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Scotty And The Secret History Of Hollywood

by Roger Walker-Dack
EDGE Media Network Contributor
Friday Jul 27, 2018
'Scotty And The Secret History Of Hollywood'
'Scotty And The Secret History Of Hollywood'  

Scotty Bowers is a rascally man of 94 years. He can still remember the old days, when he was the procurer that used to feed Hollywood stars' insatiable appetite for all sorts of forbidden sex. However, most of the people he names in his mind-boggling stories are now long dead, which leaves us to try and decipher what actually is the truth.

For the new documentary "Scotty And The Secret History Of Hollywood," filmmaker Matt Tyrnauer ("Valentino: The Last Emperor") takes Bowers' own memoir, "Full Service: My Adventures in Hollywood and the Secret Sex Lives of the Stars" as his source, and proves so proficient at presenting it without sensationalism that the story, as it turns out, is quite engaging.

After WW2, Bowers - a handsome and decorated ex-Marine - left the Midwest for a new life in Hollywood. He got a job pumping gas at 5777 Hollywood Boulevard; during his first week at the station, Walter Pidgeon drove in to have his tank filled and, at the same time, invited Bowers back to "take a dip in my pool." He didn't have to ask Bowers twice; the young man jumped into Pidgeon's car and never looked back.

Well, he kept his job at the gas station, but as word got around Hollywood of the "extra services" he provided there was such a stream of stars and celebrities driving in that he started recruiting other young servicemen (and women) to fulfill the demand.

Bowers recounts that every "service" cost $20 and, although he was known as a pimp, he claims that he never took a cut of that - a claim that is backed up by some of the guys who are still living. The $20 fees added up, and Bowers soon bought a whole house for cash.

Bowers quickly became known for fulfilling any desire, male or female, solo or group, that his customers might request. He name-drops a mind-boggling list of celebrities who he said he serviced either singly or as part of a threesome, including Tyrone Power, Cary Grant, Randolph Scott, the Duke and Duchess of Windsor, Spencer Tracy, and Katherine Hepburn. Cole Porter once asked Bowers for 15 boys at one time, and he also had to regularly staff director George Cukor's infamous male-only Sunday pool parties. 

Bowers claims he personally preferred servicing women (one claim was that he had a threesome with Lana Turner and Ava Gardner), but even so he was more than happy to turn tricks with men. In his private life he had a commonlaw wife for decades, and he has been with Lois, his current wife (who has refused to read his memoir), for 35 years.

The advent of AIDS in the 1980s brought an end to casual tricking and, with it,  Bowers' lucrative business. Nowadays he potters around the two houses he owns, properties so overstuffed they make him an instant candidate for the reality show "Hoarders." He is still clinging to his past with a round of book signings and meeting up with a few old pals who trip over themselves with fawning assertions about what a wonderful man he was. And they are probably right.

Bowers is difficult to accurately define. Stephen Fry describes him sexually as "pre-gay," and when Bowers is asked about it at one point he responds, "I'm everything." He is undeniably a charmer who has led a fascinating life, even though some of what he says must be taken with a large pinch of salt (like the claim that stars never paid him for sex and he made his money from bartending). Tyrnauer's affectionate profile is a must-see film.

Scotty And The Secret History Of Hollywood

A deliciously scandalous story of Scotty Bowers, a handsome ex-Marine who landed in Hollywood after the Second World War and became confidante, aide de camp and lover to many of Hollywood's greatest stars. In the 1940s and '50s, he ran a gas station where he would connect his military friends with those in the closet. An unsung Hollywood legend, Bowers would cater to the sexual appetites of celebrities, straight and gay, for decades. This cinema-vérité documentary tells his story, as well as an alternate pre-Stonewall history of Hollywood.

Info

Runtime :: 98 mins
Release Date :: Jan 01, 2017
Country :: USA

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Roger Walker-Dack, a passionate cinephile, is a freelance writer, critic and broadcaster and the author/editor of three blogs. He divides his time between Miami Beach and Provincetown.


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