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The man to first play an openly gay man on prime time television has died at the spry age of 89.

No, not Billy Crystal.  Everyone gives Billy credit for this.  It is not true.  “Soap” premiered in 1977.  In 1964, a full thirteen years before, Russell Johnson played The Professor on “Gilligan’s Island.”

Now, it is true that they never actually said that he was gay, like they did with Billy Crystal’s character, Jodie.  But come on, how could you not be gettin’ with Mary Ann?  Seriously.  If there is any admission that a man is gay, it’s not hittin’ that.

Yeah, Ginger was all hot and all, but she was a high-maintenance pain in the ass.  Mary Ann was a farm girl, she’ll milk the coconuts, build your own hut and grow all the citris you need to avoid scurvy.  All while wearing the hottest pair of shorts this side of Daisy Duke.

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How can any straight man not want a piece of that?

The bottom line: if you pick Ginger, you’re a fool.  The only man on that island for her is Mr. Howell, and he’s got Lovey.  And you don’t want to cross Lovey.  She’ll cut a bitch.

Johnson went on to do a bunch of crappy little roles.  He had a spots on “Cannon,” “Wonder Woman,”  “Lou Grant,” “Alf.”  Frankly, I just wanted to mention “Alf.”  

He had a good humor about his most famous role though.  Once, while speaking at MIT, he pointed out that despite the Professor’s MIT degree, he still lacked the knowledge needed to patch a hole on a boat.  Russell, over the years, this point has eluded no one.

This hit goes to: Babysitter!  He is the next to join the At-least-I-have-as-many-points-as-Sean-has club.  But don’t get all cocky, it’s not exactly an exclusive club.

I wonder who the next sitcom character to go will be….

Happy pooling,

SPMI

Current Standings:

Gianna 40 (Tom Laughlin – 20, Alicia Rhett – 10, Mae Young – 10)

Starving Writer – 40 (James Avery – 6’ 5” – 40)

Babysitter: 30 (Mikhail Kalashnikov – 10, Russell Johnson – 20 )

“Imaginary” Steve: 30 (Cardinal Domenico Bartolucci – 10, Cardinal Ricardo Carles Gordo – 20)

Occupy the Casket: 30 (Ronnie Biggs – 20, Harold Camping – 10)

Joanne: 30 (Ace Parker – 0, Nelson Mandela – 10,  Ray Price – 20)

SPMI: 30 (Peter O’Toole – 20, Joan Fontaine – 10)

Jami: 20 (Ariel Sharon)

Tailgating with Jesus – 20 (Jerry Coleman – 20)

Carol’s 1%: 20 (Harold Simmons – 20)

The Girl on Fire: 10 (Eleanor Parker – 10)

Good to the Last Drop (© Maxwell House ) – 10 (Frederick Sanger – 10)

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