40 million people still watch the show each year.
There aren’t many people who don’t love Lucy. The striking comedy duo of Lucille Ball and Desi Arnaz has been captivating audiences for a lifetime. It was 70 years ago that I Love Lucy first aired and since then the popularity of the show has never ceased. It’s a much different era to when the show debuted, but many of the same elements that made it funny in the 1950s ensure it’s still hilarious today.
Lucy was a beautiful housewife with a picture perfect kitchen and those iconic, feminine polka dot dresses. But, her loudmouth antics always saved her character from being too prim. In fact the whole show revolved around her family and friends attempting to avoid her far-fetched schemes.
Unlike other TV moms she was loud, boisterous, and craved the limelight- all traits that many women at the time didn’t feel they could openly display.
The interracial couple made waves on television in the early days of the medium- and more than a decade before the Civil Rights Act of 1964 was introduced. But, the show was outrageously popular. According to Ball novelist, Darin Strauss, at the height of the show’s popularity the water table in major cities would go down during the I Love Lucy commercial breaks. This was because so many people had been waiting to use the toilet until an ad came on.
Arnaz was known to be quite savvy in Hollywood and when Lucy was recovering from her second pregnancy he pioneered the concept of reruns to buy her some time before they had to start shooting again. The Desilu production company was also groundbreaking, coming out with shows like Star Trek and The Twilight Zone– both of which introduced completely new genres of TV shows to the world.
Despite how popular they were, the couple couldn’t stay together. Their volatile marriage only came to an end in 1960, by which point all the shows the two had done together (I Love Lucy, The Lucille Ball-Desi Arnaz Show, and The Lucy–Desi Comedy Hour) had ended and the pair parted ways professionally and romantically.
Their granddaughter, Kate Luckinbill, said that they were each the love of the other’s life and that both died with broken hearts. It was a love story for the ages and a TV show for the history books.