"[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."
An Alternate History work by user "Brainbin" of Alternate History Dot Com, 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 or on Counter Factual Dot Nethere.note He's currently reposting it from the start and there's only one post at the moment/
This work contains examples of:
For Want Of A Nail
In our timeline, Star Trek was Screwed by the Network in favour 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 H. 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 replacment 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 isaverted.
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 Specificly, IOTL, when Carson's contract was up for renewal in 1975, he got NBC to agree to airing the "Best of Carson" compilations during weekdays, leading to Dick Ebersol and Lorne Michaels creating "NBC's Saturday Night", later becoming SNL. Guess what didn't happen ITTL?
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 The planned funding was $20 million, but Nixon wanted to cut it in half IOTL. Thank's in part to a testimonyFred Rogers gave, it was then decided to make it the $22 million.
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.
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 Nixon's people, seeing that he was going to lose, weren't able to pull out of those talks as opposed to IOTL.
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 favourite film) for the role".
"On-set lore had Stewart continuously flubbing his lines by referring to Reed’s character as “Mary” instead of “Martha”."
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?
Also, the economy is in "better absolute shape" in ITTL's 1975.
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. (For the curious: IOTL Death: June 28, 1975.)
"Those Were The Days" had one as the Series Finalenote Keep in mind, it's essentially "The Stivics Go West", but it's really the series finale:
"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?”."
Bowdlerized: Pointed out in-universe, NBC's early 1970's nickname is referred to as "Negroes, Blacks, and Coloreds".
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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
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 cancelledfifteen 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.
Trolling Creator: Sort-of; forum member "e of pi", along with co-writing, proviing suggestions, proofreading, and editing the "Marcia, Marcia, Marcia!" update, suggested the given title as an "awful pun".
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 1968 through peace talks.
It's been revealed that Brainbin's going to use 'the "overseas quagmire" approach' with Princess Diana.
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.
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...