Windy City Media Group Frontpage News

THE VOICE OF CHICAGO'S GAY, LESBIAN, BI, TRANS AND QUEER COMMUNITY SINCE 1985

home search facebook twitter join
Gay News Sponsor Windy City Times 2021-06-09
DOWNLOAD ISSUE
Donate

Sponsor
Sponsor
Sponsor

  WINDY CITY TIMES

BOOKS Former Warner Brothers head Alan Shayne reflects on a pivotal summer
by Andrew Davis, Windy City Times
2020-10-24

This article shared 2490 times since Sat Oct 24, 2020
facebook twitter pin it google +1 reddit email


Many things happened in 1941—Pearl Harbor was attacked, the Wonder Woman comic began publication and Franklin D. Roosevelt was sworn in for his third term as U.S. president.

It was also a pivotal year for Alan Shayne, 94, an openly gay man who started in the entertainment field as an actor ( eventually landing on Broadway ) and who later became president of Warner Brothers Television. In The Rain May Pass, Shayne looks back on being 15 in Massachusetts—a year when he embarked on same-sex experiences and found his first love.

Windy City Times: Before we discuss your book, I have a general question: Many feel that Hollywood is a bastion of liberalism, although there still seem to be some lavender relationships and marriages happening. What do you think?

Alan Shayne: [Laughs] I don't know. I tell you that we [Shayne and longtime partner Norman Sunshine] lived happily there. Everybody knew we were gay, certainly, and we lived openly.

When I took over the television division at Warner Brothers, they said they were going out of business and they just wanted someone to finish it off. I didn't really realize that, so I made it successful—but then people tried to offer [the position] to other people and we went through a whole list. One day I said, "What about me? I really did it all." The problem for them was that I was gay; they weren't homophobic, but they felt that a gay man couldn't hang with the old-boys network, going to basketball games and things like that. So things weren't as open then as they are now. Actors can be in gay relationships now, openly.

Some may be in sham relationships, but that's a holdover from the past. I guess if you're a romantic actor, they want you to have everybody [as fans]. You know all the stories about Rock [Hudson] and how he was married; well, I married a woman [actress Mary Fickett].

WCT: So, as Warner Brothers president, you were a trailblazer.

AS: [Pauses] Yes. I didn't mean to be, but I guess I was.

Going back to your first question, actors have been primarily Democrats. John Wayne wasn't and some other stars weren't, but generally they were [Democrats]. Many of them came from nothing—and I think if you come from nothing, you tend to be more liberal and more Democratic. It's a theory I never thought of before but, in a way, it's true, you know?

WCT: What spurred you to write a memoir? I not sure that I ever could do such a thing.

AS: It meant so much to me; it was very important time in my life, and I kept going back to it—and I thought it was a really good story. In fact, I started working on it years ago as a movie script. I worked for [director] Mike Nichols in those days, and he read the script I worked on, contacted me and said, "I love it—let's do it!" Then he never mentioned it again. [Laughs] I learned later in life that he expected me to go to the studios and sell it; well, I didn't have any contacts at that time.

Then, I tried to do it as a novel. Then I realized it was all true, so I wondered why I was hiding. So I decided to do it as a memoir—and the reason you write a memoir is because you want to recapture the past, in a way, and figure out what happened. When I wrote it, I figured out why Roger [Shayne's first love] couldn't have a relationship with me: The age difference was incredible [Roger was 30 and Shayne was 15] and he knew it, even though I was all gung-ho.

By the way, it's very important for people to know this relationship wasn't abuse.

WCT: Did the age difference make you reluctant to write this memoir? I can see some people saying, "This older man took advantage of this young boy."

AS: One of the reasons I wrote it was to show there are young gays who can have relationships with older guys, although there are certainly terrible cases of abuse that do happen. In the memoir, I took a while to get to the love story with Roger to show a boy who was fascinated by something he didn't understand. This was 1941 and there was no internet; now, you can find out everything about someone. Also, there were no books and there was no Will & Grace. This young boy is exploring his own feelings. That's not abuse. By the way, people who read the book never talk of abuse; it's people who hear of the book who wonder if there was abuse. The book is about love.

WCT: Looking back at the time period this book covers, what did you learn about love?

AS: I learned that such a thing exists—as well as that I could feel love and that someone could love me. However, I clearly didn't know about love. My parents weren't God-awful people, but they didn't really pay that much attention to me, either. Finally, someone came along who said, "You're wonderful," helped me grow and believed in me. That changed my whole life. When that ended, I was determined to find love again.

WCT: There's a point in the book when an actor wanted to have sex with you without love—and you didn't want that.

AS: No. As I grew older, I went through a period of sex without love, as many people do. But I believed strongly in love; I experienced it with Roger, and I thought that was what life is all about. I searched for love and I finally found it—and we've been together for 62 years.

WCT: Sixty-two years?!? What's your secret?

AS: [Laughs] You decided what you want in life, and you go after it. It's not easy, but it's so rewarding. I'm very fortunate.

WCT: As an aside, there are a lot of interesting details in the memoir. For example, I had no idea that soy burgers existed back then.

AS: [Laughs] My father was crazy, impossible and unloving. He was actually a vegetarian and he died at age 100. My mother died at 92; he said, "If she had been a vegetarian, she would've lived longer." [Both laugh.]

WCT: I know you never spoke with Roger again—but you never heard anything about him from anyone else, either?

AS: No. I never heard from him again. I didn't know anyone who knew him, and I didn't remember the name of the city where his mother's farm was. But I realized, through writing the book, that he was protecting me by leaving me—but he gave me my dream of being an actor.

WCT: If you could reunite with Roger, what would you ask him?

AS: I think I would ask him why he never contacted me. Many people who have read the book have said, "Gee—I wish I had a Roger in my life," so he's not a heavy. He was a good person.

WCT: Ultimately, what would you like readers to take from this book?

AS: I'd like them to understand gay people. I want them to understand us more. When we [Shayne and Sunshine] wrote [the dual memoir] Double Life in 2011, young gay people were killing themselves. It seemed that they felt they couldn't be in relationships, so I wanted people to know that our relationship was something they could have. With The Rain May Pass, it explains what a young gay person goes through—and you see a relationship where a young person is helped by an older man.

Once, our mother visited [Sunshine and myself] in our Connecticut house and she said to the handyman, "Isn't it wonderful that Alan and Norman have this friendship? It's like the Greeks of yore." [Interviewer laughs.] Everyone has a first love, and we learn through our loves and relationships.

The Rain May Pass is now available for purchase.


This article shared 2490 times since Sat Oct 24, 2020
facebook twitter pin it google +1 reddit email





Windy City Media Group does not approve or necessarily agree with the views posted below.
Please do not post letters to the editor here. Please also be civil in your dialogue.
If you need to be mean, just know that the longer you stay on this page, the more you help us.


  ARTICLES YOU MIGHT LIKE

Gay News

Seb throws Carlos a quinceanero on 'High School Musical: The Musical: The Series'
2021-06-10
High School Musical: The Musical: The Series is a streaming television show on Disney+ inspired by—you guessed it!—the High School Musical film series. It is set in East High School and has a unique storyline with ...


Gay News

New book sets the record straight on Act Up New York
2021-06-10
Novelist, playwright, nonfiction writer, journalist, screenwriter, LGBTQ+-rights activist and AIDS historian Sarah Schuman preserves the power of the AIDS Coalition to Unleash Power (ACT UP) while laying everything out about ...


Gay News

Lambda Literary Award winners announced
2021-06-09
On June 1, Lambda Literary announced the winners of its 33rd Annual Lambda Literary Awards. The winners were selected by a panel of more than 60 literary professionals from more than 1,000 book submissions from more ...


Gay News

Jay Españo named Artistic Director of PrideArts, planning 2021-22 season
2021-06-03
--From a press release - CHICAGO — Jay Espano, a Chicago actor, director, and filmmaker whose theater training includes education in The Philippines as well as an MFA from Chicago's Columbia College, has been named Artistic Director of PrideArts. Cheri Tatar, ...


Gay News

New queer comedy series revisits the women's bathroom
2021-06-02
Gal Pal Presents recently premiered a new comedy web series, titled Stalled, which aims to capture the gay nightclub women's restroom scene that you may have experienced, but may have flushed out of memory. The five-episode ...


Gay News

Becoming Johanna to air on WTTW
2021-05-31
--From a press release - Chicago, IL: Becoming Johanna, a compelling story that follows the struggles transgender teens face every day, airs Friday, June 25th at 8:30pm on WTTW (11.1 channel). The film follows Johanna, a 16-year-old transgender Latina, as she ...


Gay News

Temple Beth-El to offer 'Drag Queen Story Time' on June 5
2021-05-31
Temple Beth-El, a Reform Jewish synagogue in Northbrook, will hold "Drag Queen Story Time" on Saturday, June 5, 4-4:45 p.m., on Zoom. The all-ages event will feature Merriam Levkowitz, described on a flyer as "Chicago's premier ...


Gay News

Kelsey Louie to step down as CEO of GMHC
2021-05-31
After seven years leading the New York City-based HIV/AIDS services organization GMHC (formerly known as Gay Men's Health Crisis), Kelsey Louie is stepping down, Gay City News reported. According to a Facebook post, Louie is planning ...


Gay News

An Evening with Fran Lebowitz at the Auditorium Theatre on April 15, 2022
2021-05-25
--From a press release - Chicago, IL May 24, 2021 — An Evening with Fran Lebowitz on Friday, April 15th at Auditorium Theatre located at 50 E. Congress Pkwy Chicago, IL. This show is all ages and begins at 7:30 PM ...


Gay News

Little library honoring John Pennycuff is unveiled
2021-05-24
Chicago's Unity Park Advisory Council (UPAC) held "Park Day" May 22 at the site, 2636 N. Kimball Ave.—and one of the events involved the unveiling of a custom-designed little library that honors late LGBTQ-rights activist John ...


Gay News

SHOWBIZ 'Love, Victor,' R.E.M., Cher, HIV film, Jane Lynch
2021-05-23
The Holy teen dramedy series Love, Victor returns June 11, as season two finds a newly out of the closet Victor entering his junior year at Creekwood High, a press release noted. This season, Victor faces ...


Gay News

'Real Housewives' expert Brian Moylan keeps it real in new tell-all book
2021-05-21
Bravo's Real Housewives franchise, which has been stirring the pot for more than 15 years, has launched 31 books and a cocktail line; featured two jail sentences and a couple of supermodel daughters; made Andy Cohen ...


Gay News

Doc10 Film Festival returns and includes LGBTQ+ features
2021-05-21
Chicago Media Project (CMP) announced the full slate of films being showcased at the annual Doc10 Documentary Film Festival, returning June 17-20. The festival will feature socially distanced, COVID-responsible in-person ...


Gay News

FILM Lesbian Bar Project, Jagermeister collaborate on documentary
2021-05-20
Following the success of The Lesbian Bar Project PSA and fundraising campaign in 2020, The Lesbian Bar Project and Jagermeister's #savethenight initiative will premiere a documentary short that aims to bring greater awareness to the remaining ...


Gay News

Next OUTspoken event taking place June 1
2021-05-18
OUTspoken will provide four tales of fun and fortune from an LGBTQ+ perspective on Tuesday, June 1, starting at 7 p.m. on Zoom. This program is free. Interested parties can go to Facebook, log on to ...


 



Copyright © 2021 Windy City Media Group. All rights reserved.
Reprint by permission only. PDFs for back issues are downloadable from
our online archives. Single copies of back issues in print form are
available for $4 per issue, older than one month for $6 if available,
by check to the mailing address listed below.

Return postage must accompany all manuscripts, drawings, and
photographs submitted if they are to be returned, and no
responsibility may be assumed for unsolicited materials.
All rights to letters, art and photos sent to Nightspots
(Chicago GLBT Nightlife News) and Windy City Times (a Chicago
Gay and Lesbian News and Feature Publication) will be treated
as unconditionally assigned for publication purposes and as such,
subject to editing and comment. The opinions expressed by the
columnists, cartoonists, letter writers, and commentators are
their own and do not necessarily reflect the position of Nightspots
(Chicago GLBT Nightlife News) and Windy City Times (a Chicago Gay,
Lesbian, Bisexual and Transegender News and Feature Publication).

The appearance of a name, image or photo of a person or group in
Nightspots (Chicago GLBT Nightlife News) and Windy City Times
(a Chicago Gay, Lesbian, Bisexual and Transgender News and Feature
Publication) does not indicate the sexual orientation of such
individuals or groups. While we encourage readers to support the
advertisers who make this newspaper possible, Nightspots (Chicago
GLBT Nightlife News) and Windy City Times (a Chicago Gay, Lesbian
News and Feature Publication) cannot accept responsibility for
any advertising claims or promotions.

 

 

 

TRENDINGBREAKINGPHOTOS







Sponsor
Sponsor


 



Donate


About WCMG      Contact Us      Online Front  Page      Windy City  Times      Nightspots      OUT! Guide     
Identity      BLACKlines      En La Vida      Archives      Advanced Search     
Windy City Queercast      Queercast Archives     
Press  Releases      Join WCMG  Email List      Email Blast      Blogs     
Upcoming Events      Todays Events      Ongoing Events      Bar Guide      Community Groups      In Memoriam      Outguide Categories      Outguide Advertisers      Search Outguide      Travel      Dining Out      Privacy Policy     

Windy City Media Group publishes Windy City Times,
The Bi-Weekly Voice of the Gay, Lesbian, Bisexual and Trans Community.
5315 N. Clark St. #192, Chicago, IL 60640-2113 • PH (773) 871-7610 • FAX (773) 871-7609.