Friday 29 July 2016

I Love Lucy: A Series of Firsts

Lucy and Ethel working at the chocolate factory in "Job Switching" courtesy

From 1951 to 1957, Lucy came into America's living rooms in unforgettable scenes:  Lucy and Ethel wrapping chocolates at the factory in "Job Switching"; Lucy getting over-medicated in a commercial for "Vitameatavegamin"; Lucy and Ethel baking bread pioneer style and being driven out of the kitchen by too much yeast in "Pioneer Women".

                                         In 1952, when Lucille Ball was pregnant IRL, they had to use the phrase "expecting" on the show instead of "pregnant."

Ricky serenading Lucy in "Lucy is Enceinte" courtesy

How about Ricky serenading Lucy with "You're Having My Baby" in "Lucy is Enceinte";  Ricky, Ethel and Fred rehearsing for when Lucy goes into labour and all chaos breaking lose when she actually does in "Lucy Goes to the Hospital"; and the iconic grape stamping session in "Lucy's Italian Movie".

Lucy's grape stomping scene in "Lucy's Italian Movie" courtesy

"I Love Lucy" boasted a number of firsts.  It was the first television show to be shot on 35 mm film before a studio audience, won five Emmy Awards.  It was the most watched show in four of its six seasons.  It was the first show to feature a real husband and wife team.  It was also one of the first to write a real life pregnancy into the script, an episode which drew an audience of 44 million, as opposed to the 29 million who watched President Eisenhower's inauguration the day before.    "I Love Lucy" was the first series to end its run at the top of the Neilsen ratings.  Lucille Ball was the first person to grace the cover of TV Guide, the first of 39 such covers.

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