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Rocco (Pat) Photographs and Papers
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Collection Details
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  • Access
  • Publication Rights
  • Preferred Citation
  • Acquisition Information
  • Processing Information
  • Biography
  • Scope and Content
  • Arrangement

  • Language of Material: English
    Contributing Institution: ONE National Gay & Lesbian Archives, USC Libraries, University of Southern California
    Title: Pat Rocco photographs and papers
    creator: Rocco, Pat, 1934-
    Identifier/Call Number: Coll2007-006
    Physical Description: 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.

    Publication Rights

    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.

    Preferred Citation

    [Box/folder #, or item name] Pat Rocco Papers, Coll2007-006, ONE National Gay & Lesbian Archives, USC Libraries, University of Southern California.

    Acquisition Information

    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.

    Processing Information

    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

    Actors--California--Los Angeles--Photographs
    Festivals--California--Los Angeles
    Gay bars--California--Los Angeles
    Gay clubs--California--Los Angeles
    Gay erotic photography
    Gay erotica
    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
    Gays--California--Los Angeles--History
    Homosexuality--Law and legislation--California
    Journalism, pictorial
    Men photographers--United States
    Men's shelters--California--Los Angeles-- History
    Performing arts--California--Los Angeles-- History
    Photographers--United States
    Photography of men
    Photography of the nude
    Singers--California--Los Angeles
    Rocco, Pat, 1934-
    Allen, David L.
    Bizarre productions
    Jordan, Steve, 1948-
    Kight, Morris, 1919-2003
    Perry , Troy D., 1940-