As the first, and long-serving, Director of the FBI, J. Edgar Hoover is an important figure in modern American history, and last year's Clint Eastwood biopic, J. Edgar, made the man water-cooler fodder once again.

Hoover headed first the Bureau of Investigation, and later, the FBI, from 1924-1972, as a paranoid, blackmail-material-collecting tyrant. (Allegedly.) His reign was marked by a fierce secrecy (which appeared to extend to hiding his own first name, John), and speculation about a gay relationship with his FBI deputy, Clyde Tolson, continues to this day.

And because our salacious appetites know no bounds, we can now add an early entry to our summer reading lists, namely Darwin Porter's (deep breath) J. Edgar Hoover and Clyde Tolson: Investigating the Sexual Secrets of America's Most Famous Men and Women. (The lurid red-and-yellow cover with Elvis and Marilyn Monroe won't lure anyone in, right?) The book claims that Hoover hoovered up what some said was the biggest porn collection in history.

Porter says Hoover amassed a sizable adult-film collection, including a pirated copy of a 1934 film entitled The Masked Bandit: He Robs Pussy, shot by some young, down-on-his-luck guy named Frank Sinatra. (No Pokin' in Hoboken?) Hoover also apparently had an early blue movie of Joan Crawford's. (Why does that immediately sound credible?)

Even though pornography was illegal at the time, Cook states that the bulldog Director was "mostly interested in nudes of famous people," including Tony Curtis, Burt Lancaster, Elvis, Charlton Heston, James Dean, and a teenage Warren Beatty. Keep in mind, Hoover had this porn stash (which obviously puts Osama's to shame) at the same time as he was trying to repress an entire country's sexual behavior. Did he exceed his jurisdiction? Uh, slightly.

At this point, you don't even have to tell me Hoover liked to train certain FBI agents to dress up as women, I'm sold. There's just never going to be another J. Edgar Hoover. If current FBI Director Robert Mueller so much as glanced at a tribeswoman in National Geographic, the internet would be all over it.

Commentarium (1 Comment)

Feb 10 12 - 3:50pm
Gazbo

It's hard to know if he collected all that stuff for purely salacious personal use or for obtaining blackmail style leverage - which he has been accused of doing for as long as I can remember.
What we do know is that he held power for a reeeeealy long time and lots of very powerful people sure wanted him gone. He knew where every skeleton was in every closet in the country, but did he also like to whack off to them? It seems awfully sordid either way.