Lucille Ball’s 100th birthday would have been today, and the Internet is chock full of enough Lucy stories to satisfy even the most ardent fan of the zany red-head. It’s hard remember the impact that she had on American society from our vantage point here in 2011, but Lucy truly was a pioneer of television, and her “I Love Lucy” was the original must-see TV show. If you were alive and conscious during the 1950s, you knew where you’d be on Monday nights at 9 PM: in front of a television set watching “I Love Lucy.”
And tell me, football fans, where will you be on Monday nights at 9 PM this fall? I’d be willing to bet that most of us will be in front of a TV set watching “Monday Night Football.” It’s probably not a coincidence that our weekly football masterpiece occupies the same time slot that Lucy brought to prominence 60 years ago. When Monday night rolls around, we’ve been through a full day of work, the weekend is four long days off and we need something to salve our wounds. Once upon a time, it was the laugh track of “I Love Lucy” that did the trick. Now, it’s smash-mouth football.
Happy birthday, Lucy! Modern America, and football fans, owe you more than we probably know.