Saturday, August 6, 2011

Happy Birthday Lucy!

"The Queen of Comedy"

Today is Lucille Ball's 100th Birthday... Or would have been rather. I have loved Lucy since I can remember. When I was little, my bed time was negotiated around what time Lucy was aired on Nick at Nite. My room was decorated sea foam green and pink to match the extensive collection of I love Lucy memorabilia that I owned, and I even went to an I Love Lucy Convention! I flew down to California (from Seattle) with my Mom and Grandma and got to meet the writers, producers, make-up artists and small star actors for the show. Obsessed? Maybe, but I pride myself in being unique. Back then one of my favorite things to do was go antique shopping with my mom and grandma. While my grandma would hunt for Jadeite dishes, I was searching for Lucy stuff. I own everything Lucy you could possibly imagine. Cookie jars, paper-dolls, clothing, books, trading cards, a signed check to a gas company bill, the entire series of DVD's with all the seasons and a bunch of movies (some in VHS)... Yep, you name it, I've got it.

Your'e probably thinking I'm psychotic, but let me explain to you why Lucy was and still is so great (for those of you who don't already know- shame on you.)

Lucy, and I Love Lucy accomplished many "firsts" in television history. Lucy was the first woman to be head of a production company: Desilu, the company that she and her husband Desi (who plays Ricky, her TV husband on the show) formed. I Love Lucy was the first scripted TV program to be shot on 35 mm film in front of a studio audience. (Without Lucy, there wouldn't be shows like Friends and Seinfeld.) And she was the first woman ever to be pregnant on TV.

On October 15, 1951 I Love Lucy made its debut to a television viewing audience across the country. It was immediately apparent this was a sitcom like no other. Bombastic and daring, the show, which co-starred Vivian Vance and William Frawley as Lucy and Desi's two best friends, set the stage for a generation of family-related sitcoms to come. The program included story lines that dealt with marital issues, women in the workplace, and suburban living.

Her genius did not go unrecognized. During its six-year run, I Love Lucy's success was unmatched. For four of its seasons, the sitcom was the number one show in the country. In 1953 the program captured an unheard of 67.3 million audience share, which included a 71.1 rating for the episode that featured Little Ricky's birth, a turnout that surpassed the television viewing for President Eisenhower's inauguration ceremonies. I Love Lucy was the first to end its run at the top of the Nielsen ratings (an accomplishment later matched by The Andy Griffith Show and Seinfeld). 

I Love Lucy is still syndicated in dozens of languages and is one of the only shows that has run consistently on TV for more than 50 years throughout the world.  In 2007 it was listed as one of Time magazine's "100 Best TV Shows of All-TIME."

Every once in a while, when I'm looking for a movie to watch I'll come across my Lucy DVDs and put one on. I always forget how funny they truly are! Yes, they're in black and white and over 50 years old, but times haven't changed too much since then, and the humor is universal! 

So Lucy, here's to you! Thanks for everything!

August 6, 1911- April 26, 1989

Check out Google's doodle of the day to see some of the best I Love Lucy skits from the show.

Sources: Notable BiographiesBiography.comWikipedia. All images found from Google images


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