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Lucy and Ricky, the first TV couple in bed

In 1951 I Love Lucy hit the air

Dear Matthew Alice: A bunch of us have been wondering when a TV network showed people in a double bed for the first time. Can you help us? — Our Gang, downtown

Another moldy oldie from the Matthew Alice archives. After (literally) years of tracking a definitive answer to this one, I’ve finally conceded that if such exists, I can’t find it. So we’ll go with the oldest double bed I've been able to locate and hope that someone else knows more. I’ve exhausted every reasonable avenue of research; when I actually considered stopping strangers on the street and asking them if they knew, I figured it was time to abandon the hunt and move on with my life.

The first TV broadcasts were strictly local. No such thing as network programming in the early ’40s. No TV at all during World War II, but in 1945 the tube began to glow again for a few hours each evening. Although networks began to form in 1948, most programming was still local — variety shows, talent and quiz shows, and kid vid fare.

In 1951, one of the earliest TV blockbusters hit the air — I Love Lucy. In the first year, two episodes showed Lucy and Desi in what appeared to be a gargantuan king-size bed. But when they crawled under the sheets, you could see that it was two double beds pushed together, each one made up separately, so technically you could say that they weren’t in the same bed. I, however, won’t listen to that argument. So my answer to the question, pending news from you Alicelanders, is 1951.

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Dear Matthew Alice: A bunch of us have been wondering when a TV network showed people in a double bed for the first time. Can you help us? — Our Gang, downtown

Another moldy oldie from the Matthew Alice archives. After (literally) years of tracking a definitive answer to this one, I’ve finally conceded that if such exists, I can’t find it. So we’ll go with the oldest double bed I've been able to locate and hope that someone else knows more. I’ve exhausted every reasonable avenue of research; when I actually considered stopping strangers on the street and asking them if they knew, I figured it was time to abandon the hunt and move on with my life.

The first TV broadcasts were strictly local. No such thing as network programming in the early ’40s. No TV at all during World War II, but in 1945 the tube began to glow again for a few hours each evening. Although networks began to form in 1948, most programming was still local — variety shows, talent and quiz shows, and kid vid fare.

In 1951, one of the earliest TV blockbusters hit the air — I Love Lucy. In the first year, two episodes showed Lucy and Desi in what appeared to be a gargantuan king-size bed. But when they crawled under the sheets, you could see that it was two double beds pushed together, each one made up separately, so technically you could say that they weren’t in the same bed. I, however, won’t listen to that argument. So my answer to the question, pending news from you Alicelanders, is 1951.

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John Harris: editor of one of the first English dictionaries

Known as a man of science as a man of faith
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