Kenneth Marlowe was one of the gayest and most openly homosexual of personalities of the 1960’s. He went from a 1940’s/1950’s drag performer, to being a madam, to being the author of several books, to becoming a transsexual. In 1964 he published his famous autobiography
“Mr. Madam: Confessions of a Male Madam,” to much attention and several printings. Here is the original book cover, and a later edition.
I have quite a bit of information on Marlowe on a page of my website, here:
But this blog entry is focused on two cartoon books he published, “The Gay World” and “The Delicate World…of Kenneth Marlowe,” both in 1966. The must have been privately printed, as they do not contain any Library of Congress number of information. Here’s the cover of the second volume.
This is a rare opportunity to see what passed as “gay humor” as the time. None of this these days would get an LOL, but it’s still a sign of those times. Also of note is the never shy Marlowe used himself as a character in quite of few of his own cartoons. A few examples:
And, if that’s not enough for you, I’ve scanned every cartoon in both books:
Here’s some more delicious trivia.
In July 2010 a thread on Facebook touched on Kenneth Marlowe, and Armistead Maupin added this fascinating comment:”I met Kenneth Marlow in 1972 when he was in the process of becoming Kate Marlowe. He threw a fundraising Big Band dance at which Sally Rand (then 70) performed her famous Fan Dance under a VERY DIM blue bulb. He called the evening “The Ball to End All Balls.” When I interviewed her later (Kate) she told me she’d grown up in a whorehouse in Winnemucca, Nevada. I’m not at all sure if that was true but it was a fascinating detail, so I appropriated it for Anna Madrigal in “Tales of the City”