I love Lucy
Lucille Ball was born Aug. 6th 1911 in Jameston New York. To get her away from a youthful and unsuitable – according to her mother- romance, she was enrolled at the John Murray Anderson School for Dramatic Arts in New York. It wasn’t an experience she ever recalled fondly and about the only item of noteworthy significance from that time was that Bette Davis was a fellow student. (It’s hard to imagine them in the same sentence, let alone the same school!) She went to do stints on broadway, stints in various forgettable movies etc and even garnerd herself the rather ignominious title of ” Queen of the B’s”
It was only thanks to the CBS radio show My Favourite Husband , where she played the wacky wife – what else?- did Lucille finally get that start on the ladder. The success of the show led CBS to want to make it into a tv show.Lucille was delighted but insisted that her real-life husband, Cuban bandleader Desi Arnaz, played her on screen hubbie. This was a daring move, not least because she was in no position really to be making such demands and because this was the 50’s. Was the American public ready to accept a mixed couple ? A leading man who spoke English with a heavy accent and broke into Spanish whenever the situation called for him to lose his temper – which given Lucy and her exploits was quite a bit. CBS executives decided they were not. But Lucy was determined and took the show on the road to build an audience and prove to those in charge that they underestimated the American Public.The tour was a great success and the response convinced CBS to include I Love Lucy, starring Lucille Ball and Desi Arnaz in their lineup.
I Love Lucy became a huge hit. Success and fame were hers at last. The kids and I have taken to watching it recently and despite the rather rigid social mores and cringe-worthy , overt sexism, we are all having a ‘ball’. She was a true comic who used her whole body as a tool, a device to make people laugh, and although the gags become a little predictable, her energy and enthusiasm alone make her worthy and very deserving of the many accolades she receives.
But it is not just her comedic flair that I love her for, no.
I love that she can make my thirteen old son laugh uproariously at something that is not R rated, weighed down by sexual innuendo or preoccupied with scatalogical matter.
I love the fact that although in the show she may portray the traditional 50s housewife whose only preoccupation is shopping, taking care of the house and making sure her husband is fed, in her own life she was a remarkable woman whose talent extended far beyond the tedium of running a house.She was the first woman in television to be head of a production company and said production company,Desilu, pioneered a number of methods still in use in television production today. When she and Desi divorced, she bought out Arnaz’s share of the studio, and remained on as a very active studio head bringing shows like Star Trek, The Untouchables and Mission :Impossible to the screen.
I love that she broke the pregnancy taboo when she incorporated her own pregnancy into the show.
I love that fame came to her at the young age of 40
I love that in a poll of the 50 Greatest TV icons of all time she comes in at the number 1 spot
I love that she wears trousers and flats a lot in her show -again not the norm for the time.
I love the face she makes when she realises she’s made a mistake
I love that… well I could go on and on. Suffice to say,