Athletic Model Guild
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|Founded||Los Angeles (1945)|
|Headquarters||El Cerrito, California, USA|
|Products||Photography, Films and Publications|
The Athletic Model Guild, or AMG, was founded by Bob Mizer in December 1945. During those post-war years, United States censorship laws allowed women, but not men, to appear in various states of undress in what were referred to as “art photographs". Mizer began his business by taking pictures of men that he knew. His subjects would often pose for pictures which illustrated fitness tips and the like, but were also viewed as homoerotic material.
Mizer did appear in court to face several charges over the years, including obscenity, drug use, and prostitution. Allegedly, Mizer's AMG models would sometimes earn extra money “renting” themselves out as "gay for pay' hustlers, but Mizer argued vigorously that it was not his business what they did on their own time. Despite some legal setbacks, AMG survived its many trials.
The AMG material (sold in the form of photographic prints, magazines, and short films) slowly evolved over time, from altered images where the male genitalia were "painted" over, to photographic prints where the models wore extremely skimpy posing straps, and then finally (as the changing laws allowed) to full nudity. He used his quarterly magazine, Physique Pictorial which featured other artists such as Tom of Finland, as means of advertising his material.
Several bodybuilders and actors of the day got their start posing for Mizer and his friends at AMG. It is estimated that he shot over 10,000 men throughout the course of his career. Andy Warhol's protégé Joe Dallesandro was one of the many AMG models that even those not acquainted with Athletic Model Guild might be familiar with. Others included Ed Fury and Glenn Corbett of 77 Sunset Strip, and Susan Hayward and Alan Ladd. Bodybuilder and former Governor of California, Arnold Schwarzenegger posed for AMG under Mizer in 1975.
The 1998 movie Beefcake, directed by Thom Fitzgerald, combines documentary footage with fictionalized dramatizations in an attempt to tell the story of Mizer and AMG.
After Bob Mizer's death in May 1992, Wayne Stanley, a friend and legal advisor, tended to his archives. In 2004 the company and its archives were sold to physique photographer Dennis Bell.
Under Dennis Bell's reins, Athletic Model Guild continues to operate. The legacy material from Bob Mizer's archives that was once feared lost to time is being organized and digitally remastered. This new material is branded under AMG Film Classica. New DVD releases contain full-length films, as well as never-before-seen film clips and behind the scenes footage as extras. Along with its primary mission of preserving the history and legacy of Bob Mizer and AMG, the company continues to produce new original movies that keep the AMG spirit alive in the present. In his own style, Bell launched the highly acclaimed brand AMG Brasil, a new line of films shot on location in Brazil, that feature the same youthful models and "joyful spirit" of life that Mizer once loved.
- 1943 – Bob Mizer stands in as a nude model for lighting tests for Fred Kovert of Hollywood
- 1945 – Bob Mizer opens AMG Studios in Los Angeles
- 1946 – Forrester Millard becomes AMG's first cataloged model
- 1947 – Bob Mizer spends 1 year at Saugus Prison Farm for distributing images of male frontal nudity through the US Postal Service
- 1951 – First issue of Physique Photo News (the precursor to Physique Pictorial) is published in May
- 1951 – Physique Photo News is renamed Physique Pictorial in November
- 1952 – Bob Mizer travels to Europe and photographs models
- 1957 – 1000 Model Directory, a catalog of all former AMG models, is released
- 1963 – AMG publishes Young Adonis magazine
- 1966 – Grecian Guild Studio Quarterly releases catalog of AMG models
- 1967 – Mizer discovers Joe Dallesandro, of Andy Warhol fame, and shoots him fully nude in the AMG studio
- 1968 – Obscenity laws are revised to allow male frontal nudity
- 1973 – Inside AMG, a documentary about the studio, is shot at the AMG compound
- 1975 – Future Governor of California, Arnold Schwarzenneger, poses for Mizer.
- 1980 – Upon the suggestion of Old Reliable's David Hurles, Mizer begins experimenting with new video technology
- 1982 – Gay Sunshine Press publishes Physique: A Pictorial History of Athletic Model Guild
- 1987 – French publisher releases Athletic Model Guild: 160 Garçons Americans by Ralf Marsault
- 1990 – Campfire Films produces the first of five documentaries about the studio, entitled Fantasy Factory
- 1992 – Bob Mizer dies from cardiac arrest in a Los Angeles hospital
- 1992 – Bob's brother Joe, sole heir to the AMG estate, dies and the collection is passed on to Mizer's friend, Wayne Stanley
- 1994 – Stanley closes the doors of the LA compound and moves AMG to Northern California
- 1997 – Taschen publishing releases The Complete Physique Pictorial, a three volume reprint of the magazine from 1951 to 1990
- 2004 – Former Falcon Studio photographer, Dennis Bell, purchases the AMG estate
- 2004 – AMG releases the first production from AMG in 12 years, Best Size 35
- 2005 – Bell releases first full-length hardcore AMG feature, AMG Resurrection, starring Jason Adonis
- 2006 – AMG launches AMG Brasil, a premium brand of hardcore shot entirely on location in Brazil.
- 2009 – TASCHEN Books releases Bob's World: The Life and Boys of AMG's Bob Mizer, edited by Dian Hanson
- 2010 – AMG establishes the Bob Mizer Foundation, dedicated to the preservation and education of gay physique photography
After Mizer's death
AMG Brasil videography
- Deluge (2006)
- Suruba: Primal Urge (2006)
- Gêmeos (2006)
- Suruba: Bronze (2006)
- Fazenda (2006)
- Suruba: Tropicus (2006)
- Suruba: Pecado (2006)
- Paraíso (2007)
- Carioca: Sarado (2007)
- Suruba: Piroca (2007)
- Amazônia: Capture (2007)
- Amazônia: Release (2007)
- Suruba: Agua (2008)
- Carnaval (2008)
- Suruba: Azul (2008)
- RIO (2008)
- Duro (2009)
AMG Classics videography
- Best Size #35 (2005)
- Anal Erotic (A&E) 19 & 20 (2005)
- Wrestling Live 1&2 (2-Disc DVD) (2005)
- Wrestling Live 3&4 (2-Disc DVD) (2005)
- Story Film Classics: Unstrapped (2005)
- Story Film Classics: The Wild Ones (2006)
- Story Film Classics: Hardcore Film Classics: Vito & The Love Bandit (2006)
- Nude Posing Film Classics: Caliente! (2006)
- Nude Wrestling Film Classics: SmackDown (2007)
- Story Film Classics: Slave Market (2007)
- Theatre Film Classics: Why The Wooden Indian Wouldn't (2007)
- Theatre Film Classics: Billy Boy (2007)
- Hardcore Film Classics: Cowboy Virgin (2008)
- Theatre Film Classics: Brawn Over Brains (2008)
- Theatre Film Classics: Bike Shop Trade (2008)
- Theatre Film Classics: Teacher's Pests (2008)
- Wrestling Live: 23 (2008)
- Wrestling Live: 25 (2008)
- The Complete Jim Paris (2009)
- The Complete Monte Hanson (2009)
- Richard Fontaine: Days of Greek Gods (2009)
- Story Film Classics: New Recruit (2010)
Industry awards and nominations
- 2010 XBIZ Award Nominee – GLBT Company of the Year
- 2010 XBIZ Award Nominee – Gay Studio of the Year
- 2009 GayVN Award Best Ethnic-Themed Video (Latin) for Amazonia
- Hanson, Dian, 2009. Bob's World: The Life and Boys of AMG's Bob Mizer. Koln, Germany: Taschen. ISBN 978-3-8365-1230-5, p. 19.
- XBIZ Announces Finalist Nominees for 2010 XBIZ Awards, XBIZ, Wednesday, Dec 16, 2009
- GayVN Awards#2009
- Padva, Gilad. Nostalgic Physique: Displaying Foucauldian Muscles and Celebrating the Male Body in Beefcake. In Padva, Gilad, Queer Nostalgia in Cinema and Pop Culture, pp. 35–57 (Palgrave Macmillan, 2014, ISBN 978-1-137-26633-0).