The male cast of Dark Shadows has already proven itself to me as the gayest in television history, with actors running the gamut of onscreen persona from snobbish queen and fussy dandy (Louis Edmonds as Roger) to dreamboat hunk (Joel Crothers as Joe/Lt. Forbes) to rugged suit man (Anthony George as Burke #2/Jeremiah) to outlandishly queer outcast (Jonathan Frid as Barnabas), but lo and behold, in March of 1968, they’ve outdone themselves with the brief addition of Craig Slocum, playing ne’er-do-well sailor Noah Gifford.
From the second Slocum swishes through that door, it’s clear that the queer-off in this scene is no contest. This sailor is in a league all of his own. What stuns isn’t the camp or beefcake we’ve witnessed before from others, nor is it even the double-entendres bantered between the two actors hinting at leather bars and rough trade; rather, it’s the ordinariness and readability of Slocum’s presence. With both hands on hips and lips alternately pursed and smacked, seedy sailor Noah borderline minces through the scene, scarcely suggesting an independent character besides the fey actor playing him. I’m not sure I’d call his performance acting; it’s more self-consciously reciting lines while unintentionally projecting an instantly identifiable gay facet of his self, not for laughs or any other particular effect. He just is as he presents, the most accessible gay personality on the screen.
Even the mundane is gay on Dark Shadows. In contrast…