I Love Lucy … Again

The 1950’s produced a lot of great fashion, hairstyles, and of course, T.V. shows. “I Love Lucy” is one of these shows. I am fascinated with the relationship between Lucy and Desi. They never really got along and it seems in everything I’ve read on the two, Lucy was constantly accusing him of cheating. Their show worked even though there were problems. Here are some great bits of trivia I found about the show. Hope you are having a great weekend friends!

–The “valentine” opening credits seen in syndication were *not* the original opening credits. When the series originally aired on CBS, the credits featured animated stick figures of Lucille Ball and Desi Arnaz along with the sponsor’s product – Phillip Morris cigarettes, for instance. The “valentine” credits were added when CBS began rerunning the series in 1958.

–References to the series’ original sponsor, Phillip Morris, can still be seen in some episodes today. Most notable is the scene in “Lucy Does a TV Commercial” in which Lucy dresses up as Johnny the Bellhop, the Phillip Morris icon.

–Gale Gordon was the first choice to play Fred Mertz, but he was unavailable. When they came across William Frawley, Desi Arnaz wanted him, but he was told that Frawley would be a poor choice because he was a womanizer, a gambler, and a drunk. Arnaz said, “He’s perfect!”

–Desi Arnaz invented the rerun during the pregnancy episodes of this series by re-airing some episodes from the first season to give Lucy some rest.

–When Lucy was pregnant with Little Ricky, network censors wouldn’t permit her to say “pregnant.” She had to say “expecting.”

–Desi Arnaz Jr. appears in the final first-run episode of the series. Although his sister, Lucie Arnaz, for some reason, doesn’t.

–The Ricardos’ address was 623 E. 68th Street. However, E. 68th Street in Manhattan only goes up to 600 – which means that the Ricardos’ building was in the middle of the East River.

–Ethel was from Albuquerque, New Mexico and her father ran the candy store. Also, one of her neighbors was Betty Ramsey, who would later become a neighbor of Ethel’s and Lucy’s when they moved to Connecticut in the final season.

–Lucille Ball decided to go ahead with the series after having a dream in which Carole Lombard – the screwball comedy actress who died in a plane crash and who was a close friend of Ball’s – recommended she take a shot at the risky idea of entering television.

–The series was partially based on “My Favorite Husband”, a radio comedy series with a similar storyline in which Lucille Ball had starred for several years.

–In the episode wherein Ricky has a week off from the club (due to its need for a repainting job), he decides to take on all of Lucy’s daily chores regarding Little Ricky. His first task is to tell Little Ricky his bedtime story, “Little Red Riding Hood”. If you look closely at Little Ricky’s bedspread, it has cartoon images (often used in advertising for the show) of his mom and pop on the side.

–In the episodes when the Ricardo’s and the Mertze’s are in Hollywood, the backdrop of Hollywood outside of the Ricardo’s hotel suite replicates the view as it would be have been seen from the top of the stages at the Desilu lot on Cahuenga Boulevard (now Ren-Mar Studios), two blocks to the west of Vine Street where most of the “I Love Lucy” episodes were shot. Most of the landmarks at Hollywood and Vine that are on the backdrop (except for the Brown Derby Restaurant, which was demolished in the 1980’s) may still be seen at that location today, over fifty years later. The Capitol Records Building was under construction when these episodes were being filmed and is not seen on the backdrop. The “Beverly Palms Hotel” was a fictional hotel, but its interior and exterior set designs combined elements of the Hollywood Plaza Hotel, the Hollywood Roosevelt Hotel and the Beverly Hills Hotel.

–Although they slept in twin beds throughout the entire run of the series, during the first two seasons of the show, 1951-1953, Ricky and Lucy slept in twin beds that were pushed together in the same box spring. Once little Ricky was born CBS suggested that the beds be pushed apart to diminish the impact of the suggested sexual history of Lucy and Ricky. The only time we see the Ricardo’s in two bed pushed together again is when they first move to the bigger apartment in the Mertz building, however, subsequently after that the beds are pushed apart again.

–This show attracted many huge Hollywood names as guest stars who did the show not for the money (which was actually very little), but because they liked the show or were personal friends of the stars. The impressive list includes John Wayne, Bob Hope, Van Johnson, Orson Welles, Rock Hudson, Charles Boyer and William Holden, to name only a few.


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Join the Discussion!

  1. FAB

    What episode is the first picture of Lucille from? I would like to see the costume design from that episode for class.

  2. Andrea

    I could read about Lucy and Desi all day ! I have read that they had a stormy relationship bur remained friends until death…Is this correct? As far as them having a stormy realtionship?

  3. I Looooove Lucy! I just watched about 4 episodes yesterday and the “Little Red Riding” one was one of them. I think i saw what you were talking about. There will never be anyone else like Lucy. She was one of a kind! Jennifer:)

  4. Lucy is the all time classic! I watched her as a kid, my kids watched her, and so do my grandchildren. She encompasses every generation.

  5. I have been more than a little bit under the weather and had vowed to stop reading blogs for a while, but I just couldn’t let this go by when I saw “I Love Lucy!”
    Oh, how I love this post! I still watch it almost every day, and my children could recite entire scenes before they were in kindergarten!
    A little more trivia:
    Vivian Vance was actually ONE YEAR YOUNGER THAN LUCY, so she was under contract to remain twenty pounds overweight, in order to appear older and frumpier!
    In the episode “Pioneer Women,” Lucy accidentally bakes an 8 foot long loaf of bread. Desi, ever thrifty, found the cost of the fake loaf from the prop department prohibitive, so he went behind their backs and had an actual little bakery down the street make it – for 1/10th cost! After the filming, the entire audience was invited onto the Tropicana nightclub set to enjoy huge slices of warm bread and jam.
    In the scene where Lucy tells Ricky she’s expecting a baby, the script called for him to more or less get crazy with excitement, but when the camera rolled, the emotional impact of telling their news to the world was too much for him and he fell to his knees before her and tears came to his eyes…and then to hers. They eventually recovered and continued with the scene, but wiped the tears from their eyes throughout. It was beautiful, pure raw emotion. The director, though, ordered the scene redone, exactly as per script, but after viewing both later in the week, wisely decided to go with the first “ruined” scene!
    The Arnazes used many references from their real lives on the show. For instance, both Lucille Ball and Lucy Ricardo were from Jamestown, New York, went to high school in Celeron, and grew up with good friends named Marion Strong. The Ricardos and the Arnazes were both married at the Byram River Beagle Club in Greenwich, Connectict and later renewed their vows there. And they frequently used the names of their real friends and employees as characters on the show.
    And…my own pseudonym, Ethelmaepotter, is from I Love Lucy – Ethel Mertz’s maiden name was Ethel Mae Potter!
    Thanks for brightening my day!

  6. I love Lucy so much. In fact, my guest bath is painted red, and has Lucy memorabilia all over it, including a framed photograph of the four of them leaving for California in the car with them singing. My friend photoshopped me into the car perfectly.

    I’ve been thinking of doing a post about that bathroom. You’ve inspired me to do just that. Thanks!

  7. I was just watching I Love Lucy yesterday! She’s so funny and awesome.

    I found the fact that she couldn’t say ‘pregnant’ (when she was “expecting”) really interesting :)

  8. ‘I Love Lucy’ was the best show ever created, in my opinion. Great post! I’m stuck at home studying for finance now. Even though I did go out for a bit for a little St. Patrick’s fun. I’ve got some Irish blood in me, how can’t I celebrate? Plus, I’ve been studying throughout the week. Blogs are more exciting than IPOs and Venture Capitals! Back to the studying now though…

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