on. But Iva, I remember, came dressed in a sheet. She had a sheet and she had it all wrapped around her and she did her head in a turban. And there were wild people. I mean some of the people came, there were some drags, there was a little of this and a little of that. It was kind of like almost like a Breakfast at Tiffany’s kind of a thing.

MS: Were the parties mixed lesbian and gay?

RD: Yes there were women and men, yes.

MS: Did you go to parties at lesbians’ houses that you recall?

RD: Yes, I was friendly with lesbians at that time, yes. There were two lesbians. One was a nurse and I forget what the other one was. And they lived on Spruce Street and I was friendly with them. Yes, I did have lesbian friends, yes. And I was invited to their home and I likewise invited them to my home as well. And then of course I moved from the house to the apartment and there were parties there. And you’d have dinners. I’m not much of a cook, but people that were would have people over. You’d entertain. There was a sense of community. No, I retract that. There was a sense of family. Because you have to remember that back then you didn’t go to your family and say, “Hey mom and dad, I’m gay.” And they said, “Oh gee that’s great, I’ll go and join friends of gay parents and find out more about this and we’ll all live happily ever after.” It wasn’t like that. You didn’t do that. You just suddenly moved away and no one talked about why you moved away. No one talked about why you were not married. While your brothers and sisters were married, but you were not married. That was not discussed. It just wasn’t talked about. It was like everybody knew it but no one talked about it. That’s the way it was. So your friends were your family. Your friends became your brothers and sisters. They were the people who you formed close relationships with and they were very important. You’d help one another out. Rather than go to your family and ask them for money, you would go to your friends. You’d help one another out. If someone was having a hard time, we’d all chip in and throw some money in the hat so to speak and help them out with their rent. And then they, in turn, would help somebody else out when they got back on their feet. You looked out for one another. I call it sense of family. When I look back over those days, there were people that I was closer to than members of my own family in all truthfulness.

MS: Did you ever share any of your homes with a partner?

RD: Yes, I did have roommates.

MS: Were they your lovers?

RD: Well no. My roommate in the beginning was strictly a roommate.

MS: O.K. But did you ever share a home with someone who you were in a relationship with?

RD: Yes, twice.

MS: Would you talk about how things ran in the household? I assume both people were working in these situations? If a stranger walked in off the street into the homes that you had, once you moved away from your family, would they have been able to tell that this was the home of a gay person and what would they have seen that would make them think that?

RD: Well I think it would depend on the person. I think if it was somebody who was hip to Center City life, yeah, they’d walk in and say, “O.K. This is gay. This is very gay. This is done.” But if it was somebody from Kensington, who knows what they would have known? I mean they’re not very sophisticated people.

MS: What would they have seen? The people in the “in crowd,” what would they have seen?

RD: Oh they would have seen a place done. It was done. When we would move, we used to use the expression. In fact I still use it on occasion, the few friends I have that are not dead yet. We’d go and we’d look and we’d say, “This apartment’s going to be great. It has this and it has that. It has a fireplace. Alright now I’m going to paint it. I’m going to wallpaper the bathroom, the kitchen. I’m going to do these things. I’m really going to fag it up.” That was the expression we would use. “I’m going to fag it up.” And that meant you were going to do it to the hilt. And you had draperies. I remember one apartment I did in blues. This is so embarrassing. It sounds so awful, but I went to Wanamaker’s, which sold fabric. And I went and I bought this fabric. The fabric was so expensive. But I just charged it. I didn’t care. I just spent it. We didn’t care about things like money. We just went out and we spent it and when we didn’t have any more left, we’d say, “Well, we’ll have to wait until we get more.” Or we would figure out some way to postpone the rent for another month or whatever. We wanted to party. We wanted to have fun. That’s why I guess they called us gay. I guess that’s where the word gay came from. I had one apartment I did in blues. And I had a friend and we made valences. And we had these blue flowered valences that went across the windows and these blue drapes that were all lined that hung down. They were very tall windows. And then we wallpapered one wall. And oh gosh, I can’t remember. It was so long ago. I think I did it in sort of a country French or something. That was kind of the motif at that time. I went to Freeman’s Auction. And back then that was one of the popular places to go. And you could really get a bargain. Nowadays Freeman’s is not really a bargain place. And it was best to go on the rainy days. A rainy days at Freeman’s, you could walk off for two dollars and get a great chair or a nice table. So I knew what I was looking for. And I furnished the apartment with a French breakfront. And I had these country French dining room chairs. And the apartment was very nice. But I knew how to put the things together with the accessories. And my friends would help out and it was like a project to do this apartment just the way you wanted it done. And people would come in and say, “Oh I have just the thing for that table.” And then they’d go and next time they came back to visit they’d give you the centerpiece for the table. But that apartment was done. That was a small apartment. That was a small one bedroom. But it did have a dining area. And I remember I bought a country French buffet. It had legs on it and the drawers came out and then it had an open hutch top. And I had four chairs and a round table that went with it and the chairs had straw seats and they had high ladder back rungs. And my friends gave me a housewarming and they bought me the dishes, the blue flowered dishes that would go in the breakfront.

MS: How nice. Did you do the decorating in each of the apartments by yourself or did you have roommates who chipped in?

RD: I had friends' help, but basically we did most of the work ourselves. But sometimes you’d have to have someone come in and help you move things and whatever or sew or whatever and things of that sort.

MS: And were you mostly living by yourself or did you have roommates during these years?

RD: I was mostly living by myself, but when I lived on Fitler Square I had a roommate. The other places I lived by myself. But then there were times that people lived there for a while and then left.

MS: What about your friends? Did most of your friends live by themselves or did they share their homes with other people?

RD: It depended. If they had a house, they had a roommate. If they had a large apartment, they may have a roommate. If they had a smaller apartment, they lived by themselves. There were financial limitations. If you wanted a gigantic apartment, you had to have the salary to support it. There were some people that did, but most of us, there were other things we wanted to do. We wanted to have a nice apartment, but we wanted to travel. We wanted to have nice clothes. We wanted to go to restaurants. We wanted to go out and do things. And that cost money. So you couldn’t tie up all your money in just where you lived. Now I know that one friend of mine lived in a house. It was a three bedroom house and there were three guys. And they all lived there. And they chipped in. They each had their own bedroom, but they shared the common rooms downstairs. And they had a beautiful home. That house was done to the nines. And I went to a number of parties there. They were very social and it was a nice sized living area downstairs. And they had a garden in the back, and it was all landscaped and they had done a lot. But they combined their resources. One person could not have done that or afforded that. So there were financial limitations, yes.

MS: Maybe in the last few minutes of the tape, I should just ask you if there are really important things about gay life in the fifties and sixties and early seventies that we haven’t talked about.

RD: I was thinking about that when I was thinking about when you were coming. I was thinking about how I’d said to myself when I was talking to you earlier before you put in the tape and I had said how things had changed. How different things were today than they were before. But you know what? In actuality in some ways things haven’t changed at all in all truthfulness. There are still certain areas, a lot of areas that are still very much the same. There’s still the hatred. There’s still the paranoia. There’s still the fear. There’s still that wall that people put up. I know this with domestic partners, with the churches, always the morality. And that hasn’t changed at all. There’s still that sense of that word pervert, which is so ludicrous, that’s still used. In some ways, things haven’t changed at all. And in other ways they have. So there’s a long ways to go. And they’re calling this the gay nineties. I think it’s going to take a long time. I think it’s going to take a very long time. And it may not happen in my lifetime. It may not happen at all where you will see laws and acceptance. This thing: gay rights. What is gay rights? People are asking for equal rights. They’re not asking in the military to be treated special. They’re simply asking to be allowed to be who they are. That’s all they’re asking for. And I think that’s all any of us ever asked for. I think that’s all that Clark ever really wanted. He just wanted people to be able to be who they are. You may not like the person. People don’t have to like our lifestyle. They don’t have to say, “Hey, you know, that’s the way I would live.” But hey, there are things about their lifestyle I wouldn’t want to live either, O.K.? So there are people that I don’t like their lifestyle either but I still accept them. And so that’s the way it should be for heterosexuals. They should be able to say, “Well, this person’s gay, but you know what? I’m not, they are, and that’s O.K. What they do is their business. What I do is my business.” But there shouldn’t be that hatred. There shouldn’t be that persecution. There shouldn’t be that vendetta. Get them gay bashed. And then what can I do to call them names, the name calling and all that. That kind of stuff really has to stop, that kind of abuse. You can’t have that anymore. That’s got to stop. And I see the movement of people, younger people, saying that today. So some things have changed, yes. There’s the invisible society. There’s more visibility. When I was growing up, we were totally invisible, as much as possible. If you weren’t invisible, you didn’t survive. Nowadays there’s more visibility. I was coming home and I was driving up Spruce Street and I saw two guys and it was just something. They were walking together and they were holding hands. And they were talking. When I looked at it, I didn’t feel shocked. There was nothing about it. They just looked so at ease and so content. And there’d be people who would say, “Oh, isn’t that disgusting, disgraceful, look at that!” But it really isn’t when you think about it. I mean all they were doing was just holding hands. Yet there are people who will say, “They’re perverts.” How are you a pervert? You’re holding hands with another guy. I saw that and I smiled and I said, "That looks really nice." And that’s the way I thought of it. People should be allowed to be that way. A man and woman hold hands, nobody says anything, don’t call them names. It’s got to stop. People have to be allowed to be way they are. And it’s got to be considered O.K.

MS: Well I want to thank you for sharing all this with me.

RD: You’re welcome.