Episode artwork by Ian O’Phelan.

tags: CBS | 70s

“Lucy and Jim Bailey” (November 6, 1972)

Basically, Lucille Ball did a solid for one gay performer, but in doing this, she also helped make gays a little less scary for America. Jim Bailey was a female impersonator who who had already made appearances on late night TV for this uncanny ability to turn himself into female celebs. Lucy, however, gave him a showcase on her popular prime time sitcom, showing her viewers that not only were drag queens not scary, but in fact they can be a lot of fun.

Watch the episode of The Lucy Show where Lucy almost drowned on Tubi. And read the book that details both versions of the story on Archive.org.

What the episode of the Desilu-produced game show You Don’t Say.