The Gay Dating Game Show Records
This collection was donated by Tommie Saeli’s partner Robert Gallagher in February, 2021.
Scope and Content
This collection consists of 64 original 3/4-inch video tapes, and one VHS tape, of “The Gay Dating Game Show” that aired on the Manhattan Cable Public Access channel in 1989 and 1990. The show was produced and hosted by Tommie Saeli. The show was taped with a live audience and featured “spokesmodel” Lohoma Van Zandt. The show’s format loosely followed that of the original “Dating Game” TV show that aired on network TV in the1960s and 70s where contestants are being interviewed anonymously behind a partition to be chosen for a date. This gay version paired up same sex couples and sometimes featured contestants in drag. Also included are publicity photos, magazine articles, newspaper clippings, letters, and other documents related to the production. The photos include shots of “The Gay Dating Game Show” floats in the 1989 and 1990 Pride Parades. There are also tapes of an interview and performance by Saeli on Linda Simpson’s “Party Talk” show, performances by his band Harpies Bizarre, and a pilot for an unproduced show called “Lie Detector.”
These 65 tapes will not be available to view until they can be transferred from their original format. Please reach out to firstname.lastname@example.org if you would like to donate toward or fully fund their digitization.
History or Bio
Tommie Saeli was born February 15, 1964 and raised on Long Island where he discovered a passion for music and the theater. He was an accomplished cellist and traveled with the Long Island Youth Orchestra all over the world. He graduated from Boston University. A long-time friend described him as “a Long Island native turned East Village dandy, unorthodox entrepreneur, electric-cello glam-rock god, and lover of wolves.” After moving to New York City in the mid 1980s he worked a variety of jobs including: Barneys New York window display assistant; Pyramid Club go-go dancer; strip club wrestler; fabric designer for Liz Claiborne; and member of various alternative glam rock bands such as Harpies Bizarre, with whom he recorded an album.
Saeli added TV producer and game show host to his resume when he came up with the idea for “The Gay Dating Game Show,” getting it on the air in 1989 with a shoestring budget. His hosting talent and flamboyant costumes also made him a popular guest on other gay public access shows like Linda Simpson’s “Party Talk.”
Saeli died December 5, 2020 in Palm Springs at the age of 56.
- Promotional material/Photos/Letters
- Articles/Film festival listings
- Publicity Photos/Drawing
Video Tape List
Forthcoming. These 65 tapes will not be available to view until they can be transferred from their original format. Please reach out to email@example.com if you would like to donate toward or fully fund their digitization.