Lucille Ball would’ve turned 100 today, almost sixty years after I Love Lucy started cracking up TV viewers and never stopped. There isn’t much new to be said about Ball’s legacy: How she defined the modern sitcom, how she paved the way for every female comedy legend — from Mary Tyler Moore to Roseanne to Tina Fey — who came after her, how her show’s popularity has outlasted all its 1950s rivals (Gunsmoke, The Honeymooners) and is still a daytime TV staple around the world.
Instead, let’s let Lucy do the talking. Here’s a clip (below) from 1953’s “Lucy’s Last Birthday,” in which Lucy thinks everyone has forgotten all about her special day when, in reality, they were just planning a surprise. It’s a classic I Love Lucy reversal that leads to a classic comic set piece: Lucy interrupts Ricky’s show with a full “Friends of the Friendless” marching band to let the world know she’s been abandoned and forgotten on her birthday, delivering a hysterical woe-is-me speech addressed to the crowd — but aimed straight at her husband. Friendless, Lucy? Never.
And, because I just can’t resist, here’s my favorite Lucy moment: the legendary Vitameatavegamin scene from 1952’s “Lucy Does a TV Commercial.” I know, I know, it’s everyone’s favorite. But it still gets me every time.
After you watch these clips, head to the comments to let us know what I Love Lucy moment you’ll be thinking about on Lucy’s 100th birthday!
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