“Knowing what you can do is more important than knowing what you cannot do. In fact, that’s good taste.”
At 5:47 on the morning of Wednesday, April 26th, 1989, one of the world’s greatest comediennes left this world behind and went to start a new journey in another life. She was 77 and just as beautiful as ever. Lucy would have been 100 today.When Lucille Ball started her entertainment career on Broadway, Lucille Ball did not exist. Instead, Dianne Belmont started Lucy’s career. Lucy moved to Hollywood in 1933. But it wasn’t until 1951 that Lucy found a place in our hearts. I Love Lucy premiered on October 15, 1951, just 2 months short of Lucy and Desi Arnaz’s 11th wedding anniversary. From the start, ILL was a big hit. Before long, stores started closing when I Love Lucy came on at 9 on Monday nights. Families sat glued to the TV. I Love Lucy was something to look forward to. Everything that happened to Lucy was so believable, unlike much of the shows on TV today. And not only that, people could easily relate the messes Lucy often got herself into. Lucille Ball, Desi Arnaz, Vivian Vance, and William Frawley were megastars. I Love Lucy ran for 6 years and 6 seasons before switching to The Lucille Ball- Desi Arnaz Comedy Hour, an hour-long continuation of ILL. This brought on 3 more years and 3 more seasons of I Love Lucy—a grand total of 9 years of one of the first sit-coms, 9 seasons, 194 episodes, and 1 feature film. History had been made. Although Lucy and Desi divorced in 1960, their show went on to have 3 more sequels—all starring the ‘wondahful’ Lucille Ball.
I Love Lucy set many records and introduced many new techniques. Those who were there to watch the very first show are the lucky ones. I missed the premier by about 46 years. But I still love it like I was there from the start. I have my 7th grade social studies teacher to thank for teaching me who Lucy and Desi were. And the first episode I ever saw was The Great Train Robbery—my all time favorite episode.
Lucy, Ricky, Ethel, and Fred are leaving Hollywood by train. The first thing Lucy notices after boarding the train is the emergency brake. (“Look: Danger. Do not touch. Emergency brake.”) Lucy then realizes she’s left her purse at the news stand and sends Ricky to grab it before the train pulls out. The train starts to leave before Ricky gets back so Lucy, panicking, pulls the emergency brake. Fred and Ethel come in, covered in food from the dining car. Lucy’s mother and Little Ricky, who were staying in the room next to the Ricardos, switch rooms while the rest of the gang head over to the dining car again. Lucy comes back with food for her mother and son but doesn’t know about the switch and pulls the emergency brake when she discovers a strange man with a gun holder in the old room.
Fred, Ethel, and Ricky emerge, covered in food. Later, Lucy hears that a jewel robber is traveling on the train. In fact, that jewel robber is in the next compartment! Ricky warns Lucy not to tell Ethel but, of course, she does. Lucy wants to help catch the thief and so agrees to help whom she believes is a detective by using her ‘womanly charms.’ Her detective knocks out the thief, but reveals he is the one at fault and holds Lucy at gun point with the jewels under his arm. Lucy is able to escape from the man and once again pulls the emergency brake. The jewel thief is arrested with the help of Ricky, and Fred and Ethel are once again covered in food. In the end, Lucy is being interviewed by a paper about how she caught jewel thief. They want a shot of her pretending to pull the brake; the conductor walks in and sees her doing so. He tries to push her away from the brake out of fear, but she accidentally pulls it once again. Back are Fred and Ethel, covered in food. But this time they were smart and wore rain gear.
Lucy will forever hold a place in us. This is just one of the many ways to found her way to our hearts—and she’s certainly stuck for good!
This is just in honor of Lucy, not for TrueClassics. I also made a video. It’s more of a tribute to ILL, but it’s for Lucy as well.