By Eileen Obregon
In the beginning of the 1950s, T.V. shows had become the everyday family time to-do. Tens of millions of families had T.V.s, with many shows having viewers ranging from 3,213,000 to a maximum of 6,283,200. A particular show, however, broke the boundaries of T.V. production by having not only different nationalism, but feminine power, and this show is still heavily renown even in our futuristic 21st century: I Love Lucy; it was the start of something new. In 1950 – 1951, Texaco Star Theater, which was aired on CBS, was the #1 top-viewed show geared toward an estimated audience of 6,283,200. I Love Lucy debuted on CBS in October 1951 and was an immediate sensation, ranking at #3; it then pushed its way up to #1 in October of 1952 with an estimated audience of 13,729,200, leaving Texaco Star Theater in the dust and stuck at #5.
I Love Lucy, envisioned the American Dream, appealing to any type of families, even those of different ethnicities. Originally set in an apartment building in New York City, I Love Lucy centers on Lucy Ricardo– played by Lucille Ball– and her singer/bandleader husband Ricky Ricardo– played by Desi Arnaz– along with their best friends and landlords Fred Mertz– played by William Frawley– and Ethel Mertz– played by Vivian Vance. Living in New York, Ricky tries to succeed in show business while Lucy, always trying to help, usually manages to get in some kind of trouble that drives Ricky crazy. Usually, Ethel becomes Lucy’s less-than-willing partner in crime. Ricky and Lucy welcomed little Ricky in 1953, whose birth was a national T.V. event. Later in the show
‘s run, the Ricardo’s and the Mertz’s moved to Hollywood, where Ricky tried to become a movie star.
Not only was the cast a milestone in showbiz, but the actual production process was quite unique and revolutionary for television. Recognizing the economic importance of the work, Arnaz and Ball still faced a major difficulty: shooting a television series generally meant shooting with one camera on a closed sound stage. However, they wanted to capture the spontaneity of Ball’s comic performances, her interaction with other performers and her bond with a live audience. Karl Freund, an expert of filmography, was hired to help capture the show, and he concluded on using three cameras (rather than a single camera) running simultaneously in front of a studio audience, thus being the first T.V. show to work with multiple cameras and a live audience. Although the technique was not generally used outside of Desilu Productions, which is the production company of I Love Lucy, until the 1970s, it has widely revolutionized the television and movie scene as we know it today.
During the network run of I Love Lucy, Desilu became the fastest rising production company in the television business by capitalizing on the success of I Love Lucy, which earned over $1 million a year in reruns by the mid 1950s. The success of I Love Lucy created one of the most prolific and influential
television production companies of the 1950s. Their estimated view was at 16,999,300 throughout the years of its airing.
The success of Desilu and I Love Lucy gave many Americans an open mind to the simplicity on how Desi Arnaz, a Cuban Actor and Lucille Ball’s actual husband, on the different culture of Cubans. The audience witnesses Arnaz’s Spanish when his character Ricky loses his temper or when he teaches Lucy how to say a certain phrases. The show itself is vibrant and new, proving that I Love Lucy is still a classic and heavily referenced show for its comedic dialogue or actions; there is not an episode that will not have you laughing. This will forever be a favorite among television viewers everywhere, and will continue to serve as a good, wholesome go-to show.