Why 'Star Trek' Fans Should Thank Lucille Ball of 'I Love Lucy'

By | September 24, 2019

test article image
Left: William Shatner and DeForest Kelley on Star Trek. Right: A cleverly edited image depicting Lucille Ball in a Star Trek uniform (though it's actually Ball's head on Grace Lee Whitney's body). Sources: (IMDB; Pinterest)

Star Trek couldn't have happened without Lucille Ball of I Love Lucy. Though the two shows seem like opposites, they're connected by Desilu Productions, a studio founded by Ball, who believed in the voyages of the starship Enterprise even if the networks didn't.

The next time you’re thinking about how you want to cosplay for Comic Con, instead of going as Captain Kirk or some green-blooded Vulcan, why not dress up as the true savior of Star Trek -- Lucille Ball? That’s right, the five-year mission of the crew aboard the starship Enterprise and its subsequent films, spin-off television shows, games, and whatever else you can think of wouldn’t have existed without the success of I Love Lucy. Ball stood behind this offbeat, thinking person’s science fiction drama even after the production costs spiraled out of control and the initial pilot fell out of orbit at NBC. 

“Star Trek” got a chance because Desilu needed to produce more programming

test article image
Source: (pinterest.com)

Following the end of I Love Lucy, Lucille Ball, and Desi Arnaz used the money they made from the show to purchase RKO Studios next to the Paramount Lot, making Desilu Productions one of the biggest independent production companies of the time. Ball had a knack for sniffing out hits and Desilu quickly put programs like The Andy Griffith Show and The Dick Van Dyke Show into production. 

While searching for more original programming Ball hired Herbert Solow, a producer who was good with ushering in new talent and bringing quirky shows to executives. With Solow’s help, Desiule acquired Mission: Impossible and Star Trek in 1964.