September 20, 1986
Lucille Ball in a promotional photo taken shortly before being interviewed by Baba Wawa for the television special aired the evening of September 20, 1986.
We return to the overly-staged interview set, with WAWA standing next to the chair in which she has been sitting during the interview with BALL. She maintains a studious and neutral expression as she begins speaking.
: Welcome back. As Lucy approaches her retirement from Desilu and from private life, I asked her what kind of legacy she feels she left behind, how she has changed the television industry and the programming it produces, for better… and for worse.
DISSOLVE TO WAWA, now seated, in full-on Interviewer Mode.
: What are you going to miss most of all?
BALL, pensive, thinks for a moment before giving an answer.
: I’ll miss the way so many of our shows brought people together over the years. All over America - all over the world, really - no matter where you live, how old you are, whether you’re a boy or a girl, what colour your skin is, what you believe in… we all come together to watch TV, and our love for what we’re watching transcends all those boundaries. I know people have felt that way about a few of our shows, and I hope they’ll continue to feel that way long after I’m gone.
: Now would you describe that as your legacy, or as the legacy of television?
: Oh, television, definitely. It’s a powerful medium, just like radio was, just like the movies still are. But there’s an immediacy to television, y’know?
Hard-cut to WAWA, whose faux-sage nodding once again utterly fails to hide an obvious cut in BALL’s speech. Cut back to BALL.
: ...an immediacy and an intimacy at the same time. It’s right there in your living room and it seems to be talking to only you, but it’s really talking to all of us. I think that’s the appeal. It’s this shared secret but we’re all in on it.
: And what part did you play in helping to spread this shared secret?
: You know, in the grand scheme of things, I wasn’t really responsible for all that much. I just kept a studio running for a few decades, kept a few thousand people employed. This world is so much bigger than that, really makes you realize how small and unimportant one person can be.
: Don’t you think you’re selling yourself short? Your studio has been responsible for some of the most beloved programming in the history of television. I Love Lucy, My Three Sons, The Untouchables, Star Trek, Mission: Impossible, Rock Around the Clock, The Questor Tapes, The Muppet Show…
Quick-cut to BALL, laughing and raising her hands in mock surrender.
(through laughter): All right, all right! Enough already.
Cut back to WAWA, who is completely ignoring BALL, and defiantly continues to list the studio’s greatest hits over her protests.
(talking over BALL): ...Three’s Company, The Ropers, The Patriot, Hill Avenue Beat,
and Neon City Vice
, just to name a few!
(still laughing): That’s more than a few!
: And your studio produced all of them! Don’t you think the lady at the top might have had something to do with that?
: I didn’t create
any of those shows, and I didn’t run them. I didn’t even supervise, I left that to my lieutenants. Oscar Katz, Herb Solow, Bob Justman, Brandon Tartikoff…
: But you were the boss! The buck stopped with you!
: I’ve always been good at giving people what they need to bring out the best in them. If you want to know what the secret of my success was, look no further.
: Lucy, you’ve been in show business for a very long time now, and you’ve worn a lot of different hats. How do you want to be remembered in the future?
: Well, I’ve had a long life, and I may not go on for much longer, but if syndication has taught me anything, it’s that you’re really not dead, as long as you’re remembered. Now, a lot of people still remember me as just that wacky redhead from I Love Lucy
, and I have no problem with that. That show brought joy and laughter to so many people, and I’m honoured to have been a part of it, and contributed in some way. Is there more to me than that? Sure there is, but I don’t mind so much if people take the time to figure that out for themselves.
: Lucy, do you have any last pieces of advice to those of our viewers who might like to follow in your footsteps and seek out a career in Hollywood?
: Yeah, no matter what, just follow your dreams! (laughs) Literally, in my case. You really never know just what might come of them if you really believe in them.
Cut back to WAWA, alone; the interview has concluded.
: Lucille Ball will be remembered as an entertainer who sought to deliver the finest quality product possible, whether it was in front of or behind the camera. Her legacy with Desilu will continue to enrich the lives of millions of dedicated viewers throughout the country, and around the world. Thank you for watching. On behalf of NBC News, I’ve been Barbara Walters. Good night.
Exit WAWA; the lights dim, as we
FADE TO BLACK.
Thus concludes That Wacky Redhead
! Thank you all for following this, my first timeline, which would not have been possible without the contributions of many
members of this board, including, of course, all of you who posted on this thread, and who contacted me via PM, and who voted for TWR (and for TWR) in the Turtledove Awards. Thank you all, from the very bottom of my heart. That said, I feel that a few of you deserve a special citation for going far above and beyond what should be reasonably expected, and without further ado, I intend to do just that.
Let the end credits music roll
, and @Space Oddity
, for each laying out the welcome mat for TWR in your own way:
- For Cronus Invictus proving that you can write engaging and popular TLs about things other than War and Politics;
- For AWOLAWOT proving that culture can have wider repercussions on War and Politics, not just the other way round;
- For Now Blooms the Tudor Rose just making writing an AH TL look like so much fun that I, like TWR herself, just had to “give it a whirl”.
To @Emperor Norton I
and @Lavanya Six
, for plugging this timeline just about everywhere you possibly could.
, for writing That Wacky Limerick
and codifying the rules of the That Wacky Redhead Drinking Game™
, for doing such a great (and enthusiastic!) job of curating my TV Tropes page.
, for letting me borrow your idea of a Canadian aircraft carrier post-Bonaventure
from Canadian Power
, an excellent TL which you should all read.
, for letting me bounce some ideas about Canadian and Quebec politics off you.
, for your help with all matters Greek (it’s all Greek to me)!
, for your help with all matters Argentine.
, for your help with all matters Portuguese.
, for your help with all matters French, and for your part in carrying the torch for pop culture TLs.
To @Workable Goblin
, for your help with space probes and satellites, and for space advice in general.
, for encouraging me to step outside my comfort zone in writing about the Big Consequences that such Big Dreams have entailed, which I think have led to an overall much richer TL; for your advice about various sports, events, and personalities, even though sometimes it felt like we were trying to relate to each other in two different languages; and for your recognition of TWR in writing your own TLs.
To @Andrew T
, for your invaluable help in explaining the convoluted vagaries of the U.S. legal system, and for laying out the anatomy of a lawsuit, and its journey all the way to the Supreme Court
, along with sundry advice with regards to technology, and a few great suggestions on casting ITTL! Not to mention, more than any of the other pop culture TL writers who followed me, really making a success of Dirty Laundry
on its own terms, despite constantly (and unnecessarily) comparing it to my own TL. As far as I’m concerned, if TWR did
carry the pop cultural torch, she has now passed it in on to Don Henley. May he bear it well!
, for being this TL’s biggest cheerleader, for your passionate enthusiasm for pop culture TLs in general (including writing a few of your own), and especially for brainstorming all of the many, many
American election results with me, down to figuring out all the candidates. Wherever you are now, I hope life is treating you well.
To @Electric Monk
, for your enthusiasm, for starting the list of updates, for sharing your thoughts on perhaps the widest variety of subjects pertaining to this TL’s development of any of my consultants (with one exception), and for coming back just in time to help bring this TL to its conclusion. And, of course, for your friendship in turn, one which I feel has already yielded potential for some truly great AH in future, on both sides of the equation.
, for being generous enough to share your immense artistic talent with the readers of this thread, bringing my ideas to life in a way I never could have even imagined doing myself. I feel immensely privileged that someone with your gifts has taken such an interest in this TL, and shown such a willingness not only to render images for it, but to also provide input on the various aspects of the writing as well, as we’ve now seen how great a writer, as well as an artist, you are on your own TLs, starting with Kolyma’s Shadow
, for your frankly inexhaustible determination to really dig deep into the minutiae of this TL, focusing on the kind of detail and incidental richness which makes it feel real
and like a universe that’s properly lived-in
, as opposed to a mere backdrop for a staged story, culminating in the two interlude posts which you were kind enough to write for me (along with your help writing other updates). In addition, you’ve almost certainly written more process notes for this TL than anyone else, quite possibly even including myself, and it’s honestly very touching that anyone would take such an avid interest in making my TL “work”. It’s great to see you finally writing a TL of your own
(yes, again – you get two
mentions, don’t you feel special?), I blame you for creating my TV Tropes page, for urging me to maintain my optimistic tone throughout (which made for all the more contrast with the wave of dystopic timelines which were popular when I started writing), for your frank and forthright advice about British culture and politics, and for recommending this TL often as one of your favourites, high praise indeed from such an influential voice on this board. (It’s finally done; you can now officially
add it to your list of favourite finished TLs, after having jumped the gun almost two years ago
.) And for having taken the time out of your vacation schedule to meet with me in person on multiple
occasions, resulting in much fruitful discussion on AH along with other matters. (Speaking of which, since Roem and Meadow seem to be erring on the side of caution when it comes to publishing pop culture TLs through Sea Lion Press, perhaps the time might finally be right for a resurrection of Cronus Invictus
on AH.com? Just a suggestion…)
And last, but certainly not least…
To @e of pi
. After you sought some advice from me with your own TL, the now-completed Eyes Turned Skyward
, I very cannily convinced you to help me with the space program in TWR in exchange, and to be frank, I got by far
the better of our now-concluded arrangement. You’ve proofread every update going as far back as I don’t even remember when, you’ve been a sounding board for me to bounce off every conceivable idea on every conceivable subject with regards to this TL’s development, not to mention you’ve provided more than a few of your own. We’ve directly and fruitfully collaborated on many of this TL’s best moments, often after literally hours
of discussion brainstorming them. And you’ve always
lent your time and your creative energy willingly and indeed with great enthusiasm, because of your honest passion for this TL being the best it can be, despite your lack of personal stake in it; indeed, you’ve often supported TWR and encouraged others to do so even when we were in direct competition with each other, which demonstrates incredible generosity the likes of which very few are capable of mustering (and I am certainly not
one of those few, myself). I can’t imagine how much poorer this TL would be if not for your contributions, and despite being an AH writer I don’t think I want to try. And (although this is partly a testament to just how long
it took me to write this timeline) you’ve gone from a total stranger to one of my closest friends.
Although the content posts have now concluded, of course I intend to continue monitoring this thread and would be more than happy to answer any further questions and respond to any further comments that might arise. As @Cluttered Mind
(the very last new poster before the TL concluded!) was good enough to remind everyone, I am continuing to conduct two surveys: one of the birth year of my readers, and one of their favourite episodes of Star Trek
, so now is the time to resume canvassing those of you who have not yet participated; I intend to post the final results on July 18, 2016
(a Monday), four years and eight months after I started writing this TL. But don’t feel obliged; whatever you might have to say, I’m more than happy to read it.
But whatever you
might have to say, for the time being, I
have nothing more to say, except…
That’s All, Folks!