WFMU’s Profile of the Oscar Streaker

Turns out he was murdered in 1979 by drug dealers. (NSFW)

Robert Opel (sometimes Opal) was born completely naked on October 23rd, 1939. He was thirty-three years old when he crashed the gate of the Oscars. Moustached, long-haired, flashing the peace sign – he was a member of the fleeting Los Angeles hippy scene and a key figure in the burgeoning gay liberation movement of the early nineteen seventies. Opel was a mover and a shaker (spare me your obvious jokes) in underground art movements on both coasts. His Oscar stunt gave him immense publicity and in art circles, strange as it might seem, a significant amount of credibility.

Opel’s streaking tendencies had started several months prior to the Oscar ceremonies. He had appeared naked, on more than one occasion, at Los Angeles City Council meetings. The purpose was to protest the City Council’s plan to place a ban on nudity at local beaches. He stood with his balls strategically swaying in front of the seated Los Angeles Police Chief Ed Davis’ face. “I thought the Council should see what an actual nude person looks like,” he said. When he appeared at his court trial after being arrested for the display, he showed up dressed as Uncle Sam. He was sentenced to four months in prison for public lewdness (later diminished to probation). A 1979 San Francisco Chronicle profile spoke of his advocacy for “sexual freedom.” The article stated, “He wanted people to be absolutely free sexually … He saw sexual repression everywhere. And he believed it was politically motivated …”