On Saturday, August 6th, Lucille Ball turned 105. While it is true that she has also been dead since 1989, we never-the-less must acknowledge the fact that this comedienne and her singular body of work have been influencing life on Earth for over a century. Perhaps we could even use more like her.
She has been subtly guiding my own life since the days of black-and-white television and the genre-establishing sitcom, “I Love Lucy”, where she has been advocating for a woman’s right to work and have a career of her own by making us laugh at the situation over and over until it becomes a mirth-filled, easy-to-swallow fact-of-life. She was the first female film producer to run her own production company, Desilu Productions. She is the producer behind such television milestones as Star Trek and Mission: Impossible. Being a child of the 60’s, raised by television almost as much as by my parents, she is a big part of who I am as a person. To this day she still influences how I feel about things. She is one of the primary reasons I can laugh at life’s troubles and, by laughing, overcome them.
So, I want to wish Lucy a happy 105th birthday. And I find it amusing and ironic that “Scary Lucy”, the bronze golem of Celeron, New York, has finally been replaced on her birthday with a statue that pictures her more accurately. We all need to see Lucy more accurately. We all need to laugh more and love more and live better lives. It was the “Golden Age” of television not because of the technology and the craft, but because of the essential goodness we can still get from it, that has stood the test of time for a century.
And I don’t think that I am merely looking at the whole thing through the colored lenses of my own affection for things in the past. I think more modern and definitely younger people than I can benefit from getting to know Lucy too. Lasting 105 years is a pretty big thing, even if you are dead when you do it.