Mar 1, 2013

Davey and Goliath: Gay Christian Allies

During the 1960s, if you happened to be too sick to go to church but not too sick to stay in bed, you were stuck watching Rocky and Bullwinkle, Totalitarian Cartoons, Wild Kingdom, or the claymation program Davey and Goliath (1961-65, with many tv specials afterwards), about a 10-year old boy who depends on God (and his talking dog) to get him out of Timmy and Lassie-style scrapes. He gets lost in a cave, trapped in an abandoned mine, falls through the ice, and so on.

He also learns God's opinions on cheating, stealing, helping others, forgiveness, obeying police officers, and being prepared to administer first aid.

My parents disapproved, because it was produced by the Lutheran Church, which was nearly Catholic.  But I was fascinated -- this was my first glimpse of a religion that didn't involve constant shrieks of "God hates everything!"

At church, the list of what God hated was endless: movies, comic books, dancing, swimming, theater, card games, tv shows about witches, science fiction.  And people: Catholics, Jews, Presbyterians, liberals, rich people, movie stars, people who don't go to church, single parents, divorcees, hippies, anti-War protesters, feminists, college professors.  But the God of Davey and Goliath was a lot more inclusive:

"The Polka Dot Tie": Davey and his friends make fun of a boy who wears a funny tie, until they realize that God doesn't reject anyone for being different.

"Blind Man's Bluff": Davey's friend doesn't like white people, until he realizes that God doesn't reject anyone for being different.

"Louder Please": Davey doesn't know how to deal with a deaf neighbor, until he realizes that God doesn't reject anyone for being different.

Besides, Davey and his friends never expressed any heterosexual interest, and they were kind of cute.

In a "queer" connection, Davey was voiced by Dick Beals, who had a long career in voiceovers (he was the voice of Speedy, the Alka-Seltzer spokesman, and the singing voice for Bobby Riha in Jack and the Beanstalk).  

Due to a hormone problem, Dick never went through puberty, allowing him to perform high-voiced roles through his life, and also marking him as a sexual outsider (he doesn't mention a sexual orientation in his autobiography).

He remained the size of a child throughout his life, but didn't let that stop him from driving a car and learning to fly an airplane.  He died at the age of 85 in 2012.

The Cartoon Network's Moral Orel (2005-2008) parodied Davey and Goliath with a world full of bitter, sadistic adults and an Orel who takes every Biblical metaphor literally.  Two gay kids are portrayed as perfectly nice, but the "moral" adults hate them.  The only really moral person in town is the lesbian who runs the local sex shop.

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