From The Archives: The Groovy Guy, '69

Set the Wayback Machine for 1969, Sherman, and we will take a trip to The Advocate's first few years as a Los Angeles newspaper.

BY Christopher Harrity

March 13 2014 5:00 AM ET

In the early days of this publication, the editors ran an annual Groovy Guy contest calling on the men of Los Angeles County to pageant up. Forty-five years ago, our second contest in 1969 was the first time The Advocate chose to donate the proceeds to the Metropolitan Community Church. Advocate editor Dick Michaels said at the time, "I am impressed with the rapid growth of the Metropolitan Community Church, and what Troy Perry has accomplished in such a short time…" The church, incidentally, was reportedly started with an ad in The Advocate.

The pages of the June 1969 issue announced that the search was on, and that as The Advocate went to press, "letters are going out to the bars, restaurants, baths, and organizations inviting them to enter a contestant in the contest."

This paragraph from the original article tells us: "Groovy Guy Chairman Joe Conwell predicts the event this year will be the high point of L.A.'s gay social season. 'With all the nice stuff running around this town,' he drooled, 'there shouldn't be any trouble getting a batch of beautiful bodies on that stage for the finals.'"

The event was notable in that it included a dance as well, where same-sex partners would be allowed to dance together — something that was illegal in bars and nightclubs at the time.

While being a fun time capsule, helping some of us imagine what we'd be wearing in the late '60s, the pages of the contest are also reminders of the tumultuous era: headlines of murders, regular abuse from the Los Angeles Police Department, and a syphilis vaccine all color the columns around our Groovy Guys.

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