Since today is kiss-a-ginger day, let's talk about a really funny woman, Lucille Ball.
In the early 1950s, "I Love Lucy" captivated the world and became a phenomenon. The show's immense popularity was evident in the significant impact it had on Monday-night routines. Lucille Ball, the star portraying "Lucy," recalled, "In 1951–52, our show altered Monday-night habits." Between nine and nine-thirty, New York's streets were devoid of taxis. Marshall Fields, a department store in Chicago even adjusted its schedule, proclaiming, 'We love Lucy too, so from now on we'll be open Thursday nights instead of Monday." Telephone calls plummeted during that half-hour, and water flush rates saw a noticeable decline as families remained glued to their seats."
In 1952, the show faced a potential halt when Lucille Ball discovered she was pregnant with her second child alongside her husband, Desi Arnaz. While this was a joyous occasion for the couple, it posed a challenge for the show due to prevailing societal taboos regarding the depiction of pregnancy on television. Recognizing an opportunity to break new ground and influence societal norms, the executives and writers ingeniously integrated Lucille's real-life pregnancy into the show, tactfully using the term "expecting" instead of the more direct "pregnant."
My mom, who was a teacher and pregnant twice during the 1950s with my brothers, had to ask the parents of her pupils if they were okay with the idea of showing her belly. In this day and age and with women's liberation, this sounds ridiculous and, yes crazy, but that was life back then. Women needed permission for various things. That can be a whole other blog post. :)
As Lucille's pregnancy unfolded on screen, the show handled it with warmth and humour, resonating with viewers and further contributing to its unprecedented popularity.
On January 19, 1953, Lucille gave birth to Desi Arnaz Jr. Astonishingly, a mere 12 hours later, a staggering 44 million viewers—constituting 72% of American households—tuned into witness Lucy welcoming Little Ricky into the world. Remarkably, this episode garnered more viewers than President Dwight D. Eisenhower's inauguration the following day.