Literature: That Wacky Redhead

"[Carole Lombard] came to me when I was deciding whether or not I should do "I Love Lucy", and she told me to 'give it a whirl'. And that's what I did. Then she came to me when I was deciding whether or not to sell Desilu. She told me I was done being a star, that it was time to start making stars. She knew I could do it, said I was the only one who could. (laughs) There's a reason everybody loved Carole."
Lucille Ball, in her 1986 interview with Baba Wawa

An Alternate History work by user "Brainbin" of, That Wacky Redhead explores the cultural side of the genre, showing how a different path taken in American television history could have altered not only popular culture, but also the wider world.

Lucille Ball, beloved comedienne, star of the classic 1950s sitcom I Love Lucy, and entrepreneur as the head of her television studio, Desilu, is visited in a dream by her late friend Carole Lombard. Once before, Lombard had persuaded Ball to "give [television] a whirl" and star in what would become I Love Lucy; Lombard's second visit, in late 1966, marks the Point of Divergence . Ball is on the verge of selling Desilu to media conglomerate Gulf+Western, but Lombard warns her away from it, assuring Ball that her destiny is to remain a studio chief.

The rest of the timeline chronicles what changes have been wrought, and all on account of That Wacky Redhead!

Read it here. An indexed version can be found here.

This work contains examples of:

    For Want Of A Nail 
  • In our timeline, Star Trek was Screwed by the Network in favor of Rowan and Martin's Laugh-In. In this timeline, it's the other way around, and the creator of Laugh-In quits... butterflies from which means no Laugh-In appearance by Richard Nixon, and because the 1968 presidential election was so close, the lack of his television appearance is enough to change enough voters' minds relative to our timeline that Hubert Humphrey wins instead.
    • It should be mentioned that there's a second nail involved with this point: The moment that this particular butterfly spawned was when NBC wanted to move Star Trek to the 7:30PM slot on Mondays... while pushing Laugh-In to 8:30. Lucy stepping in and speaking for Star Trek's behalf is what ultimately settled the argument, thus setting that particular stone.
  • As part of being a studio-head full time, Lucy dropped out of Yours, Mine, and Ours and, unable to find a replacement actor to fill her role, scrapped it all together. But, there's more. Without this film, The Brady Bunch never gets made. (Sherwood Schwartz created it to capitalize on the success of the film IOTL.)
    • That isn't the only show to be butterflied away due to changes with a movie: due to M*A*S*H being a box-office failure ITTL, M*A*S*H the show is never made.
  • As part of the deal that would bring Doctor Who to the states, Desilu also buys the US syndication rights to the back catalog—along with copies of all the tapes. Since Desilu is well aware of the money to be made in syndication, they carefully preserve these tapes for reairing as the era of junking old tapes at the BBC comes and goes. When the BBC figures out what a mistake they've made, Desilu can just send copies over to the BBC. That's right. The lost episode fiasco is averted.
  • As a side note, you know how Tom Baker is considered the Doctor IOTL? Jon Pertwee fills that role ITTL.
  • It goes without saying, but because Star Trek is handled with more care in this timeline, the show goes through some changes as well: "The City On The Edge of Forever" becomes the season 1 finale, bad episodes like "Spock's Brain", "Assignment: Earth" and "The Omega Glory" aren't produced, going to a season 5, "Yesteryear" being made an episode proper...
  • Because the Apollo 13 mission went off with out a hitch ITTL, the 1995 movie is butterflied away.
    • On a similar note, a recent update reveals that the Iranian Revolution never happened ITTL. Which means no Iran hostage crisis, which means no "Canadian Caper", which means, ultimately, no Argo.
  • So many changes occur to Star Wars (the most obvious being the ITTL title being "The Journey of the Force"), that it would be better to just link to the chapter.
  • Thanks to NBC fighting with Johnny Carson, Saturday Night Live never got made.note 
  • While it isn't made 100% clear why, guess what else has been butterflied away? The Six Million Dollar Man.
  • "Brand New Hollywood, Same Old Industry" also establishes some big film changes, including (but not limited to): as opposed to the original timeline, Stanley Kubrick does not make the film adaptations for A Clockwork Orange and Barry Lyndonnote , Rocky never gets made, Ralph Bakshi gets to properly make an animated trilogy on The Lord of the Rings, the first two Godfather films never got the Oscar for best picture, and George and Marcia Lucas (along with Lucasfilm Limited) sue Paramount Pictures over "breach of contract, fraud, and negligent misrepresentation."
  • Aside from not being titled All in the Family, Those Were the Days has some interesting changes thanks to the different timeline it was made in. Take a look.
  • "Computer Space" is considered the "first video game", not "Pong". Thanks "Moonshot Lunacy"!
  • While it's not explained if he still experienced cerebral edemanote  ITTL, another name to add to the "Saved by the Timeline" list is none other than Bruce Lee!
  • Steven Spielberg directs Live and Let Die and The Man with the Golden Gun.
  • Michael Billington becomes the next Bond after George Lazenby, not Roger Moore.
  • A more literal example relates to ITTL's "Coming Soon to a Theater Near You! With Roger Ebert and Gene Siskel": Siskel and Ebert's coin toss to see who got top billing went in Ebert's favor ITTL.
  • In 1969, PBS gets $25 million in funding for its creation, not the eventual $22 million it got under the Nixon administration IOTL.note 
  • George Lucas's plans for his big franchise take a different turn:
    Tentative plans to air some form of continuation to Journey of the Force, perhaps in the form of a holiday special, were nixed by none other than George Lucas, who refused to condone such a blatant cash grab as long as none of said cash would be filling his coffers.
  • Aside from (obviously) no Star Trek: The Animated Series, "Day and Night" reveals that Bob Barker ultimately does not become the host of The Price Is Right; consequently, Dennis James becomes the host of both daytime and nighttime versions.
  • CBS, very desperate, gave George Carlin his own variety show in 1980. It became the Turn-On to "The Richard Pryor Show"'s Laugh-In.
  • Dallas is named Texas Tea (or just Texas), and the Ewing family is called the Walsh family (and John Ross "Jock" Ewing and J.R. are called Thomas R. Walsh, Sr. and T.R., respectively).
  • Jumping back to 1968 for a minute, this coverage of the 1968 presidential election reveals that one of the factors in Humphrey's lead was "the announcement of a bombing halt in their quagmire of an overseas conflict, and a resulting peace conference."note 
  • IOTL, a clerical error in 1974 caused It's A Wonderful Life to fall out of copyright. One guess as to what happened ITTL...note 
  • "20th Century Fox is actually in a pretty bad way ITTL."note 
  • In regards to another big bombshell of the timelinenote , I'm just going to say the words "this page", "last response", and "not happening".
    • Though later comments indicate that it is less solid than it first seems. It refers specifically to the OTL Star Trek spin-off/sequel series/movies, not to Star Trek on TV or the big screen in general. Beyond that, it has also been confirmed that Star Trek will have further appearances in other media — tabletop gaming, for instance.
  • SelectaVision does better than in IOTL: a projected 200,000 figure in the beginning of 1978, with over 250,000 being shipped New Years Day with over 100 launch titles.note 
    • Let's not forget a little fact: it came out in 1977 ITTL. IOTL? 1981.
  • Hello, readers. How much do you know about microwave power? Google it. Look at the results, now to me, now to the results, now back to me. Look again. The concept has become discredited.
    • Now, Google "Three Mile Island accident". Look down. Now up. That too is no more. I'm doing a parody. (insert Old Spice theme here)
  • Thanks to Lucas winning the Trial of the Century, Paramount ends up owing a billion dollars. Even pending appeal the $100 million bond is enough to put the company's futures in doubt.
  • Robin Williams never overcame his cocaine addiction. This wound up killing him.
    • Subsequently, although the specifics aren't known yet, Word of God says that John Lennon doesn't die; at least, on December 8, 1980. Nope; Williams takes that date.
  • Thanks to ABC being in such dire straits ITTL, they were convinced to pick up The Muppet Show for syndication (after agreeing to air "The Muppets Valentine Show") in 1974, two years before the show's OTL premiere.note 
  • You know the "Miracle On Ice"note ? Well, replace "United States" with "Canada", and "4-3" with "5-4".note 
    • Speaking of the Olympics, we do not boycott the 1980 Summer Olympics in Moscow.
    The international reaction [to the Soviet Union's invasion of Afghanistan] was overwhelmingly hostile, but President Reagan did not choose to pursue heavy sanctions against the USSR, or even agree with a proposed boycott of the Moscow Olympics, as part of a gentleman’s agreement that had emerged between the two superpowers – the Soviets would turn the other cheek to the continued American military presence in Iran, so long as the United States ceded any interests in Afghanistan, formally establishing both states in their respective spheres of interest and extending the Iron Curtain across the Caspian Sea to the Indus Valley.
  • Jumping back a bit, wanna know the background information of Battlestar Galactica in a "Moonshot Lunacy" world? See here.note 
    • Although it goes without mention, it still doesn't hurt to address this: No. Galactica. 1980.
  • Due to Monty Python and Camelot's moderate success, investors were interested in doing a second film. That fell apart because of the Pythons not liking any of their suggestions, and the only idea they liked was the one that the investors refused to do. Long story short, Monty Python's Life of Brian is never made.
  • To make a long story short, as of 1984, Paramount (thanks in part to losing Lucasfilm v. Paramount, having to pay $1,000,000,000 in damagesnote , and Charles Bluhdorn dying of a heart attack two days later) ultimately no longer exists.
    • Subsequently, Desilu was sold Paramount's half of the lot "at a bargain price", meaning the famous "Wall" that separated them would come down.
      Lucille Ball, along with George and Marcia Lucas, would cut this ribbon in a grand ceremony featuring many Desilu and Paramount stars and staffers, past and present. Ball famously quipped: "If this wall can finally come down, maybe there’s hope for the one in Berlin, too."
  • Apocalypse Now winds up being a more faithful adaptation of Heart of Darkness ITTL (even being named after the book). It also has the high honor of being one of TTL's biggest box office bombs.
  • Frosty the Snowman, interestingly enough, is in stop-motion ITTL instead of hand-drawn animation...
  • The 1984 Summer Olympics are held in Iran ITTL. This leads to Ayatollah Khomenei, through his speeches "calling for popular revolution and acts of terror against the state regime", inspiring one of his devotees (operating from a sleeper cell in Tehran) to go to the games. a suicide bomber.
    • Also, as a result of the attack taking place during the woman's fencing event, the American (Carol Wilson) and the Israeli (Tamar Dahan) competing wind up dying due to the suicide bomber throwing himself between them. Thankfully, no one else died...
      • On top of that, due to the decision to scrap the entire event afterwards, this winds up being the first instance ITTL of no metals being awarded for an Olympic event.
  • Because of the Tehran Plot, along with the Munich massacre from 1972, and the expensiveness of the 1980 Winter Olympic Games, the Olympics wind up becoming "a far less desirable and prestigious event than they had been in years past"...
    • As a side note, however, Los Angeles winds up being chosen to host the Games in 1988.
  • Around 1984, Nintendo managed to cross the shores to the United States with a very popular trading card game. That game? Pocket Monsters. And yes, it's still made by Game Freak.
    • To add on to this: 72 initial monsters with 12 initial types: Fire, Water, Plant, Earth, Bird, Insect, Ice, Lightning, Fighting, Poison, Spirit, and Metal.note 
      • And yes, no Normal type and no dual-typing (initially).
    • And, in case you're curious, here's how it works:
      Brainbin: Basically, the game plays like a cross between tabletop RPGs in the Dungeons & Dragons vein and something akin to the Strat-O-Matic system, using the stats of each player featured on their collectible cards.note 
  • Steve Wozniak is informed of Steve Job lying about the bonus they would get from eliminating the extra chips from the Breakout! machinesnote  10 years earlier ITTL. As such, when Jobs leaves to form Apple Computers, Wozniak stays behind.
  • In a complete reversal of the OTL verdict (at a narrow 5-4 margin), the Supreme Court ruled in 1984 that time shifting was illegal, which pretty much wound up killing the VTR market.
  • While there is still a remake of Scarface starring Al Pacino ITTL, it's filmed as being a Spiritual Successor to Dog Day Afternoon. What this means is that "the film is much more deliberate and intellectual than the OTL version – and more attractive to the Academy as a result"note .
    • Also, this film nets Pacino his first Oscar ITTL...
  • Because of Brandon Tartikoff having less connections than OTL, he hooks up with Steven J. Cannell to brainstorm a show concerning "MTV cops". And because of it being made at Desilu, they couldn't film at Miami because "location shooting was an indulgence beyond Desilu", so it wound up being set in the fictional city of San Andreas, California. And thus was born onto the world: Neon City Vice.
  • "The Deadly Assassin" never gets made, meaning the 12 regeneration limitnote  is never made. Ultimately, though, "Requiem for a Time Lord" does establish a regeneration limit... of four. And, this is demonstrated with the Doctor.

    In Spite Of A Nail 
  • The era of tape wiping still occurs, even for Doctor Who (except it was spared any permanent damages thanks to the deal with Desilu).
    • Well... sort of. "The Feast of Steven"note  still winds up being wiped before Desilu could step in. As such, that particular episode is the only missing episode for Doctor Who.
  • The creation of home video and the Home Video Wars still happen.
  • Ronald Reagan still becomes president, albeit the 38th. Sorry, Gerald Ford.
  • The Beatles still end up breaking up by 1970.
  • The Archie Bunker Vote? Yep, still a thing ITTL.
  • The Magnavox Odyssey is still a video game console that comes out in 1972, "graphical overlays" and all.
  • In regards to Queen: "The membership of Queen, and the circumstances of its formation, are largely identical to OTL."
  • Moonraker, Live and Let Die and The Man with the Golden Gun are still made.
    • Plus "Moonraker"'s score is generally the same as the OTL version despite John Barry recording it in the UK ITTLnote .
  • Unfortunately, TTL's 1972 Olympics suffered the same tragedy as IOTL.
  • In spite what was mentioned above, "Day and Night" (which gave "a more comprehensive picture of all that was available to American (and Canadian) television audiences in the early 1970s") revealed little changes ITTL in that regard.
  • Carl Sagan still gets to make Cosmos: A Personal Voyage, albeit with help from Fred Rogers.
  • The Oil Crisis of 1973 still happens.
    • Also, the Greenpoint oil spill also occurs but is discovered in 1976, instead of OTL's 1978.
  • Despite The Greenpoint Dilemma being a factor in killing the concept of microwave power, microwave ovens stick around.note 
  • "Dallas" may be called "Texas", but we still end up asking that famous question: "Who Killed J.R"- er, "Who Killed T.R"?
  • While Deep Space isn't a Star Trek spin-off (Herb Solow vetoed it when suggested), it still has some similarities to our Tartikoff/Roddenberry-involved space-station show... such as a resident merchant alien character whose name begins with 'Qu' and ends with 'rk'.
  • The Muppet Show still ends by 1981, with the added bonus of it being picked up in 1974 by ABC.
  • Despite Canada going against the USSR and the score this time being "5-4", we still have the "Miracle On Ice".
  • Guess what, the Soviet Union still invades Afghanistan.
  • Amazingly enough, Charles Bluhdorn winds up dying of a heart attack as IOTL, within the same time framenote .
  • Due to "Here's Lucy" not being made (allowing for the surname "Carter" to be used) and because Lucille Ball decided to play the President of the United Federation of Planets for "Star Trek: The Next Voyage" with said surname, guess what? We still have a President Carter ITTL!
  • Los Angeles still gets to host the Olympics ITTL. But it's the 1988 Olympics...
  • You ready to have your minds blown? Even though there are about 20 years worth of butterflies that would suggest otherwise, the Sega SG-1000, Game Freak and Pocket Monstersnote  are all still things ITTL. I know, right?
  • Scarface still gets made ITTL and still stars Al Pacino.
  • Brandon Tartikoff still gets to make a two-word pitch ITTL: "MTV cops".
  • Doctor Who still winds up being cancelled, and the Fifth Doctor's actor (also the youngest actor to play the Doctor at that time) winds up leaving the role having grown to hate it.

  • Actor Allusion: A casting version in-universe: After Jimmy Stewart was picked to play Pa Kent, "the production team could not resist the opportunity to stunt-cast Ma Kent, choosing Donna Reed (Stewart’s one-time co-star in It's A Wonderful Life, his personal favorite film) for the role".
    "On-set lore had Stewart continuously flubbing his lines by referring to Reed’s character as “Mary” instead of “Martha”."
  • Allohistorical Allusion: IOTL, there would've been a televised Star Trek / Doctor Who crossover (albeit with Star Trek: Enterprise and the 10th Doctor), but plans for it fell apart.
    • The date Elvis Presley and Desilu reached a licensing agreement that allowed him to be featured prominently in a couple episodes of Rock Around the Clock was August 16, 1977. You know. The day he died on the toilet IOTL?
    • The response from Aquarius to Houston's inquiry about any problems with landing on the moon? "No, Houston, we haven’t had a problem here."note 
    • Similarly to the Elvis allusion, the date of the Futureshadowing Barbara Waters/Lucille Ball interview that opens the timeline is the date that Life With Lucy premiered IOTL.
    • George Lucas finds a use for the phrase "Never Tell Me the Odds", just not in a movie.
    • What do John Lennon and Robin Williams have in common? The date December 8, 1980.note 
    • We still have a saying involving a president traveling to a foreign land as part of improving foreign relations: "Only Reagan could go to Moscow."note 
    • A subtle one: TTL's "Battlestar Galactica" (simply known as "Galactica") ends in 1980. ...get it?
    • It's pointed out that the ceremony in 1984 ITTL that concerned Desilu being sold Paramount's half of the lot was similar to the one in 1967 IOTL that concerned the reverse: Paramount being sold Desilu.
    • In the final episode of Doctor Who, the Doctor reveals that his true name is a Gallfreyan word that means "doctor", explaining it as "not unlike your 'Baker' or 'Smith'".
      • Similarly, the Fifth Doctor dying instead of regeneratingnote  in TTL's "Requiem for a Time Lord" seems to be a nod to OTL's "The Caves of Androzani", where it seemed like that was what was going to happennote .
  • Alternate History: Obviously.
  • All There in the Manual: Sometimes, info regarding the timeline can only be found in the footnotes.
    • Other times, it's in the comment responses Brainbin gives.
  • April Fools' Day: "Appendix E: A Taste of Pi, Part I: Fostering an Obsession"note 
  • Anvilicious: The Star Trek 3rd season episode "Bondage and Freedom" uses a planet where a black ruling class keeps white slaves to comment on race relations. It's about as subtle as it sounds.
  • Artistic License – History: Actually, compared with the OTL version, Monty Python and Camelot is more historically accurate in regards to medieval times.
  • Author Avatar: The Animated Adventures of Star Trek has Dr Joanna McCoy to D.C. Fontana and Commander Freeman (introduced in The Next Voyage as ST's first gay character) to David Gerrold.
  • A World Half Full / Empty: Thanks to Desilu not merging with Paramount changes occur both positively and negatively to the world (in the sense of pop culture), to keep things brief.
    Brainbin: I told you I wasn’t writing a utopia!
    • As a point of reference, "The More Things Change, The More They Stay The Same" points out how "race relations are generally better" in 1971-2 ITTL, just generally.
    • Also, the economy is in "better absolute shape" in TTL's 1975.
    • Despite NASA going through difficulties, it's still a LOT better than OTL's NASA. And, given that John Glenn, who promised to revitalize the space program, won the 1980 election...
  • Book Ends: It has yet to happen, but Brainbin has said the last post will bring us back to the 1986 interview that opened the timeline.
  • Bittersweet Ending: Thanks to Desilu picking it up, Night Gallery fares a tad better ITTL... but because of the more vigorous production schedule, Rod Serling ends up dying a few months earlier than IOTL.note 
    • "Those Were The Days" had one as the Series Finalenote :
    "Thus, the series concluded with Richard and Gloria departing Astoria, Queens, along with their son Michael, to the sunnier pastures of California (as so many Americans before them had done); Richard had accepted tenure at a small liberal arts college in the Bay Area, and Gloria had already arranged for interviews in hoping to secure a new management position at one of any number of the retail establishments there. Archie and Edith, by contrast, were now left alone at 704 Hauser St. The poignant final shot of the series finale framed the two, having retreated to their iconic living room chairs after saying their final goodbyes, and gazing into nothingness, overcome with their emotions, as if thinking “Well, what now?”."
    • The Muppet Show has one too: "Boss Lady", aka. Lucille Ball finally gets to appear on the show... only for Lucy-style antics to occur...
    "The episode, naturally, ended with the Muppet Playhouse in a wreck, and Ball livid to the point of incomprehensible babbling. Kermit, meanwhile, pledged to take his show on the road, instead."
    • The timeline itself is set to end this way, with the final post going to take us back to the 1986 interview where Lucy announces she's retiring.
  • Bowdlerized: Pointed out in-universe, NBC's early 1970's nickname is referred to as "Negroes, Blacks, and Coloreds".
  • Breather Episode: In between "Fight the Power"note  and "Appendix C, Part IV: The Trial of the Century" is "You’ve Come A Long Way, Baby", which details ITTL's Women's Lib movement. Well... up to the last paragraph, anyway...
  • Butterfly of Doom: What seem like minor changes can have big effects down the line.
    • Played with: the world is surprisingly altered for what might at first seem to be a relatively minor pop-cultural change — but the resulting history is no worse than ours (in some ways, it is even a better world), just different.
  • Call a Rabbit a "Smeerp": An interesting variation: various shows and movies IOTL have different titles ITTL.
    • Examples include: "The Journey of the Force" instead of "Star Wars", "Galactica" instead of "Battlestar Galactica", "Those Were The Days" instead of "All in the Family", "Greased Lightning" instead of "Grease", ect.
    • Atari? Surely you meant Syzygy? ... No, really.
    • VCRsnote ? Nope, VTRsnote .
  • Call Back: Response-wise: The last post to cover ITTL's Star Trek franchise brings up a post from waaay back:
    Brainbin: To answer this question, posed to me over four months ago: "How will Star Trek change?" There is your answer. That is how. There you go.
  • The Cameo: The person who discovered buckminsterfullerene ITTL was none other than Dr. Thomas W. Anderson... also known as Thande.note 
  • Cannibal Holocaust: Interestingly, although this film isn't made ITTL, several ones like it are.
  • Casting Gag: In-Universe: In 1978, the President of Desilu, That Wacky Redhead herself, plays the role of the President of the United Federation of Planets in "Star Trek: The Next Voyage". It's also a cross-timeline gag: IOTL, Lucille Ball called President Carter in... "Lucy Calls The President". ITTL, she is President Carter!
  • Character Title: The timeline is named after the person who makes the change possible, Lucille Ball.
  • The Complainer Is Always Wrong: Referenced by name in the entry on Star Trek: The Animated Series. Mark Evanier is one of that show's writers and is keen to avoid it.
  • Contested Sequel: In-universe, Star Trek acquires one in the form of a '70s miniseries Star Trek: The Next Voyage, with many fans disparagingly calling it either "Star Trek: The Soap Opera" or, more to the point, "Soap Trek".
  • Cousin Oliver: This comes up in both "Barefoot in the Park" and "The Bill Cosby Show". Ironically, this happens despite the trope namer not existing.
  • Cluster Bleep Bomb: Thanks to "Censorface" to providing this trope on "The George Carlin Show".
  • Creator Killer: "Turn-On" for George Schlatter.
    • And by recent info, it seems his plans to sue Paramount have done some serious damage to George Lucas' reputation in Hollywood. ...although, given that he won said trial, that may change...
  • Curb-Stomp Battle: As IOTL, the Soivet Union dominates the 1980 Summer Olymics, ultimately earning 50 medals. Why not OTL's 80? Well, you can thank East Germany and the USA for participating instead of boycotting the games.
  • David Versus Goliath: How the Canada-USSR 1980 Olympic hocky game was described: Canada being David, the USSR being Goliath.
    • This is also how Lucasfilm v. Paramount is described, at least going by C. A. Baxter's book David and Goliath: The Authorized Account of Lucasfilm v. Paramount, the Trial of the Century.
  • Dueling Movies: The China Syndrome, about a nuclear power plant accident, and The Greenpoint Dilemma, about a microwave power plant accident, come out within months of each other in 1979. China Syndrome flops big time, lacking the resonance of the Three Mile Island disaster (which doesn't happen here) and tripping over the different political dynamic of environmentalism ITTL.
  • Deal with the Devil: A self-described methophorical one: in order to get a Democratic majority in the House of Representatives in 1980, the Democratic Party had to welcome George Wallace and his "schismatic Alabaman faction" back into it.
  • Dewey Defeats Truman: The troubled production on "The Journey of the Force" (plus some gossip floating around Hollywood) cause some of the trade papers (like The Hollywood Reporter and Variety) to label the movie "Lucas' Folly". And then it became a smash.
  • Different World, Different Movies: Rather than being incidental, this is the entire focus of the timeline.
  • Famous Last Words: "Punch my time card, boss! We’re going on a looong skiing trip in the Middle East this weekend!" - Robin Williamsnote 
  • Fan Nickname: An in-universe example: Desilu is known as the "House That Paladin Built".
    • Conversely, Paramount has "The House on the Other Side of the Wall".
    • "Star Trek: The Next Voyage" has "Soap Trek" and "Star Trek: The Soap Opera".
    • The American run of Doctor Who (from season 8 to season 12) is considered the "Yank Years" of the show.
    • The popularity of space that came about from the space program is most often referred to as "Moonshot Lunacy", with a fan-base of "Moonshot Lunatics" (or "Moonie Loonies").
  • Five Second Foreshadowing: It's pointed out that "[t]he New York Post went with the most regrettable headline possible (in hindsight), 'BLOODIED BLUHDORN', when they emphasized the damage [losing the 1983 trial] had done to [Charles Bluhdorn]" about a paragraph before it's revealed that he died of a heart attack two days later.
  • Follow the Leader: Its popularity on has led to several other pop culture–focused timelines springing up. One such example is "Dirty Laundry: An Alternate 1980s".
    Ted Turner: I look at the example set by Miss Ball at Desilu, and I think: "Well gee, now there's a great way to get started".
  • Footnote Fever: As a result of the timeline becoming more and more detailed, this follows hand-in-hand. As a point of reference, this post has 30.
  • Foregone Conclusion: Like it or not, the timeline is going to end at September 20, 1986, with Lucy's interview with Baba Wawa and the announcement of her retirement.
  • Foreshadowing: Maybe, but: "As far as you know, 'Leningrad' may never become an obsolete term ITTL".note 
    • More in-line with the boundaries of the timeline itself, we have this bit from the end of "Appendix C, Part IV: The Trial of the Century":
    More pressing for Paramount, and indeed, for every studio in Hollywood, was that all the details of the case were now a matter of public record – and in an election year, the gory details of Hollywood accounting being laid bare to the voting public had dangerous, and previously unforeseen, consequences...
    • "Appendix A, Part VII: The Search for More Money" ends with a scene at Desilu Studios, which ends with Lucy considering the idea of a Star Trek miniseries after seeing the success of Roots. And then "Star Trek: The Next Voyage" is announced.
  • Four Is Death: Quite literally with TTL's regeneration limit.
  • From Bad to Worse: A self-described example for Paramount: two days after the Supreme Court of the United States ruled in favor of Lucasfilm Limited (5 to 4) in Lucasfilm v. Paramount and awarded them $1,000,000,000 in damages, it was discovered that Charles Bluhdorn died of a heart attack.
  • Futureshadowing: The 1986 interview in spades.
  • Genre-Killer: Two things are attributed to the "death" of the variety genre ITTL: "The George Carlin Show", and the death of Robin Williams.
  • Gone Horribly Right: Since it's implied that George Carlin deliberately went over the top in... his "vocabulary" on "The George Carlin Show" to "demonstrate the absurdity of censorship regulations", this trope is in effect. There is a reason it's considered the next Turn-On.
    "[H]is little experiment, to put it bluntly, went horribly right. Several network affiliates did not return to show after its first commercial break – this on top of over a dozen that had refused to air the show in the first place."
  • Grand Finale: In-universe, Star Trek has one in "These Were the Voyages".
  • Harsher in Hindsight: In-Universe, the "Who Shot Robin" sketch on "The Richard Pryor Show".
    • The New York Post using the headline "BLOODIED BLUHDORN" as a means of emphasizing the damage losing the 1983 trial did to him.
  • Heroic Sacrifice: Sulu preforms one in Star Trek: The Next Voyage.
  • Hide Your Gays: Commander Freeman in The Animated Adventures of Star Trek is meant to be the same character as the openly gay Lieutenant Freeman in Star Trek: The Next Voyage, but his sexuality is never mentioned.
  • History Repeats: In a way, that is how "The George Carlin Show" is described:
    If Richard Pryor could be described as Laugh-In for a new decade, the inevitable rush of imitators that followed in its wake naturally included a Turn-On.
  • Inherently Funny Words: This is why the counterpart to Airplane! (spoofing The Greenpoint Dilemma instead of Zero Hour) is called Catastrophe! instead of Disaster!
  • Insistent Terminology: Barbara Walters is generally referred to as "Baba Wawa".
  • In the Style of...: Funnily enough, the chapter "Love in the Afternoon" (which covers daytime programing, like Soapnote ), begins and ends like Soap.
  • Irony: "I love that, all this time after the PoD, the Paramount and Desilu lots are finally united after all."
  • It's All About Me: William Shatner gets a bad, bad case of it, due to Star Trek's greater success.
  • Lame Pun Reaction: Behold:
    Gene Kranz: Say, Jim... would you say this is the dawning of the age of Aquarius?
  • Leaning on the Fourth Wall: The second-to-last "More To Come... Right After These Messages", which takes place on August 12th, 1984, was posted on August 12th, 2015.
  • Lost Forever / Missing Episode: The "Feast of Steven" episode of "The Dalek's Master Plan". Due to Desilu stepping in to buy the syndication rights to Doctor Who after this episode got wiped, this is TTL's only missing episode.
  • Magnum Opus: A minor example, but Brainbin considers "Into The Final Frontier" to be "one of [his] very finest posts".
  • Name's the Same: As pointed out in the narrative, George Lucas' lawyer Andy Taylor and Hon. Warren J. Ferguson.
  • Never Tell Me the Odds: Ironically said by George Lucas to Andy Taylor, his lawyer, after being told how small his chances of winning his lawsuit against Paramount were.
  • Non-Indicative Title: "Marcia, Marcia, Marcia!". Obviously brings Star Wars to mind, right?
  • One-Episode Wonder: Just like its counterpart in our timeline, Turn-On does not have a lengthy run. And it ruins producer George Schlatter's career to boot.
  • The Only One Allowed to Defeat You: In the in-universe Star Trek finale this is why Kor (established as Kirk's Arch-Enemy over the course of five seasons) makes a Heroic Sacrifice to defend the Enterprise from the Romulans.
  • Opinion-Changing Dream: The change in timeline's happens because Ball has a dream wherein the ghost of Carole Lombard tells her to stay a producer, similar to the actual dream she had that encouraged her to do I Love Lucy.
  • Original Character: It took 75 posts, but the first usage of this trope came in the form of Kirk Allen, the ITTL casting choice for Superman instead of Christopher Reeve.
    Brainbin: Allen is an original character - the first to be introduced so far for this timeline, but not the last!
  • Pet The Hound Dog: "Lonely at the Top" reveals some beneficial changes to the life of Elvis Presley. To name one specific change: he switched managers (from Colonel Tom Parker to Tom Hulett) which results in him going on his way to have international tours and starring in the A Star Is Born remake (opposite Barbra Streisand).
  • Poorly Disguised Pilot: A crossover between Star Trek and Doctor Who (Jon Pertwee as the Third Doctor), complete with a female American companion played by Connie Booth, intended to relaunch Doctor Who in a new format and introduce it to the American overseas market. It works.
  • Promoted Fanboy: David Gerrold, much as he did in our timeline goes from science fiction fan to science fiction writer on Star Trek—and then he goes further.
  • Pun-Based Title: "The Roots of the Mini-series". That is all.
  • Retcon: A minor one: Since the post concerning The Trial of the Century is labeled "Appendix C, Part IV", three previous posts were declared also part of "Appendix C" in the footnotes: "Another Night at the Movies", "Marcia, Marcia, Marcia!", and "Brand New Hollywood, Same Old Industry"note .
  • Richard Nixon the Used Car Salesman:
    • Democratic North Carolina senator Andy Griffith.
    • Surprisingly enough, Steve Jobs becomes an infomercial pitchman (for their own direct retail company) after Apple Corps v. Apple Computer winds up bankrupting Apple Computers.
  • Seasonal Rot: Naturally, this comes up a lot. This timeline's version of Star Trek suffers it in its fifth and final season, as opposed to our timeline's version, which suffered it (as well as underfunding) in its third and final one. invoked
    • Same applies to "Those Were The Days".
  • Shown Their Work: The amount of research Brainbin puts into this is staggering. It helps that, among other credentials, he's a troper.
  • Shout-Out: The post concerning TTL's Star Trek merchandise? "Appendix A, Part VII: The Search for More Money".
  • Simple Country Lawyer: This is literally how Andy Taylor, George Lucas' lawyer, is described.
    "Andy Taylor was, in fact, a “simple country lawyer”, from rural Maryland (which also qualified him – like his television namesake, who hailed from the fictional town of Mayberry, North Carolina – as being from the South)."
  • The Sixties, The '70s, and (currently) The '80s: The current time-span of the timeline (specifically 1966 to 1984).
  • Something Completely Different: The appendix entries, which either (currently) discuss ITTL's Star Trek franchise (the Appendix A entries), "serious alternate history" (the Appendix B entries), anything George Lucas related ((retroactively) the Appendix C entries) or nothing, as it was an April Fools' Day post (the Appendix E entry).
  • Spiritual Successor: In-Universe, "Virtue and Vice" reveals that Scarface ITTL was filmed as being this to Dog Day Afternoonnote .
  • Status Quo Is God: Interestingly, Lucasfilm v. Paramount being overruled in 1982 by the Ninth Circuit of the United States Court of Appeals is an attempted in-universe example.
    Certainly, it seemed that the dispassionate judges, stubbornly unimpressed with provocateurs such as the “rogue accountant” C.A. Baxter, were far more willing to back the status quo, and the major studios, than the populist juries.
    • Why "attempted"? George and Marcia Lucas decide to go to the Supreme Court to appeal the ruling. Oh boy...
  • Stealth Pun: The title of the April Fools' Day post "Appendix E: A Taste of Pi, Part I: Fostering an Obsession" written by forum member "e of pi".
  • The Stinger: An unusual example: Appendix A, Part VII: The Search for More Money uses a scene of Desilu Studios (the date being February 7, 1977) as one of thesenote .
  • Take a Third Option: President John Glenn plans to find a middle ground between Reganomics and the Great Society
  • Tempting Fate: Thanks to Laugh-In being Screwed by the Network, when promoting Turn-On, Schlatter boasted that "Turn-On is going to make Laugh-In look like Lawrence Welk". And... well...:
    Well, he was right... so much so, that one might say he was a little too on-the-nose. “Turn-On” premiered on ABC on February 5, 1969, a Wednesday, at 8:30. It was cancelled fifteen minutes later.
    • Actually, this fate was tempted in an earlier chapter:
      Schlatter was enraged; he decided to teach the network a lesson and abandoned "Laugh-In" to its fate, quitting as showrunner to focus on a show he was developing for ABC called "Turn-On", which would have a strong counter-cultural bent that, he was sure, would attract audiences in even greater numbers than "Laugh-In" had.
  • Thirteen Is Unlucky: Defied Trope in this timeline as, thanks to better funding and scrutiny by the Humphrey Administration, the Apollo 13 moonshot goes off without a hitch.
  • Titled After the Song: "Those Were the Days"
  • Tough Act to Follow: Ratings wise, it took some time until something was able to pass the "47 rating" set by "These Were the Voyages": Roots.
  • Trash the Set: Done in The Muppet Show's Series Finale. It helps that the guest star was That Wacky Redhead herself.
  • The Troubles: As discussed in this postnote  and in this post, this has been butterflied away ITTL.
  • T-Word Euphemism: The author never refers to "the V-word" explicitly, only referring to it as an "overseas quagmire", as part of an In-Joke about how that topic tends to dominate American-penned Alternate History timelines set in this period. It helps that it apparently ended in 1969 through peace talks.
  • Vindicated by Cable: Currently, thanks to its copyright being renewed in 1974 ITTL, it looks like this won't happen to It's A Wonderful Life.
  • Waxing Lyrical: Occasionally. For instance the potted biography of Bruce Lee suddenly breaks into the theme to The Fresh Prince of Bel-Air, then smoothly carries on as if nothing had happened.
  • Wham Episode: "Appendix C, Part IV: The Trial of the Century". Paramount lost the trial, with damages of one billion dollars awarded... in 1980 dollars.
  • Wham Line: "Where No Man Has Gone Before" both opens and ends with one:
    "'That’s one small step for a man, one giant leap for mankind.' - Neil Armstrong, on the surface of the Moon, July 21, 1969." note 
    "Returning to Earth on July 24, they were all personally welcomed home by President Hubert H. Humphrey..."
    • There's also one in "Appendix E: A Taste of Pi, Part I: Fostering an Obsession", albeit, it's... weird:
      Finally, as the President left the rally, making his way down the ropeline, shaking hands and expressing his unmatched charisma, Hinckley saw his opening and took it. Opening the box he had smuggled into the event, Hinckley let loose with the first of six 9” diameter lemon curd pies, and then a second before being wrestled to the ground by courageous onlookers and restrained by the Secret Service.
    • "Brand New Hollywood, Same Old Industry", while at first seeming like just another ITTL Oscar post, drops one of the bigger bombshells of the timeline:
      Less than 72 hours after George and Marcia Lucas had won their Oscars for The Journey of the Force, they (on behalf of their studio, Lucasfilm Limited) filed suit against Paramount Pictures for breach of contract, fraud, and negligent misrepresentation. Thus began the Trial of the Century...
    • Two from "Triumph and Tragedy", appropriately enough:
      In celebration of another job well done, Pryor and Williams headed to their favourite haunt, the Medina nightclub in Century City, to pursue a weekend-long bender in the private backrooms. Two would enter the glittering, Arabian Nights-style façade that night, but only one would leave. Robin Williams died of a cocaine overdose early in the morning of December 8, 1980; the funeral was held shortly before Christmas, with a visibly shaken Pryor delivering the eulogy.
    • From Appendix C, Part VI: Rendering of the Verdict:
      Unsurprisingly, stock prices for all the Gulf+Western subsidiaries plummeted precipitously as a result of the verdict. There would be no further appeals, as there had been after the 1980 ruling; the conglomerate was on the hook for a billion dollars. Then the situation went from bad to worse. Two days after the verdict was handed down, on February 25, 1983 (a Friday), Charles Bluhdorn was found dead in his bedroom at age 56. The cause of death was a massive heart-attack; observers ranging from his closest intimates to his fiercest critics judged that the shock of the verdict had essentially killed him.
    • From "Upsetting the Applecart":
      The Supreme Court of the United States ruled that the use of VTR technology which allowed for the recording of existing media by the end consumer, be it through direct transmission or tape duplication, was a violation of copyright and that the availability of such technology (which was, on most VTR machines sold in the United States, simply a "record" button on the control panel) would have to be eliminated.
    • From "The Doctor is Out", after the Fifth Doctor's actor, Richard Griffiths, announced he was leaving the series:
      The press and the fandom naturally went into overdrive with speculation as to the casting of the Sixth Doctor... until they were faced with a rather rude awakening. Lewin announced in a press conference mere days after word of Griffith's departure was leaked that Doctor Who would be ending its 22-year run upon conclusion of the current (and thus final) season. The Fifth Doctor would therefore be the last – it was never specified just how many regenerations each Time Lord was allowed, although the implication had always been that it was a finite number. No one had expected that number to be as low as four, but so it went.
  • What Could Have Been: In-universe, Steven Spielberg opted against directing a third James Bond film ("tentatively planned as For Your Eyes Only") in lieu of pursuing other films/genres.
    • This is not the only example; Word of God is that such 'sub-PODs' are sprinkled through the timeline
      • For example, Tartikoff toyed with making his and Roddenberry's Deep Space series into a Star Trek spin-off, but Herb Solow vetoed it.

The tropes that have been affected by butterfliesnote :

    Doctor Who 
    Monty Python 

Monty Python's Flying Circus

Monty Python and the Holy Grail

Monty Python's Life of Brian

    Star Wars