On this date in 1951 “I Love Lucy” premiered on the CBS network. Although it went off the air in 1957, it has run virtually non-stop in syndication ever since.
One of the reasons we have all those episodes of “I Love Lucy” is because, unlike other sitcoms of the era, it was shot on 35mm film in front of a live studio audience, and edited into a half hour show for airing. It’s ground-breaking technique was eventually copied by all sitcoms, right down to having a live studio audience, as opposed to a canned laugh track.
According to the WikiWackyWoo:
Another component to filming the show came when it was decided to use
three 35 mm film cameras to simultaneously film the show. The idea had
been pioneered by Ralph Edwards on the game show Truth or Consequences, and had subsequently been used on Amos ‘n’ Andy as a way to save money, though Amos n’ Andy
did not use an audience. Edwards’s assistant Al Simon was hired by
Desilu to help perfect the new technique for the series. The process
lent itself to the Lucy production as it eliminated the problem
of requiring an audience to view and react to a scene three or four
times in order for all necessary shots to be filmed. Multiple cameras
would also allow scenes to be performed in sequence, as a play would be,
which was unusual at the time for filmed series. Retakes were rare and
dialogue mistakes were often played off for the sake of continuity.
However, if I Love Lucy didn’t feature the incomparable slapstick comedy of Lucille Ball, no amount of film would have saved it.
She entered a dramatic school in New York City, but while her classmate Bette Davis received all the raves, she was sent home; “too shy”. She found some work modeling for Hattie Carnegie‘s and, in 1933, she was chosen to be a “Goldwyn Girl” and appear in the film Roman Scandals (1933).
She was put under contract to RKO Radio Pictures and several small roles, including one in Top Hat
(1935), followed. Eventually, she received starring roles in B-pictures
and, occasionally, a good role in an A-picture, like in Stage Door (1937) or The Big Street (1942). While filming Too Many Girls (1940), she met and fell madly in love with a young Cuban actor-musician named Desi Arnaz.
Despite different personalities, lifestyles, religions and ages (he was
six years younger), he fell hard, too, and after a passionate romance,
they eloped and were married in November 1940. Lucy soon switched to
Metro-Goldwyn-Mayer, where she got better roles in films such as Du Barry Was a Lady (1943); Best Foot Forward (1943) and the Katharine Hepburn–Spencer Tracy vehicle Without Love
(1945). In 1948, she took a starring role in the radio comedy “My
Favorite Husband”, in which she played the scatterbrained wife of a
Midwestern banker. In 1950, CBS came knocking with the offer of turning
it into a television series. After convincing the network brass to let
Desi play her husband and to sign over the rights to and creative
control over the series to them, work began on the most popular and
universally beloved sitcom of all time.
Laugh all over again at these famous clips, all involving food: