Jul 6, 2013
Celeb Date #3: Good Times at the Gym
I never saw more than an occasional glimpse of Good Times, enough to know the basic premise. I liked paterfamilias James, played by John Amos, previously Gordy the Weatherman on Mary Tyler Moore, who had a solid, muscular physique.
shirtless or nude scenes, but John Amos had a blatant bulge, even by 1970s standards. He played the adult Kunta Kinte in Roots (1977), and a half-naked warrior in the sword-and-sorcery Beastmaster (1982).
And Keith (Ben Powers, below).
But I hated strutting racist stereotype JJ (Jimmie Walker), with his weird chicken-dance moves and grinning catchphrase "Dyn-O-Mite!" He was abrasive and annoying, not to mention dishonest, and, by the end of the series, a bona fide hoodlum.
Apparently no one else in the cast liked him, either. At the end of the third seasons, John Amos had complained so much to Norman Lear that he was fired, and his character killed. Then Esther Rolle left in protest at the direction the show as taking, leaving the kids to fend for themselves for two seasons.
Most of the gym members were celebrities, gay, or both, including most of Jimmie Walker's entourage, so I was shocked when he recently came out against gay marriage "on moral grounds."
John Amos was much more gay-friendly. He didn't even mind being gawked at in the shower (not because he was a celebrity -- because he had a spectacular physique).
Janet Jackson, little sister of Michael Jackson, who spent two seasons as wisecracking tot Penny before becoming a multiple Grammy winner, is a gay icon.
Ralph Carter, who is living with HIV, is apparently gay in real life.
See also: My Personal Trainer