Jack Scalia's first "exposure" came in the late 1970s when he posed in French-style briefs for a series of magazine ads sponsored by Eminence Underwear. These ads may have been inspired by a highly successful ad campaign for Jockey Underwear which featured baseball pitcher and future Hall of Famer, Jim Palmer of the Baltimore Orioles who was born six years before Scalia. Though both sets of ads featured a good-looking "hunk" stripped to the barest of essentials, notable differences could be found between them. Palmer's ads presented him as an amiable, hairy-chested "jock" whose hearty smile deftly removed any threat which his athletic prowess might have presented. He had an easy-going, all-American, guy-next-door quality which would make him a welcome addition to any locker-room. Scalia, on the other hand, projected the sultry sexuality of a French Riviera gigolo who tended to shave his chest and who sometimes deigned to "service" the needs of older women with money to spend. He didn't smile much, which only added to his dark, brooding image, and he posed with seeming carelessness in languid positions. Curiously, while Scalia's ads had about them an obvious aura of sensuality in clear contrast to the "innocence" embodied in Palmer ads, there was the matter of the bulges found in the briefs which the two men modeled. Palmer was often blatantly positioned in such a way as to draw immediate attention to his bulge, especially in those instances featuring him in bikini briefs. In one such ad, for example, he stood with his left leg on the floor but with his right leg lifted and planted on the seat of a wooden chair. With his legs thus spread apart and with his hips thrust ever-so-slightly forward, Palmer's well-filled crotch inevitably became the focus of the ad. (Jockey always made it clear that this crotch was neither padded nor retouched.) On the other hand, Scalia's ads tended to draw attention to his face rather than to the bulge in his briefs. It wasn't as though there was anything inadequate about Scalia's "endowment" -- his bulge strained the cloth almost as much as Palmer's -- but the decision had obviously been made that Scalia's one-in-a-million face deserved special attention. Not surprisingly, Scalia's acting career -- which grew out of his modeling career -- has also been based on his face and on the fact that he looks good with his shirt off. (Rare is the movie or TV show which doesn't find an excuse to strip Scalia down as far as circumstances will permit.) However, while the enviable combination of handsome face and attractive body opened many doors for Scalia in the course of his career, it also tended to categorize him as a "pretty boy" best suited for "throw-away" entertainments. As a result, there's probably not a single production in Scalia's quarter-century acting career which is worth remembering, and his increasing maturity has not yet nudged him into parts of strength and substance. Also hindering Scalia has been a failure, to date, on finding a genre in which he can comfortably specialize. Sometimes he's the good-looking leading man in romances, other times he's a comedian with a twinkle in his eyes, and sometimes he's the tough-guy hero in action movies. Seeing him in one kind of movie often makes it harder to accept him in another. Still, his ability to make a good living as a actor for the better part of three decades -- even though he's never achieved "A" status -- is no small accomplishment, and he must take comfort in the fact that his Eminence ads from the late 1970s are still sought-after pin-ups that fetch respectable prices on eBay.
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