At the time I didn't know why it was, but during the 1960's (when I was between the ages of 4-13) I was drawn to male TV stars in a way that their female counterparts couldn't replicate. Sure, I liked Patty Duke, Sally Field, Marlo Thomas, etc. but it was because they were perky and made me laugh - they created no yearning or stir anything inside me like the guys did. With that said, here are ten of my Primetime crushes (in chronological order):
Lloyd Bridges. Of all of them Bridges (actor Jeff's father) was by far the oldest of my crushes. I was 4 or 5 years old and he was in his late 40's! It may have been because, as scuba diver Mike Nelson on Sea Hunt, he was regularly bare chested - something not commonly seen on TV of my youth.
Vince Edwards. Edwards starred as surgeon Ben Casey in the eponymous medical drama in the early 60's. I liked him better than Richard Chamberlain, who starrred in Dr. Kildare at the same time, probably because Edwards was swarthier and beefier. (Ben Casey was the higher rated of the two shows.)
Bill Bixby. He starred in My Favorite Martian on CBS in the early 60's and then in The Courtship of Eddie's Father on ABC at the end of the decade. Bixby was a favorite because he exuded such warmth and charm. He also starred in The Magician and Incredible Hulk in the 1970's.
Mark Goddard. He played hot-headed Major Don West on CBS's space adventure Lost in Space. He looked especially cute in his metallic silver spacesuit (which resembled the space age outfits the group Labelle wore 10 years later.) FYI, in 1978 Goddard performed on Broadway with Liza Minelli in The Act.
Ted Bessell. He played magazine editor Donald Hollinger, the long sufferring boyfriend of Anne Marie (played by Marlo Thomas) on That Girl. He made being an intellectual sexy - and I also liked that he was called "Donald" rather than "Don". I preferred him more in the early years of the show when he had a more clean-cut look. Following Marlo Thomas his next co-star was a chimpanzee in the much derided and short lived Me & the Chimp.
Alejandro Rey. A movie star in his native Argentina, Rey played the role of Carlos Ramirez, the Latin playboy and San Juan casino owner who befriended Sally Field's Sister Bertrille on The Flying Nun. Of all my crushes Rey died the youngest, at the age of 57 - but Bixby (age 59) and Bissell (61) weren't far behind.
Peter Lupus (near right) and Greg Morris(far right). Both were on CBS's Sunday spy show Mission: Impossible. They took care of wire tapping and planting explosive devices in order for the team to carry out each "impossible" assignment. FYI, Lupus later appeared in a nude spread in Playgirl.
Michael Cole. The youngest of my crushes, Cole was 24 when he was cast as Pete Cochran in the action-crime drama The Mod Squad in 1968. In the show's opening credits I pictured myself as Peggy (we were both blonds) being supported on either side by Pete and Link as they ran through that dark, dank tunnel:
Kent McCord. The straight-laced co-star of Adam-12 (along with Martin Milner), he was in his late 20's when the show debuted on NBC's Saturday schedule. Much later in his career he played a judge in the legal drama JAG and in 2003 he ran for president of SAG but lost to Melissa Gilbert (of Little House on the Prairie fame).
Honorable Mentions: Tony Franciosa (The Name of the Game); Richard Chamberlain (Dr. Kildaire); Richard Crenna (The Real McCoys); Lyle Waggoner (Carol Burnett Show, far left); and Robert Conrad (The Wild, Wild West, near left).