Apr 26, 2013

Second Chance: Billy Gallo and Matthew Perry

Billy Gallo's most marketable feature was his sexy Brooklyn accent, followed closely by his pretty, androgynous face and impressively muscular physique, which he displayed every chance he got.

Born in 1966, he broke into show biz when Nunzio was being filmed near his house in Brooklyn, and he begged the director for a role.  He spent the mid-1980s played streetwise teenagers in Our Family Honor, The Fall Guy, and Hill Street Blues, but gay teens really began to take notice in the fall of 1987, when the 21-year old starred on the high-concept sitcom Second Chance (1987-88).

The premise: in 2011, Charles Russell (Kiel Martin) dies in a hovercraft accident (I'm sad that we don't have hovercrafts).  St. Peter decrees that since he made all the wrong decisions in life, he must go back to 1987 to mentor his teenage self.

Going undercover as a boarder named "Time," he instantly bonds with the teenage Chazz (pre-Friends Matthew Perry), and finds himself competing with Booch (Billy Gallo), Chazz's best friend who keeps trying to pull him over to the Dark Side.

The Dark Side wins.  It offers hugs from muscular guys in leather vests.  And apples.



Both Booch and Time are obviously smitten with Chazz, and can't keep their hands off him.  The overt homoromantic love triangle astonished gay teens -- and adults.  Everyone in West Hollywood watched, right after The Golden Girls on Saturday nights.

But the intended audience of heterosexual teens didn't.  Granted, the the younger-self crushing on older-self was sort of creepy, so after a few episodes Time vanished, and the series, renamed Boys will Be Boys, was about Booch and Chazz, who moved in together.  Adam Sadowsky and Demian Slade played their friends.







That didn't work either, so in spite of the gushing articles in teen magazines and the endless shirtless and semi-nude photo shoots, the series ended in July 1988.















Matthew Perry went on to fame in Friends.  Billy Gallo continued doing comedy, with recurring roles in Life Goes On and Who's the Boss, and guest shots on Married with Children and Can't Hurry Love, before re-inventing himself as a tough guy with a gay-subtext best friend or brother: Richard Griego in Against the Law (1997), Blair Singer in Fool's Gold (1997), Alexander de Hoyos on an episode of Air America (1999).

Today his production company, Brooklyn Bridge Productions, has released several award-winning crime dramas. He is married with children in real life.