Sep 14, 2023

It's a Man's World: A Gay Threesome from the 1960s

 Speaking of Ted Bessell, before That Girl, he starred in It’s a Man’s World (1962-63) as Tom-Tom, a college student obsessed by Beat poetry and jazz, both emblematic of the multisexual bohemian subcultures of the 1950’s.  

Tom-Tom lives on a houseboat with his teenage brother Howie (Michael Burns, right) and boyfriend Wes (Glenn Corbett, above, who by the way was bisexual, and appeared in Physique Pictorial under the name Glenn Robinson).

But the couple is not happy; they are always arguing about chores and money.  One night Tom-Tom can’t take it any more.  He wanders into a waterfront tavern, where newly-arrived country boy Vern (Randy Boone, left) is playing the guitar. 

In perhaps the first gay pick-up in television history, the two exchange suspicious glances and then knowing grins.  The next scene shows them returning to the houseboat to spend the night together, and in the morning Tom-Tom tells Wes that it was not just a bar pick-up – Vern is moving in.  

Wes gets somewhat snippy about this new threat to his dominance, but soon he decides that having a cute farmboy around might be fun, and the episode ends with the trio splashing about in the water, the first gay three-way relationship in television history.

This series was before my time, and I only saw one episode, thanks to an ebay collector.  Unfortunately, according to, later episodes backed away from the gay subtext -- really more of a text -- and gave them girlfriends.

See also: That Girl: Will and Grace for the 1960s; and Get Your Beefcake on Route 66


  1. I liked how Home Improvement deconstructed shipping:

    Tim: Why do you have to fix everyone up?
    Jill (yelling): Because I want everyone to be happy like us!

  2. Thanks for cluing us in. Found the series on You Tube. I believe the episode is titled "Stir Crazy".


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