I represent the first generation who, when we were born, the television was now a permanent fixture in our homes. When I was born people had breakfast with Barbara Walters, dinner with Walter Cronkite, and slept with Johnny Carson.
Read the full "Pre-ramble"
Monday, April 21, 2014
This Week in Television History: April 2014 PART IV
As always, the further we go back in Hollywood history, the more that fact and legend become intertwined. It's hard to say where the truth really lies.
April 26, 1989
Lucille Ball dies. Comedian Lucille Ball dies at age 78. During her career, she and husband Desi Arnaz
transformed TV, creating the first long running hit sitcom.
Ball was born in 1911
near Jamestown, New York, to an electrician and a concert pianist. Her father
died when Ball was two. By age 15, Ball had decided to become an actress and
attended drama school. However, the shy, skinny teenager received little
encouragement and was rejected at least four times from Broadway chorus lines,
although she eventually joined one in 1926. In 1933, she was hired as the
Chesterfield cigarette girl and was featured in all the company's
advertisements. Attracting attention with her Chesterfield ads, she finally
began playing bit parts in Hollywood movies in 1933. By the late 1930s, the
starlet had graduated to comic supporting roles. In 1940, she met Cuban
bandleader Desi Arnaz while shooting Too Many Girls. The couple married
the following year.
Ball continued to land
movie roles that didn't fully showcase her talent. Frustrated, she turned to
radio and starred as a ditzy wife in My Favorite Husband from 1948 to
1951. CBS decided to launch the popular series on the relatively new medium of
TV. Lucy insisted Desi be cast as her husband in the TV version, though the
network executives said no one would believe the couple were married. Desi and
Lucy performed before live audiences and filmed a pilot, convincing network
executives that audiences responded well to their act, and CBS cast Desi for
Love Lucy became one of the most
popular TV sitcoms in history, ranking in the top three shows for six years and
turning the couple's production company, Desilu, into a multimillion-dollar
business. Ball became president of the company in 1960, after she and Desi
divorced. She also starred in several other "Lucy" shows, including The
Lucy Show, which debuted in 1962 and ran for six seasons, and Here's
Lucy, in which she starred with her two children until the show was
cancelled in 1974. A later show, Life with Lucy, featuring Lucy as a
grandmother, was cancelled after only eight episodes. Ball worked little in the
last years of her life. She died of congestive heart failure following
open-heart surgery earlier in the month.
In the late 1980s and 1990s, he reprised the role of Steve Austin in a number of TV movies, and appeared in a number of supporting, recurring and cameo roles in feature films and TV series, and lent his voice to a number of animated TV series andvideo games.
To quote the Bicentennial Minute, "And that's the way it was".