I love Lucy history began in the evening of the 15 October 1951 when the USA was treated to the first episode of a television situation comedy that was to run for 179 episodes and establish the series as a perpetual favorite. On paper the “I love Lucy” show was just a story of a marriage but what a marriage, what a wife?
1950’s television was awash with programmers about family and marriage and critics may have been ready to rubbish the show but from the very first showing it was a huge success and before long 40,000,000 viewers were tuning in regularly. The shows phenomenal success was largely due to the casting of Lucille Ball and Desi Arnez a real husband and wife team as the lead characters and to the team of creative writers who created the story lines which were usually wildly absurd yet still managed a type of hilarious reality.
The show was of its time and in it can be seen the issues and contradictions affecting lives of many Americans women at that time. Looking back at the “I love Lucy” history allows us to see the struggle for change as it was happening. Underneath the cover of the crazy antics and the quirky humour of the very attractive red headed Lucille Ball there could be detected a story line, which continued through the episodes and struck a cord with women. This is contradiction of a woman’s traditional role of homemaker wife and mother and the need to be recognised as intelligent, decision-making individuals in their own right. To escape from the traditional restrictions of domesticity and to move out from the confinements of home, family and financial dependence, to have a life in which they could make choices.
These issues were very real to women in the post war 1950’s and were clearly reflected in Lucy’s continuous rebelliousness to become part of her husband’s world. The I love Lucy history is not really a history at all. Because ever since the first showing the show has not been off the air. Somewhere in the world, as you read this, another generation is learning to love the crazy behaviour of this team. Even though the situations and the humor may not be clear to the new audiences and the clothes and sets are of another era. The humor still works and the show, which is way past its golden anniversary, has a timelessness and innocence which is a quality lost in much of today’s viewing.
So as re-runs of the show continue, history continues to repeat itself and the characters have taken on lives away from the sitcom screen. So the “I love Lucy” actors and their real lives have become a source of interest. If you are real fans you can increase your knowledge of I love Lucy history by visiting Lucille Balls hometown and experiencing the unique places that commemorate the series such as the Lucy-Desi Museum, the Lucy-Desi Center Gift Shop, and the Desilu Playhouse. Then to complete your visit, don’t miss the “I Love Lucy” wall murals in downtown Jamestown.