Today is the 62nd anniversary of the premiere of "I Love Lucy," the most important and still, for my money, the greatest situation comedy in television history.
Although the series can seem dated in some ways, it has remained unusually fresh, and (unlike much comedy) grown no less funny. If it comes from a time in which men shook their heads reflexively over the antics of their addle-pated wives, those wives, played by Lucille Ball and Vivian Vance, are clearly heroines, often denied but always game, defeated but ceaselessly inventive. And the husbands, Desi Arnaz and William Frawley, got as good as they gave. To clown is to suffer.
The fascinating clip above intercuts color home-movie footage taken from the audience with scenes from the show itself. (Shot to film, the series -- the first multicamera sitcom -- retains a pristine clarity that keeps it feeling oddly contemporary, black-and-white notwithstanding.) It's a famous episode, too: The sixth episode from the series' first season, "The Audition," a remake of the pilot, featured Ball in clown dress, an image later much reproduced. And the color footage, which includes the actors between takes, makes it all seem especially, immanently vivid.