1977 was a big year. Emotions’ “Best Of My Love” and Rod Stewart’s “Tonight’s The Night” topped the charts. New Yorkers staggered into each other and nonchalantly looted during a blackout that lasted 25 hours. And Bob, “the world’s first openly gay doll,” stepped blithely out of the closet.
The brawny brainchild of former advertising exe Harvey Rosenberg, “Gay Bob” was touted as “the world’s first gay doll for everyone.” The accompanying materials invited buyers to “come out of the closet with Gay Bob,” and proudly touted all the things he can do:
He gets into any position
… And since he is
anatomically correct, he can
even play with himself without going blind.
As Flashbak reports, Esquire bitchily bestowed the “Dubious Achievement Award” to Gay Bob in 1978, and the product earned this incredible write-up from the Village Voice:
And from the Aug 2, 1978 issue of the Gadsden Times:
Of course, Bob had his fair share of detractors, too. A group called Protest America’s Children were particularly horrified:
Nevertheless, the product sold: Rosenberg claims that 2,000 Gay Bobs were sold in just two months.
Here’s Gay Bob’s manifesto:
Hi Boys, Girls, and Grownups… I’m Gay Bob the world’s first gay doll. I bet you are wondering why I come packed in a closet. ‘Coming out of the closet’ is an expression which means that you admit the truth about yourself, and are no longer ashamed of what you are. Gay people use the expression “coming out of the closet” to explain they are no longer afraid, or ashamed, of being gay, and no longer hide the fact….
“…Gay people are no different than straight people… if everyone came ‘out of their closets’ there wouldn’t be so many angry, frustrated, frightened people… People who are not ashamed of what they are, are more lovable, kind and understanding.. It’s not easy to be honest about what you are — in fact it takes a great deal of courage… But remember if Gay Bob has the courage to come out his closet, so can you…”
Oh, and if you want to see just how anatomically correct he is — and we suspect you do — check out Flashbak’s original post HERE.