Apr 06, 2009 | By: Ken Furtado
Before the VCR, one looked to books and magazines for porn. If you lived in a big city, you could find it in theaters, too. But for most of us, it was pulp fiction writers, illustrators and photographers who provided our fantasy fodder.
In the illustrator category, my all-time favorite is Harry Bush. Bush's boys are built like the proverbial brick shithouse. The bulges are in all the right places, and they are solid. And if it's true that a man's body has 127 different places that are convex enough to hold champagne, the Bush body can hold twice as many. What makes Bush's boys even hotter is their in-your-face qualities. They want sex, sex, sex … all the time and in every way possible .. and they aren't abashed to broadcast it.
So when I saw Cody Foster for the first time, he took my breath away. He was a Harry Bush boy come to throbbing life. It was in the early 1990s — well into the age of the VCR — and the film was Catalina's Malibu Pool Boys. Cody was unbelievable, mullet haircut and all. A dark tan, crisp tan line, blond curls, big muscles, eyes the color of the ocean … he was the perfect Southern California beach boy.
Born Shawn L. Sumner on Oct. 9, 1970, Foster was 5-foot-8 and weighed 180 pounds. He was discovered by Scott Masters, a producer and director at Catalina. Foster was referred to Masters by a stud finder in Denver, and Masters offered him an exclusive four film contract on the spot. Malibu Pool Boys was Cody's first film. In it, he plays the owner of a pool cleaning service who fucks the clients while his employees clean the pools, and who has to contend with an upstart company that's determined to steal his customers.
The film made Foster an overnight star.
According to Masters, one of three of Foster's directors I interviewed for this article, Cody had just gotten out of jail for some petty crime. He had an angry side and he resisted the idea that he was gay. Masters referred to Foster as "anal erotic," meaning he liked to get fucked, but that realization only exacerbated the internal conflict over his sexual identity.
Masters says, "In our culture we don't have room for any sexual spread. Getting fucked is an act, not an identity." But for Cody it was an ongoing source of conflict.
Foster was also a kick boxer, and a good one, but he couldn't get his life together enough to make that work for him. He was also a hustler, who advertised himself as being submissive. Masters says he was more street smart than bright, but he was amiable and willing — as long as he didn't have to learn too many lines. After about six months at Catalina, however, he figured there was more money to be made elsewhere.
Chi Chi LaRue met Cody Foster at Catalina and art directed his photo shoots. LaRue says, "I remember him being a very strikingly gorgeous, almost unreal person when I met him. His body was so amazing that it looked like it was made of plastic ... not in a bad way, but almost like someone had manufactured him. That curly surfer blond hair and the face of a corn-fed farm boy. He was a very nice guy and he was a little hard edged, but he was always a good performer and I was lucky enough to direct him and we got along really well."
Cody worked for about four years. He made a brief "comeback" in 2000, appearing in a couple of extreme bondage films for Grapik Arts. Then he made a second comeback in 2003, appearing in his final films, Goldenrod (Studio 2000) and Open House.
Open House was the first release of the new production company Massive Studio, headed by John Bruno. Bruno is currently the principal house director for Falcon Studios, and as Cody's final director, I asked him what it was like to work with Cody on the set.
Bruno says, "I feel weird saying anything about Cody since he was so fucked up on the set. He was a total mess. It was a very, very sad situation. I never knew him before I directed him in Open House."
Cody's legacy shines, regardless of what happened in his personal life. When I think of him, I think of the Judy Collins song, "Hard Lovin' Loser," in which she extols the bedroom virtues of a guy who can't quite get it together outside of sex. And I say that with great fondness and admiration for Foster.
Cody died on Jan. 7, 2007. The cause of death was reported as liver cancer. There are two images of him emblazoned in my memory. The first is the hunk on the cover of Malibu Pool Boys. The other is a stark contrast, from the intro to Falcon's Basic Plumbing:
The music is definitely moody — reminiscent of the theme music from The Omen. Close-up of a drill press machine, its gleaming metal bit spinning, reflecting what little light there is. A massive forearm grasps the handle. The whirling drill is lowered until it bites metal, sending corkscrew silver shavings in all directions. They bounce off the visor of the workman. His broad shoulders, huge biceps, and jutting pecs are grimy with soot and slick with sweat. He turns to the grindstone, polishes the burrs off the piece he has just drilled. His lats and traps stand out in sharp relief as he presses metal to stone.
I would like to thank John Bruno, Scott Masters and Chi Chi LaRue for their contributions to this story, and I would like to thank Channel 1 Releasing for providing the images of Cody Foster and a couple of his early films.
Malibu Pool Boy, Catalina, 1992
Reunion, Catalina, 1992
Bi-ology, Catalina, 1992
Basic Plumbing, Falcon, 1993
The Bigger the Better 2, HIS Video, 1993
Workin' Stiff, Falcon, 1994
Grease Guns, Studio 2000, 1994
Whitefire, All Worlds Video, 1995
Hard as Marble, All Worlds Video, 1995
Tradewinds, Huge, 1996
Back to Basics, Grapik Arts, 2000
Goldenrod, Studio 2000, 2003
Open House, Massive Studio, 2003