Feb 15, 2013

The Persuaders: The Last of the Gay Swinger Detectives

Coming nearly a decade after the gay swinger bachelor detective fad that gave us everything from 77 Sunset Strip to Hawaiian Eye, The Persuaders! (1971-72) brought together two detective traditions by pairing multimillionaire playboys from both sides of the Atlantic.

The tough, gritty American Danny Wilde was raised on the mean streets before making his fortune (played by Tony Curtis, the third choice after Glenn Ford and gay actor Rock Hudson).

His boyfriend was Lord Brett Sinclair, an Oxford-educated British aristocrat (Roger Moore, previously The Saint, soon to become the quintessential 1970s James Bond).


The two met on the French Riviera, hated each other on sight, and destroyed a hotel bar with their fistfight. But the savvy judge Fulton (Lawrence Naismith) sentenced them to work together solving one of his cases, and soon they realized that they made a great team.

Few American Boomers remember the series; only 24 episodes were made, far fewer than American audiences expected, and it aired on Saturday nights opposite the similarly-themed Mission: Impossible, a veritable death sentence. However, it was very popular in Europe, where the titles hinted at homoromance: Amicably Yours, The Partners, The Two.






Unfortunately, there were a lot of girls around, a new damsel in distress in every episode.  According to Wikipedia, "a beautiful girl" (Ep. 1), "a beautiful aristocrat" (Ep. 3), "a beautiful dancer" (Ep. 5), "a beautiful daughter" (Ep. 9), "a string of beautiful girls" (Ep. 13), "a beautiful photographer" (Ep. 17), "a lovely granddaughter" (Ep. 22), "a beautiful heiress" (Ep. 23), and "a beautiful ingenue" (Ep. 24).

With all that pulchritude around, it's amazing that any homoromance managed to shine through, but in Danny and Brett were one of the most physically affectionate of the swinger bachelor couples, always hugging, walking arm in arm, reclining against each other.  One would be kissing a girl, and the other would be lying expectantly at his feet.  It almost made up for the almost complete lack of my-hero rescues.