Jan 14, 2013

Toddler TV

Adults think that gayness is something that "happens" to you late in life, after a childhood of girls mooning over teen idols and boys grinning at the girl next door. But we know that they are wrong.  In every kindergarten classroom, in every preschool classroom, there are some boys who gaze at girls, and some boys who gaze at boys.

But what are they looking at?  Is their desire erotic, romantic, or something else entirely, something that we have forgotten as adults?  When gay boys watched Blue's Clues (1996-2006), did they think of Steve Burns as a cool big brother, or as a hot fantasy boyfriend with killer biceps?

When they watched Barney and Friends (1992-2010), did they want to hug and kiss Michael (Brian Eppes), or did physical intimacy never enter their minds?

When I was three or four years old, there wasn't a lot of toddler tv. On Saturday morning I probably watched what the older kids watched: The Alvin Show, Tennessee Tuxedo, Underdog, Beany and Cecil.  On weekday mornings I probably watched Romper Room, with a female host, and Captain Kangaroo, with an elderly male host.  And in the early evening, there was probably Yogi Bear and The Flintstones.

I was drawn to the homodomesticity (same-sex partners living together) and to the same-sex rescues. But did I think anyone was hot?

I have very vague memories of liking The Magical Land of Allakazam (1960-64), a live action series featuring a magician (Mark Wilson actually one of the most renowned magicians of the twentieth century), his wife, and a clown. There was no homodomesticity, no rescuing.  In fact, it was somewhat heterosexist, Wilson constantly referring to his "lovely assistant."

I remember not liking the magic tricks.  You could see lots better on any tv cartoon.

But Mark Wilson was cute.

See also: Burr Tillstrom, the gay puppeteer behind Kukla, Fran, and Ollie.