History & Headlines

Done in October 1951

Baby Boomer Trivia From October 1951: I Love Lucy, Rocky Marciano TKO’s Louis, Winston Churchill is PM Again

The I Love Lucy sitcom debuted on CBS on October 15, 1951 in glorious black and white, and ran until May 6, 1957. Baby boomers loved I Love Lucy and the series continued in re-runs and syndication for years, with stars Lucille Ball, Desi Arnaz Sr., Vivian Vance, and William Frawley becaming household names. I Love Lucy was developed by Lucille Ball and her husband Desi Arnaz under their new Desilu Productions company (formed in 1950), filmed at their Desilu Studios, and Desi Arnaz served as Executive Producer on the series. 

october 1951, i love lucy, desi arnaz sr, lucille ball, desilu productions, tv series, sitcom Lucille Ball and husband Desi Arnaz Sr. on I Love Lucy. (Photo: TimVP.com)

Seniors may remember actress Lucille Ball from the many “B” movies she appeared in during the 1930’s; by 1940 Ball was getting some headlining roles. Desi Arnaz and his family had come to America in the mid-1930’s when he was a teenager, after the Cuban Revolution resulted in the confiscation of their family properties. He was discovered by fellow Spanish-Cuban musician Xavier Cugat in Miami. By the end of 1940, 23-year-old Desi Arnaz had moved to Hollywood and met actress Lucille Ball while they filmed the musical Too Many Girls (1940); they got married in November 1940 after eloping. 

I Love Lucy was a spin-off of a popular radio program and later TV series called My Favorite Husband, which also starred Lucille Ball. My Favorite Husband began on radio in 1948 as a one-time special starring Lucille Ball as Liz Cugat, and Lee Bowman as her husband George Cugat. When the My Favorite Husband radio special was made into a radio series (July 1948-March 1951), Lee Bowman was unavailable, so Richard Denning (perhaps better known to baby boomers as Governor Paul Jameson on Hawaii Five-O) played George Cugat. CBS asked Lucille Ball to develop My Favorite Husband for television, and wanted Richard Denning to continue in the role of her husband. Ball insisted on working with her real-life husband Desi Arnaz, and My Favorite Husband was reworked to become the new TV series I Love Lucy that premiered in 1951. Two years later, CBS also introduced the TV series My Favorite Husband (1953-1955) starring Joan Caulfield and Barry Nelson as the Coopers. 

october 1951, rocky marciano win, joe louis loss, tko, heavyweight boxing championOn October 26, 1951, 28-year-old underdog heavyweight boxer Rocky Marciano defeated Joe Louis by TKO in an upset match at Madison Square Garden in New York City.

World Heavyweight Champion Joe Louis had held the title from 1937 until he announced his retirement in 1949.

Louis came out of retirement in 1950 for financial reasons, and his loss to Rocky Marciano was the final match of his resumed pro boxing career.

Right, Joe Louis takes a punch from Rocky Marciano. (Photo: Pinterest

Rocky Marciano (nee Rocco Francis Marchegiano) had begun boxing while serving in the U.S. Army from 1943-1946 during World War II. Marciano won the Amateur Armed Forces boxing tournament in 1946 and became a professional boxer in 1947, winning his first pro fight with a knockout. He made a brief return to amateur boxing status and tried out unsuccessfully for the Chicago Cubs baseball farm team. In 1948 Rocky Marciano returned to pro boxing and won his first of 16 consecutive boxing matches (1947-1949) by knockout before the fifth round. Rocky Marciano’s TKO win over Joe Louis in 1951 was the 38th consecutive win for Marciano, who would go on to win the World Heavyweight Champion title in 1952.

76-year-old septuagenarian senior citizen Winston Churchill was re-elected as British Prime Minister on October 25, 1951. Churchill defeated sitting Prime Minister Clement Attlee, who had defeated him in the 1945 election. Winston Churchill had first served as Prime Minister from May 1940-July 1946, leading Britain through World War II. His Conservative Party was defeated in the 1945 elections, and Winston Churchill served as Leader of the Opposition during 1945-1951 term. While in office during his second term as Prime Minister, Churchill suffered a stroke in 1953. Although he recovered from this stroke, Churchill retired as Prime Minister in April 1955.

october 1951, sir winston churchill, british prime ministerWinston Churchill, circa 1950.  (Photo: BBC)

Former national Second Boer war hero (1899), war correspondent and author Winston Churchill won his first election in 1900 (the constituency of Oldham). Thus began a political career that would result in being elected 40 years later, to the office of Prime Minister for the first time.  

Note: This article was first published in 2016. It has been updated with new / additional content.

*Images are assumed to be in the public domain and/or Creative Commons licensed & sourced via Wikimedia Commons, Vimeo, YouTube, or Flickr, unless otherwise noted*

Anita Hamilton

50+ World editor & baby boomer writer Anita Hamilton has always been interested in the "real people" stories behind the characters that create and inhabit the world of music, books, movies, television shows, current events, history, etc. A lifelong love of research (ok, nosiness) and writing, combined with a loving and supportive family complete with 3 mini-dachshund minions, keeps her busy.

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