Thursday, August 05, 2021

Thursday (Retro) Ad Watch

In keeping with my Olympics theme this week, here is Mitch Gaylord’s memorable ad for Soloflex. You may recall the dreamy Californian led the 1984 gold-medal-winning U.S. men's gymnastics team, becoming the first American gymnast to score a perfect 10 in the Olympics. More of his perfect 10 body BELOW.

In addition to his 1985 Soloflex campaign, Gaylord appeared in ads for Diet Coke, Nike, Vidal Sassoon, Levi's and Texaco, which is to say nothing of his wooden performance in "American Anthem"!

More recently, Mitch has been inviting us to Melt It Off! with him. 

Footnote: Every gay man remembers exactly where he was when he first laid eyes on the original Soloflex model -- Scott Madsen -- in that iconic print ad and poster.

The subsequent ads were equally hot. 

What I'm glad I didn't know until last night is that Madsen -- who became famous overnight with the poster selling more than 700,000 copies, which led to a book ("Peak Condition") and exercise video -- apparently chafed at the gay adulation and eventually tried to distance himself from the whole situation. (He reportedly said that he didn't want to be "chased around the room by faggots.") 

Sadly but not surprisingly in the early '80s, Soloflex seemed to agree with that sentiment. So when they hired Gaylord as their new spokesmodel, they made a point of having a woman’s hand on his shoulder, to drive home the point that their product wasn't aimed at homos.

More poses HERE and HERE.

Although there is an unsubstantiated rumor* that he died in 2015, what is certain is that Madsen was arrested in 2010 for embezzling about a quarter million dollars from his uncle's financial-services company, and the onetime gay icon ended up serving two years prison


If anyone knows what became of replacement model Randy Potter (above) -- who looked like the love child of Scott and Mitch -- let us know! 

And what about him? Doesn't look like the same person to me.

*See comments


BosGuy said...

I remember this ad and that slogan so well.
It had to be conceived of by either a straight woman or gay man.

j said...

Gaylord was beautiful

Bill Carter said...

Sad story.The rumor is true. Scoff Madden did die in 2015, at age 57, after serving time in prison for embezzlement.

At the height of his Soloflex fame, the publisher of his exercise book, “Peak Condition”, sent him on a book tour. They chose the tour’s stops based on which bookstore in each city ordered the most copies of the book, and in DC, that was (of course) the gay bookstore Lambda Rising. The line for the signing went out the door.

He seemed very shy. He was much shorter than I’d thought he’d be. He was also one of the most physically beautiful humans I’ve ever seen—the black and white photographs, good as they were, didn’t begin to capture his beauty. I don’t remember what I babbled at him as he was signing my book. I do remember how he signed it: “Hope this gives you the body you want.”

I still have the book. And the poster. And the poster book.

And then he was gone. Disappeared without a trace until that sad ending.

——-Mitch Gaylord! The other Golden Boy of the mid-80s. When I saw “American Anthem”, I was probably the, uh, tallest person in the theater, and one of the few males. I was unhappy that he smoked cigarettes in the movie, but glad he’d had elocution trying. Remember how Olympic gymnasts of that era all had high squeaky voices? Phenomenal bodies, but when they spoke, they sounded like 12 year olds.

Jack said...

I remember swooning over Mitch back in the day.

Ken said...

Mitch Gaylord is now 60 years old. I wonder what he looks like now.

Ken said...

Here he is:

Kenneth M. Walsh said...

An online pal wrote me to say this:

The former SoloFlex Model did not die in 2015. That was another man with the same name, from roughly the same geographical area of the country which has made it even more confusing.

There is a 5-year birth year discrepancy, for one thing. Solorflex Scott Madsen was born in 1962. The Scott Madsen who died in 2015 was born in 1957.

From this news article from January 13, 2011 about his conviction for embezzling money from his employer we know that the former Soloflex model's full name is Scott Severin Madsen, and his age is listed as 48 (which means born in 1962).

So today he would be 58 years old. lists a Scott Severin Madsen, age "50s", living in Oregon.

It lists Scott Severin Madsen as "associated with" Melissa Vanderpool, Karen Walker, Shelby Madsen and Tamra Madsen. None of those people are listed in the other Scott Madsen's 2015 (born 1957) obituary as survivors. lists a Scott S. Madsen, 58, in Oregon.

It lists Scott. S. Madsen as "associated with" Roger Madsen, Shelby Madsen, Mackenzie Madsen, Chandler Madsen, Gail Madsen. Note that Shelby Madsen was also listed as associated with Scott Severin Madsen on None of those Madsen's were listed as survivors in the other Scott Madsen's 2015 obituary. - which I think is the best resource to find information - lists Madsen as 58, born September 1962: Madsen&citystatezip=Oregon&rid=0x8

It lists Tamra Chafio Madsen, Karen M. Walker, and Shelby A. Madsen as possible relatives, as did Note that Shelby Madsen, age 31, was also listed as associated with Scott Severin Madsen on (Perhaps Shelby is Scott's daughter?)

See attached screenshots from Scott had certainly had a LOT of addresses. Not counting prison.

It seems clear that the Scott Madsen who died in 2015 at age 57 is NOT former Soloflex model Scott Madsen. Soloflex Scott is apparently still alive.

Sorry to hear he was so homophobic at the time he was modeling.

Now, if we could just come up with a PHOTO of Scott Severin Madsen today....

Andrew Scharf said...

As a timid, I-think-I’m-gay teen in the early 80’s, I secretly sent away for (and received in the mail) the 30-minute Soloflex infomercial videotape. It was glorious.I wish I still had it.

Jonno333 said...

I remember going to a sneak preview of American anthem that was held on the 20th Century Fox lot. I remember really looking forward to seeing the movie because I really liked Mitch… then the audience saw the movie. I remember a confused silence after the movie was over. It was supposed to be a feedback session after the screening, but they just let us all go. Oh it was terrible. I remember the theater itself more than the movie.

j said...

Gaylords movie career did not go anywhere of course with that body gay porn was the way to go.

Kenneth M. Walsh said...

BTW: Thank you to everyone who pointed out my misspelling Mitch's last name. I did it repeatedly while googling him and am convinced I have PTSD from being called a "gaylord" so many times in elementary school that I can't bring myself to type it correctly!

Stephen said...

Thanks Ken for sharing all of this. It sure brought back so many great memories from the days I was bar-tending in the Montrose, Houston.

Jeffrey said...

The bottom photo is actually Randy Potter (sitting in jean shorts on a workout bench with his head looking to the viewer's left). Randy's best soloflex moment was his first promotional video which featured him playing touch football with a group of college guys. He was wearing blue shorts and a red crop top and he was dazzling in it.


Anonymous said...

Randy Potter was hot. He went to Washington State University. He was my Friend's best friend. Super nice, fun, religious from either Portland or Vancouver Washington. He lived in Vancouver and had a older brother that was actually trying for it and his Mother sent his photo in. He was a frat boy