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Lucille Ball was an American institution and a kind of rare cultural idol that was good at everything she did - from acting to business. She started as a model and climbed the ranks of Hollywood, starting as a regular in RKO B-movies and making occasional supporting parts in A-movies. Then, in 1951, that all changed with I Love Lucy, the first taped, scripted television show. The show aired until 1957 with countless great moments. Since Lucy would have turned 100 had she still been alive (she died in 1989), here is a list of five moments from the series that have become parts of the highlight reels of American life in the 1950s.
1. “Vitameatavegamin” - Lucy Does A TV Commercial
While just the commercial bit has become the classic, the entire episode is brilliant. When Lucy begins to get in the way of filming Ricky’s song, it gets totally insane. It’s that over-the-top humor that makes the show timeless.
2. The Chocolate Factory - Job Switching
Comedy perfection. This is the stuff that gets repeated over and over again. It’s become a comedy cliche, but nothing tops Lucy.
3. Grape stomping - Lucy’s Italian Movie
There’s no YouTube clip of this, unfortunately, but I’m sure you’ve all seen it. If you haven’t, just imagine Lucy stomping on grapes to make wine. Chaos ensues.
4. Harpo Marx
If Lucy defined the comedy of the ‘50s, the Marx Brothers definitely defined the comedy of the '30s. The two collide, providing some of the biggest laughs ever put on TV. The gag where they re-enact the entire mirror gag from Duck Soup is priceless.
5. Lucy was the original Supergirl - Lucy and Superman
Guest stars on TV shows is nothing new. George Reeves, TV’s Superman, appeared in this episode, but the best moment is Lucy spending time with the birds in her makeshift Superman suit.