Tuesday, February 02, 2010
It was one of the original guilty pleasures, a magazine probably more skimmed by shoppers in checkout lines than bought and taken home -- and the phenomenon on which the movie "L.A. Confidential" was based. Starting in 1952, Confidential came out every other month, a tabloid printed on pulp paper, its cheesy appearance well-suited to its tawdry sources and sensational revelations. Among its favorite targets were alleged Reds and closeted homosexuals, and the magazine came close to outing Rock Hudson. A snoop supposedly had a tape recording of Hudson confessing his indiscretions to his wife, whom he had married precisely to counter rumors that he was gay. "How long after we were married did you have your first homosexual affair?" she asked on the tape. "Oh, I don't know," Hudson replied. "The next day." In the end, Confidential sat on its information, and it wasn't until Hudson contracted AIDS in the 1980s that his secret became widely known.