While living in Hollywood, California, in the early 1970s, Rick Mechtly discover Vito Russo's column in the New York newspaper, GAY. Enthralled by Russo's pithy remarks, Mechtly started to assemble a collection of lesbian, gay, bisexual, and transgender film related articles, columns, and reviews. After GAY folded, Mechtly wrote the editor, Jack Nichols, asking him to forward a letter to Russo. Russo contacted Mechtly in 1978 and they briefly chatted about Mechtly's preservation of Russo's columns. Russo insisted that Mechtly had the beginnings of a collection and suggested he make himself the "community's clipper." For more obscure clippings, Russo put him in touch with Peter Lowry, founder of the New York City Gay Film Festival, and Brenda Webb, founder of the Chicago Gay Film Festival.
In 1981 Russo suggested that Mechtly share some of his oldest clippings with Larry Horne. Horne and others at the University of California, Los Angeles (UCLA) were planning the first Los Angeles International Gay & Lesbian Film & Video Festival, which later became known as Outfest. In 1987 Mechtly and Horne finally met at the festival.
In early 1988 Mechtly contacted Russo, inquiring about his inspiration for gay film writing. As he suspected, Russo was greatly influenced by Jack Babuscio, a writer for London’s Gay Times. Mechtly offered to collect the (recently deceased) Babuscio's columns, in their entirety, for Russo. Of the nearly ninety columns, Mechtly already possessed three dozen. From there, he sought help from ONE National Gay & Lesbian Archives, where another three dozen columns were uncovered. And at the recommendation of Horne, he contacted Stephen Bourne from the British Film Institute in London. Bourne assisted Mechtly in recovering the remaining columns. Upon receiving this gift, Russo called Mechtly to express his gratitude for the Babuscio collection.
Edited from Rick Mechley's text by Stacy Syroka