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Monday, May 11, 2015

Boy kisses boy in 1961 Dobie Gillis TV show

boy kisses boy in 1961 Dobie Gillis TV show

PHOTO: Prior to the 1970's any reference to homosexuality was routinely censored by Hollywood movie and television producers for being obscene or disgusting to mainstream Americans, which encouraged subversive script writers to play the game of seeing what gay references they could slip past the censors, such as the above boy kissing another boy under the narrative guise of depicting brotherly love to his "big brother" guide assigned to him for Freshman Orientation at the fictional S. Peter Pryor Junior College in the 1961 TV Show episode, "The Ruptured Duck," of "The Many Lives of Dobbie Gillis," Season 3, Episode 1. The script writers, as cover, wrote the scene as a laugh line joke, but I am sure this scene resonated with many young gay men who had crush on the characters. The boy being kissed reacts in disgust and asks, "Are you some kind of nut?" To which the boy leaning in to do the kiss replies, "No, I'm just a normal American Boy." The first boy then asserts, "I think you got me a little mixed up!" All of these phrases were common code words for I'm not gay. A female star of this show was a closeted lesbian and so there were probably other gay people working on the show. (See previous post Closeted lesbian in 1961 TV show rejected for being too butch by CBS TV executive (3/16/15))

The boy on boy kissing scene was aired at the start of the third season when the Dobbie and his friend Maynard had just been honorably discharged from the U.S. Army where they had spent the previous season doing what all young men were required to do back then -- serve the compulsory military draft after graduating from High School, which had been the subject of the first season of the show. Ironically, their high school teacher coincidentally decided to leave the "starvation wages" of a high school teacher to get a "living wage" teaching at the nearby Junior College, which "accepted anyone with a high school diploma." I was curious if there was a gay reference in the Junior College name (the S. for suck?) and after a little bit of Googling, I found a reference to an Australian cyclist Peter Pryor (25 February 1930 -- 19 February 2005) . He competed in three events at the 1952 Summer Olympics and I am sure he was good looking and perhaps one of the shows script writers loved him -- or pehaps there is some other in-joke that has been lost to history.