Tuesday, January 19, 2010

I Love Lucy (more than Eisenhower)…and so does the rest of America

On January 19, 1953, Lucy Ricardo had her baby on the I Love Lucy show. This was one of the first pregnancies shown on television, and it captured national interest. Interestingly, Lucille Ball was pregnant in real life at the time and had her baby on the same day that the episode showing her character’s labor was aired.
The I Love Lucy Show was an incredibly popular show which has been shown on television continuously since its end in 1957 through reruns. An incredible percentage of the population tuned in each week to see how Lucy might try to break into her husband’s nightclub act or attempt to get rich quick through some crazy scheme. Lucy’s pregnancy on the show only heightened public interest in an era in which the word “pregnant” could not be used on the air and Ricky and Lucy’s bedroom featured twin beds.
To show the level of interest in the I Love Lucy show and the birth of Lucy and Ricky’s television baby, more people tuned in to watch Lucy’s labor than watched President Eisenhower’s inauguration the next day. In many city newspapers, news of Lucy and Ricky’s baby pushed articles about Eisenhower’s inauguration off the front page.

Here is a clip from the infamous “Lucy Goes to the Hospital” episode which originally aired on January 19, 1953.

[Image via forbes]

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