Gay Morning America was a weekly volunteer-run variety show that aired on Manhattan public-access cable for three seasons from 1983 to 1985. For the first two seasons, the show ran for one hour on Friday mornings from 7:30-8:30 am EST, and was reduced to a 1/2 hour time slot on Saturday mornings from 11:30 am to 12:00 pm EST in the third and final season. The show also featured commercials for Greenwich Village gay establishments, as well as endorsements by the hosts which helped support the show.[1] It originally aired on channel 59, W59AT. The program's archives are held in the collection of The LGBT Community Center National History Archive.

Gay Morning America
GenreVariety show
Created byGeorge Sardi
Johnny Pool
Lynn Lavner
Directed byJimmy Mellow
Presented byGeorge Sardi
Johnny Pool
Theme music composerLynn Lavner
Country of originUnited States
Original languageEnglish
No. of seasons3
No. of episodes26
ProducersGeorge Sardi
Johnny Pool
Original release
NetworkW59AT (Channel 59)
ReleaseOctober 19, 1984 (1984-10-19) –
November 23, 1985 (1985-11-23)

History edit

Gay Morning America was founded by George Sardi, Johnny Pool, and Lynn Lavner, all of whom either co-owned or frequently performed at the piano bar Waverly Waverly.[2] The bar, situated at the corner of Waverly Place in Greenwich Village, Manhattan, New York, hosted regular cabaret-style performances. Though the clientele was largely gay, it was not exclusively so.[3] The show was recorded live at Metro-Access Inc. at 110 E. 23rd Street in Manhattan, New York. Many of the episodes were not recorded, or have since been lost. Those that remain were donated by George Sardi to The Center in Greenwich Village.

Staff edit

George Sardi; producer, host

Johnny Savoy; producer, host

Lynn Lavner; performer

Johnny Pool; performer

Jerry Fitzpatrick; performer

Lord Byron Falk; performer

Leslie Irons; performer

Jimmy Mellow, director

Segments edit

Most shows began with opening credits and the show's theme song, which was written by Lynn Lavner,[4] followed by a community news segment. Recurring segments included recipes with Johnny Pool, exercises with Lord Byron, theater reviews with Leslie Irons, "girl talk" with Lynn Lavner, and sports with Jerry Fitzpatrick. There were also often musical performances by Lavner and Jerry Scott, who regularly performed at Waverly Waverly, as well as interviews with special guests, who were usually local LGBT celebrities.

A large portion of the run-time of most episodes was devoted to commercials for local gay-owned business. These commercials were typically a screen showing the business's name, address, and phone number, while one of the hosts read ad copy. The most frequently featured establishments were bars which hosted live performances, like Waverly Waverly, Limelight, The Monster, The Follies, Peeches Three, and Copacabana Bar, though other gay-owned businesses were also featured, including The Village Apothecary, a pharmacy which specialized in HIV/ AIDS treatments.[5] There were also often plugs for other gay resources, such as hotlines and publications like Gay Yellow Pages and Connection.

During the third and final season, every fourth show was a "phone-in" episode, during which viewers could call in and talk with the hosts and special guests. Usually, these discussions followed major events within the gay community.[6]

Episodes edit

Season Episode Number Original Air Date Special Guests[7]
2 1 Oct. 19, 1984 Sgt. Charles Cochrane, president of the Gay Officers Action League (GOAL), and adult film actor Jack Wrangler
2 2 Oct. 26, 1984 Leslie Randolph, co-captain of Ramblers Soccer Team,

musical performance by Jerry Scott

2 3 Nov. 2, 1984 Robin Tyler and Jack Coplin
2 4 Nov. 9 1984 Joni Rapp, Johnny De Maio, and Gordon Malone
2 5 Nov. 16, 1984 Maria Manville
2 6 Nov. 23, 1984 Gutter George, president of the Village Bowling League

musical performance by Harriet Leider and Jerry Scott

2 7 Nov. 30, 1984 Comedic performance by ventriloquist Eddy Olsen and his puppet, "Harley"
2 8 Dec. 7, 1984
2 9 Dec. 14, 1984
2 10 Dec. 21, 1984 Casey Wayne and Frankie Lee Winter
2 11 Dec. 28, 1984 Frank Massey
2 12 Jan. 4, 1985 J. T. Denver
2 13 Jan. 11, 1985 Steve Garben and John Burke
2 14 Jan. 18, 1985 Fasinatin Gershwin, Lorenzo de Palma, and John Knight
2 15 Jan. 26, 1985 Tamar Hosansky and Lance Bradley
2 16 Feb. 1, 1985 Songs in Blume (A tribute to Bobby Blume) and members of the Safety and Fitness Exchange
2 17 Feb. 8, 1985 Rene Warren
2 18 Feb. 15, 19856 Aaron Gage, Gary Dee, and Gordon Malone
2 19 Feb. 22, 1985 Clips from the Miss Fire Island Competition
2 20 Mar. 8, 1985 Claire Christopher, softball pitcher and founder of the Women's Organization of League Sports (WOLS)

musical performance by Sandy Doane and Jerry Scott

2 21 Mar. 15, 1985 Jackie Small, Jerry Scott, Candida Scott Piel,

Michael Jackson, and Mark Goldstein

3 1 Oct. 26, 1985 Ray Lavner*
3 2 Nov. 2, 1985 Charles Bush
3 3 Nov. 9, 1985 Dalaria and Strobel
3 4 Nov. 16, 1985 David Rothenberg*
3 5 Nov. 23, 1985 Geoff Edholm, actor

musical performance by Jerry Scott

* Denotes a "phone-in" show

References edit

  1. ^ "Gay Morning America · Gay Center Audio/Video Archive". Retrieved 2019-10-15.
  2. ^ "Culture Night to be a GALA affair". Retrieved 2019-10-15.
  3. ^ "Pooled Resources: The Legacy of Waverly Waverly and Oh Johnny". The Andrew Martin Report. 2011-05-05. Retrieved 2019-09-03.
  4. ^ Karvoski, Ed (11 January 2011). A Funny Time to Be Gay. Simon and Schuster. pp. 89–96. ISBN 978-1-4391-4499-2. Retrieved 7 August 2023.
  5. ^ Andreea (2018-02-03). "The Village Apothecary, a Treasured Neighborhood Institution -". Retrieved 2019-10-15.
  6. ^ Gay Morning America [New York, New York], Manhattan Public Access, 26 Oct. 1985.
  7. ^ "Gay Morning America". The Lesbian, Gay, Bisexual & Transgender Community Center. 2018-02-14. Retrieved 2019-09-03.