It's now KCAL. But, when I was a kid, it was KHJ TV/Channel 9. This independent local Southern California station was attached to the Warner Bros. film library. Channel 9 carried "The Million Dollar Movie" format. One film would air at the same time at night during one week and then get a couple of airings on Saturday and Sunday, if I recall correctly. To me, Tab was terrific with Sophia Loren in Sidney Lumet's THAT KIND OF WOMAN, in THE PLEASURE OF HIS COMPANY with Debbie Reynolds and Fred Astaire, in the fabulously unconventional John Waters' movies with Divine and he was very good as "The Boy Next Door" in a CBS production of MEET ME IN ST. LOUIS. But I dig Tab most in a baseball musical.
When I was in elementary school and on summer vacation, I lived for "The Million Dollar Movie" airings of the Warner Bros. musical comedy, DAMN YANKEES. Gwen Verdon and Ray Walston repeated their hit Broadway show roles in the film version. The lead role of the mysterious star athlete who helps the Yankees become champs went to Tab Hunter. Perfect casting. He was that wholesome, All American team player.
When you get older, you see different things in movies you've loved for a long time. Here's what I mean about Tab Hunter and the Nature of Love. It refers to DAMN YANKEES. Lola is a hot babe. She pretends to be a Dominican beauty pageant winner. But young loves his middle-aged Mrs. who wears a simple house dress and glasses.
There's a sweet and sexy undercurrent, when you think about it, in the scenes of Joe Hardy, baseball star, with Mrs. Meg Boyd. I didn't pick up on this when I was a kid watching DAMN YANKEES. Meg sees Joe as a clean-cut, sweet young man who's a great baseball player. He sees the woman who's been and still is the love of his life. And now, with his youth restored, so is his sexual energy. There is a sexual chemistry between them but Meg doesn't realize it. She may feel she's just an ordinary housewife whose husband has mysteriously disappeared for a time but Joe can reveal in his eyes that he has a physical yearning for her, his wife. He desires Meg, not the shapely vamp, Lola. Meg is what his heart wants. That is the nature of love. When it's the real thing, the attraction is not just about age and physical beauty. There's something else. Something sincere, substantial and special.
Here's one of the numbers that made me love this musical time and time again thanks to "The Million Dollar Movie" on KHJ. Tab Hunter and Gwen Verdon as Joe and Lola are in the locker room after a game for "Whatever Lola Wants."