Last week we reminisced about Vito Russo with two related docs: the essential The Celluloid Closet and the 2011 HBO doc Vito. This week we turn from a pivotal figure in silver screen LGBT history to a pivotal one for the small screen. I’m talking, of course, of Lance Loud, who famously came out in An American Family in 1973 when the Loud family became the subject of a PBS docuseries, what many deem to be one of the first reality shows in American TV. Directed by Shari Springer Berman & Robert Pulcini, Cinema Verite (watch on HBOGo) follows the behind-the-scenes drama behind that infamous and breakthrough program.
For Americans, as we saw last week, many of the images they saw of homosexuals on movie screens were outright stereotypes. But they really paled in comparison to the images they were getting from the media. In 1967, CBS aired The Homosexuals an episode of CBS Reports. Here’s a sampling of Mike Wallace’s voice-over in the show:
“The average homosexual, if there be such, is promiscuous. He is not interested or capable of a lasting relationship like that of a heterosexual marriage. His sex life, his love life, consists of a series of one–chance encounters at the clubs and bars he inhabits.”
That by 1973 audiences got to see Lance Loud being openly gay and accepted within his family was a huge step forward (even if, given the time period, his homosexuality was used to further vilify the Louds in the press). More...