As I recall, we mostly watched them because they were what was on, not because of any great love of the plots or jokes. But Lucille Ball herself, who was born 100 years ago today, was definitely a pioneer in the television industry. She was at least the equal if not senior partner in creating Desilu Studios with then-husband Desi Arnaz, one of the first women to have control at that high of a level in the industry. After their divorce, Ball bought out Arnaz's share in the studio and ran it herself.
Ball's main legacy today is as a television comedienne, but she did have some dramatic roles in movies before conquering the small screen, like The Big Street opposite Henry Fonda and in the ensemble movie version of The Stage Door with top-level actresses like Katharine Hepburn and Ginger Rogers.
Although I wasn't all that enamored of the shows, I've always enjoyed Ball herself and seeing her in interviews or on variety programs. For some reason she reminds me a lot of my mom's oldest sister -- some similar mannerisms, similar "This is me, take it or leave it" attitudes, similar big laughs. When Ball was 18, a teacher at a New York City drama school she attended with Bette Davis told her she had no future as a performer, and she spent the next 60 years proving that man's failure as a prophet.
So no 'splainin' necessary about remembering a gifted performer and showbiz pioneer on this occasion.