Old TV (not transvestites) homosexuality

The oldest TV show that I remember seeing that had an episode on homesexuality was either the Jeffersons (the episode where George’s friend had a sex change) or Soap (Billy Crystal’s character was gay). The question comes now to what is the oldest television show that mentioned homosexuality, had an episode dealing with homosexuality, or had a main character that was a homosexual?


There was a show called Hot L Baltimore earlier in the seventies - 1975 - that had a gay couple as regular characters.
Also one of Archie Bunker’s friends - Steve, I think - was gay, but I don’t know what year that show may have aired. He wasn’t a regular.

Didn’t Edith have a friend or relative who was a cross-dresser on “All in the Family”?

Speaking of which, didn’t you, Gilligan, dress up like a female native to appease the headhunters on at least one occasion?

Yes I became “Gilliana” for King Killiwani.

Milton Berle was probably the first TV on TV. But let’s not confuse cross-dressing with homosexuality.

Here’s a related question (based on the recent Scooby Doo thread); Was Waylan Smithers the first homosexual cartoon character?

I think there was a gay or lesbian character on Maude, but I may be imagining things. I don’t really remember much about the show.

As far as out cartoon characters? hmmm. There are not many. Waylan Smithers comes pretty close. I think Bugs Bunny is not only a drag queen but bisexual. He always dresses up as a girl and kisses the male villains. I can think of one specific example where he is “Miss Scarlet” and Yosemite Sam is chasing after him. However, Bugs’s true sexuality I think is asexuality because afterall he is a cartoon and the issue is never really brought to light as it is with Waylan.

I do remember some instances in All in the Family, but I can not think who it was or why he was there. I think Bentley in the Jeffersons was also gay. What about Monroe from “Too Close for Comfort”? I believe his sexuality was brought up once when the two girls tried to rape him; although, I can not remember the specifics with this one. I think he was more confused than gay though.

Going back to the 60s, there was an episode of “Get Smart” where 99 hired a particularly swishy interior decorator (played by Jack Cassidy, I think). Max ends up picking a fight with him and gets his clock cleaned. Turns out that the decorator is an ex-marine and has to act gay to match the stereotype expected by his customers.

There was a TV movie, I want to say early '70s with Hal Holbrook. I think it was called That Certain Summer or That One Summer or something like that. As far as series TV goes, I think the first mention may have been on Marcus Welby or perhaps Medical Center (they were on during the same time frame.) But I’m very sure the subject was broached in a dramatic context several years before Hot L Baltimore and Soap played it for laughs.

I remember watching a TV series with a possibly gay character named Sidney when I was a kid. A quick web search finds: “Gay and Lesbian Milestones on TV” at http://www.religioustolerance.org/hom_medi.htm , which mentions: That Certain Summer (first item on the list), 1972, with Hal Holbrook and Martin Sheen; first gay couple in * Hot l Baltimore* in 1975 and Billy Crystal in Soap in 1977, all of which were mentioned here.

The show I was thinking of:

I remember “Love, Sidney”! I loved that show! It was with Tony Randall and Swoosie Kurtz. I guess they never specifically said he was gay, but the news about the show was so big that everyone kind of knew it when they were watching. At least, I surely did, and I was just in high school. It was basically Tony Randall doing his Felix Unger shtick with a female roomate instead of Oscar.

On Mary Tyler Moore in a very early episode, Phyllis’s brother was gay.

Also Milton Berle’s cross dressing was only for comedic effect. He obviously made no effort to pull off the effect other than for laughs.

The Skipper, Gilligan, and the Professor. With Mary Ann and Ginger stranded with you and all that time, you would’ve needed an aircraft carrier to evacuate all the castaways and their children if those three guys were straight. :slight_smile:

“…send lawyers, guns, and money…”

 Warren Zevon

Actually we were sterilized by the radioactive vegetables we grew from that crate of seeds I caught in the lagoon. This solved the problem of having no birth control methods.

On the old TV show “Medical Center,” one of the guest-starring characters came out on the program declaring “because I am a homosexual.” I never saw the actual episode, only the preview for the upcoming program.

What is “Medical Center”?

Medical Center debuted in the late '60’s, I think, but was on thru the early '70’s. Sort of an “ER,” but without all the commotion.

Actually, the first homosexual TV character was Ward Cleaver. They only let this out on one show. June was going to a PTA meeting, or something like that, and asked Ward if he wanted to go along. His response was “No thanks. I think I’ll stay here with the boys and pack some fudge.”

“The large print givith, and the small print taketh away.”
Tom Waites, “Step Right Up”

I still say the Skipper and Gilligan were homophobic. I mean they slept completely clothed. What kind of sailors do that? They sleep in their underwear.


What does that mean pack some fudge?