May 13, 2010

The Original Calvin Klein Underwear Model

In 1982, Tom Hintaus went from being a moderately successful pole vaulter to a worldwide sensation as the first Calvin Klein underwear model.  Until that iconic image appeared in Times Square, underwear ads had, oddly enough, never been innately sexual.  

They were usually straight shots of very average looking guys wearing briefs over what looked like two other pairs of briefs so they resembled anatomically correct Ken dolls. The closest they came to selling a little sex was maybe Jim Palmer in his underwear for Jockey back in the late 70's. But he was smiling and friendly.....the guy next door in his underwear by chance.  Tom is more like the Greek god of sex.  In fact, the image was shot on an island in Greece by photographer Bruce Weber. 

I remember seeing this poster in Times Square on a high school field trip in 1983.  I was so hypnotized that I nearly got run over.  It made such an impression on me that I put a little homage to it in my film "Pool Days" when the main character sees a different Calvin Klein image in a department store and can't turn away. 

Anyway, all this is on my mind today after reading an article in today's TIMES which serves as a retrospective of Calvin Klein underwear models.  Fashion writer Eric Wilson takes note of the fact that three models have gone on to star in Janet Jackson videos and two have been nominated for Academy Awards.  Current model Kellan Lutz is causing a stir with his roles on 90210 and the "Twilight" series.  And what's Mr. Hintnaus up to these days?  He's 52 now, works as contractor in Hawaii, but says he would not be averse to coming out of underwear model retirement for a line of briefs for Boomer men.