You know the old spiel about how there was no gay visibility on TV until Will and Grace, blah blah blah? Well, that’s just so much gay horseshit. Check out this 1968 clip from the variety show The Hollywood Palace with Broadway legend Chita Rivera singing “He’s so pretty for me” while backed by a swishy bunch of gay stereotypes rivaled only by those in The Boys in the Band (the camp classic play that came out, as it were, the very same year. What an era—especially when you consider that the very next year came the Stonewall riot!)
There are more gays here than in an episode of Project Runway! There’s a dancer in a leather cap plucked straight out of the West Village; a Chelsea type in a gaucho hat, with his gym tits exposed; a cutie-pie fairy in a fetching headband; and (as if that weren’t enough) a flamer in a slinky ensemble and a long, flowing necklace. The queens prance around Chita being pretty—and pretty gay—and one comes to realize that this number HAD to have been the genesis for The Village People!