Friday, 8 June 2012

The Decline Of Shirtlessness On TV Part 1

"The emergence of teen actor Luke Halpin in the 1960s introduced the TV world to a level of young male beauty that few had ever thought possible in the early days of color television."

From the excellent site The Remarkable Body of Luke Halpin
The Muscles of Luke Halpin

Luke Halpin's physical appeal was undoubtedly a factor in his long-lived popularity. The well-built actor possessed a look that was lean, muscularly subtle, and flawlessly proportioned. Blessed with perfect complexion, and frequently dressed down to little more than cut-off jeans, Luke's well-tanned body became standard fare to TV viewers all over the world.

CVMC, an online DVD store that specializes in rare films, had this to say about Luke Halpin:

"He was certainly the most "exposed", teenager on television. In each episode viewers were sure to be guaranteed that Luke would be wearing little more than his trademark cutoff jeans and golden tanned swimmer’s muscles. In fact, more than one fan magazines [sic] dubbed him a modern Adonis."

One of those fan magazines was Teen Life Magazine, whose description of Luke's extraordinary good looks was not uncommon:

"'Being in the water is like second home to me,' Luke Halpin said, looking like a handsome sun-bronzed Adonis. His blond hair, thick and soft, gets bleached by the sun and has that wonderfully carefree wind-blown look. In fact, everything about Luke, from the way he walks and talks, to the way he dresses is wonderful to behold."

Fan magazine accolades like this are often dismissed as marketing hype, of course. But anyone who has actually seen Luke Halpin's body will understand why there was simply no way to ignore the millions of fans who adored Luke's magnificent build.


Luke Halpin the Athlete
Developed through years of athletics (especially water sports), Luke's athletic build positively radiates youth and energy. The lean, well-tanned muscles of Luke's upper body by themselves represent a level of physical excellence that is sorely missing in today's fast-food culture. Without doubt, Luke's incredibly attractive physique continues to put him head-and-shoulders above all teen stars, past and present.

From the excellent Luke Halpin's Back

"Some episodes had scenes where Luke was the only character without a shirt."

"It almost seemed as if Luke Halpin's managers and producers had an unwritten mandate to keep the young athlete's body uncovered for as long as possible."
From The Remarkable Body Of Luke Halpin 


  It almost seemed as if Luke Halpin's managers and producers had an unwritten mandate to keep the young athlete's body uncovered for as long as possible.

Luke Halpin's bare chest seemed to overtake the dolphin as the "star" of the show. Magazine spreads as well as publicity photos of Luke at home never failed to show it off. Luke was no doubt aware of the widespread fascination in his body, and took it upon himself to provide opportunities for eager eyes to see it.

While Luke Halpin spent much of his screen time without a shirt, it was actually quite rare for Luke to go shirtless during an entire episode. In the three seasons of Flipper, there were only 5 episodes in which Luke Halpin wore neither shirt, long pants, nor scuba gear the entire episode (at most shorts, face mask, flippers or sneakers)

      Re: Vintage TV Turn-ons! Remember These?

    Luke Halpin in his last years with FLIPPER. I couldn't wait to see his bulge in hi bermudas or his armpit hair.
    He was much older than the Sandy was supposed to be...but hot as hell!  Do certain celebs make us gay?

bobby cormier 7.10.2009 12:11:00 PM
Luke Halpin in reruns of "flipper" and films on television with Tony Curtis. especially the one where he plays harry houdini and the scene where he's wearing little tight black shorts and being wrapped up in chains. Tommy Kirk in anything (disney or american international pictures), and then puberty hit and Christopher Atkins was on the screen in "blue lagoon": wow!

Christopher Atkins The First Naked Teen Idol

 Blue Lagoon

Atkins was 19 when he made his film debut in The Blue Lagoon (1980).

From the forum:
Changing attitudes toward male nudity
BY Yuri  Jan 2 2008
"Just to illustrate the changing attiude toward nudity since the 1980ies I have included this excerpt from 'The blue lagoon" in 1980.
By the time the "Return to the blue lagoon" was made in 1991 some scenes had become unthinkable and Christopher Atkins' loin-cloth had been replaced by something more 'substantial'.
Atkins was a real teen idol in the 1980ies and the movie was for 'all ages'!!!
The original blue lagoon:
Return to the blue lagoon:
Link to Forum:

Re: Changing attitudes toward male nudity Brandon 2 Jan 2008
The 1980 Blue Lagoon was not for "all ages" but was rated R.

The 1991 Return To The Blue Lagoon was PG-13.

Both movies are pretty horrible, but for a real suckfest check out 1982's Paradise starring Willie Aames and Phoebe Cates. It is a total ripoff of The Blue Lagoon and seems to have been made just to show the two young actors mostly naked.
Phoebe Cates - Paradise 1982.

Luke Halpin's Body in Flipper
The producers of Flipper may not have meant to, but Luke Halpin's body proved to be as powerful a draw in the TV show as his dolphin costar. Luke was almost always dressed down, often wearing little more than denim cutoffs and white sneakers.


"...Elijah Wood would take up the role in the 1996 feature film remake."

By 1996 producers had the young stars torso covered for most of the film. They  even had him wearing a T-shirt while swimming in the Ocean.

Luke Halpin set the standard in the late 1960's

Noah Hathaway came along in 80's just before  Producers and Movie Executives got so uptight in response to a growing conservitism 
Noah's bod was marketed to the max.


Re: when,where,why to go shirtless

October 29 2007, 4:54 PM 

Luke was bare-chested in nearly 90% of the film....

..... the cameras photographed his bare body from every imaginable angle

In Flipper's New Adventure, Luke was not only older, but his body was noticeably buffer and more sharply defined. The producers of Flipper's New Adventure exploited Luke's maturer look to the max: Luke was bare-chested in nearly 90% of the film, and featured in virtually every scene.* As the young actor worked his way heroically through the film, performing all his own stunts, the cameras photographed his bare body from every imaginable angle.
From The Remarkable Body Of Luke Halpin

*The opposite is true of todays TV producers who appear to cover up toned teen torsos as much as possible.

Sean Keenan is a 17 year old actor who plays Aussie surfer boy Lockie Lenard, who rarely removes his shirt and wears pajamas around the house!

"Well there was so much nudity in movies of the late'70s and early '80s that it was almost taken for granted for anything beyond a "G" rating. For example the "Porky's" series of movies ('s) which were very popular with teens at drive-ins even showed male genitals- something no mainstream movie would dare do today.

Nearly all these '70s-'80s movies have been re-edited to remove most or all the nudity because it's too much for today's audiences. Being in the TV biz myself I know the tricks that can be done these days- cropping, fuzzing, darkening, even using computer graphics to "paint" clothes on nude actors. It's all done."


For decades the Australian Soaps have featured young teenage studs and cute surfer boys. When I began watching watch Neighbours and Home & Away way back in the 1980's, I thought it strange that the teen surfer hotties were seldom shirtless or speedos. I also recall with joy the teenage deckhand on my parents boat in 1987, in Notrh Queensland.
a young adonis. He arrived in a tiny speedo and wore nothing else on board.(And slept Naked) He would refuse to borrow a t shirt in the evenings when it got a little chilly. In real life many teenage Aussie  surfer boys (gromets) would wear nothing but a speedo for days on end, and few wore jim-jams. Yet the young studs on TV would rarely be seen in their jocks. Lazing around the house on days off from filming the soap, in nothing but boxers."

Billy In Speedo
Jessie Spencer

Luke Halpin and Chris Atkins almost constant state of shirtlessness was realistic and how most surfer or jock boys would their time. Lads with a nice torso would spend 90% of the summer shirtless. By the 1990s TV no longer reflected reality. Prudish TV executives now only rarely filmed young studs with their shirts off. Even Scenes with Aussie Surfer Boys, in their natural habitat, became rare


1 comment:

  1. Luke Halpin seems to be trying to make up for his lack of a shirt by letting his hair grow long! Did it ever get to waist length?