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In 1970 I was a mere tot, innocently listening to the soundtrack of The Jungle Book, watching Peanuts specials and playing with my dollhouse. Then one day, I turned on the television, and beheld a Vision. What went through my head was something like this:

I am a girl.

THAT is definitely not a girl.

THAT is a Beautiful Man.

Rrrrowwwwr!

For the first time, I was aware of myself as a Female, and the Vision on the screen as a Male. No previous programs had produced this effect. Certainly Captain Kangaroo and Mister Green Jeans lacked the masculine mojo to awaken my youthful yearnings.

In any case, I fell deeply in love with the Beautiful Man on the screen. At the start of every show, he raced onto the set, leaping playfully over a chair with a glass of wine in hand. He greeted the audience (sometimes addressing us as DARLING and causing a frisson of delight to course through my tiny frame). Then he would begin the serious business of cooking delicious food. Sophisticated food (for the time, at any rate). Grown up food!

In retrospect, this explains a lot. To this day, the two kinds of pleasure are fused in my psyche: Delectable Food = Desirable Man. Food is sexy and men are delicious. I suppose it also explains my lifelong fascination with intelligent, cultured, wine-bibbing men who have a sense of humor, a discerning palate and an accent that savors of the Atlantic Isles.

Here he is, racing thrillingly onto the set!
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Yes, I was in love with the Galloping Gourmet.

Who could forget the time he flambéed the cherries in kirsch, simultaneously raising the temperature of female viewers from five to ninety-five? And then, hilariously, he… couldn’t get it out. The pudding, that is. He couldn’t get it out of the mold. “Me cherries are burning!” he exclaimed. He had plenty of company.

Note the sexily untied bow tie.
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Here’s the Beauteous One, greeting his one and only darling, with a glass of wine near at hand (note the WHITE wine. But he swung both ways. Sometimes it was a red.)

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Thanks for the memories, Beautiful Man Graham Kerr! You made me what I am today!

Graham Kerr’s appeal was not limited to females! He inspired this inspiring Chef to a career in food: