Scope and Content
Language of Material:
ONE National Gay & Lesbian Archives, USC Libraries, University of Southern California
Title: Pat Rocco photographs and papers
Rocco, Pat, 1934-
Identifier/Call Number: Coll2007-006
84.5 linear feet.
Date (inclusive): circa 1900-2014
Date (bulk): 1970-2000
Abstract: Photographs, scripts, programs, and related records documenting Pat Rocco's careers in radio, television, and theater; erotic
photography; journalism; provider of emergency shelter for the homeless. Rocco was known for his charity, organizational,
and collaborative work on behalf of gay and lesbian community in Southern California, primarily Los Angeles, and later in
Hawaii. The bulk of the collection documents Rocco's life from 1970 through 1990.
Language of Material: Languages represented in the collection:English
The collection is open to researchers. There are no access restrictions.
All requests for permission to publish or quote from manuscripts must be submitted in writing to the ONE Archivist. Permission
for publication is given on behalf of ONE National Gay and Lesbian Archives at USC Libraries as the owner of the physical
items and is not intended to include or imply permission of the copyright holder, which must also be obtained.
[Box/folder #, or item name] Pat Rocco Papers, Coll2007-006, ONE National Gay & Lesbian Archives, USC Libraries, University
of Southern California.
The collection consists of a series of donations from Rocco starting in the 1980s through 2014 and the transfer of a Rocco
collection from the Lesbian/Gay Archives of San Diego in 1992. Deed of gift dated June 28, 2007.
Collection processed by Michael C. Oliveira, with assistance from Lee McEvoy, Jim D. Deaton, Richard French, Marisela Guzman,
and Erinne Wells, 2007.
Pat Rocco, an entertainer, photographer, and an activist has appeared on radio and on television; performed, produced and
directed for the stage; photographed, produced, and directed motion pictures; participated, organized and documented the struggle
for equal rights for gays and lesbians in Southern California and in Hawaii; provided emergency shelter and job training for
the homeless, and has been with his partner, David Kirk Ghee (known as David Kirk), since 1972.
Born February 09, 1934, Pasquale Vincent Serrapica lived in Brooklyn until he and his family relocated to California in 1946.
As a child Pat loved to entertain his family and friends by singing, as a teenager he was featured twice weekly for two years
on a Pasadena radio station, KWKW. After completing high school at home for his unwillingness to renounce his homosexuality,
Pat attended colleges and worked at a defense plant in Monrovia, California. While working he meet a local Youth for Christ
director, Chuck Leviston; after a second meeting, Pat left college to sing for Youth for Christ. During this time Pat recorded
an album of devotion music for Cornerstone Records. In 1954, theatrical programs document his adoption of the stage name,
Pat Rocco; in 1966 he officially changed his name. For the remainder of the 1950s Rocco sang on stage in musicals, toured
with country with Marge and Gower Champion, and appeared as a member of the "Top Twenty" on the "Tennessee Ernie Ford Show".
Also during this period Rocco began to photograph theatrical performances. In June of 1960 he left the stage to become the
owner and operator of a motion picture theater in Moorpark, California and later district manager for three motion picture
theaters and a skating rink. In 1962, Rocco returned to the stage as managing director and went on to produce and direct several
stage shows and musicals until the late 1960s.
In 1967, he answered an advertisement to shoot still photographs of nude male models, Rocco soon realized the potential of
this enterprise and began shooting his own motion pictures. Named after an earlier business, Bizarre Production sold photographs
and short non-explicit erotic motion pictures by mail-order. The Park Theater near McArthur Park in Los Angeles expressed
interest in showing Rocco's motion picture along others of gay interest to the general public. After the success of the first
program the Park Theater sought more programs of short motion pictures. Rocco later added Bizarre News Films to his programs,
capturing local protests and interviews on film.
His motion pictures attracted an audience of like minded individuals that appreciated the beauty of the human form and Rocco's
positive depiction of gay intimacy. In appreciation of his films Dick Winters and others formed The Society of Pat Rocco Enlightened
Enthusiasts (SPREE). SPREE met monthly for nine and half years (1968-1978) as a primarily gay male theatrical company and
social organization. During this time Bizarre Productions cease to exist as the industry turned to more explicit depictions
of sex, however Rocco continued to photograph events and protests in Southern California for a number of gay newspapers.
He became increasing involved in the struggle for equal rights for the gays and lesbians in the community and through the
Democratic Party. Rocco campaigned for the resumption of the Christopher Street West (CSW) pride parade, developed and championed
the idea of an accompanying festival, and the participation of a float from the gay and lesbian community in the annual Santa
Claus Lane Parade in Hollywood. Rocco also organized events to raise money for those arrested at the Mark IV "Slave Auction"
and to pay tribute to Councilman Harvey Milk and Mayor George Moscone. He collaborated in organizing and participated in numerous
organizations and events in Southern California. As Rocco worked in the community he became aware of the need for emergency
housing for gay, lesbian, and transgendered individuals in Los Angeles.
Through the auspices of the United States Mission, Rocco branded his own emergency housing program, Hudson House, that rewarded
industry, provided meals, and later job training to those in need. Rocco operated Hudson Houses in Los Angeles, San Diego,
San Francisco, and Hawaii.
As of 2015, Rocco and his partner have retired to Hawaii where they continue to be active in the community and in the struggle
for equal rights for LGBTQ people.
Scope and Content
The bulk of the collection consists Rocco's photographs documenting gay and lesbian demonstration, events, protests, pride
parades, primarily in Los Angeles and the Society of Pat Rocco Enlightened Enthusiasts (SPREE) theatrical and social events.
The Entertainer Series documents his performances on stage and as a director and producer by the way of programs, photographs,
contracts as a performer on radio, television, and the stage; photographer and producer of erotic motion pictures and still
images. The Bizarre Productions Series contains the correspondence, business records, programs and photographs of Rocco's
production companies Bizarre, P.R. and C.R. Productions. Rocco mentored those interested in the many facets of theater through
SPREE; the series documents many of the theatrical performances and social gatherings. The series consists of minutes, treasurer
reports, photographs, ephemera, event flyers, newspaper clippings, newsletters, theatrical and award show fliers, programs,
scripts and photographs. The United States Mission Series documents Rocco's work to provide emergency shelter and later job
training for gay, lesbian, and transgendered individuals in southern California and Hawaii. The series contains United States
Mission and Crossroads Employment Agency administrative records, souvenirs, and photographs. The Journalist Series consists
of typescripts of articles, photo essays, and captions submitted by Rocco. The Community Service Series and Business Ventures
Series document many of the various community organizations and businesses Rocco championed, initiated, or collaborated in
creating. The Community Series is arranged alphabetically by organization or program, while the Business venture series is
arranged chronologically. The Personal Series documents his personal life through photographs, correspondence, and biographical
information from articles and applications. The multiple Photograph Series represent the bulk of the collection. Rocco arranged
his photographs chronologically in a numbered series then a titled series, the photographs of the two succeeding subseries,
Personal Name and Subject photographs, lack context to place them with their negatives. The Other Photographer Series consists
of photographs collected by Rocco. The final series, Hawaii Photographs contains color photographs documenting Rocco and his
partner, David Kirk's lives and pursuits in Hawaii, including theater productions, political events for the local Democratic
Party, and their vacations.
- Adair, Joed
- Adair, Joe
- Bach, Paul
- Magill, Frank
- Sprague, Ken
- Dilly, Ron
- Dillihay, Ronald
- Kelley, Micah
- Kirk, David
- Ghee, David
- Majal, Ral
- Friend, Raleigh
- Matthew of Glendale
- Schmidt, Matthew
- Robinson, Chuck
- Reynolds, Brian
The collection is arranged chronologically with the following exceptions, that are arranged alphabetically: the Community
Series, the Miscellaneous Photographs by Personal Name Subseries, Miscellaneous Photographs by Subject Subseries, and the
Hawaii Photographs Series.
Subjects and Indexing Terms
Gay bars--California--Los Angeles
Gay clubs--California--Los Angeles
Gay erotic photography
Gay liberation movement--California--Los Angeles
Gay men--California--Los Angeles
Gay men--Social conditions
Gay men--Societies and clubs
Gay rights--California--Los Angeles
Homosexuality--Law and legislation--California
Men photographers--United States
Men's shelters--California--Los Angeles-- History
Performing arts--California--Los Angeles-- History
Photography of men
Photography of the nude
Rocco, Pat, 1934-
Allen, David L.
Jordan, Steve, 1948-
Kight, Morris, 1919-2003
Perry , Troy D., 1940-