On this day in 1951, a redhead named Lucy changed television forever. 62 years after “I Love Lucy” first premiered on CBS, the world still loves Lucy. The show has not gone off the air since it first began and the Hallmark Channel dedicates three hours of airtime to Lucy every weekday morning, allowing millions of young fans to laugh along to candy wrapping, grape stomping and Vitameatavegamin as they get ready for school, just like their parents and grandparents did before them.
But did you know Lucy Ricardo would have never come to be if not for the courage of Lucille Ball to stand her ground?
CBS asked Ball to take her popular radio show, “My Favorite Husband,” to television with radio co-star Richard Denning. She however, saw television as an opportunity to work with her always-travelling husband Desi, keeping them both in Hollywood and perhaps saving their shaky marriage. But when CBS executives, said ‘no’ (because Arnaz was Cuban and their interracial marriage thought not to be widely accepted by viewers), Lucy bravely and boldy replied with a ‘no’ herself, forfeiting an incredible opportunity to star in her own television show. Intent on proving CBS wrong, Lucy and Desi took to the road with a vaudeville act they produced. It was a hit and CBS relented, now convinced that the the Ball-Arnaz pairing would be a worthwhile venture. On October 15, 1951 the first episode aired and we’ve been laughing ever since.