"I Love Lucy" came immediately to mind. I wholeheartedly agree on all points about the Arnazes being the smartest producers of all time. What an amazing concept for that time. Who'd have had the foresight to see endless rerun potential back then? Advertisers had a toe-hold on TV shows back then, and the Arnazes had the wherewithal to reproduce the opening and closing credits with that big heart to block out visuals of the sponsor logos for syndicated airings. I believe they also pioneered a two or three-camera technique that the "All In The Family" producers ended up using for their shows.
That three camera technique was commonly used during the production of live shows. The innovation was in applying it to filmed (and later, recorded) programs.
I don't know if this should be another strand, but I seem to recall the first publicized editing of reruns happening with the CBS daytime reruns of "All In The Family" in 1975. So fierce was the issue that Norman Lear had his name removed from the credits on those reruns? Am I remembering this correctly? I think three minutes were trimmed for commercials. My question is; was that the first edited syndicated rerun, or the first publicized because of the unusually high quality of the scripts? The show is hard to watch on TV Land even now because it is all chopped up, as is "Sanford & Son".
Editing of shows in reruns was common practice years before Norman Lear had his name removed from the CBS daytime reruns over this issue -- since commercial loads were higher in daytime than primetime back then, any daytime reruns on the networks would have to be edited to allow for the additional commercials. In the seventies, standard practice was to run just under eight minutes of commercials and promos in a half hour during the daytime and just under five minutes in primetime -- that meant that three minutes would be lopped out of a half hour show for daytime reruns.
In the case of syndicated reruns on local stations, that editing was generally left up to the local stations -- and was often done very badly. I remember some programs being rendered essentially unintelligible by bad edits that would cut out essential plot points. Common practices included chopping out the first few minutes of a program (the part that would run before the opening credits), chopping the final moment of a show (the part that would run after the final commercial break, just before the closing credits), or just chopping out a few minutes either right before or after a middle commercial break.