Aug 2, 2012

The Bob Cummings Show: Uncle Bob and Chuck

Dwayne Hickman (right) of The Many Loves of Dobie Gillis and 1960s beach movies started his tv career as Chuck, a high school boy who lives with his widowed mother and sleazy photographer uncle Bob (former film noir star Bob Cummings) in Love That Bob (1955-1959), aka The Bob Cummings Show. 

At first Chuck is interested in hot rods and rock music but not girls, so Uncle Bob tries to instill in him an appreciation of "the important things in life."  Since Bob's job involves drooling over, gaping at, and sometimes photographing girls, he's something of an expert on girl-craziness, and he has spent many episodes promoting heterosexual desire among gay-coded colleagues: his butch lesbian secretary (Ann B. Davis, later  Brady Bunch); a butch lesbian buddy (Nancy Kulp, later on The Beverly Hillbillies); and a "girl-shy" male buddy (King Donovan).

Bob's overenthusiastic attempts to induce girl-craziness in Chuck looks unconfortably like an attempt to displace his own homoerotic attraction.  Even the teen magazines seemed to notice, treating the two as a couple of "bachelors out on the town."  The December 1957 issue of Teen shows Bob and Chuck slurping ice cream sundaeas, gazing into each other's eyes while wearing matching effeminate fur coats.

Eventually Chuck went off to college, his girl-craziness still tentative, in spite of Uncle Bob's constant girl-ogling, and Dwayne Hickman went off to play high schooler Dobie Gillis.