Oct 7, 2016

Who was Gay on "Salute Your Shorts"?

Salute Your Shorts (1991-1992) was one of the first teencoms on the fledgling Nickelodeon network, a sitcom for and about kids.  It was set in a never-ending summer camp, Camp Anawanna (as in "I don't wanna be here"), where a disparate group of tweens got into scrapes.  Only 26 episodes were filmed, but they were rerun constantly through the 1990s, and became a cherished childhood memory for millions of gay and straight kids.

All of the teen characters were written as heterosexual -- every program aimed at a juvenile audience, then and now, insists that no gay people exist.  But one of the male actors was gay (actually bisexual), and infused his character with a pleasantly subdued homoerotic desire that was obvious to those "in the know."

Ready to guess?

1. Eric Macarthur as "regular guy" Michael Stein (top photo).  He hasn't done a lot of acting lately, though has developed an impressive physique, which he displayed in the "nude gay flirtation" scene in the raunchy comedy Bottoms Up (2006).

2. Blake Soper (left) as his "regular guy" replacement, Ronnie Foster.  Now Blake Sennett, he's the lead guitarist for the indie rock group Rilo Kiley.

3. Tim Eyster (below left) as the science nerd Sponge. He was a busy child star, but left the industry after Salute Your Shorts to attend high school.  Now Trevor Eyster, he has worked as a realtor and flight attendant, and is interested in returning to acting.






4. Michael Bower (second right) as his buddy, the hefty Donkey Lips.  He's been acting steadily, with credits including the gay-positive Popular.  He also wrote and directed Focus the Series, about a wacky focus group.



5. Danny Cooksey as bad boy Bobby Budnick. He's had a career as an actor and musician.  Currently he is the lead singer in the band Shelter Dogs and a voice artist.  And he's a strong supporter of gay marriage.

Give up?

The answer comes after the break:


















Trevor.  He recognized that he was gay during the filming of Salute Your Shorts, and played Sponge as gay, as much as the scripts would allow.  A touch on the shoulder here, a sultry look there.  Michael Bower helped out by playing along.  By the end of the series, Sponge and Donkey Lips were a bona fide gay couple.






Now Trevor identifies as bisexual.  Here's a current photo.