Friday, August 8, 2014

Everyone Loves Lucy

On a different note,  I noticed it was the birthday of Lucille Ball the other day.  She was born August 6, 1911.  Lucille was one of the original "Goldwyn Girls," but it was clear she was a comedienne at heart.

I had taken my family to Warner Brothers in 2008, and the guide was so sure she would stump our tour group with a question that she said she would give a million dollars to whoever answered it.  She asked, "what was the first television show to use multiple cameras?"  Without hesitation, I said "I Love Lucy."  Now, she was the one who was stumped.  I let her off the hook by saying I would take a WB cap.

A more interesting question would have been about Lucy's communist ties.  She was called before the House Un-American Committee in 1953 because she had registered as a Communist in 1936.  She said innocently enough that she did it as a favor to her grandfather, Fred Hunt, who was an ardent Socialist.  She was forgiven her indiscretion, especially by her many adoring fans who made her show the most popular on television.

She and her husband, Desi Arnaz, had formed DesiLu, which produced "I Love Lucy," and later "Star Trek" and "The Untouchables."  Lucy bought out Desi after their divorce in 1960, and sold the company to Gulf+Western, which merged its studios into Paramount.  The show itself went through several metamorphoses, finally ending in 1974, after a very impressive 23 year run.  She had turned the role of the doting housewife on its ear many, many times over.

Yep, Lucy was a lady way ahead of her time in many ways.  Everyone from Carol Burnett to Mary Tyler Moore has credited the first lady of comedy as their inspiration.  I don't think she is lost on today's generation as well.  She passed away in 1989, shortly after appearing at the Academy Awards with Bob Hope.

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