Monday, May 15, 2006

Gay for Play

I came across this photo of sexy librarian slash crime fighter Barbara Gordon (Yvonne Craig) -- aka Batgirl -- yesterday. I remember how I'd anxiously watch the opening credits of the "Batman" reruns when I was a kid to see if Batgirl would come kicking her way into the show. I'd be so disappointed if it was an episode without her that I usually wouldn't even bother watching it. It got me wondering where my Batgirl obsession ranked compared with some of my other more noteworthy childhood symptoms of gaydom, namely my toy collection ...

All right, so I'm already getting defensive. But, come on! I'm sorry, I know having a dollhouse makes you pretty damn gay, but just look at this place! Did you really need to be You certainly didn't need to be a fag to be obsessed with Tuesday Taylor's Penthouse Apartment (oh, but the fact that Tuesday's hair "rotated" from dark to light so you could simulate giving her highlights probably didn't make being gay a negative, either).

Tuesday's apartment was an interior designer's architect's dream: It had a spiral staircase that went up to a rooftop patio, with a canopy, a skylight (that doubled as a table, although I used to flip it over and pretend it was a hot tub). The rooftop patio was where Tuesday expressed her artistic side, using her easel, artboard and palette. There was also a grill on the deck (I was concerned about healthy eating for my dolls even in 1978). Downstairs, the apartment was decked out with modern furniture and artwork, a circular fireplace with a ceiling-hung chimney, a mirror, built-in bookshelves and stereo, plants and a television. A private elevator and dressing room with vanity were off to the left. The apartment also had a beautiful view of the city (just slide in the time-appropriate scenery card for "day view" or "night view").
Although my infatuation with Tuesday Taylor's Penthouse Apartment was clearly another hint of my suburban dreams of big city life, surely Tuesday herself would scoff if she saw the 3rd-floor walkup I ended up in ...

This was during my "Little House on the Prairie" phase and even though Jody had this Crytsal Gayle-length red hair that I didn't really care for, the store was totally fun! The cash register, the barrel of apples and all of the food for sale were all very realistic. I also had the kickass kitchen, complete with coal-burning stove. Oh, and did I mention that I hooked Jody up with a hunky blond husband (Big Jeff) who wore red bikini briefs around the house?

Other than the fact that this family set of dolls came with a woman, it was sort of progressive of me to be thinking about having a child back in the '70s. (My brother Terence thought he was black as a child and had The Happy Family.)

GROWING UP SKIPPERSo I had yet another doll, but this one was cool on so many levels. If you were straight, it was cool how you just had to crank Skipper's left arm and her tits would grow out of her chest. If you were a tranny, it was fun knowing that there was surgical hope out there. And if you were just a garden-variety gay boy, it was just fun knowing that cosmetic surgery could turn even the most average girl into a buxom swan.


SteveR said...

Did you save all those toys?? If so, I'm totally impressed. I don't think I have any of my toys anymore. Of course, my toys were never that COOL either. (I settled for my stepsister's Barbies, much to my Dad's chagrin.)

Chuck said...

Kenneth! At the Motor City Comic Convention next weekend, we have Adam West, Burt Ward, Yvonne Craig, Lee meriwether, Julie Newmar and Malachi Throne from the Batman show and some others but these are the ones I love.

PS, I am e-mailing you the back cover of the program!

Alisa said...

To answer your question, I'm not gay but I immediately screamed to myself "Is that a roof deck with a canopy?" when I saw the aerial view of the penthouse apartment.

Danny said...

Do you know about Tuesday Taylor's Alpine Ski Chalet?

Brett said...

Okay, how funny! My friend Danny sent me a link to your blog about Tuesday Taylor. Being a preteen in the late 70's also I was had Tuesday! I didn't have the swanky Penthouse...I opted to keep my Tuesday relaxed and on holiday...I had her summer home. A stylish beach house or ski chalet depending on your (or her!) mood! I actually bought it again on Ebay (new in box!) and spent a fab Saturday night assembling (no, it doesn't get any easier with age...I worked steadily through 2 1/2 episodes of Mama's Family before I was done!). It really is very super sonic 70's!

So glad to know someone else remembers Tuesday...she only lasted a couple years...why I have no idea...she was HOT!

You made me smile!

Anonymous said...

OMG,I had some of these toys too! The Sunshine family (b-list in my neighborhood) and the penthouse ...

-your LI co-worker

zooplah said...

"I remember how I'd anxiously watch the opening credits of the "Batman" reruns when I was a kid to see if Batgirl would come kicking her way into the show. I'd be so disappointed if it was an episode without her that I usually wouldn't even bother watching it"

I didn't know that was a sign of gayness. Hmmm... maybe I should re-evaluate the signs of my gayness: fondness of female superheroes.

But even if she wasn't in the episode, Robin was still darned cute.

K10house said...

OMG - thank you thank you thank you for the picture of the Tuesday Taylor Penthouse!!! Back then, everything that was wrong with my 7-year-old existence could be remedied by thoughts of how my life would one day be as fabulous as Tuesday's. (Of course, there aren't enough Ken dolls and GI Joes combined for all the action MY penthouse saw...) By the way, my male cousin played 'barbies' with me all the time, and he turned out almost entirely straight.

Anonymous said...

OMG, I loved Tuesday Tylor Penthouse Apartment, I can't belive someone still has a picture of it, I am printing it as we speak. It was my favorite, I love playing "Barbies" wether it was with Tuesday, Skipper, or Dawn Doll anyone remember dawn dolls.

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