Jan 28, 2013

The Boys of Lassie 2: Tommy Rettig



A major child star of the 1950s era, Tommy Rettig appeared alongside some of the greats of cinema, including Jimmy Stuart (Jackpot), Mickey Rooney (The Strip), Eve Arden (The Lady Wants Mink), Marilyn Monroe (The River of No Return), and Van Heflin (The Raid). His heroism and frequent shirtless shots made him the first crush of many gay Boomer boys. Boomer boys.










Years before Jon Provost created the iconic Lassie image of cherubic blond boy in need of constant saving, 14-year old Tommy started hanging out with the collie (1954-57).  Jeff Miller (Tommy) was a slim, handsome teenager who didn't fall into many wells; instead, his plotlines often involved school, freinds, and sports. He was the first crush of many gay










Other than  was most famous for the surreal 5,000 Fingers of Dr. T (1953), in which evil piano teacher Dr. T (Hans Conreid) plans to marry the unsuspecting mom of Bartholomew Collins (Tommy), and has the ultimate plot of forcing 500 boys to play his gigantic piano.  Bartholomew and the heroic plumber, Mr. Zabladowski (Peter Lind Hayes) work together to save them both.  It was an early protest against conformity, including heterosexist marriage-and-children.


Like Jon Provost, Tommy found his post-Lassie acting career complicated by type-casting.  He guest-starred in many tv series, including Wagon Train, Death Valley Days, Mr. Novak, The Fugitive, and The Little Hobo.  He starred in the teen soap Never Too Young as Tony Dow's best friend JoJo (1966). But by the late 1960s, even bit parts dried up.

In the 1970s he tried several careers, including marijuana farming, before finding his niche as a computer database specialist, creating important innovations in DBase and FoxPro.  He died in 1996.