Friday, April 26, 2024

TV Quote of the Day (‘I Love Lucy,” After Lucy’s First Driving Lesson)

[Ricky Ricardo staggers away, dazed, after he and Lucy return from her first driving lesson.]

Ethel Mertz [played by Vivian Vance]: “What's the matter with him?”

Lucy Ricardo [played by Lucille Ball]: “Oh, he got mad at me while I was driving through the Holland Tunnel.”

Ethel: “Ricky let you drive through the Holland Tunnel?”

Lucy: “Well, he didn't mean to. I got caught in the stream of traffic and I couldn't stop.”

Ethel: “But you drove all the way through the Holland Tunnel!”

Lucy: “Halfway through.”

Ethel: “What do you mean, ‘halfway?’”

Lucy: “Well, Ricky was late for rehearsal, and I saw an opportunity to... How was I supposed to know there wasn't room to make a U-turn?”

Ethel [astonished]: “You made a U-turn in the Holland Tunnel? Oh, brother, that must-a been somethin'.”

Lucy: “Yeah. The policeman said the cars were backed up all the way to East Orange, New Jersey.”—I Love Lucy, Season 4, Episode 11, “Lucy Learns to Drive,” original air date Jan 3, 1955, teleplay by Jess Oppenheimer, Madelyn Davis, and Bob Carroll Jr., directed by William Asher

Lucille Ball died 35 years ago today at age 77. She made two other long-running series in the 1960s and 1970s, The Lucy Show and Here’s Lucy, but they were really just variations on I Love Lucy.

Lucy Ricardo might have been a madcap redhead, but the woman who created her was unbelievably shrewd—as seen in the fact that she became the first woman to own her own studio as head of Desilu Productions. To her we owe not just her own much-imitated sitcom, but a sci-fi series she gave the go-ahead to put into production: Star Trek.

Starting out in RKO Pictures in the late 1930s, Ball envied the deference with which everyone at the studio regarded Maureen O’Hara. At that point in her career, Ball had to content herself with being known as “Queen of the B Movies.”

With her move to television in the early 1950s with husband Desi Arnaz—and her huge success with their joint vehicle, I Love Lucy—Ball acquired a new nickname: “The First Lady of Television.”

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