Buck Rogers turned me gay. The television show was only on for a couple of years when I was a pre-pre-teen, and I somehow remember every episode. Gil Gerard was always sucking in his gut, squeezed into skin tight spandex, with lots of visible chest hair. He was the modern-day man transported into the 25th century, forced to find his place out of his time. He was more direct, more brutish, more aggressive and masculine than his 25th century counterparts (can we say "anti-feminist backlash?").
Looking back, it was total camp aimed at pre-teen boys. Pre-teen boys... camp... hunky dude squeezed into skin tight spandex.... I can do the math. Yes, indeed, Buck Rogers turned me gay.
One episode jumps out at me as highly erotic. Re-watching it today, I have to smile as I think back at my younger self getting so hot and bothered. The episode Olympiad featured futuristic athletes. In a classic cold war plot twist, one of the (read:Soviet) athletes was trying to defect. Buck Rogers had to come to the rescue to get the high jumper and his girlfriend out safely.
I remember thinking the high jumper was a hottie. As I re-examine the evidence, Barney McFadden, who played the character, was a pretty typical, late-70's version of a stud. He was quite skinny, handsome, long hair, cleft chin. But squeezed into his extremely tight wonder-bra/muscle-shirt, along with the very high-cut shorts, he was instantly an object of lust for my pre-pre-teen heart. These days, the opening credits seem the hotter than McFadden. Check out the beautiful athlete at 02:40 totally making a cocky pass at the handsome reporter. Look at that eye contact! I'm guessing there's going to be a hot time back at the Olympic village later.
Once the character Hawk came into the picture, I had a new object of lust. Tall, dark and handsome with an outfit making him appear to have a thick chest and crystal-cut abs trailing down an inhumanly long and slender torso... mmmmmm, Hawk. Thom Christopher certainly upped the sexiness.
Once again, I marvel at how much my tastes have changed over time. But as a young gay boy, just discovering the marvels of beautiful men, only inferring the wonders that those fascinating, hot bodies would one day offer, Buck Rogers and his boys absolutely steered me in the right direction.