Friday, January 29, 2016

Overlooked but Important Gay Media History: 1972 The Doris Day Show

Yes, she was the movie co-star and personal friend of closeted Rock Hudson for decades.  Their touching final meeting and goodbye as Rock was ending his life due to AIDS will be a story here, so please stay tuned.  Yes, she remains a dedicated voice to animal rights.  But Doris Day deserves so much more credit than she typically receives from the gay community in terms of her role in gay media history.  In 1972,  the CBS network aired The Doris Day Show which ran between Here's Lucy and The Sonny and Cher Comedy Hour.  Doris Martin (played by Doris Day) was a charming journalist for the fictional  Today's World magazine.  In this season of the show, she was living in beautiful San Francisco in a great apartment decorated perfectly for the era.

Often overlooked in media gay history, this rather forgetful sitcom was a pioneer in presenting openly gay characters on national television.   Lance and Lester (played by Alan Dewitt and Lester Fletcher) first appeared in the November 27, 1972 episode called "The Co-Op" in which it was obvious that they were a couple (and interior decorator's no less) living together in the apartment building and probably didn't have separate bedrooms.  Perhaps most importantly, the story line presented them as just another tenant couple without making them stand out anymore or less than any of the other (straight) couples.   Their sexuality (in a city becoming very popular with gays by 1972) made sense to the script.

In 2004, Doris received the Presidential Medal of Freedom from President George W. Bush in recognition of her distinguished service to the country.  Doris is retired from acting and performing, but has continued her work in animal rights and welfare causes.  Born Doris Mary Ann Kappelhoff (either on April 3, 1922 or 1924 depending on the bio), we thank Doris for her contributions to humanity and wish her continued health and happiness.
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