'Pooh' and 'Lucy': Major Landmarks
On a happier note than you’re finding in the rest of the news these days, two important anniversaries are being marked. The first, which occurred over the weekend, involves the world’s most famous bear, A.A. Milne’s Winnie the Pooh, who turned 75. And the second, which involves the world’s favorite redhead, marks the 50th anniversary of the great sitcom “I Love Lucy,” starring Lucille Ball and Desi Arnaz, which premiered on CBS exactly 50 years ago Monday night at 9 p.m. Eastern time. (TV Land is marking the occasion with a “Lucy” marathon.) First, though, the poop on Pooh: The cuddly bear was created after Milne’s 5-year-old son, Christopher Robin, saw a real black bear called Winnie at London Zoo. The first Pooh story, “The Wrong Sort of Bees,” was published in the London Evening News in 1925. It was so popular that Milne wrote a host of Pooh books and poetry volumes over the next three years. Publishers estimate international sales had topped 7 million copies by 1957. His antics have since been translated into more than 40 languages, including Thai, Hebrew and Braille. As for Lucy Ricardo, she developed out of a CBS radio show titled “My Favorite Husband,” starring Ball and actor Richard Denning. Came time to shift the show to TV, Ball demanded that her bandleader husband, Arnaz, who was to produce the domestic comedy, also co-star. CBS balked at first, wondering how Americans would take to an all-American dizzy housewife being married to a Cuban. In case you’ve been living in a cave for the past half-century, they took to the two of them just fine. As has, in fact, the entire world. Thanks for all the joy, Winnie and Lucy.