Lucille Ball And 'I Love Lucy:' Creating The Art Of The Sitcom

By Penny Chavers
Lucille Ball looks worriedly at the knives that surround her head on an episode of 'I Love Lucy' entitled 'Lucy Tells the Truth,' 1953. The episode was originally broadcast on November 9, 1953. (Photo by CBS Photo Archive/Getty Images)

During her six seasons on I Love Lucy, Lucille Ball was without fail the funniest thing on TV, both pioneering the format of the situation comedy and providing a role model for generations of comedy stars. She mentored Carol Burnett, and inspired many young female viewers who grew up to be Saturday Night Live standouts, including Gilda Radner and Julia Louis Dreyfus. Ball was a master of comedic timing and especially physical comedy -- whether the scene called for her to stuff her face with chocolates or wrestle a rival in a grape-stomping tub, she never hesitated to make herself look ridiculous for the sake of entertainment. This anything-that-works approach resulted in some of the greatest scenes in TV sitcom history. TV Guide named her the "greatest TV star of all time."