Sep 10, 2012

Ricky/Rick Schroder

Ricky Schroeder was the iconic "cute kid" of the 1980s.  With his cherubic round face, baby blue eyes, and dimpled cheeks, he looked like a Campbell's Soup kid, or Richie Rich before his muscle spurt -- perfect for heart-wrenching roles on movies-of-the-week like Something So Right and A Reason to Live.

 In 1982, at age 12, Ricky was cast as a poor little rich boy on Silver Spoons -- his dad (Joel Higgins) is the fabulously wealthy owner of a toy company, so they live in a mansion that looks like a giant toy store.  Ricky has a series of same-sex chums, many of whom went on to teen idol careers  -- Anthony Starke, Jason Bateman as a bad boy, Billy Jacoby as another bad boy, Corky Pigeon as a nerd, Bobby Fite as a cowboy, and finally Alfonso Ribeiro, who grew into a bodybuilding hunk.

By 1987, Ricky was 17, muscular, and no longer cherubic, so Silver Spoons ended. Ricky renamed himself Rick, dropped the "e" from his last name (it merely signifies an umlaut in German), and started a massive re-invention campaign.

No more rich kids, nor more sophisticates.  If the role didn't require a Southern accent, he wasn't interested.  He played cowboys, country boys, rednecks,killers, and sports stars.  He was shirtless or sometimes completely nude in Too Young the Hero (1988), Across the Tracks (1991), and lots more.

And he did a substantial amount of buddy-bonding,

Rick has remained very active in moves and on tv.  In 2008 he made headlines by playing what was probably the first openly gay character on a tv science fiction series, Major Bill Keene on  The Andromeda Strain.

Though he is a long-term Republican, a member of the NRA, and a Mormon, three groups not known for their gay-friendliness, Rick is not at all homophobic.


  1. Although I loved Jason Bateman on the show, I spent many nights in the early 1980s fantasizing about Bobby Fite. He looked like a 12yo Brad Pitt (before anyone had ever heard of Brad Pitt) and his Texas accent and skin-tight wranglers drove me wild. Ricky Schroeder did absolutely nothing for me at all, but I remember one episode where Ricky has to dress up as a girl (it's a long story) and Bobby Fite's character finds him so irresistible that he ignores the girl he's brought to the party and begins making a series of sexual advances for Ricky (as a gay kid having had absolutely no representation in mainstream culture whatsoever, this was my ideal fantasy brought to life). If you haven't seen it, you can find it on YouTube by searching "Silver Spoons Season 1 Episode 14 The Most Beautiful Girl in the World". Part 2 is where the action begins, but I highly recommend starting with Part 1 for the full experience (and backstory as to how/why he's dressed as a girl).

    I also seem to recall a 'Happy Days' episode which was similar. Richie and Potsie are trying to join a fraternity (or something like that) and must go to a dance in drag. The Fonz (who somehow doesn't recognize them) becomes smitten and starts putting the moves on Richie. Apparently back in the 1970s and 1980s this type of homoerotic scenario was the only one deemed appropriate for children and was extremely hot stuff as far as I was concerned.

  2. thanks, for your comments, I am gonna look up that episode. I was the world's biggest Ricky Schroder fan as a child and now follow him on facebook. I have seen every episode now I am gonna go back and look at this one.


No comments that use abusive or vulgar language or point out that a character is Not Wearing a Sign.