2008. A small midwestern town. Anna, a beautiful, newly-married young woman makes a startling discovery in the basement of her home: Books, magazines, clippings, drawings, and photos-- hidden for over 50 years.
Much of the material dates back to the 1950s, a time when possession of this stuff could land a guy in big trouble with the law-- not to mention his wife and kids.
"When I found the box... I literally felt Ted's secrecy, pain, confusion and also his happiness. It was truly a strange event finding this stuff. I remember feeling compelled to clean the basement ceiling!"
A couple things make Anna's discovery particularly interesting. First, there's a wide variety of materials, not just physique photos and magazines. Ted's stash includes erotic cartoons, typewritten poems, pencil drawings, magazine clippings, and perhaps most tellingly, a Popular Psychology Guide from 1948 with articles on the "Art of Marital Love," "Unhappy Wives," and "Secret Sex Problems."
It adds up to a portrait of a man living a double life; struggling to maintain a marriage and family while secretly longing for other men. A little bit of sleuthing by Anna provides corroborating evidence.
Ted "served in the military and was married with two children" but at some point his wife divorced him and took the kids. "He later adopted an eight year-old boy, Chuck, from a Christian children's home" according to a neighbor. Hmm.
Included in the stash was a pile of a dozen physique photos. Nothing unusual about that, except they're all mutilated. It looks as though Ted was carefully trying to remove the posing straps and reveal the genitals.
In the early days of physique photography it wasn't uncommon to take nude photos and then "paint" a posing strap on the print. Remember, sending "obscene materials" through the mail resulted in jail time for some of the top physique photographers including Al Urban and Bob Mizer.
We'll never know what Ted was thinking, but holding these otherwise beautiful prints we can almost feel his frustration. Sadly for Ted, there was nothing to see under those damn posing straps.