The pool with the cinderblock walls

From BoyWiki

The pool with the cinderblock walls was in the back yard of the house on Mulholland Drive in Los Angeles's Hollywood Hills that served from the mid-60s to 1973 as Lyric International's studio; as the home of Lyric's owner, Billy Byars, Jr.; as the residence of some of the Lyric Boys; and as permanent or temporary temporary housing for Lyric collaborators. The products in Lyric's catalog, including magazines, films and photo sets, feature extensive nudity by the Lyric boys and other boys and young men, and many were shot in the pool and the house. The house "was for a while a haven for adult homosexuals and male teenagers."[1]

Spectacular backdrop

The house at the summit of the Hollywood Hills has views west and south to Los Angeles and the Pacific and north to the San Fernando Valley. At least two Lyric films, Swim Party and Spring Break, featuring Peter Glawson and others of the Lyric boys, mostly in the nude, were filmed around the pool with the cinderblock walls. Swim Party had panoramic shots of the views that made it possible to identify the location.[2] Not only the backyard but the house's interior served as a backdrop for photos. The living room, a "bachelor pad [which] boasts massive oaken beams and other touches of baronial elegance" [3] appeared in Lyric's magazines with nude boys around its pool table.

The Lyric portfolio did not include pornography, but its offerings were distributed through DOM/Lyric, a collaboration with Guy Strait, who did however produce pornography including child pornography, and lived only a few miles from the Lyric studio.[4] There's no indication Strait filmed at home: police claimed a film made in a hotel led them to him in 1973,(needs source) and in his 1976 arrest the appellate court said, "the defendant came to the Holiday Inn in Rockford, Illinois, in March of 1972, to shoot a pornographic movie"[5]

The pool with the cinderblock walls which appears in many Lyric shorts changed over time. Early photos show the walls painted white, and a diving board. The diving board was removed, although the base remains, and the walls repainted. In some films the cinderblock walls appear to be black or purplish, but still photos taken at the same time, or perhaps printed from a frame of the 16mm negative, show the walls to be royal blue. "Many older films have taken on a distinct purplish cast, caused by the rapid fading of the cyan and yellow image dyes."[6] The video files that circulate on the Internet and the DVDs available commercially may have been made from old or deteriorated 8mm films.

Home to the Lyric Boys

In 2006, Anthony Aikman, director of The Genesis Children, told in an interview of traveling to Los Angeles after the end of filming, along with the Lyric boys, the film's adult actor, Vincent Child, Byars and his factotum William Johnson:

This busy house also included Byars's pet snake, which was allowed free roam of the house, and a Beddington Terrier dog.[7] One of Billy's only rules at the house was that if you wanted to swim in the pool you had to swim naked.

On one occasion, the dog got loose and everyone started to run naked down the road to try to catch it. The group was almost run over by a shocked elderly couple coming around the corner in their car. Aikman claims that the car actually left the pavement and hit a tree, resulting in the fire brigade racing up Mulholland with sirens and bells wailing. The dog can be seen in many Lyric photo shoots and short films shot at the pool location.

Since several of the "Lyric boys" were under legal custody of Byars as foster children, on one occasion the Los Angeles County Department of Child Services notified Byars that they would be coming by the house the next day for an inspection/visitation. Byars and friends quickly went on a shopping trip to buy books, tables and a portable blackboard. By the time the Child Services officials came to inspect the next day, Byars had set up an outdoor classroom complete with Vincent Child, black cape and all, acting as the boys' teacher. Byars received rave reviews by the impressed county officials.[8]

Residents and denizens

Besides Byars and the Lyric Boys, several other names or pseudonyms appear as living or working at the house.

William Johnson

Bill Johnson, presumably William Johnson, is given a field manager credit for The Genesis Children[9] The list of those indicted in the 1973 Lyric scandal includes "William Johnson, 55, a Houston photographer."[10] It's safe to assume that he is a real person, and unless he's 112, deceased.

The Lyric Boys [...] were brought over to Italy from the U.S.A. by Byars's longtime companion and photographer William Johnson. William "Bill" Johnson was described as an older man who remained in the background and was said by Billy to be his security guard. He has also been described as Byars "henchman" and "hired bully".[8]

Harlan "Slim" Pfeiffer

Pfeiffer is described in Lyric's materials as the photographer responsible for its movies and still photos, including the early films in Texas.(source needed). Possibly his name is an alias. William Johnson was arrested as "a Houston photographer" and could be Pfeiffer's real name.

Terry Stuart

Terry Stuart, possibly his real name, is a Lyric Boy who aged out of modeling and into the role of "boy wrangler" at Lyric.

Byars would usually give each issue of the various Lyric magazines a title and a mostly fictitious story line. An issue that featured photos of the Lyric boys swimming at the Mulholland Drive home, naked as usual, claims they were "...visiting Uncle Terry and Uncle Bill..." at their home for a summer swim. (needs source) ONE Archives' Erotic and physique studios photography includes 84 photographic prints from Lyric, which "include the following models: Joey, Terry Stuart, Jim, Damon".[11]

The name Terry Stuart was used in a number of publications:

One of the earliest appearances of Billy Byars' Lyric Studios upon the gay "physique magazine" scene in California appeared in the magazine Muscle Teens, Volume 1 #1, Oct 1965 published by Y.P. Productions. This issue featured photographs of various nude teen males including the soon to be famous 15 year old "Terry Stuart".[12]

One Lyric short was reportedly titled Uncle Terry's Pool. Usenet posts mention Terry Stuart as sharing Mr. Byars's house; as a former physique model; as the owner of the house with the pool with the cinderblock walls; as being Peter Glawson's uncle; as the person Mr. Glawson lived with; or as all of the above.

One 2001 Usenet post says,

"I think that I am clear about Terry; he was Billy's first and always tried to look the biz. He had a thing about clean money and used to wash it and dry it in a big rotary dryer in the studio. Once someone saw all the money coming out and called the Feds 'cos they thought he was printing it! He was always running around with a briefcase; I'd forgotten all this." [13]

A January 1999 Usenet post describes the cover of an issue of Lyric’s “Naked Boyhood” magazine, probably Vol 1, #2, as showing “young Peter [Glawson] on the Gulf Coast of Texas with his Uncle Terry (middle) and an unknown adult friend.”

There is no "Terry" nor any "Stuart" on the list of those arrested in the 1973 scandal, nor does either name appear in the extensive credits of The Genesis Children. Three of the others accused with Mr. Byars in the 1973 case were also said to be from Hollywood. All three are roughly ten years younger than Byars. At least one of them was acquitted at trial in 1973. All are possible candidates for Terry, but Terry could well be someone else.

The manager of Billy Byars, Sr.'s Royal Oaks Farm was named Stuart, and Terry might have been some relation.[14] The Social Security Birth Database finds several "Terry Stuarts" born in Texas within five years of 1950; a Tyler high school yearbook has a Tommy Stuart of about the right age.

Varied houseguests

When Anthony Aikman, director of The Genesis Children, came to Los Angeles to edit the film, he stayed at the house on Mulholland Drive. Aikman found a strange man named Teeterman there. Teeterman slept in a coffin in the lower level of the house and had a job at the Hollywood Wax Museum where he dressed up in a costume and played the Mechanical Man while standing outside the museum to attract customers. Teeterman once showed Aikman an old 8mm film of himself, dressed in a vampire's costume, and Billy Byars trolling through a cemetery late at night. The cemetery was supposedly located out in the Midwest.[8]

Vincent Child, the adult actor in The Genesis Children, stayed at the house for a while on completion of the film.[8]

The house today

The house today and several of its neighbors make up "The Hills Treatment Center", listed in Psychology Today as a place which "offers a fantastic educational and therapeutic drug and alcohol rehabilitation experience."[15] Previously it was Wonderland Treatment Center.[16] The "massive oaken beams" have been painted an inoffensive white, the pool deck has been tiled, and other indignities have been inflicted on the architect's work.

The house as real estate

The house is in Los Angeles, California in the Hollywood Hills between Hollywood and the San Fernando Valley. More specifically, it is at 8181 and 8207 Mulholland Drive just west of Laurel Canyon Boulevard. The place is latitude 34°7'21.85" N (34.122736), longitude 118°22'37.35" W (-118.377042).

Billy Byars, Jr. let people believe he owned the house but he actually rented it from the owner.[8] tracks real estate values on a house-to-house basis, and a decade ago listed the house as a duplex, divided as 8181 and 8207 Mulholland Drive. 8181 is described as two bedrooms, one bath, five rooms total, 767 square feet of construction and 13,070 square feet (0.3 acres) of land. 8207 is four bedrooms, three baths, 2,624 square feet, on 19,600 sq ft (0.45 acres) of land. The total would be 3,391 square feet, with six bedrooms and four baths, on a three-quarter acre lot. In January, 2020, Zillow does not show 8181 and lists 8207 as being 2 bedrooms, 2 baths and 1,857 sq ft, which is inconsistent with aerial photographs which show no substantial change in the house's footprint, though outbuildings have been added.[17]The house was built in 1961.[18]

At present, the house bordering the property o the west is the residence of actor Joaquim Phoenix.[19]

Related places

Lyric's activities were not confined to the pool with the cinderblock walls. When arrested in the 1973 scandal, Lyric partner and pornographer Guy Strait lived 2.4 miles away by road, at 7718 Skyhill Drive, Studio City. That is currently assessed as having 4 bedrooms, 4 bathrooms, and 2,786 sq ft, and having been built in 1960 but having an "effective year" of 1965, which suggests it may have been expanded since Guy Strait lived there.[20] Lyric had an office at the Crossroads of the World complex in Hollywood, 4.2 miles away down Laurel Canyon Boulevard and Sunset Boulevard. The Gold Cup, famed "chicken" hangout, was only 3.2 miles away, down Laurel Canyon and Hollywood Boulevard. From Strait's house to the Gold Cup is only 3.9 miles straight down US 101. In December of 1972, Lyric was renting editing space at the Samuel Goldwyn Studios, then at the corner of Formosa Ave. and Santa Monica Boulevard in West Hollywood, 4.1 miles away.[21]

External links


  1. Summers, Anthony (2003). Official and Confidential: The Secret Life of J. Edgar Hoover. New York: G.P. Putnam's Sons. p. 337. ISBN 0-399-13800-5. 
  2. How the pool was found
  3. Swisher, Viola Hegyi. "Generating The Genesis Children". After Dark, September 1972, p. 18.
  4. Pair Arraigned in Case Involving Homosexuals. The Van Nuys News. 7 September 1973, p. 8
  5. 52 Ill. App.3d 599 (1977) 367 N.E.2d 768
  6. Color Dye Fading. National Film Preservation Foundation.
  7. Likely a Bedlington Terrier, a breed listed by the American Kennel Club. The AKC has no Beddington Terrier.
  8. 8.0 8.1 8.2 8.3 8.4 Usenet Post by "Edward Bear", who also used "Ballog", on Genesis Children, based on interview with Anthony Aikman.
  9. BFI listing
  10. Farr, William. "14 Men Indicted in Sex Movies Featuring Boys Ages 6 to 17". Los Angeles Times 27 Oct 1973, p. B1, B8
  11. Catalog Finding Aid ONE National Gay & Lesbian Archives, USC Libraries, University of Southern California
  12. Current Magazine Listing Tim in Vermont still lists the issue, described not as nude but "posing strap"
  13. A Peter Glawson Question
  14. "Byars-Dayson Angus Sale Set Wednesday", Tyler Courier-Times (Tyler, Texas) 02 Oct 1955, Page 14. Includes a photo of "Tommie E. Stuart, Byars's farm manager"
  15. The Hills treatment center on Psychology Today website.
  16. Wonderland listing
  17. 8207 Mulholland Drive on Zillow
  18. 8207 Mulholland Drive listing at Los Angeles Count Assessor's Office
  19. Celeb RE in San Fernando Valley real estate blog The article indicate the Phoenix house no long shares the long driveway to Mulholland Drive, but is accessed from Mulholland Terrace.
  20. 7718 Skyhill Drive listing at Los Angeles Count Assessor's Office
  21. Rubine, Naomi. "The bomb at Goldwyn Studios" Los Angeles Free Press, Volume 9, issue 438, Dec 8-18, 1972. P.10