Some of the coming out stories I''ve heard lately have included the lament that "the only gay role model we had in the 70s was Charles Nelson Reilly." I want to add, "Yes, and THANK GOD." The butch boys may have found him embarrassing, but sissy boys like me loved Charles.\
Sure, he was sometimes the butt of jokes in those less enlightened times, but while other performers might have been humbled by them, Charles turned up the flame. When he was called a sissy, he said, "I sure am, and so what?" And all the people around him seemed to love and accept him anyway. That was a very powerful message for me, and I give him a lot of credit for doing so in the 70s when it was much harder.\
Not saying you have to like him, just that he doesn''t deserve to be a symbol of gay shame.
I''m 30 years old and I first became aware of him when I was in my teens when he appeared on The X-Files. It has since become my favorite episode and I instantly wanted to know more about this actor. %0D\
i LOVED alec baldwins impression on SNL.
I saw his one-man show, "I''m not Dead Yet!" and laughed and cried.
In all seriousness, believe it or not, in the early 1970s, when I came out as 17-year-old, there were plenty of gay role models if you looked closely enough. Most were literary or otherwise in the arts.\
Walt Whitman, Ned Rorem, WH Auden, Alice B. Toklas & Gertrude Stein, Bayard Rustin, Don Bachardy & Christopher Isherwood, Sondheim, Tennessee Williams, Capote, Gide, Cocteau, etc. etc. etc. \
Not a bad group to inspire a young gay man.
I''m still here!
Have you all forgotten Freddy from Scooby Doo?
I remember Sir Monti Rock III. He used his fame to not only create hit records but also a nationwide chain of hair salons. %0D\
Reilly was nearly killed during a flash fire that destroyed the set of ''Lidsville''.%0D\
Charles was never the same after the incident where he broke his leg skidding in a slippery cake of elephant dung backstage while ringmaster of the Circus of the Stars. Remember how many injuries that show caused? Much deadlier than Dancing With The Stars. I forget which actress had her breast severely clawed by a tiger. And the Zsa Zsa/ Elke Sommer feud also began there.
Documentary about him "The Life of Reilly" is now available to watch instantly on Netflix.
What kind of role model for gays would have appeared on "Tattletales", that game show about married celeb couples? They actually paired him up with one of his FAG HAGS.....that was NOT being a role model...
His take on Emily Dickinson in "The Belle of Amherst" belied his usual attitude towards life.
excerpt: THE LIFE OF RILEY. I love you Charles, and thanks.
From Dick Van Dyke''s new autobiography...\
I was especially fond of my understudy. I hadn''t met anyone quite like him, but I took to him instantly. He was hysterically funny, clever, quick and intelligent. I was never bored around him. On the first night of previews, it was raining and he came into my dressing room with a scarf around his head and purred "Hello my name is Eve Harrington. I''m such a fan of your work."\
He did the whole scene from All About Eve, which put me on the floor. He was one of a kind.
Brette looks like she''s sitting in front of a Confederate flag in R2''s clip.
That''s an unfair criticism, R14. Any time he was on Tattletales there were plenty of winks and nudges regarding how he was "just friends" with his partner. Heck, pairing him with Fannie Flagg should have been enough explanation in itself.\
It was big news when George Takei went on The Newlywed Game with his husband, and that was just a year or so ago. It''s not very reasonable of you to expect Charles to have gone on TV with his partner 35 years ago.
R19 = Gay Uncle Tom.
Don''t forget Rip Taylor.
Rip Taylor was the obnoxious attention whore in the gay bar. Charles was the clever queen you wanted to sit next to as he made fun of the attention whores in the bar.
He was a force of nature and he is a fine role model for any gay boy or girl. Screw the naysayers or those who think he was an "Uncle Tom." You are wrong. Go to hell. He was sensitive and brave and strong. And nobody''s fool. He was much beloved and he is very much missed.
James Coco used to appear on Tattletales with Dena Dietrich (famous back then for her "It''s Not Nice to Fool Mother Nature" margarine commercials.) Any other gays on Tattletales?
What most people never got to know was that Reilly had a terrific body.
He was great friends with Lois Kibbee who was working on Frances Farmer''s "autobiography" in the late 1960''s with the sad actress.\
Charles became fascinated with Frances and would sign all of his letters to Lois as "Charles Florencig" - the last name of a friend of Frances'' that seemed to intrigue him.\
He begged Lois to let him listen to the tapes that Frances had recorded for her, but Lois would never let him.\
One of his favorite drinks was a Frances Farmer - one glass, one ice cube, and one bottle of vodka.
Three gay television personalities informed my sense of humor: Charles Nelson Reilly, Paul Lynde and Wayland Flowers & Madame.\
From Paul Lynde:\
Q.Why do bikers wear leather?\
A. Because chiffon wrinkles.\
"These are my summer diamonds. Some are diamonds and some are not."
He was sassy but funny. At least he represented us on national Television early in the day. I bet we all saw a little of ourselves in him in one way or another. He brought an extra something something to the show.
I loved him. \
Would watch him on Match Game and remember thinking he was so fabulous and funny and witty, even before I knew what those descriptions actually meant.
Charles Nelson Reilly was a very talented man and helped lead the way for gay performers who came after him.\
He drank heavily and could be quite cruel to those close to him but that is the case for most alcoholics. \
He was funny to the very end.
[quote]Paul Lynde? HELLOOOOO!%0D\
Actually, a critical difference between Charles and Paul is that Lynde often played a husband and father. Yes, everyone knew that Lynde was queer but it was Reilly who played the man who was unabashedly not even pretending to look for "the right woman." %0D\
The only time Reilly played the love interest (as far as I can recall) was in HELLO, DOLLY! And that was notably different in that he and Eileen Brennan played the young lovers for laughs rather than romance.
I like Charles. He was so funny. He and Brett Somers were the perfect counterweight to Richard''s more cold delivery of jokes on The Match Game.
Apropos of his being out and blase -- I was in high school in the early 70''s. It was a private, all male school, and there were a number of gays. The more macho of the gays were bullied, but the [childish epithet posted by a bigoted tool] were completely left alone. I always wondered why, and asked one of the bulliers. He said that the [childish epithet posted by a bigoted tool] are left alone because they''re comfortable with who they are, and aren''t trying to be anything else. I always remembered that comment. So, maybe that''s why people for the most part left CNR alone; he wasn''t trying to be anything else. And, for the record, everyone assumed that I was straight in h.s. I wasn''t open about it until later.
[quote]He said that the [childish epithet posted by a bigoted tool] are left alone because they''re comfortable with who they are, and aren''t trying to be anything else. \
Yeah, because that''s [italic]just[/italic] the way high school bullies think and talk.\
Got any more bad script fodder?
ABC After School Special
R1 one of my fave GOLDEN GIRLS reactions was in the episode where Rose, Dorothy, and Blanche have tickets to go see Burt Reynolds. Rose is reading them the list of the celebrities who''ll be in attendance -- ROSE: "Loni Anderson." DOROTHY & BLANCHE: "WOW!!!" ROSE: "Dom DeLuise." DOROTHY: "WOW!!!" ROSE: "Charles Nelson Reilly." (silence) ROSE: "Charles Nelson Reilly." DOROTHY: Wow. Who else? XD
This makes a nice counterpoint to the dawn of a new gay thread.
r36. r 35 here. Why that snarky response? what''s wrong with you? Why on earth would you want to insult someone who didn''t harm you, or say something bad about you? Seriously?\
I''m not a writer. I went to a private high school in Boston. It was a liberal school, and the students were on the fairly enlightened and intelligent side. And, yes, that is what the student said to me. \
So fuck off you mean spirited ass.
I don''t know about the fire at Lidsville, but Charles Nelson Reilly was present at the tragic circus fire in Hartford, Ct. He apparently had great difficulty sitting in an audience after that and almost always saw theater standing at the back of the house. If he was present at the fire on the Lidsville set, I am surprised he did not end up in the funny farm after that. \
As to R36, I also went to a private school and had a similar experience. Nobody bullied me because I was what I was. Also, the straight boys came to me for advice on girls, etc.
Long before I knew gay was, I thought Charles Nelson Reilly, Paul Lynde and Rip Taylor were the funniest people on Earth. \
Why it took another 10 years after that to figure out I was gay is a complete mystery to me.
I remember hearing the story that Reilly was going to come out by marching or riding in a gay pride parade in the 1990s. He thought with all the camera''s covering it in such a public setting, it would make the news.\
When no one aired the footage he realized how strongly the media assumes that gay celebrities need to be closeted.
Dick Sargent also appeared on "Tattletales" with his "good friend," Fannie Flagg.
[quote]When no one aired the footage he realized how strongly the media assumes that gay celebrities need to be closeted.%0D\
I think there were more mundane reasons no one bothered to air footage of him at that very late point of his career.
They probably wanted more time to air footage of drag queens and dikes on bikes.
He used to have escorts strip naked and run around outside on his property and Charles would find them and pretend to be shocked.
Not even worth the traditional "oh, dear."
Easy mistake R50 as both can have fingers put in them.
I watched the entire film on YouTube. It''s amazing. Like many others, my only exposure to Mr. Reilly was his Match Game and Tonight Show appearances when I was a child. I had no idea he was such a gifted performer. His storytelling skills are superb.
I loved him on X-Files. Especially when someone is found on the side of the road, disoriented and with his pants around his ankles, and CNR chuckles and says "haven''t we all been there?" or something like that.
Not to hijack the thread but R12, I''d love to hear more about the Zsa Zsa-Elke feud. I happened to be watching whatever talk show it was when Zsa Zsa announced that Elke had been reduced to scrubbing floors for a living (and that prompted a lawsuit from Sommer!)%0D\
On topic, Charles was so flamboyant on Lidsvilee, it''s amazing his flaming didn''t START the fire! Loved him, though. He was hysterically funny and, apparently, quite a good theatre director and acting coach.
''Charles was never the same after the incident where he broke his leg skidding in a slippery cake of elephant dung backstage while ringmaster of the Circus of the Stars. Remember how many injuries that show caused? Much deadlier than Dancing With The Stars. I forget which actress had her breast severely clawed by a tiger.''%0D\
R12, how do you know this stuff? I have been trying to find out who the unfortunate actress was but to no avail. %0D\
R55, here''s an article about the Zsa Zsa Elke feud.
R56, THANK YOU for the laugh of the day! I could not quit giggling at the insults those two were flinging and had trouble keeping my head still to read the page!!!!! How hysterical that they would escalate their petty resentment to that stage. I can just hear them saying those things, too.
He was great in dinner theater
Welcome to Uncle Croc's Block
He's the only alligator who can talk
So all you croc-a-roonies...
Welcome to Uncle Croc's Cock.
He tells this really horrific story in The Life of Reilly about some TV exec who made some homophobic remark to him, and who was later beaten to death by a rentboy. Can't remember who it was though - it's in the 3 hour cut of the show that was up online before.
R60 is the same troll who's posting shit like "Are you an AIDS infected homo?".
F&F this nasty cunt please.
Early in his career, a Hollywood producer told him, "Stick to Broadway - we don't hire queers out here."
[quote]he doesn't deserve to be a symbol of gay shame.
He isn't, but you're placing the "gay shame" front and center, OP. It would have been easy to post about CNR without a focus on gay shame.
r65. The symbol of gay shame? That would be Richard Simmons.
[quote] "the only gay role model we had in the 70s was Charles Nelson Reilly."
What am I, chopped liver?
[quote]"the only gay role model we had in the 70s was Charles Nelson Reilly."
I was lucky -- I grew up in Hollywood so had cool Edith Head and Liz Scott.
"the only gay role model we had in the 70s was Charles Nelson Reilly."
Right--& my center square was all pussy, all the time.
Does anyone remember him in The Ghost and Mrs.Muir?
My first recollection of Charles Nelson Reilly was in the late 1960s television sitcom version of THE GHOST AND MRS. MUIR. CNR played Claymore Gregg, the Ghost's (Edward Mulhare) great nephew.
Supposedly it was supposed to be a one-time only role in the pilot, but CNR stole the show and was hired to be a continuing character. GHOST was never very funny, too much focus on the romance of the leads Mulhare and Hope Lange. What ever laughs came on the series came from CNR and the great character actress Reta Shaw
[quote] Does anyone remember him in The Ghost and Mrs.Muir?
I do! Loved that show. He played Claymore Gregg, nephew (I think) of the ghostly inhabitant of Gull Cottage.