Lafayette Escadrille

I was off work yesterday, so I decided to watch a movie I’d DVR’d. A few weeks ago, I was getting ready to DVR some Cary Grant movies on TCM when I saw that Lafayette Escadrille was going to be on. Some of you may know that the First World War is one of my historical specialties, especially Americans in World War I, so when I saw that a move about the Lafayette Escadrille, a French Air Force unit composed of American volunteers, was coming on, I knew I wanted to see it. Besides, it stars Tab Hunter, who, in my opinion, is one of the sexiest men to have ever lived, and he looks really good in a French Air Force uniform and an American Army uniform later in the movie. Of all the military uniforms I’ve ever seen throughout history, the WWI era American uniform is my favorite, but I’m getting off track.

Tab Hunter came out as gay in his 2005 autobiography, Tab Hunter Confidential, which was also made into a documentary by his husband Allan Glaser. Hunter had long been rumored to be gay and was basically outed in 1955 when his agent fed a story about him being arrested for disorderly conduct at what the magazine called a “limp-wristed pajama party.” His agent had been Henry Wilson, who also represented Rock Hudson. It has always been believed that Wilson leaked the story to Confidential in order to keep a story about Hudson being gay out of the magazine. However, Hunter was such a heartthrob and was also protected by Jack Warner, not to mention “dating” Natalie Wood, that the story had little impact on his career at the time. Lafayette Escadrille was made three years later.

Lafayette Escadrille is no cinematic masterpiece, but it was mildly entertaining since the movie stars some very handsome men, including Jody McCrea, known for playing Deadhead in all the seventies Frankie Avalon/Annette Funicello beach movies,  and a young Clint Eastwood. It was worth it just to see Tab Hunter in his prime. In nearly every movie he was in during the 1950s, Tab Hunter is seen shirtless at some point, and his beauty will take your breath away. After I watched Lafayette Escadrille, I watched the documentary Tab Hunter Confidential. Hunter passed away in 2018. Even as an older man, Tab Hunter still had a beautiful smile and was still good-looking. He spent his later years focusing on his beloved horses.

About Joe

I began my life in the South and for five years lived as a closeted teacher, but am now making a new life for myself as an oral historian in New England. I think my life will work out the way it was always meant to be. That doesn't mean there won't be ups and downs; that's all part of life. It means I just have to be patient. I feel like October 7, 2015 is my new birthday. It's a beginning filled with great hope. It's a second chance to live my life…not anyone else's. My profile picture is "David and Me," 2001 painting by artist Steve Walker. It happens to be one of my favorite modern gay art pieces. View all posts by Joe

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