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2 Results found for Randolfe Wicker
Pages: [1]

1963-05-19, WBAI, 93 min.
Les Crane, Randolfe Wicker, Randy Wicker, Dick Elman, Randolf Wicker, Harry, Jack, Bill, Peter, Marty

A repeat of a rare July 15, 1962 broadcast for its time. A round table discussion by eight male homosexuals discussing their lives and loves.     

Moderator: WBAI Public Affairs Director, Dick Elman. 

To humanize homosexuality, Randolfe Wicker brought together a panel of eight homosexuals to speak as they would speak to each other. WBAI public affairs director, Dick Elman moderates a discussion recorded at a Brownstone home in NYC on the West Side. 


In early 1962, WBAI New York’s listener-supported “progressive" radio station aired an hour-long special, “The Homosexual In America.” It featured a panel of psychiatrists who described gay people as sick and in need of a cure — a cure that they could provide with just a few hours of therapy.

Gay Activist and founder of the “Homosexual League of New York” Randy Wicker was livid, not only at the ignorance of these so-called “experts,” but also because, once again, there was a panel of straight people talking about gay people they didn’t even know.

Wicker went to the WBAI studios and confronted Dick Elman, the station’s public affairs director. “Why do you have these people on that don’t know a damn thing about homosexuality? They don’t live it and breathe it the way I do. … I spend my whole life in gay society.”  Wicker demanded equal time and Elman agreed, provided Wicker find other gay people willing to go on the air as part of a panel.  When plans for the program were announced, the New York Journal-American went ballistic. Jack O’Brian, the paper’s radio-TV columnist, wrote that the station should change its callsign to WSICK for agreeing to air an “arrogant card-carrying swish.”

The broadcast titled “Live and Let Live,” featured Wicker and seven other gay men, identified only as Harry, Jack, Bill, Peter, Marty, and two others, talking for ninety minutes about what it was like to be gay.  They talked about their difficulties in maintaining careers, the problems of police harassment, and the social responsibility of gays and straights alike. The program’s host guided the programs with questions to the panel. “Is there harassment?” he asked. One panelist described some of the police harassment he had experienced, when one officer “roared up, jumped out of the car, grabbed me, and started giving me this big thing about ‘What are you doing here, you know there are a lot of queers around this neighborhood.’ He said, ‘You know, there’s only one thing worse than a queer, and that’s a nigger’.” (Remember this was 1962.)

The New York Times’s  called the program “the most extensive consideration of the subject to be heard on American radio” —  
A week before the broadcast, Jack O'Brian, a "right-wing" columnist for the New York Journal American, attacked it as an attempt to present "the ease of living the gay life." Wicker made the rounds to Variety, Newsweek, and The New York Times informing them of the broadcast and the attack on it by O'Brian. The 90-minute program, believed to be the first such in the United States, aired on July 15, 1962. Several mainstream media outlets, alerted by Wicker, covered the broadcast, which received favorable treatment in The New York Times, The Realist, Newsweek, the New York Herald Tribune, and Variety.

As a result of the publicity, from 1962 through 1964 Wicker was one of the most visible gay people in New York. He spoke to countless church groups and college classes and, in 1964, became the first openly gay person to appear on East Coast television with a January 31st appearance on The Les Crane Show which was recorded at the time of the original broadcast by Phil Gries founder and owner of Archival Television Audio.

 Wicker is credited with organizing the first known gay rights demonstration in the United States. 
1964-01-31, WABC, 38 min.
Les Crane, Randolph Wicker, Morton Getman, Sandor Loran, Randolfe Wicker, Randy Wicker, Randole Wicker

Les Crane's guests Randolph Wicker, Morton Getman, and Dr. Sandor Loran take phone calls related to homosexuality. 

NOTE: This broadcast also archived (possibly longer version, TBD) on another master tape (George Vlasto Collection). 

 Wicker was one of the most visible homosexuals in New York. During the early 1960's he spoke at countless Church groups and College classes. He became the first openly gay person to appear on East Coast television on this Les Crane television talk show. This telecast is not extant in any broadcast form in any museum, or private collection, except for this TV audio excerpt recorded off the air at the time of the telecast by archivist Phil Gries, founder and owner of Archival Television Audio, Inc. 

NOTE: 98% of all Les Crane television broadcasts (1963-1968) are considered lost, wiped or destroyed. 

2017 Interview with Randolfe Wicker
LGBTQ Nation

You appeared on “The Les Crane Show” and answered questions about homosexuality, where you were believed to be the first gay person to appear openly on East Coast TV without a disguise or a fake name.

RW: They contacted me and Les Crane was the cutting edge new show and homosexuality was one of the taboo topics. I had to answer call-in questions and some of them were pretty direct. I had one woman call in and say she had a cousin or an uncle who she knew was gay. She worried about him being in contact with her children. I told her I thought the chances of any problems like that would be very minor, especially if she let him know that she knew he was gay, knew that he would not do anything nefarious.

QN: What kind of reactions did you receive after that TV appearance?

RW: Generally very good. When I opened my [art deco] store in 1974, I’d say for a period of maybe 10 years, there would be several people who would come through that door every week and they always said the same thing. They said, “You changed my life.”

People don’t realize that, in those days, you thought you were the only one. Then, they saw me on “The Les Crane Show” and it made them realize there were others like themselves.                                                             
2 Results found for Randolfe Wicker
Pages: [1]


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