Today, we celebrate an iconic personality that paved the way for women in comedy! TV sensation Lucille Ball starred in the hit series “I Love Lucy.”
Debuted on October 15, 1951, it became the fourth most popular show within the first few months. After a couple more months, it was number one.
Not only did the show contain hilarious moments, it had a cast of unforgettable actors. According to TIME.com, in May of 1952, the show set a world record as “the first regularly scheduled TV program to be seen in 10 million U.S. homes.”
It had the strength of well-written scripts and high-quality slapstick. The show’s estimated total audience consisted of more than 30 million people. That was nearly a fifth of the whole population of the country.
At one point, Lucille had reached a new level of success and recognition, leaving several famous male comedians in the dust. Not to mention, the 1952 cover of TIME Magazine which featured her signature look.
According to TIME, this is the story behind the historic cover:
“In six months her low-comedy antics, ranging from mild mugging to baggy-pants clowning, have dethroned such veteran TV headliners as Milton Berle and Arthur Godfrey. One of the first to see the handwriting on the TV screen was Funnyman Red Skelton, himself risen to TV’s top ten. When he got an award as the top comic of the year, Skelton walked to the microphone and said flatly: I don’t deserve this. It should go to Lucille Ball.”
What’s left to say? Besides, Lucille Ball goes down in TV history. She bridged the gap between both male and female comedians.
Hollywood Movie Star Lucille Ball Queen of ‘B’ Movies
Aside from her famous role in “I Love Lucy,” Lucille Ball starred in various movies. She made it a mission to get her foot in Hollywood’s door and keep it there.
Starting out, Ball picked up small parts in movies such as “Moulin Rouge” and “The Affairs of Cellini.”
In addition, she worked a few months on “The Three Stooges” with renowned comics. Which could only be described as a “continuous bath of Vichy water and lemon meringue pie.”
Eventually, her small roles started paying off. RKO picked up her contract. Then, Lucille blossomed into the “queen of B pictures.” Once she began acting with comedians Jack Oakie, Joe Penner, and the Marx Brothers, her salary increased from $50 to $1,500 a week.
According to the TIME article, her hair, already turned blonde from its original brown, now became a brilliant but indescribable shade that has been variously called “shocking pink” and “strawberry orange.”
It was in the film “Dance, Girl, Dance” where she met a charming, young Cuban named Desi Arnaz.