Some days ago, through Twitter, I read about a restored version of a pioneering documentary about homosexuality. It’s called The Rejected and it was first aired on September 11th 1961 on KQED, the public media outlet from San Francisco, California.

The Rejected is acknowledged as being the first documentary about homosexuality broadcast on the American television. A new restored version was released in July 2015 by the The Library of Congress. The documentary was directed by Richard Christian and financed by National Educational Television (NET), predecessor of WNET.

It was an “important milestone in the early discussion of homosexuality on television”, offering “the most comprehensive exploration of the subject” until then, says Stephen Tropiano on The Prime Time Closet: A History of Gays and Lesbians on TV (2002).

The documentary reinforces “some of the negative myths of the period”, says Stephen Tropiano. “Equating homosexuality with other ‘social ills’ (like alcoholism and drug abuse) was common in the 1950s and 1960s and no doubt provided a rationale for devoting an entire hour of public television to the topic.”

Wikipedia explains that KQED, after airing The Rejected “did not archive a hard copy of the documentary, and for many years, the full documentary was considered lost, with only transcripts available”. A master copy was recently found after a six-year search.

The 60-minute film was filmed mostly in the KQED studio but at least one scene was shot on location at the Black Cat Bar in San Francisco (710 Montgomery Street), states an article from the San Francisco State University TV Archive.

Watch it now:

 

Bruno Horta

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