Contact Staffing & Other Info

 

Interesting comment above on the Nuntius, which did
indeed have a hiatus from early 1974 through 1975.
I have not seen any Nuntius copies for this period to verify.

      

Upper right, in a 2016 interview McClurg identified Watkins as his boyfriend

  

  

The above is obviously referring to The Advocate, which ironically bought Contact a few months later

    

That's four different Editors in only 17 issues:
Carl Lancer, Alan Sawyer, Howard Erickson and Bill Belvando

Story of the End of Contact
by Henry McClurg

Henry, Can I ask a question about Contact? When did
you sell it to The Advocate, was it while Contact was still in
publication, or when you sold it did you then stop
Contact? And I guess part of the deal was to work for
them for a year, did you, and what did you do for
them? thanks......

Okay, JD, here's the info. Pardon me, but I can be
verbose. That's what they tell me in the bars.
My first publication, Contact, in your archives, was
March 1974. I sometimes forget. I had to look it up.
I was still working as evening newscaster at KULF
radio, 790, at the time, and had a 3 week vacation
(mandatory, Southern Broadcasting was a great company
except for the fact that I think Jesse Helms was a
stockholder), so I used that 3 weeks to produce that
first issue in my apartment on Emerson (since torn down).

I had discovered that Forward Times was doing
the printing for the Nuntius, so I approached Mrs.
Carter, publisher, and she said ``By all means,
honey. We'll print your newspaper. We are minorities
here, just like you, and whatever we can do, we'll do
it.'' Mrs. Carter died about 3 years ago. I wrote
about her on my website. Her and her top assistant,
Ernest Norris, were great behind-the-scenes
supporters of the gay rights movement in the 70's.
(Gary Van Ooteghem's Upfront, years later, was also
printed there.)

It was early October 1975. I had put out 16 issues of
Contact and had the 17th one ready to go to the
printer. But before I sent it, as I was exhausted, I
picked up the phone and called The Advocate in San
Mateo, Calif. I identified myself and asked to speak
with David Goodstein. He answered. He, of course,
knew who I was as I was whuppin' his ass in our part
of the country. I just bluntly asked him if he would
like to buy Contact.

He said, "Hell, yeah. Right now? I can be in Houston Friday."
He arrived, My boyfriend Larry Watkins and I took him
out that night to a Mexican restaurant, where we
discussed terms. Everything was settled. I was to get
$7 for each of the names on my subscription list (we
had 3000 paid subscribers). And I was guaranteed
employment for one year at The Advocate, working out
of Houston, where I was to handle advertising sales
and newsstand sales throughout the South.

We went to Wayne Schrebe's townhome somewhere near
Shepherd Drive (Wayne, a Club Baths major stockholder
and right hand man to Jack Campbell) and signed papers
with Wayne as a witness.

I had inside information that David didn't know I had.
A mafia group out of Atlanta owned all the adult
bookstores in the South. 100's of them. And I knew
that, for some reason, they refused to do business
with David. But they liked me and I had Contact on
the shelves in all of their stores. So I knew David
wanted me badly to try and restablish that
distribution throughout the South for The Advocate.
And I did.

He also wanted to establish a stronger relationship
with the Club Baths people, a relationship that I
had. We were getting more and bigger ads from them
than he was. And they were, at that time, the largest
gay-owned for gay people business in America.

I sent that 17th issue to Forward Times for printing.
Then we added a flyer inside the 3000 individual
subscribers telling that they would be receiving The
Advocate every two weeks from now on instead of
Contact, to fulfill their subscriptions. And I
thanked them for their support.

At the time, Contact was one of three gay
publications in the U.S. with reasonable
distribution. The Advocate from California, "Gay" from
New York City, and my Contact. (GCN from Boston, an
excellent publication, had actually a very small
circulation.)

The actor that played David in the movie Milk looked
just like him. Except David Goodstein was a very
short guy. The actor was tall. I wish I had met
Harvey but I never did but I did get a letter from
him once. I now forget what it was about. It was just
after he had been elected, and it was probably
something about the national gay rights movement.

Henry McClurg, Oct. 17, 2016

More background of the ending of Contact comes from the footnotes of
"Rebels, Rubyfruit & Rhinestones" by James Sears


Source: Tyler and Brad's Index to Early Gay Publications

Descriptions of issues of Contact not in digital collection