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A Different Kind Of California Gay Movie

A Different Kind Of California Gay Movie


'That Certain Summer' when Martin Sheen and Hal Holbrooke played lovers.

That Certain Summer fell just outside the scope of our LA gay movie list. For one, most of the action takes place in San Francisco, not Los Angeles. And second, this was a television movie of the week, not a feature length film, but it still deserves some recognition.

Broadcast on ABC on November 1, 1972, That Certain Summer was the first television movie to have sympathetic, relatable gay protagonist, ie: Hal Holbrook as Doug Salter, a divorced father whose teenage son finds out that he and his "friend," Martin Sheen's Gary McCalin, are actually lovers. Both lead actors already had film careers and being in this film was a risky move that ultimately paid off. That Certain Summer was a popular and critical success, was nominated for seven Emmys (Scott Jacoby, who played son Nick Salter won best supporting actor), and though the ending isn't exactly all rainbows and lollipops, it helped chip away "psycho gay" stereotype so prevalent at the time, setting the stage for a more gay-friendly televisual experience.

For your edification and enjoyment, here are the first 7:50 minutes of this 1972 classic.

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Andrew Belonsky