In honor of Chad Everett's birthday Friday, I offer an encore of this post from May 2009: "Childhood crushes." Mercy, it's hot in here!
As a youngster inexplicably focused on "admiring" men instead of crushes on Hollywood starlets, I recall watching "Wild Wild West" with curious fascination. Robert Conrad: For sure, I wouldn't mind being his Artemis Gordon.Meanwhile, my mammer was a fan of "Medical Center," no doubt because of the handsome young doctor played by Chad Everett. I wonder if she realized her son had the same crush.The discovery of "Lifeguard," helmed by a mustached and hairy-chested Sam Elliott in the late 1970s, turned up the heat a good 20 degrees, and left absolutely no question that my "crushes" on men were more than admiration for handsome chaps. Something oddly appealing if not forbidden was going on here. Remember, of course, there was no Internet, there were no role models, no open and out heroes to let a young man from Virginia know that he wasn't alone and if anything, was perfectly normal. Sadly, it would take another decade (and a move to Washington, D.C.) to fully embrace that ideal.Little did I know that Elliott actually embodied the definitive queer look of the day, as the burgeoning gay liberation movement in San Francisco was adopting exaggerated machismo as its calling card. The Taylor family took a cross-country trip in 1978 and in San Fran, I will never forget walking down the street and seeing two men holding hands. It was a snapshot that is indelibly locked into my mental hard drive. I must admit, I still prefer the look to today's smooth metrosexual overly groomed hard-bodied gay ideal. Elliott looks as hot here to me now as he did to 16-year-old Charles Lee.