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Book: FULL SERVICE – by Scotty Bowers with Lionel Fredericks

| 20 June 2013 | Reply

Publisher: Grove Press
Reviewed by Shane Pinnegar

Full Service by Scotty Bowers - Book

“Although I am not a shy man,” writes Scotty Bowers in the preface to Full Service, “I have always been reticent to reveal details about what I have done.” That reticence is well and truly in the past, and he makes up for it by spilling the beans on a lurid Hollywood of the 40’s and 50’s, a place full of manly matinee idols who behind closed doors indulged in gender-bending promiscuity, and leading ladies who seemingly desired nothing more than a leading lady of their own some nights.

Bowers paints himself as an affable guy, a good looking ex-marine from a country town who took a job at a Hollywood gas station and accidentally became the go-to guy for every Hollywood star looking for some strange – and as strange as they came, nothing was too much of an impediment for Bowers to arrange.

Cary Grant, Cole Porter, Noël Coward, Errol Flynn, Charles Laughton, Katharine Hepburn, Spencer Tracy, Mae West, Laurence Olivier, Vincent Price and even the infamous Edward & Mrs Wallis Simpson are revealed to have sexual proclivities which even now might shock, and Bowers insists he arranged boys and or girls for them all, often performing the ‘tricks’ himself for an affectionate tip.

Several things remain troubling about the book: Bowers’ desperate need to be liked by the stars he allegedly serviced – people he was employed to bartend for and perhaps organised a hooker or rentboy for are cast as confidantes and friends instantly. A psychiatrist might be able to tie this in better than I to his ongoing childhood molestation by a neighbourhood friend’s father, and some desire for approval from a father figure which wasn’t present in his own family life.

Another sticking point is that Bowers – now in his late 80’s – insists he never profited from decades of being (if his story is to be believed hook, line & sinker) the go-to pimp for any Hollywood star who was anybody. He boasts about the phone running hot every day at work and at home, and carrying a black book with the names of dozens of attractive young boys & girls ‘on call’, yet he never charged a fee? What exactly is the statute of limitations for prostitution rackets in the United States, I wonder…? And then there is the term ‘trick’ itself, which he uses incessantly to describe the liaisons he both organises and participates in – its very definition is “a sexual act performed by a prostitute”.

What gets the reader to the end of the book is – ironically – a perverted voyeurism. We want the next sensational revelation just slightly more than we are repelled by the author’s sad need to have experienced it then and divulge it now.

And in that respect, it’s a worthy read – though don’t expect to watch a film from Hollywood’s Golden Age in the same way ever again!


Category: Book Reviews

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