08 Lucille Ball From Women in Early TV for the American Women Writers National Museum [Video]

08 Lucille Ball From Women in Early TV for the American Women Writers National Museum [Video]

Many thanks to Janice Law of the American Women Writers National Museum who invited me to give a short talk on The Women of Early TV.

I enjoyed sharing the names and careers of women like Peg Lynch, Gertrude Berg, Selma Diamond, and D.C. Fontana to the members who gathered on Zoom last Wednesday morning. There are so many more I could have talked about whose names don’t appear in mainstream books about the history of television so we have to learn who they are and carry those names forward ourselves.  It’s one of the missions of the Stephens College MFA in TV and Screenwriting – and has been one of my missions all my life.

RMW Rosanne Signature for Web

Transcript:

The trick about Lucy is that most people think she was just an actress and a comedian and a funny person but maybe if you read Desi Arnaz’s book you’ll learn that she actually was one of the first women to run a television production studio and that was Desilu — obviously a combination of Desi’s name and Lucy’s name. They started that company to run I Love Lucy. He was quite brilliant. We have to give him some props. He was the person who thought we should film this program not put it on earlier versions of tape which disappeared. Which is also why we don’t know some early women in the business because their work disappeared but because Desi was smart enough to say let’s put this on film and let our production company own the product, they of course then were one of the first shows to rerun and that was a moneymaker for them as they randomly ran as we know many many years but lucy was the Vice President. Imagine that. They invented the company together. He’s the president. She’s the vice president. Why aren’t they co-presidents? Nobody asked that question because men were supposed to have the higher title right and yet she was Lucy right? She’s the engine behind all of this. Her job was particularly to do the creative work. He did the business work and he was brilliant at that we want to give him all the props he deserves but she made the choices about what other programs their production company would support.

Many thanks to Janice Law of the American Women Writers National Museum who invited me to give a short talk on The Women of Early TV.

I enjoyed sharing the names and careers of women like Peg Lynch, Gertrude Berg, Selma Diamond, and D.C. Fontana to the members who gathered on Zoom last Wednesday morning. There are so many more I could have talked about whose names don’t appear in mainstream books about the history of television so we have to learn who they are and carry those names forward ourselves. It’s one of the missions of the Stephens College MFA in TV and Screenwriting – and has been one of my missions all my life.

Watch this entire presentation

 

Women pioneers who created, produced, or shepherded many of America’s most wildly popular, early television programs will be profiled by Dr. Rosanne Welch.

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