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Breakfast at Ask Cool Daddy’s
Dear Cool Daddy: Of all the cartoon “spokesmen” for breakfast cereals back in the 1950s and 60s, which was most likely gay? How’s that for an off-the-wall question? …Hazel Ann, in Albuquerque
Dear Hazel Ann: Off-the-chart off-the-wall, I’d say. Here at Ask Cool Daddy, we do try to keep an open mind…but what a politically incorrect question, you rascal, you. I mean, I think it’s politically incorrect…its so hard to keep up these days on how and what “you’re supposed to think.” It would probably be easier for everyone to just think for themselves, but we got the system we got, nez pah? But it sure is curious that while on the one hand its OK to be gay, on the other hand its not OK to be interested in who is or isn’t. Ask for example “Was Nixon gay?” and you’re likely to get the indignant answer “What difference does it make?”…and of course that’s from heteros (or as my spellchecker insists on calling us, “heaters”) since almost everybody is, despite what you hear.
Baby Boomers will recall that back in the day, there was a small number of performers who carved a show business niche for themselves by camping it up for laughs. I’m thinking of Paul Lynde, Charles Nelson Reilly, Alan Sues, Harvey Korman, Rip Taylor, Louis Nye, and the like. None were openly gay, at least to the public…Liberace probability came the closest, especially in the later decades, altho in the 1950s he sued a British newspaper…and won…when they suggested that he was. Hollywood insiders knew who, but to varying degrees since like anything else, some were more quiet about it than others. For the record, of those I mentioned, the first 3 were, Korman and Taylor are widely considered to be but never publicly fessed up, and Louis Nye wasn’t. The idea that a straight man could also be sort of effeminate…like a Jack Benny for example…seems to have gone by the boards.
At any rate, to answer your question…I’d have to say it’s Lovable Truly, the Post Alpha-Bits mailman from 1964 thru 1971. I mean even in those innocent days…when most Baby Boomers assumed that Truman Capote just talked funny, that’s all…you didn’t have to be a rocket scientist to know that was a mighty peculiar name for a guy. What were the ad-men thinking? Based perhaps on the complementary closing of a letter…”Very truly yours” morphed with “Love, so-and-so”? He was overhauled several times, getting wider shoulders and a broader chest, but that didn’t help. And what kind of a mailman likes dogs? Something definitely wasn’t right.
But Lovable Truly seemed popular enough with kids…all the standard stuff…dolls, coloring books, even a halloween costume. And he was seen on the Linus the Lionhearted Saturday morning cartoon show, even staring in some of his own features, voiced by Bob McFadden, also known for Milton the Monster, Cool McCool, and Franken Berry, among others. But anyhow, you asked, I answered. Honorary mention to the short-lived Mr. Wonderfull Surprize (1972) and that extremely strange Twinkles Sprinkler (1965)…
But speaking of icons…
You might recall Kellogg’s early 1960s run at Big G’s Cheerios…I actually remember OKs tasting pretty good, and I wasn’t a big Cheerios fan, altho I’ve come to appreciate them in my old age. Less well remembered is Post’s try, which ideally was supposed to be shaped like little hearts, but ended up pretty much triangular…BTW, that Lion came before Linus and was a different lion…just for the record…
the goodness and oats and corn in shameless wheat and rice plugs…
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