Monday, March 09, 2015

Star Trek and I Love Lucy

Believe it or not, there's a connection.

When the original Star Trek series was being shopped around Hollywood, everyone turned it down. Everyone. The last hope was Desilu Productions, which was the production company formed by Lucille Ball and Desi Arnaz. At one time, it was the most successful production company in Hollywood. Here's just a partial list of their shows (thanks, Wikipedia):

The Untouchables (ABC; 1959-1963) The Andy Griffith Show (CBS; 1960-1968) My Three Sons (ABC; 1960-1965/CBS; 1965-1972) The Dick Van Dyke Show (CBS; 1961-1966) My Favorite Martian (CBS; 1963-1965) Gomer Pyle, USMC (CBS; 1964-1969) I Spy (NBC; 1965-1968) Hogan's Heroes (CBS; 1965-1971) Family Affair (CBS; 1966-1971) That Girl (ABC; 1966-1971) Mission Impossible (CBS; 1966-1973) Mannix (CBS; 1967-1975)

That's a remarkable list of shows--many of the most iconic programs of that era.

So everyone had passed on Star Trek, and finally, it was pitched at Desilu. Everyone agreed that it was interesting, but no one that it would be commercially viable. Lucille Ball was the one person who thought the show would be successful, and she was the reason that it eventually went into production.

I stumbled onto a biography of Lucille Ball, and if you're interested, it was an excellent read (this Star Trek anecdote among many, many others). Ball, like so many comedians, was hilarious onscreen and somewhat tormented off screen. Here's the Amazon link:
Ball of Fire: The Tumultuous Life and Comic Art of Lucille Ball.

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