Lucille Ball is famed as a comedian and entrepreneur, but did you know that she also has a special place in the history of science fiction?

Lucille Ball is famed as a comedian and entrepreneur, but did you know that she also has a special place in the history of science fiction? In 1964, Ball was the sole owner of Desilu Studios and the first woman to ever run a major Hollywood studio. At the time, Desilu producers were looking for ideas that could be developed into new series and they contracted two ambitious writers to develop pilots: Gene Roddenberry with "Star Trek" and Bruce Geller with "Mission: Impossible."

Desilu took the Star Trek pilot to CBS with whom they had a first-refusal agreement but the network rejected it and opted to pick up another new space-themed show "Lost in Space." The studio then took the pilot, "The Cage," to NBC which called it "too cerebral" but, rather than rejecting it outright, they took the unprecedented move of ordering a second pilot, "Where No Man Has Gone Before." The network decided to order a season but the Desilu Board of Directors balked. Fearing that the studio was overstretching itself with three expensive new programs -- Star Trek, Mission Impossible, and a western called The Long Hunt for April Savage -- all but one of the board members voted to cancel Star Trek in February 1966.

Lucille Ball, however, had high hopes for the fledgling show and was impressed by Roddenberry’s vision so she used her power as board chair to override the decision. Production of the show continued and the first episode aired in September of that year. As studio accountant Edwin Holly later conceded, "If it were not for Lucy, there would be no 'Star Trek' today." So the next time that you’re watching Star Trek -- or one of the many science fiction future worlds that it inspired -- remember that you have one more reason to love Lucy!

For two books about Lucille Ball's life which also explore her support of "Star Trek," check out her memoir "Love, Lucy" (http://amzn.to/1Pe9UbK) and "Desilu: The Story of Lucille Ball and Desi Arnaz" (http://amzn.to/1PLE2ri)

For a fantastic picture book biography for young readers about the pioneering Lucille Ball, we highly recommend “I Am Lucille Ball” for ages 4 to 8 at http://www.amightygirl.com/i-am-lucille-ball

To inspire children and teens with more stories of inspiring female trailblazers in the arts, sciences, and other fields, visit our "Role Models" biography section at http://www.amightygirl.com/books/history-biography/biography

Fantasy and science fiction fans can also find an extensive collection of books starring girls and women in our "Fantasy & Science Fiction" section at http://www.amightygirl.com/…/fiction/fantasy-science-fiction

And, for hundreds of films and TV programs starring strong and courageous girls and women, visit A Mighty Girl's "TV & Film" section athttp://www.amightygirl.com/movies-tv

Posted by A Mighty Girl on Saturday, January 23, 2016

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