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Gay on prime time: Stonewall Museum explores the history of LGBT characters on television

Stonewall Museum exhibit 'As Seen on TV' mines history of LGBT characters

Fifty years ago, prime-time television often depicted LGBT characters as sexual deviants and mentally deranged, and sometimes as flat-out murderers. Negative attitudes toward gay TV characters lingered until the 1970s, argues "As Seen on TV: An Exploration of LGBT Characters," the new exhibit at the Stonewall Museum — Wilton Manors Gallery. The show assembles a 25-year compilation of video clips and stills from television shows such as "Alfred Hitchcock Presents," a thriller series whose 1957 episode, "Vicious Circle," contains homoerotic subtext between a crime boss and a hired assassin. Later, popular 1970s sitcoms such as "All in the Family," "Sanford and Son," "Barney Miller" and "The Jeffersons" eventually warmed to their LGBT characters. A 1976 episode of "The Bob Newhart Show," for example, reveals one of Newhart's friendly group-therapy patients, Mr. Plager, as gay.

When: Through April 26 (opening reception: 7-9 p.m. Friday, March 13)

Where: Stonewall Museum — Wilton Manors Gallery, 2157 Wilton Drive, Wilton Manors

Cost: Free

Contact: 954-763-8565 or

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