. . . Skeets

. . .

Biographical Dictionary of Film: "Skeets" Gallagher
I don't remember "Skeets" Gallagher showing up in The Celluloid Closet. I don't remember him in "The Sissy Gaze in American Cinema," either, but that's because he wasn't really a sissy.

And that's what makes his small sidekick roles in Possessed and Riptide so interesting. They display all the usual signs of movie homosexuality (snappy dresser, urbane, soft-spoken, sneaky peeks at men, best friends with women but never making a pass...), except for twittering ninnyness. As far as I know, Gallagher played the only non-obnoxiously-queeny nice gay guys to appear in the Golden Age of Hollywood.

Memorable dialog:

Norma Shearer: "He looked my way once in New York."
"Skeets" Gallagher: "Lucky you!"

Saddest might-have-been (via the American Film Institute Catalog):

"According to the Hollywood Reporter, in early August 1931, Come On Marines! had been scheduled to start production with 'Skeets' Gallagher as the lead, but by 12 August, production had ceased." Simper fi....

"Skeets" Gallagher
(Photo via Juliet Clark)

. . .

The Sport Parade (1932)

Leonard Maltin mentions the lame story, the flashy direction, and Robert Benchley's brilliant screen debut, not looking as puffy-fishlike-thing-on-the-beach as he would a few years later but already blatantly inserted, as America's worst color commentator ("And it should be a great Yale, Harvard, Princeton, Dartmouth game today at Yale Stadium, here in Cambridge, Massachusetts...").

True, true, all true. But it says something probably not worth saying about heterosexual hegemony and the all-male capsule review business that unmentioned goes the most eyeboggling aspect of the movie, young pre-Code Joel McCrea. I always accepted on faith that this sullen, stubborn, humorless, not-too-bright character was sexually attractive, but I never really understood why till I saw him with no clothes on.

OK, he's not completely nude on screen. But I gotta say if Jean Harlow or Myrna Loy had spent a sizable portion of a movie greased up and wearing only tighty-whities, Leonard Maltin sure as hell would've found it fit to mention.

Plus: "Skeets" Gallagher!


Ray Davis writes:
Speaking of het. heg., last night I dreamt I visited Patricia Highsmith's home around dinnertime. She threatened to turn testy at times, but her adoring husband and son maintained a sort of stoic cheer through the distraction of baseball. Whether pitching, batting, or fielding, Highsmith was an astonishingly graceful player, and seemed to derive comfort from her own easy precision on the field.

Others dream differently:

All kidding aside, being Patricia Highsmith's son, the Patricia Highsmith of literature as opposed to of earth, and they are different, would be I think, less like The Natural and more than a little like being Betty Topper of Norco.


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