Episode 8: Mama Was a Star

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Chances are you’ve never heard of Ruth Wallis, one of the greatest singers, comedians, and performers of sexually suggestive lyrics in the postwar United States. Most of her catalogue remains on vinyl and historians have forgotten her. But from the 1940s until the early 1970s, Ruth Wallis was a bestselling performer and a mainstay at supper clubs and hotels. At a time when it was legally risky for entertainers to sing about sexuality for profit and pleasure, Ruth sold millions of records that used innuendo to playfully hint at a variety of straight and queer sexual pleasures.

Hosts and Creators: Gillian Frank and Lauren Gutterman.

Producers: Rebecca Davis, Saniya Lee Ghanoui and Devin McGeehan Muchmore. 

Intern: Jayne Swift.

Special thanks to Alan Pastman, Mitch Douglas and Rusty Warren for sharing their stories with us. Thank you to Jennifer Caplan and Lauren Sklaroff for sharing their historical expertise with us. Thank you to Alan Pastman for sharing his personal archive.

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Episode 7: A Church With AIDS

In the 1980s and 1990s, the San Francisco Metropolitan Community Church wrestled with profound questions: What does it mean to minister a gay church when so many in the congregation are dying from AIDS-related complications and grieving the recently dead? How do you have faith during an epidemic? And what does it mean to participate in communion in a community ravaged by a plague?


Episode 6: Sexism Takes Flight

In the 1960s, the airline industry ramped up its sexualization of stewardesses in order to increase revenues. Decades before the #MeToo movement, flight attendants navigated a workplace in which their employers required them to stay thin, remain unmarried, and squeeze into revealing clothing every day. In the early 1970s, flight attendants organized one of the first campaigns against workplace sexual harassment, assault, and sexual discrimination.


Episode 5: Touch Me, I'm Yours!


In the 1970s, Evangelical women published bestselling marriage manuals. These books encouraged millions of American women to have active and exciting sex lives. They also insisted that in order to find happiness, a woman must submit to her husband's divinely ordained authority.


Episode 4: Mixed Blessings

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In 1973, CBS cancelled the top-rated sitcom Bridget Loves Bernie after one season. The reason: Jewish religious leaders objected to its positive portrayal of an interfaith marriage. They believed that interfaith marriage would lead to the erasure of Jews in the United States.