Thursday, June 10, 2010

Moonbase Alpha Male

In high school I used to babysit rich people’s houses when they were out of town. It was the best gig ever. I got to escape from home for extended periods of time, I stayed in much nicer digs than my parents’ house (sometimes the houses I stayed in even had pools), I got to investigate a rich variety of porn collections, and best of all they all had cable TV, which we did not have at home. (And oh yeah, I got paid for loafing around watching TV, getting high, and doing that thing high school boys do the most when they are left alone.)

So one cold winter day while channel-surfing through what at the time seemed an amazing number of cable channels, I came across a sci-fi show made by Gerry and Sylvia Anderson, the people who had made UFO, which co-starred the studly Michael Billington. I hoped this new show, called Space:1999, would also feature Mr. Billington, but sadly it didn’t. The show starred Martin Landau and Barbara Bain, formerly of Mission:Impossible in the days before Peter Graves (and, more importantly, Sam Elliott), as well as some old English dude named Barry Morse. As with UFO, the cast were in skin-tight, bulge-showcasing “futuristic” clothing, but this sexy attire was wasted on the (to my mind) unappealing cast. Worse, the show was not all that great and had bad special effects – basically it was about a space station on the moon, named “Moonbase Alpha”, that is lost in space when the moon is blasted out of Earth’s orbit by a nuclear explosion. The show was well-acted, but nothing the crew did made me particularly care about their plight (the Martin Landau character was even more obnoxious than Captain Kirk, something I would not have thought possible). Still, I watched on in case a hot guest star appeared or something. Besides, there wasn’t a lot else to do. This house was occupied by an old couple who had no porn.

I was about to give up on the show altogether when what to my lusting eyes should appear but a hot, hairy blond dude with a taut, muscular body (as I said, these clothes were very revealing), a perfect bubble butt, and a huge bulge in his crotch that put the other cast members’ members to shame. I hoped against hope to see this dude shirtless and, voila, by the end of the episode we was stripped from the waist up. The guy had a ripped muscular torso covered in dark blond hair, muscular hairy arms, great definition all around. In fact, by the end of the episode he had for me totally eclipsed Michael Billington, who to my tastes was neither as handsome, nor as well-built, nor as well-endowed (if comparative bulges were any indications) as this blond guy. During the credits I learned that the character was named Captain Alan Carter and he was played by Australian actor Nick Tate.

I watched every episode of the show that I could after that, and while Tate’s hot body continued to excite, I never again saw him shirtless. Also, he seemed to stop being blond after the first season, his hair becoming more of a reddish brown as he presumably spent less time on Australian beaches, and he seemed to gain a little weight, becoming a little stockier (but hardly less sexy).

I occasionally saw Tate in other shows and movies after that (including A Cry in the Dark and as recently as a guest spot on Lost), and heard that he showed up wearing nothing but short shorts in an Australian thriller called Summerfield. Curious, I bought the Summerfield DVD online and converted it to NTSC and was very glad I did. While Tate was a little chunkier than during Space:1999, the flick showcased his great body. There was even a nude scene, although his crotch is artfully concealed throughout. But as tight and revealing as his shorts were, you got a pretty good idea of the size and shape of his equipment anyway. On top of that, the flick is a good atmospheric thriller.

I also found Space:1999 on DVD, and discovered that while Tate really did only totally lose his shirt in the one episode I happened to catch that winter day long ago, he did show up with his chest exposed in a number of episodes, to which the accompanying screen caps testify. Nick Tate may not have been the star of Space:1999 – the good-looking stud with the great body never seems to have starred on English TV shows of that period – and his character wasn’t the commander of the space station, but there was no doubt in my mind who the alpha male of Moonbase Alpha was.