Sunday, June 16, 2013

Gayest TV Special Ever (We Just Didn't Know It)

melba mooreThe Beatrice Arthur Special in January 1980 was possibly the gayest TV show ever seen up to that point.

This was the star's first big production after Maude left the air and it was, if I recall correctly, the lowest rated TV special of the year, of the decade, a huge bomb. But then Maude's ratings that last season were abysmal.

'Miss Thing'

Why was it the gayest show? Look at the guest stars - Rock Hudson (he and Bea Arthur sing about the virtues Amyl Nitrate), Wayland Flowers & Madame, along with Melba Moore singing the disco hit 'Miss Thing.'

Gays in the 1970s loved Bea Arthur's brash TV persona so I guess it was a natural to tailor the material in that direction but this was pretty shocking for the time. Here is Bea Arthur with Wayland Flowers & Madam, the puppet with the put-downs who rose to fame by playing in gay clubs in LA and New York.

For the next few minutes you'll be watching TV in 1979... you just won't be able to change the channel! A bit from the show with a commercial break: