TopBilled

TCM spotlight on 'gay hollywood'-- June 2017

243 posts in this topic

Yes, I am very interested in the wraparounds, too.  How honest are they going to be?  How truthful?  Are we just going to get Hollywood ****?   I am looking forward to the William Haines flick, among other things.  I've seen him in a couple of movies and he's quite funny and charming.

 

As for Rachel, Rachel I didn't see it this time around but I've seen it before. It's a product of its time.  I think I was in college when it first came out.  I wanted Rachel to let her hair loose and spread her wings more.  Be free, girlfriend!  There are worse things than being single at 35.  It's unfortunate we can't talk to Joanne Woodward about it.  A couple of months ago I read/heard she has dementia, sadly.

Edited by TCMModerator1
Edited For Language
  • Like 2

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

As for Rachel, Rachel I didn't see it this time around but I've seen it before. It's a product of its time.  I think I was in college when it first came out.  I wanted Rachel to let her hair loose and spread her wings more.  Be free, girlfriend!  There are worse things than being single at 35.  It's unfortunate we can't talk to Joanne Woodward about it.  A couple of months ago I read/heard she has dementia, sadly.

 

Rachel was lucky in that she wasn't a "fat ugly man" as even older Ernest Borgnine in Marty kept calling himself. On the plus side, his mommy was much nicer than hers.

  • Like 2

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

Rachel was lucky in that she wasn't a "fat ugly man" as even older Ernest Borgnine in Marty kept calling himself. On the plus side, his mommy was much nicer than hers.

Marty just needed to meet a nice bear.... ;)

  • Like 3

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

Marty just needed to meet a nice bear.... ;)

Careful. The mere suggestion that there were gay men in Marty's situation (being bombarded with questions about getting married) caused a huge uproar on these boards a few years back and may even have explained why the Hot Topics forum went bye-bye, to make it go away. Endless variations of "How dare you say Marty was gay?", even though nobody ever did. Fun times.

  • Like 3

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

Careful. The mere suggestion that there were gay men in Marty's situation (being bombarded with questions about getting married) caused a huge uproar on these boards a few years back and may even have explained why the Hot Topics forum went bye-bye, to make it go away. Endless variations of "How dare you say Marty was gay?", even though nobody ever did. Fun times.

LOL oh yes I remember it well

  • Like 1

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

After all, Borgnine worked hard to keep Frankie separated from Monty in From Here to Eternity by imposing his own style of... um... abuse.

  • Like 1

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

I was watching the clip from "Wonder Bar" in which the two gay men dance together and it made me wonder if there was no code would gay characters have become more open in mainstream movies sooner- who knows the Hollywood film history that never was?

  • Like 3

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

Very good question.  I would like to think Hollywood would have been more open and enlightened but the stigma against homosexuality in much of "the real world" may have prevented it.  Would portrayals fall along the lines of African Americans in the movies?  Stereotypes in the 30's and 40's, a little more diverse and empathetic after WW2 and in the 50's and 60's?  For all the talk about how "liberal" Hollywood is, it's still a pretty conservative place when it comes to subject matter and not wanting to offend the moviegoing public, although every now and then there is a breakthrough of sorts especially in independent film.

  • Like 3

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

Very good question.  I would like to think Hollywood would have been more open and enlightened but the stigma against homosexuality in much of "the real world" may have prevented it.  Would portrayals fall along the lines of African Americans in the movies?  Stereotypes in the 30's and 40's, a little more diverse and empathetic after WW2 and in the 50's and 60's?  For all the talk about how "liberal" Hollywood is, it's still a pretty conservative place when it comes to subject matter and not wanting to offend the moviegoing public, although every now and then there is a breakthrough of sorts especially in independent film.

Yes I agree "liberal" Hollywood is still a conservative industry town and gay character even with out the code restrictions would have been used as in that clip for shocking and humorous purposes.- but still if gay characters had not been banned would some trail blazing classic era director/ producer might have given us a more real view of the homosexual experience specially in the post war era

  • Like 1

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

It's possible, jaragon.  Does anyone think that CROSSFIRE  would have followed the THE BRICK FOXHOLE (its source novel by Richard Brooks) and have the murdered character be gay, like in the novel, instead of Jewish?

  • Like 1

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

An actor who had to be closeted in order to get work was Richard Deacon.  He did several films for Disney, who would never have hired him if they suspected he was gay.

 

the-gnome-mobile-tc.jpg

  • Like 1

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

Does anyone think that CROSSFIRE  would have followed the THE BRICK FOXHOLE (its source novel by Richard Brooks) and have the murdered character be gay, like in the novel, instead of Jewish?

 

I thought about this film when I was reading earlier responses in the thread. Not only was the production code strongly enforced in 1947, but also we had liberal artists (producers, directors, writers and actors) threatened with blacklisting. Some of the content in films that was technically not in violation of the code (like pro-Russian sentiment) was now targeted. Many of the people who worked on CROSSFIRE were already under investigation by the House committee. So if they had insisted on using a gay storyline, it would have pulled the noose tighter around their necks-- they would have been regarded by conservatives as even more subversive, radical and dangerous to the moral fabric of America.

  • Like 2

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

An actor who had to be closeted in order to get work was Richard Deacon.  He did several films for Disney, who would never have hired him if they suspected he was gay.

 

 

It seems like a stretch saying Deacon was closeted. I'd say it was pretty obvious to everyone he was gay. Even Walt would have realized it. Desi Arnaz hired Deacon to replace Roger C. Carmel on the second season of The Mothers-in-Law. Deacon played Kaye Ballard's husband and had no chemistry with her. But Deacon didn't make waves and he was someone they could count on to be professional and get the job done. Deacon had a long screen career because he was a team player and knew how to deliver a line to get laughs; his success had little to do with masking his sexual orientation.

  • Like 1

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

It seems like a stretch saying Deacon was closeted. I'd say it was pretty obvious to everyone he was gay. Even Walt would have realized it. Desi Arnaz hired Deacon to replace Roger C. Carmel on the second season of The Mothers-in-Law. Deacon played Kaye Ballard's husband and had no chemistry with her. But Deacon didn't make waves and he was someone they could count on to be professional and get the job done. Deacon had a long screen career because he was a team player and knew how to deliver a line to get laughs; his success had little to do with masking his sexual orientation.

He was also a character actor not a romantic leading man

  • Like 1

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

He was also a character actor not a romantic leading man

 

Right. So he was not expected to exude a conventional sort of sex appeal.

  • Like 1

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

I especially liked his fussy Franklyn Pangborn-ish role in About Time (1961), assistant to "King" Les Tremaine of the Planet Q. This was the last of the four (out of nine total) Bell Science shows that were produced on the Warner Brothers lot, also featuring my all-time favorite "square" Frank Baxter.

  • Like 1

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

It seems like a stretch saying Deacon was closeted. I'd say it was pretty obvious to everyone he was gay. Even Walt would have realized it. Desi Arnaz hired Deacon to replace Roger C. Carmel on the second season of The Mothers-in-Law. Deacon played Kaye Ballard's husband and had no chemistry with her. But Deacon didn't make waves and he was someone they could count on to be professional and get the job done. Deacon had a long screen career because he was a team player and knew how to deliver a line to get laughs; his success had little to do with masking his sexual orientation.

 

Back then and stretching even further back to the 1920s and '30s, the popular catch phrase in Hollywood and Beverly Hills was "I don't care what you do behind closed doors as long as it doesn't frighten the horses". Somebody can correct me here on the exact wording.

 

Even though Washington D.C. was cracking down on gays working in government positions by 1953 (never mind what either Roy Cohn or J. Edgar Hoover did behind closed doors), all Hollywood was worried about were the tabloids. Yet there was so much "negotiating" with money involved, so it wasn't like you could NOT hide anything you wanted to a.k.a. Rock Hudson.

 

What happened in Tommy Kirk's case, I think, was that he was more open about being gay in 1965. That didn't please "Uncle" Walt. Ironically his most notorious film, Mars Needs Women (a non-Disney film he had to make later to make any kind of money) was filmed quickly the very week "Uncle" died (in December 1966). I think the title summed up the Disney/Tommy dilemma in a nutshell. Mars... and "Uncle" Walt... needed women more than Tommy did.

 

Tommy would be an entertaining guest to sit down with Ben. He could tell us the full story.

 

Going a bit off topic, I was watching an old documentary on Bewitched. The years just before and after Stonewall weren't all that bad if you were an actor/actress who could stay discrete. The long running joke is that you favor I Dream Of Jeannie over Bewitched only if you are strictly heterosexual with no "gay" sensibility and likely male due to all of the pre-Lib "yes master" talk. Don't get me wrong, I loved Larry Hagman and Barbara Eden. Yet you favor the other show because it was simply "fabulous" with its many colorful and, more often than not, closeted stars. Well... not Elizabeth Montgomery and the first Darrin, Dick York (father of too many kids to count). Agnes Moorehead was likely bisexual, since she was married for only a short time and had closer-than-close girlfriends. Many others like Dick Sargent, Maurice Evans and Paul Lynn certainly weren't into women at all and didn't even pretend to be. I personally favored Bewitched over Jeannie simply because it was so much funnier and creative.

  • Like 1

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

What happened in Tommy Kirk's case, I think, was that he was more open about being gay in 1965. 

 

Yes, I think this is the key difference. It was a fundamental shift in attitude. A younger generation gay man (Kirk) didn't approach it in the same way that an older generation gay man did (Deacon). It wasn't that they were gay, it's how gay they were in public that might affect box office or TV ratings.

 

Incidentally, there are many episodes of the daytime soap Edge of Night on YouTube. I never watched the show when I was younger (I watched other soaps on another network). As I've been looking at these episodes and reading up on the actors, I've been surprised by how many of them were gay. Obviously the casting director (who might have been gay) and the show's producers (who might have been gay) had no trouble hiring them.

 

All they had to do was successfully perpetuate the double standard, meaning they would play hetero romantic ideals for the straight female audience and provide eye candy for the gay male audience. One of the actors who had a five year run on the show was actually a gay porn star. He used a different stage name for the adult films he made. Again, the producers (and I would imagine the network and sponsors) had no problem with his other life away from the show. And in those days before the internet, it probably was easier to maintain the double standard.

 

A soap magazine from that era was not going to mention the gay films, but it also didn't have to create a girlfriend for the actor either. So it's not that they were closeted, it's just that certain things were emphasized or de-emphasized when it came to various types of publicity. With Tommy Kirk in the 60s, he wanted greater control over what was emphasized/publicized, and that was something his bosses wouldn't allow. Again, the problem wasn't being gay, it was the fact he wouldn't play the game "correctly."

  • Like 3

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

Yes, I think this is the key difference. It was a fundamental shift in attitude. A younger generation gay man (Kirk) didn't approach it in the same way that an older generation gay man did (Deacon). It wasn't that they were gay, it's how gay they were in public that might affect box office or TV ratings.

 

Incidentally, there are many episodes of the daytime soap Edge of Night on YouTube. I never watched the show when I was younger (I watched other soaps on another network). As I've been looking at these episodes and reading up on the actors, I've been surprised by how many of them were gay. Obviously the casting director (who might have been gay) and the show's producers (who might have been gay) had no trouble hiring them.

 

All they had to do was successfully perpetuate the double standard, meaning they would play hetero romantic ideals for the straight female audience and provide eye candy for the gay male audience. One of the actors who had a five year run on the show was actually a gay porn star. He used a different stage name for the adult films he made. Again, the producers (and I would imagine the network and sponsors) had no problem with his other life away from the show. And in those days before the internet, it probably was easier to maintain the double standard.

 

A soap magazine from that era was not going to mention the gay films, but it also didn't have to create a girlfriend for the actor either. So it's not that they were closeted, it's just that certain things were emphasized or de-emphasized when it came to various types of publicity. With Tommy Kirk in the 60s, he wanted greater control over what was emphasized/publicized, and that was something his bosses wouldn't allow. Again, the problem wasn't being gay, it was the fact he wouldn't play the game "correctly."

Tommy Kirk was an enormous talent - in touch with his mind and heart - he would not play "the game", that's all.

 

But, in firing him, Walt Disney did realize his mistake and did invite him back to the studio.

 

Ironically, the low-budget flicks that he did make are all "elevated" by his charm, charisma and talent.

 

He should write an autobiography.

 

He was a very courageous young man.

 

But he did step out of "the limelight" - and perhaps he'd rather stay that way.  

  • Like 2

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

Can anybody educate me on what happened with Tommy Kirk?  I do remember him from the Disney flicks I saw as a kid.  I never saw the Mars flick but I remember when it came out.

 

I thought BEWITCHED  was much funnier than JEANNIE.  As an adult I learned that several in the cast were gay (or alleged to be gay) and I thought that it must have been a fun set to work on.  Maybe some of the cast  members could just be themselves and that would be a freeing experience.

 

I never watched EDGE OF NIGHT but I've read that it was considered one of the best soaps ever.  I have fallen out of the soap habit but used to watch Y&R and B&B all the time.  Soaps used to be timely with some issues, like Erica's abortion on AMC and then got cold feet later on so any female who got pregnant and didn't want the baby wouldn't get an abortion but would miss-carry (usually a convenient fall or something) instead.  The last time I watched, soaps did not do a particularly good job with gay issues or gay representation.  For example, B&B takes place in LA's fashion industry yet nobody's gay.  Go figure...

  • Like 1

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

Thanks for the link to the Tommy Kirk info, Jlewis.  Interesting.  It seems it was the substance abuse that really derailed Tommy's acting career, not his sexuality.  

  • Like 1

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

Can anybody educate me on what happened with Tommy Kirk?  I do remember him from the Disney flicks I saw as a kid.  I never saw the Mars flick but I remember when it came out.

 

I thought BEWITCHED  was much funnier than JEANNIE.  As an adult I learned that several in the cast were gay (or alleged to be gay) and I thought that it must have been a fun set to work on.  Maybe some of the cast  members could just be themselves and that would be a freeing experience.

 

I never watched EDGE OF NIGHT but I've read that it was considered one of the best soaps ever.  I have fallen out of the soap habit but used to watch Y&R and B&B all the time.  Soaps used to be timely with some issues, like Erica's abortion on AMC and then got cold feet later on so any female who got pregnant and didn't want the baby wouldn't get an abortion but would miss-carry (usually a convenient fall or something) instead.  The last time I watched, soaps did not do a particularly good job with gay issues or gay representation.  For example, B&B takes place in LA's fashion industry yet nobody's gay.  Go figure...

"Days Of Our Lives" made daytime history when two of its' gay characters met, fell in love and got married.

 

The wedding ceremony took place over a four-day period.

 

The characters were Will Horton and Sonny Kiriakis.

 

DAYS-LIVES-GAY-WEDDING.jpg

  • Like 2

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

It seems like a stretch saying Deacon was closeted. I'd say it was pretty obvious to everyone he was gay. Even Walt would have realized it. Desi Arnaz hired Deacon to replace Roger C. Carmel on the second season of The Mothers-in-Law. Deacon played Kaye Ballard's husband and had no chemistry with her. But Deacon didn't make waves and he was someone they could count on to be professional and get the job done. Deacon had a long screen career because he was a team player and knew how to deliver a line to get laughs; his success had little to do with masking his sexual orientation.

 

I think that may be a bit of hindsight. Here's one of several sources -- a fascinating book about Disney:

 

Tinker Belles and Evil Queens: The Walt Disney Company from the Inside Out (NYU), by Sean Griffin.

 

"A number of actors and actresses who were closeted homosexuals worked on Disney films throughout the years -- Richard Deacon, Cesar Romero, Sal Mineo, Nancy Culp, Patsy Kelly. Yet it is precisely their secretiveness that kept them employed both at Disney and in Hollywood at large. For example, it is rumoured that Carlton Carpenter was originally considered for the role of Davy Crockett's companion but was eventually passed over because executives had heard that he might be homosexual."

  • Like 3

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

Create an account or sign in to comment

You need to be a member in order to leave a comment

Create an account

Sign up for a new account in our community. It's easy!

Register a new account

Sign in

Already have an account? Sign in here.

Sign In Now

New Members:

Register Here

Learn more about the new message boards:

FAQ

Having problems?

Contact Us