Friday, June 18, 2010

Know Your LGBT History - Ode to Billy Joe

Ode to Billy Joe is a legendary song by Bobbie Gentry which told the story of the reaction (or lack thereof) of a small town when a young resident commits suicide.

The reason for Billy Joe's suicide was never given in the song and it remained a mystery.

That is until 1975 when the movie Ode to Billy Joe premiered. It was sad, complex movie which explained the young man's suicide:

Billy Joe McCallister killed himself because he was gay.

Two scenes in the movie stand out in hearbreaking detail. The following scene is Billy Joe (played by Robbie Benson) coming out to the heroine and eventual narrator of the song (played by Glynnis O'Connor).

His "confession" starts at 5:37 and I defy you to watch it without tearing up just a little:

The second scene is the final scene in the movie. Now the only people who knew why Billy Joe killed himself are O'Connor, Benson . . . and the man whom he had sex with who turned out to be Billy Joe's boss (played by James Best). O'Connor's character is running away in an attempt to save Benson's reputation. Apparently the word around town is that Billy Joe got her pregnant and committed suicide so as to not deal with the responsibility. Supposedly that makes him a legend amongst the young men.

On her way out of town, O'Connor meets Billy Joe's boss. All I can say is that the scene proves that the closet is NOT a good place to live. The gist of the scene starts at 1:50:

Past Know Your LGBT History postings

Know Your LGBT History - Adorable Adrian Adonis

Know Your LGBT History - The Night Strangler

Know Your LGBT History - All in the Family

Know Your LGBT History - Tongues Untied

Know Your LGBT History - The Celluloid Closet

Know Your LGBT History - Querelle

Know Your LGBT History - Theatre of Blood

Know Your LGBT History - Strange Fruit

Know Your LGBT History - Designing Women

Know Your LGBT History - The Children's Hour

Know Your LGBT History - Sylvester

Know Your LGBT History - Once Bitten

Know Your LGBT History - The Boys in the Band

Know Your LGBT History - Christopher Morley, the crossdressing assassin

Know Your LGBT History - Midnight Cowboy

Know Your LGBT History - Dracula's Daughter

Know Your LGBT History - Blacula

Know Your LGBT History - 3 Strikes

Know Your LGBT History - Paris Is Burning

Know Your LGBT History - The Women

Know your LGBT History - Soul Plane

Know Your LGBT History - The Player's Club

Special Know Your LGBT History - Fame

Know Your LGBT History - Welcome Home, Bobby

Know Your LGBT History - Barney Miller

Know your lgbt history - The Jerry Springer Show

Know your lgbt history - Martin Lawrence and that 'gay guy' on his show

Know your lgbt history - The Ricki Lake Show

Know your lgbt history - Which Way Is Up

Know your lgbt history - Gays in Primetime Soaps

Know your lgbt history - Boys Beware

Know your lgbt history - The Boondocks

Know your lgbt history - Mannequin

Know your lgbt history - The Warriors

Know Your LGBT History - New York Undercover

Know Your LGBT History - Low Down Dirty Shame

Know Your LGBT History - Fortune and Men's Eyes

Know your lgbt history - California Suite

Know your lgbt history - Taxi (Elaine's Strange Triangle)

Know your lgbt history - Come Back Charleston Blue

Know your lgbt history - James Bond goes gay

Know your lgbt history - Windows

Know your lgbt history - To Wong Foo and Priscilla

Know your lgbt history - Blazing Saddles

Know your lgbt history - Sanford and Son

Know your lgbt history - In Living Color

Know your lgbt history - Cleopatra Jones and her lesbian drug lords

Know your lgbt history - Norman, Is That You?

Know your lgbt history - The 'Exotic' Adrian Street

Know your lgbt history - The Choirboys

Know your lgbt history - Eddie Murphy

Know your lgbt history - The Killing of Sister George

Know your lgbt history - Hanna-Barbera cartoons pushes the 'gay agenda

'Know your lgbt history - Cruising

Know your lgbt history - Foxy Brown and Cleopatra Jones

Know your lgbt history - I Got Da Hook Up

Know your lgbt history - Fright Night

Know your lgbt history - Flowers of Evil

The Jeffersons and the transgender community   

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Chitown Kev said...

Alvin, had to comment on this old post because I ran across it in John Howard's "Men Like That" and I was ready to do a diary on it but (as to be expected) you beat me to it, LOL.

Still might do one, though.

BlackTsunami said...

By all means, go ahead Kev. I would love to read your take on this movie.