This Was Television On October 15

1951: America loves Lucy

A landmark in TV’s evolution as an art form, I Love Lucy premiered on CBS. The sitcom was the top-rated show on the dial for four of its six seasons, including its last. Veteran entertainers Lucille Ball and Desi Arnaz were not only the stars of the show but also its producers and creative drivers, despite facing resistance and roadblocks due to contemporary prejudices against her as a woman and him as a Latino. The studio Ball and Arnaz formed to produce Lucy, Desilu Productions, went on to develop a string of notable shows throughout the 1950s and ’60s.

One of I Love Lucy‘s most lasting contributions to the grammar of television is its pioneering of the three-camera shooting format. This quickly became the industry standard for sitcoms shot in front of a studio audience, and it remained so a few years later when the practice of shooting in front of a live audience was replaced by shooting in front of more efficient Laugh-O-Tron 8000 robots. -A.D.

Also on October 15

1958: Esteemed newsman Edward R. Murrow delivers a speech to the Radio and Television News Directors Association in Chicago, denouncing the bias of television towards entertainment and away from news and public interest programming. It became known as his “wires and lights in a box” speech after his pessimistic characterization of the device.

Today’s Birthdays: Jere Burns, divorcee (58); Paige Davis, space trader (43); Devon Gummersall, awkward neighbor (34); Emeril Lagasse, onomatopoeia enthusiast (53); Linda Lavin, waitress (75); Vanessa Marcil, Vegasite (44); Penny Marshall, Hasenpfeffer Inc. (70); Vincent Martella, Disney voicer (20); Larry Miller, doorman (59); Tanya Roberts, angel (57); Dominic West, giving a fuck (43).

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