October 2013 Did You Know?

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Lucille Ball and Desi Arnaz in front of the Desilu gates before their divorce.

Lucille Ball and Desi Arnaz, co-owners of Desilu Productions, divorced in 1960, precipitating Arnaz to sell his studio shares to Ball. This move catapulted Ball into the driver’s seat as the first female to head a television production company, making her the most powerful woman in Hollywood at the time. Writer Gene Roddenberry pitched his idea for a sci-fi, fantasy show to Desilu, entitled “Wagon Train to the Stars,” and although the initial pilot was a flop, funding for a second pilot was approved by Ball herself. And you may know it. A visionary in every sense of the word, Lucille Ball believed the American television viewing audience should “live long and prosper.” The first episode’s story title was aptly called “Where No Man Has Gone Before,” and the hour-long show was renamed Star Trek.