Tag Archives: Lucille Ball

Actress: Lucille Ball

With Desilu, Lucy became the first female head of a production studio. Desilu produced The Untouchables, Star Trek, Mission: Impossible, The Dick Van Dyke Show, The Andy Griffith Show, and I Spy. Not bad. Uploaded by artwallpapers.net.

I love Lucy. Everybody loves Lucy. With her husband Desi Arnaz, she virtually invented the situation comedy, a genre that has thrived on television for 60 years. But Lucy enjoyed a successful career both before and after her iconic show.

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Lucy began making movies in 1933, and appeared uncredited in more than two dozen films before finally getting a credit in Chatterbox (1935). Many would have (and probably did) give up Hollywood dreams after such a difficult stretch. But Lucy persevered, though never achieving true star status on the big screen. She had some success on radio, especially the show My Favorite Husband, in which she created the role of a wacky housewife. CBS asked her to develop it for television, and Lucy insisted on performing with her husband, Desi. CBS wasn’t sure, but eventually gave the go-ahead to I Love Lucy (Great American Things, May 12, 2009). I expect they were glad, don’t you?

As if appearing in one of America’s all-time favorite shows wasn’t enough, Lucy had other career distinctions. At Desilu, she became the first woman to head a production studio. She had two more successful sitcoms, The Lucy Show (1962-1968) and Here’s Lucy (1968-1974). And she appeared in several successful films, including Yours, Mine and Ours with Henry Fonda and Mame. She received the Presidential Medal of Freedom posthumously from President George H.W. Bush.

 

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TV Show: Star Trek

While the cast was good, the concept mattered most in Star Trek. Uploaded by rimworlds.com.

While the cast was good, the concept mattered most in Star Trek. Uploaded by rimworlds.com.

“To boldly go where no man has gone before.” First, Star Trek split the infinitive. Then they split open the entertainment world with a franchise that’s included several TV series, movies, video games, and William Shatner albums.

Hard to believe, but the original series only lasted three seasons. It premiered in 1966 and wasn’t an immediate hit. In fact, the ratings were so low after the first season that there was some discussion within Desilu, its production company, about pulling the plug. But, according to one story, Star Trek was saved by one of the earliest Trekkies – Lucille Ball, who persuaded NBC to keep the series alive. It limped through two more years, a total of 79 episodes in all, before succumbing for good.

In space, no one can hear you sing. Uploaded by tvparty.com.

In space, no one can hear you sing. Uploaded by tvparty.com.

For what was by measurable standards a mediocre program, Star Trek managed to inspire the imagination of millions. Much of the credit has to go to the characterizations communicated by its stars. William Shatner has never been the most remarkable actor, but you did believe he could have been the captain of the Enterprise. Leonard Nimoy was completely believable as the half-human, half-Vulcan Spock. And DeForest Kelley, James Doohan, and George Takei made up a convincing supporting cast.

Star Trek was the brainchild of Gene Roddenberry, who had a vision and saw it through to its success. Roddenberry had extensive experience writing the westerns which were a huge part of TV programming at the time, so he pitched Star Trek as “Wagon Train to the stars.”

Many of the original episodes are available in their entirety on YouTube. Here’s the introduction to the original series; maybe you’ve forgotten how incredibly cheesy the original theme music was.