Society taught women of the “Greatest Generation,” like Elly Peterson, that it was “unladylike” to draw attention to themselves or their accomplishments. Unfortunately, that approach doesn’t get one very far today in the worlds of politics, art, journalism….you name it.
I thought of this again when I read an obituary in today’s Washington Post about 90-year-old Madelyn Pugh Davis, who co-wrote every episode of the “I Love Lucy” television series, which pretty much defined the telvision sitcom. Who would have known?
Of course, writers, particularly television writers, often labor in relative obscurity and like it that way. And it’s possible that Davis is well known in Los Angeles television writing circles and I’m simply displaying my ignorance of the history of pop culture.
In a memoir published six years ago, Davis wrote: “Early television was a little like going through Donner Pass in a covered wagon in the middle of winter. There were no maps because nobody had ever been there before, and if you froze to death, or didn’t write a funny script, they might draw lots and eat you.”
So hat’s off to Madelyn and to the all the other women, like Elly Peterson and her, who went through “the Donner Pass” of their chosen profession. And thanks, Madelyn, for the wine-making scene, the chocolate factory scene, the William Holden episode and all the rest of those scripts that made us laugh as kids–and still do.