Saturday, August 6, 2011

Happy Birthday Lucy!

I Love Lucy is one of my Mom's all time favorite shows.  If not the favorite.  I grew up listening to that theme (and thinking how cool it sounded), and watching the episodes.  I particularly loved William Frawley's grouchy portrayal of Fred.  Of course everyone is tossing out the accolades and the praise today, this being Lucial Ball's 100th anniversary of the date of her birth.  It's worth mentioning, however, that Desi - the man who loved Lucy - was every bit the brains behind the outfit, and many things that various stories have credited to Lucy today, in terms of innovation and production of the show, belong to him. 

She, of course, was every bit as important and creative and innovating, and it was her perfect comic timing that set the stage for all television comedians of the future.  But we shouldn't forget that Desi also contributed and, in fact, it was as a team that they left their mark and changed the way television would always be produced.  In many ways, their show was the Citizen Kane of television, teaching of what this relatively new medium was capable.  Its popularity is in a league all its own, and my Mom still enjoys regaling us with tales about how stores would close early on the nights Lucy was on, and the almost national obsession when she was pregnant and about to give birth.

And yes, they wouldn't have said pregnant.  And you know what?  Compared to what is out there today, it's a shame sometimes that someone decided it was time to say it.  Because look at where it has gotten us.  But that's for another post about another time that is no more. Today, it suffices to say 'Happy Birthday Lucy', you made us laugh, and changed an art form.  And that's not bad in a single life.

I leave everyone with one of the best skits from a show filled with them.  The show was so influential and so immitated that sometimes watching it can seem a bit stale, as we've seen it all before a million times.  But I Love Lucy was where it all came together for the first time, and in its day, it was like nothing anyone had ever seen.  Despite the time and distance from that era, despite the copies and imitations, some of the skits still look fresh and hilarious all these years later.  Several leaped to mind, but I found this one worthy of a look.  Laugh and enjoy.

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