Even though 1970 seemed a little late to talk about it, the subject of free-love, single parents, abandoning marriage, birth control, abortions, co-habitating and everything regarding what had become the social and sexual revolution in America were still hot-button topics. It became the fodder of talk shows and magazine articles, the subject matter of movies and books. The institution of marriage was in danger of becoming a relic, with couples opting for co-habitating in a non-committal environment and the subject of children a random thing – the whole question of abortion was taboo, since Roe v. Wade wasn’t argued before the Supreme Court for another three years. In the 1970s the whole issue of sexuality came to the forefront. With Women’s Liberation on the horizon (this was March 1970, a few months before the historic Women’s Strike, but a few months after the historic Stonewall riots), the whole question of gender and roles came up for scrutiny. Homosexuality was a topic now openly discussed and experimented with. In what got started in the late 60s was now in full blossom and it caused a great amount of confusion and consternation, particularly with the older generation. If it wasn’t so much before, the generation gap was much bigger now as one by one, institutions were coming under question and dismantling.
This episode of Kup’s Show, a weekly program hosted by noted Talk Show personality Irv Kupcinet, features Maya Angelou and Jane Birkin. Birkin was well known during this time for her provocative duet with Serge Gainsbourg, Je t’aime… moi non plus which was banned on every radio station practically in the world, but nevertheless became a huge hit worldwide. They are joined, by Adult film director Russ Meyer, Director William Friedkin, who had directed The Boys In The Band, singer Robert Goulet and TV-Radio personality Bob Crane. With the exception of Angelou and Birkin, the others barely join in the conversation.
But it’s an interesting glimpse of what people were going through during this time of great social upheaval and may give a few indications why there has been such a strong desire on the parts of some to return to the days pre-free love. Unfortunately, the show was only given a half-hour and the conservation could have gone on for several more, but TV was still handling controversy with kid-gloves.
Here’s that episode of Kup’s Show from March 26, 1970.