Mar 25, 2014
John Davidson: Hollywood White Bread with a Gay Twist
First, he had quite a nice physique (his privates were coyly hidden).
Second, he was John Davidson.
Hollywood Nice, wholesome, white bread, son of a Baptist minister, star of Broadway musicals like I Do, I Do!, The Music Man, and Camelot.
Star of two Disney movies: The Happiest Millionaire (1967) and The One and Only, Genuine, Original Family Band (1968).
A perennial guest star on "square" tv shows that kids wouldn't be caught dead watching: Hollywood Palace, Joey Bishop, Carol Burnette -- not to mention long tenures on game shows (Hollywood Squares), reality tv (That's Incredible) and two versions of his own John Davidson Show.
But Hollywood Nice had a mischievous side.
He starred in the sex comedy Coffee, Tea, or Me (1973), about a stewardess with a husband and a lover.
Hudson Brothers. Notice that he's obviously being groped.
He was never averse to gay content. The tv pilot Roger & Harry: The Mitera Target (1977), about two buddies (John Davidson, Barry Primus) who solve crimes, may have some gay subtexts.
And in a 1974 episode of The Streets of San Francisco, he played a drag queen whose female "alter ego" is a vicious killer.
In his 2008 two-man play, "Father/Son and Holy Ghost," he goes back to his childhood, where he and his Baptist-minister dad butted heads over religious doubts and homophobia (John's older brother Porter was gay).
Today Davidson is playing The Wizard in a national touring company of Wicked.