Kids DVDs for Queer Adults

Everyone knows that H.R. Pufnstuf — well, actually, any of the psychedelically strange kids shows produced in the '70s by Sid and Marty Krofft —was even more fun if you watched as an adult (with or without other indulgences). A look back at a few new DVDs released from Warner Archives shows that's true for a great deal of tot TV. These five series prove that sometimes the best time to watch shows aimed at kids is when you're all grown up.

BY Diane Anderson-Minshall

February 21 2013 5:00 AM ET


Shazam! The Complete Live-Action Series 
Michael Gray, who played young Billy Batson — a feather-haired kid imbued with powers that turned him into the world’s mightiest mortal, Captain Marvel — resurfaced to talk about the series at last summer's ComicCon in San Diego. As soon as they said his name, the now middle-aged Gray was greeted with an audience full of swooning straight women and gay men (and, ahem, at least one queer woman). That's because Gray was one of those unassuming but burgeoningly sexy young guys starring in a series that has almost nothing but homosocial elements built into the very premise, like the older gentleman who Billy travels the countryside with or the themes of being closeted about something, wanting to be yourself, and stopping bullies and bad guys. Just as an aside (and this is kind of gay, too):  Shazam is an acronym made up of the first letters of the names of the six elders who trained Billy with their respective special gifts: Solomon, wisdom; Hercules, strength; Atlas, stamina; Zeus, power; Achilles, courage; and Mercury, speed. By uttering a single magic word Billy transforms himself into the world’s mightiest mortal, Captain Marvel, played by a hunky, hairy guy with gay vibes of his own. The entire series is available in a new three-disc set.

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