Sunday, March 6, 2011

C.David Kulman... A Gay Original! By Jerry Pritikin

Friday September 28-2012

I just received word that my good friend and first client Davis has past away. It's a shame some of his clients matches were not made into movies or books. Here is something I Posted over a year ago... it will give you an idea of the One-of-a-Kind Gay Original!

Back in 1974, C.David Kulman, aka David the Matchmater, went into business on Polk Street in San Francisco, as the first openly gay dating service in the country. Those were the days before computers and video cameras. From his apartment, decorated in early St. Vincent
DePaul furniture, he set up shop armed with a Polaroid camera and 5" x 7" cards on which he listed the information needed to match up his clients. He had a background in show biz, and was now a cross between Yenta, the matchmaker in Fiddler on the
Roof, and Dolly Levi from Hello Dolly. He spoke with a New York Jewish twangy accent and wore a distinguished graying Van Dyke beard. He began advertising in the San Francisco gay newspapers. His tag lines were MEET THAT SPECIAL MAN and DO I HAVE I GOT A MAN FOR
YOU. His service was for relationships only, not one night stands. His clients came from all walks of life, including married men who worked for Fortune 500 Companies, business owners, and even a few clergymen. He matched his clients, usually within the same age bracket, with similar interests. As time went by his membership fee's went from $150 up to $600 a year.

I was then a part time publicist, who specialized in gay clients and businesses, at a time it was not fashionable to be openly gay, even in San Francisco. I enjoyed promoting unusual clients. David the Matchmater's ads caught my attention, and I contacted him. I felt I could help promote his business in both gay and non-gay media. I had several stints as his PR guru, starting in 1977. He advertised on my TV Gay Sports Show ( really a radio show on Viacom cable channel 6). I also got him to advertise in various gay sport leagues' programs. Over the years I was able to introduce him in an article in the Advocate (national gay newspaper) and in a San Francisco Examiner feature story. David was the first openly gay business in San Francisco to advertise in the personal columns of both the Chronicle and the Examiner. He was the first gay business to advertise nationally in the Yellow Pages. I also placed him in several timely mentions in Herb Caen's gossip column in the Chronicle. In 1977 he donated 6 annual memberships to the Bay Area's PBS/KQED TV Auction, for a PBS fund raiser-- another gay first in the nation. In the Summer of 1980 I placed David on one of the first gay stories originating from San Francisco on the new CNN network. The same year I contacted Phil Donahue and he flew several of David's clients and myself to Chicago to be on his ToDAY SHOW segment. The response was so great that David began to get inquiries from all over the country prompting him to open offices in San Diego and West Hollywood.

Now 85, David resides in San Diego and has retired from the match-mating game. He writes about show business and does restaurants reviews for the Presidio Sentinel Newspaper. He keeps himself busy going to plays and movies and dining out several nights a week,and has a cat named Samantha. He was a one-of-a-kind gay original. I am sure many of the men he matched were lucky to have used his service and I'm certain many of them are still together today.

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