Harrison Parker Tyler, better known as Parker Tyler was an American author, poet and film critic. Tyler lived with filmmaker Charles Boultenhouse (1926-1994) from 1945 until his death.
Born March 6, 1904, in New Orleans, the son of an insurance salesman, Tyler lived a childhood on the move, living in larger cities all over the eastern United States. He completed high school but refused to enter college, determined to continue his education as a poet on the streets of New York, where he arrived in 1924.
By the time he began corresponding with Charles Henri Ford a few years later, Tyler had already published scores of book reviews and hundreds of poems, many of which received their first public hearing in the basement clubs of Greenwich Village, where Tyler lived. Tyler was known in the neighbourhood as a dandy, going about in mascara and attired in cast-off clothing from the second-hand shops of the Lower East Side.
Tyler's letters apparently ignited in Ford a similar desire for the bohemian life, and in January 1930 he set out for New York. Tyler was waiting at the pier when Ford disembarked.
Ford had arrived in New York at a curious moment in time. With the stock market crash of 1929 only a few months in the past, the Depression was beginning to deepen. Nobody, it seemed, had any money or prospects, certainly not Ford or Tyler. Prohibition was still in full swing, though it was openly flouted by many, including New York's mayor Jimmy Walker.
Out of Prohibition came speakeasies, illegal quasi-private clubs, a number of which in the Village were sufficiently sheltered from scrutiny to become some of the first specifically gay and lesbian gathering places in North America. The more visible congregation of gay men in public places led to a vogue among New Yorkers for these 'strange brothers' - the so-called pansy craze.
He co-authored The Young and Evil (Obelisk Press, 1933) with Charles Henri Ford, an energetically experimental novel with obvious debts to fellow Villager Djuna Barnes, and also to Gertrude Stein. Tyler and Ford co-edited the Surrealist magazine View until it folded in 1947.
A writer for the journal Film Culture, Tyler is one of the few film critics to write extensively on experimental film and underground film. His Screening the Sexes (1972) is thought to be the first book-length study of homosexuality in film. Other books of film criticism by Tyler include The Hollywood Hallucination (1944), Magic and Myth of the Movies (1947), Classics of Foreign Film (1962), Sex Psyche Etcetera in the Film (1969), and The Shadow of an Airplane Climbs the Empire State Building (1973).
Pictured: Parker Tyler and Andy Warhol photographed by Gerard Malanga - worth clicking on for the larger image
Tyler's books became popular - and some old titles reissued after being out-of print for years - after he was mentioned several times in the novel Myra Breckinridge (1968) by Gore Vidal.
Parker Tyler died of prostate cancer in New York in 1974.