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.

As of July 9th, 2016, it is completed.

This work contains examples of:

    open/close all folders 

    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 (RCA's cockamamie vinyl-record based videodisc system) 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.
  • The Troubles, as discussed in this postnote  and in this post, have been butterflied away ITTL.

    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 in the eighties, after becoming a Troubled Production with Running the Asylum fans scoring cheap points and a particularly annoying teenaged companion.
  • The 1980s revival of Mission: Impossible still features Phil Morris as Grant Collier, the son of his father's character Barney Collier.

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