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The Daily Agenda for Thursday, November 1

Jim Burroway

November 1st, 2012

Pride Celebration This Weekend: Palm Springs, CA.

AIDS Walk This Weekend: San Luis Obispo, CA.

Other Events This Weekend: Fall Diversity, Eureka Springs, AR; Side By Side LGBT International Film Festival, St. Petersburg, Russia.

Hal Holbrook and Martin Sheen

ABC Broadcasts “That Certain Summer”: 1972. ABC television’s Wednesday night broadcast of the Movie of the Week broke refreshing new ground when it aired “That Certain Summer,” which marked the first sympathetic portrayal of gay people on television. The made-for-TV movie portrayed a  mid-40’s divorced man who must explain his homosexuality to his 14-year-old son, Nick, who is on a visit during summer vacation. The production was written and produced by Richard Levinson and William Link, and it had been pitched to NBC first, which rejected it. “It was perfectly acceptable for Bob Hope or Johnny Carson to mince about the screen doing broad parodies of homosexual behavior,” they later observed. “But anything else, anything not derisive or played for laughs, was out of the question.” ABC picked it up instead.

Scott Jacoby as Nick

“That Certain Summer” featured Hal Holbrook as Doug Slater, the teen’s father, Martin Sheen as Gary McClain, Slater’s partner, and Scott Jacoby as Nick. None of the characters fell into stereotype. In fact the two men were actually seen touching and neither of them died in the end. The New York Times’ John O’Connor said that the cast delivered “some of the most impressive and sensitive acting ever contributed ot television.” It would go on to receive Emmy nominations, with Scott Jacoby picking up the award for Best Actor in a Supporting Role in Drama for his portrayal of Nick. It also won a Golden Globe for Best Movie Made for TV.

But not everyone thought the movie was so wonderful. Sacramento’s KOVR received 400 phone calls, including a bomb threat, in protest. The calls began as early as 10:00 a.m. on the morning before the film aired. But station manager Bill Lange said that most of the calls on Thursday were favorable. That seems to have been the pattern across the country. ABC  hired extra operators to handle an anticipated avalanche of angry phone calls, but the calls never materialized.

If you know of something that belongs on the agenda, please send it here. Don’t forget to include the basics: who, what, when, where, and URL (if available).

And feel free to consider this your open thread for the day. What’s happening in your world?



G.I. Joe
November 1st, 2012 | LINK

I actually saw That Certain Summer a few years ago, and I’m not sure you could say it was THAT positive. Maybe that’s why they didn’t get that many phone calls afterward.

The father keeps apologizing for being a pervert, and comes across as a gutless coward who’s ready to abandon his family to live a lifestyle he knows is wrong. The son on the other hands reacts very very badly to the news his father is living with a man, and NOBODY (not the mother, not the policemen, and not even the father!) tells him he should respect his dad no matter what etc.

Everybody’s acting like being with a man is basically the worst thing this father could do, and look how it’s wreaking havoc on his son’s life.

Indeed, nobody commits suicide at the end, but I wouldn’t go as far as to say this movie is a positive portrayal either.

November 1st, 2012 | LINK

I saw “That Certain Summer” when it first aired. I was 14. I was at that time beginning to realize I might be “different.” This film was helpful to me in my coming out process.

It was broadcast only 3 years after Stonewall and 4 years before I came out. In Atlanta, where I lived, it was broadcast late at night because the subject matter was deemed unsuitable for children. My mom was not entirely happy with me watching it, but mostly because it was on so late. She did not turn off the TV.

Hope Lange, as I recall, played the mom/ex-wife, and was also terrific in the role.

By today’s standards of “positive,” it is not very advanced. By 1972 standards, it was light years ahead.

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