Veteran journalist Mike Wallace, who died Saturday at age 93, had many claims to fame and one credit that might be considered a claim to infamy — his participation in the sensationalistic 1960s documentary The Homosexuals.
Wallace would later express regret about the tone of the documentary, which aired only once, March 7, 1967, on CBS. Hosted and narrated by Wallace, it characterized gay men as promiscuous and lonely, given to fleeting, anonymous sexual encounters. It acknowledged the discrimination they faced, but with “no sense of righteous indignation” about that, the journal Film Threat once noted. The program largely ignored lesbians. Still, it marked a breakthrough in gay visibility on television.
“Years after the broadcast, Mike Wallace would admit regret that The Homosexuals was not more balanced and sympathetic in its focus,” according to the Film Threat article. “In 1995, Wallace made a surprise appearance at New York’s Lighthouse Cinema, which was showing The Homosexuals as part of a Gay Pride line-up. The audience treated Wallace with deep respect and the veteran newsman hosted an impromptu Q&A session after the film was screened.”
View the documentary below.