147: Lucille Ball


American comedian Lucille Ball was born on this date in 1911.

Here are some things you may not have known about the star of “I Love Lucy.”

First, despite claiming several times to have been born in Montana, Lucille Ball was born in Jamestown, New York. Her father was a telephone lineman who moved around the country for his job. Her father died when she was four years old. She said a bird that flew through the house that day caused a lifelong phobia of birds.

Second, Ball’s early efforts to make it in show business weren’t successful until she moved to Hollywood in 1933. She became known as “Queen of the B’s” for her many appearances in B movies. She would go on to star in the big-screen adaptation of the hit Broadway musical “DuBarry was a Lady” in 1943.

Third, in 1951, “I Love Lucy” debuted on CBS. The show was a critical success and pioneered many technologies still used in television production today. “I Love Lucy” was the first show with a live-audience to be shot on film; it was the first to use a multiple camera setup; it was the first show to be shown in reruns, the first to feature a pregnant woman and it was the first show to use flashbacks in a clip show. After 181 episodes, the show went off the air on May 6, 1957, as the top-rated show.

Fourth, Ball’s Desilu Studios would go on to produce several popular television shows, including “Star Trek”, “Mission: Impossible” and “The Untouchables.” Lucille Ball would go on to star in several successful television projects, including “The Lucy Show” and “Here’s Lucy.” She died in 1989 of an aortic diffusion. She was 77.

Our question: Besides “I Love Lucy,” name one of the other two American TV shows to have been rated number one in their final season.


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