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I Love Lucy (TV Series 1951–1957) Poster

(1951–1957)

Trivia

Desi Arnaz invented the rerun during the pregnancy episodes of the series by re-playing some episodes (and change some of the scenery and lines) from the first season to give Lucille Ball time to rest and start to raise their new born son, Desi Arnaz Jr..
William Frawley and Vivian Vance in reality, deeply hated each other. On the show, displays of affection were forced to be. The main reason that the series lasted for six seasons, was the cash bonus each one received, immediately, as both signed their name, to an additional CBS contract.
Lucille Ball decided to go ahead with the series after having a dream in which Carole Lombard - the screwball comedy actress that died in a plane crash and who was a close friend of Lucy - recommended she take a shot at the risky idea of entering television, and to get off of radio.
Sometimes, Desi Arnaz's distinctive laugh can be heard on the laugh track, especially when he could not control his humor, or laughed extremely quick, just after a deep breath of inhaling air.
When Lucy was pregnant with Little Ricky, (Desi Arnaz Jr. in reality), CBS network censors did not allow her to say the word, [pregnant]. She had to say [expecting] instead.
This was one of the first TV shows to be filmed in Hollywood, at a time when many shows were done live in New York. It pioneered the use of three cameras simultaneously, and the results were high-quality prints of a classic comedy series preserved for future TV audiences.
The valentine heart figure, in the Opening Credits, Closing Credits & commercial breaks, shown in syndication today, was not the original Opening Credits' scenery. When the series originally aired on CBS, the Opening Credits featured animated clay figures of Lucille Ball and Desi Arnaz along with the sponsor's product - Phillip Morris cigarettes, for instance. The valentine heart figure was created and added for the Opening Credits and Closing Credits, when CBS began rerunning the series, in 1958.
There were plans to spin off the Mertzes on to their show after I Love Lucy (1951)s The Lucy-Desi Comedy Hour (1957)s show ended. While William Frawley was all for it, Vivian Vance was totally against it due to her hatred of Frawley. Because of this, their spats even became more furious, at each other.
The writers mirrored the actors' real lives in presenting the character back stories. Lucy Ricardo, like Lucille Ball was born in West Jamestown, New York, (as mentioned by the actor that acted as a doctor that delivered her, in I Love Lucy: The Passports (1955)), she attended Celeron High School, and came to Manhattan as young woman. Ricky Ricardo, like Desi Arnaz, was from Cuba, and both led their own Latin America bands. Ricky and Lucy, like Desi and Lucy, eloped to Connecticut to get married. Ethel Mertz, like Vivian Vance, was from Albuquerque, New Mexico where they got their start in show business by appearing in the Albuquerque Little Theater. Like William Frawley, Fred Mertz was a Mid-Westerner who was raised on a farm and enjoyed a successful run as one of the earlier vaudeville actors.
I Love Lucy (1951) was voted number two in TV Guide's 50 Greatest TV Shows of All Time. Only NBC's program, Seinfeld (1989) topped the 1950 decade series of all programs, as it was rated number one.
Gale Gordon was the first choice to play Fred Mertz, but he was not available. Their second choice, James Gleason was also not available. When they came across William Frawley, Desi Arnaz wanted him, even though he was told that Frawley would be a poor choice because he was a womanizer, a gambler, and an alcoholic. Arnaz said, "He's perfect!". The reason of Desi Arnaz's remark, is because both actors had the same type of personality, almost like identical twins, except their age difference and race. Frawley was an American and Arnaz was a Cuban Spaniard.
In 1990, a 16mm print of the original pilot episode was found. The opening titles and first few seconds of the opening narration were damaged beyond repair. This scene was reconstructed for DVD in 2002 with a re-recorded narration by Bob LeMond, 51 years after he originally recorded it.
The full names of Fred and Ethel are Fredrick Hobart Mertz and Ethel Louise Roberta Mae Potter Mertz.
William Frawley, aka "Fred Mertz", had a well known and longtime issue with alcoholism. He was advised in the beginning of the series to stay sober, or be terminated. So, if you look closely, a majority of his scenes display his character having his hands deep in his pockets. This would therefore not show his hands trembling, due to his alcoholic withdrawals.
For the rest of her life, Vivian Vance re-told the story about her contract with I Love Lucy (1951). Vivian said her contract stated she always had to weigh 10 pounds more than Lucille Ball. Even though Vivian and Lucille remained good friends, it was never confirmed if the contract statement was true or just a joke. The two of them were often seen laughing and joking about it on various talk shows and interviews.
This show attracted numerous 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 Tennessee Ernie Ford, William Holden, John Wayne, Bob Hope, Will Wright, Elsa Lanchester, Van Johnson, Orson Welles, Rock Hudson, Eve Arden, Charles Boyer, Harpo Marx, Barbara Pepper, Pepito Pérez, Peggy Rea, Herb Vigran, Barbara Eden, Arthur Q. Bryan, Janet Waldo, Richard Crenna, Cornel Wilde, Richard Widmark, Gale Gordon, Natalie Schafer, Hedda Hopper, Bob Jellison Louis Nicoletti, Richard Reeves, Doris Singleton, Hy Averback, Kathryn Card, Jay Novello, George Reeves, Mary Jane Croft, Jerry Hausner, Elizabeth Patterson, Aaron Spelling, Ross Elliot, Hans Conried, The Pied Pipers, Johnny Jacobs plus others, just to type out a majority of their public and most popular public names. Others were friends, of their apartment, and some were band or musical members.
There is a subtle hint in the series of the quick costume changes that go along with filming live TV shows: In many of the scenes where Lucy and Ricky are in bed, pay attention to when they are getting in and out of bed. Whenever they swing their feet in and out, you'll see that Desi Arnaz is wearing black dress socks with his pajamas and Lucille Ball is wearing stockings (you can see the reinforced toes and heels) under her pajamas or gowns, she was wearing, at their bedtime scenes.
The back door, so often used in both the Ricardos' and Mertzes apartments was in actuality a common trait of older buildings in Los Angeles and not of those in New York.
To this day, many people still think that 'Little Ricky' (acted by Richard Keith) the last season of the series), was their actual son in real life. He wasn't. However, Desi Arnaz was very fond of him, and the likeness was very well done. Especially due to the fact that Richard Keith, playing Little Ricky, started learning how to play the drums rhythmically as a three year old.
Three season one episodes, that were shown while Lucille Ball was recovering after successfully bearing Desi Arnaz Jr., on Monday, January 19th, 1953. They were filmed in advance, after Lucille Ball found out she was successfully pregnant and it was not a miscarriage, like the two she had in the late 1940 decade. Especially to rest and start to raise Desi Arnaz Jr., on her own, while resting from her acting career, temporarily.
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.
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 on 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 into the Mertz' building, however, subsequently after that the beds are pushed apart again.
William Frawley was known to cover his ears backstage (or wear ear muffs or miniature ear plugs any time they were in the same scene together, on screen), whenever Vivian Vance sang a song, such as the time she sang "Shortnin' Bread" and Fred walked behind Ethel, carried five trees, (one at a time & each one got larger) as Lucy & Ricky were secretly and quietly were doing stunts behind Ethel, as she sang. This was event occurred while the four were on a trip west from New York to California and stopped for a day or two to rest in I Love Lucy: Ethel's Hometown (1955). It was well known that he deeply despised Vivian Vance's voice, especially when she sang a song.
In March of 1977 a Disco version of the I Love Lucy theme became a hit single. It stayed on the dance charts for three months and on the pop charts for seven weeks.
In I Love Lucy: Lucy Goes to the Hospital (1953) when she successfully bore their son, (Desi Arnaz Jr., in reality, on Monday January 19th, 1953) & "Little Ricky Ricardo" to CBS TV audiences. Numerous televisions, nationwide, were set to watch as their parenthood occurred! Talk about life imitating art. This was also a true fact of life, that really occurred, parenthood of the mother and the father of their newest offspring.
Bea Benaderet and Gale Gordon were the first choices of Lucille Ball and Desi Arnaz' to act as the Mertz household and their apartment landlords.
While the Ricardos and the Mertzes were in Hollywood, the backdrop of Hollywood outside of the Ricardo's hotel suite replicates the view as it would 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 a majority of the I Love Lucy (1951) 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" is a false hotel name, but its interior and exterior set designs combined elements of the Hollywood Plaza Hotel, the Hollywood Roosevelt Hotel and the Beverly Hills Hotel.
Just before the beginning of I Love Lucy (1951), Desi Arnaz was a panelist on the long running What's My Line? (1950) along side Bennett Cerf, Arlene Francis and Dorothy Kilgallen. He was replaced by Fred Allen who reigned as a regular panelist until Fred Allen died in 1956. That spot was then filled by Steve Allen. Other guest panelists were Lucille Ball and many others.
On many of the episodes, Lucy and Ricky complain about how cold it is in the building. All the while, they have a fireplace in their living room that they never use.
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During the course of living in their New York apartment, the Ricardos had three different telephone numbers. The first was Murray-Hill 5-9975, (which is 695-9975). Second was Circle-7-2099, (which is 247-2099). Their third and final number was Murray-Hill 5-9099, (which is 695-9099). In reality, these numbers were unused telephone numbers of the New York Bell Telephone Company. When the numbers were entered into service, the Bell company would advise the show's producers and give them a new number to use. Murray Hill and Circle were also actual call names used in Manhattan, during the 1950's.
It is often said to be the first television show to have the Three Camera System, but many television shows did beforehand such as Jackie Gleason's "The Life of Riley" (1949) which also was shot with the Three Camera System using film.
The program began as a radio program in 1948 called, "My Favorite Husband". And during the program, it was Richard Denning who played Lucy's husband, on the radio. When CBS decided to take the show to television, it was Lucille Ball's personal idea to bring her real life husband, as of then, Desi Arnaz, so she could act more natural and be easier.
Lucy and Ricky's comic foils were initially going to be Ricky's agent and an out-of-work clown, but the parts were dropped when they did not prove successful in the series' original and hidden pilot episode, I Love Lucy: Pilot (1951) with Pepito Pérez, as their comical clown. Lucille Ball was pregnant with their daughter, Lucie Arnaz while this was filmed. The duplicate, with a different clown and personality named "Buffo", acted by Pat Moran, is in _"I Love Lucy" (1951) {The Audition (#1.6)_.
All three sponsors of I Love Lucy (1951), were Philip Morris Cigarettes, Procter & Gamble's Cheer Detergent and Lilt Home Permanent.
The series' 180 normally televised dates, were Monday evenings. All 180, (all except for I Love Lucy: Pilot (1951), was a secret for 50 years, approximately and was thought to be really lost) were on an early Monday evening, on CBS TV stations. In reality, 179 of the 181 total, televise in order. One other that rarely televises is the Christmas episode, I Love Lucy: The I Love Lucy Christmas Show (1956). Only in the one or two weeks before Christmas, December 25th, (or mid December, approximately December 12 - December 24th), it is shown, and at the right time of the year.
In I Love Lucy: Ricky has Labor Pains (1953), Lucy is reading a McCall's magazine. On the cover is a sketch of a baby and next to it, is this series' title, I Love Lucy (1951).
References to the series' original sponsor, Phillip Morris, can be seen in some episodes. Especially the scene in I Love Lucy: Lucy Does a TV Commercial (1952) in which Lucy dressed up as Johnny the Bellhop, the Phillip Morris icon.
Frank Nelson appeared on the show in numerous roles, including that of game show host Freddy Filmore. (Also, as an uncredited police officer, very often). During the final season he took on the occasional role of Betty Ramsey's husband, Ralph Ramsey.
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In the episode "Ricky Has Labor Pains" Lucy is seen reading a McCall's magazine. On the cover are the words "I Love Lucy".
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On Tuesday, August 11th, 2009, the US Postal Service issued a pane of twenty 44¢ commemorative postage stamps honoring early USA television programs. A booklet with 20 picture postal cards was also issued. The stamp honoring "I Love Lucy" pictured stars Lucille Ball and Vivian Vance in a scene from I Love Lucy: Job Switching (1952), in which Lucy Ricardo and Ethel Mertz work at a conveyor belt in a chocolate-candy factory. Other TV shows honored in the Early Television Memories issue were: The Adventures of Ozzie & Harriet (1952), Alfred Hitchcock Presents (1955), The Dinah Shore Show (1951), Dragnet (1951), "The Ed Sullivan Show" (originally titled The Ed Sullivan Show (1948)), The George Burns and Gracie Allen Show (1950), Hopalong Cassidy (1952), The Honeymooners (1955), "The Howdy Doody Show" (original title: The Howdy Doody Show (1947)), Kukla, Fran and Ollie (1947), Lassie (1954), The Lone Ranger (1949), Perry Mason (1957), The Phil Silvers Show (1955), The Red Skelton Hour (1951), "Texaco Star Theater" (titled Texaco Star Theatre (1948), 1954-1956), The Tonight Show (which began as Tonight! (1953)), The Twilight Zone (1959), and You Bet Your Life (1950).
CBS cut approximately four minutes out of each episode (to allow for more commercials) when they prepared the 16mm television syndication prints. Much of this was accomplished by simply cutting footage from the beginning and end of scenes.
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Ethel was from Albuquerque, New Mexico and her father ran the candy store. Also, one of her elementary school neighbors was Betty Ramsey, who later became a neighbor of Ethel's and Lucy's when they moved to Connecticut in the final season.
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In the episode "Little Ricky Gets a Dog", both Ricky and Lucy separately try to sneak out of the house without the other knowing. During this scene, when Lucy is putting on her jacket you can hear a woman in the audience say, "She beat him to it."
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My Little Margie (1952) was I Love Lucy (1951)s "summer replacement" on CBS during 1952, because the reruns were not yet invented.
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The weekly series concluded on Monday, May 6th, 1957, with I Love Lucy: The Ricardos Dedicate a Statue (1957). The date was also 20 years after the Hindenburgh dirigible disastrous tragedy occurred in Lakehurst, New Jersey, on Thursday, May 6th, 1937.
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There are seven episodes, (all in season one, without the Mertz landlords), acted by William Frawley aka Fred and Vivian Vance aka Ethel. Neither acted of them are in three. In order [1/7]: I Love Lucy: Pilot (1951). [2/7]: I Love Lucy: Lucy Plays Cupid (1952). [3/7]: I Love Lucy: The Young Fans (1952). Two with Ethel & not Fred [4/7]: I Love Lucy: The Quiz Show (1951). [5/7]: I Love Lucy: Lucy Is Jealous of Girl Singer (1951). Two with Fred & not Ethel [6/7]: I Love Lucy: The Audition (1951). [7/7]: I Love Lucy: Lucy Does a TV Commercial (1952).
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In the series' finale, I Love Lucy: The Ricardos Dedicate a Statue (1957) after "Fred", (Little Ricky's dog) immediately starts licking Lucille Balls wrists, [and barking during her last scene] as she was trying to pose, and, duplicate the Revolutionary War fighter statue, (that had been broken earlier in the day). As it was being unveiled, Lucy stands up, speaks to the group and exclaims, "Shoot, if you must, this old red head." (The last quote and line of I Love Lucy (1951).
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Mary Jane Croft played 3 different characters on I Love Lucy: Betty Ramsey, Evelyn Bigsby and Cynthia Harcourt.
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Ann Sothern would have been the replacement of Vivian Vance, but she wanted equal billing, and Lucy said no.
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There were 5 boys that had the role of "Little Ricky Ricardo". In order, they were [1/6] Jerry Hausner [he was just on off-screen crying voice once] in I Love Lucy: No Children Allowed (1953) & it was also the debut of Elizabeth Patterson, as baby sitter, "Mrs. Trumbull". (Patterson was earlier in as a city official, in I Love Lucy: The Marriage License (1952)). [2/6 & 3/6]: Simmons twin brothers, Richard Lee Simmons and Ronald Lee Simmons, were in only 5 times, all in season two. [4/6 & 5/6]: Mayer twin brothers, Joseph A. Mayer and Michael Mayer were in seasons three, four and five. They were "Little Ricky" 31 times, in the 3 seasons, 16 times in season three, 8 times in season four & 7 times in season five. [6/6]: Richard Keith. He was "Little Ricky" in 24 of season six's 27 episodes. The three without him, are I Love Lucy: Visitor from Italy (1956), I Love Lucy: Lucy and the Loving Cup (1957) plus I Love Lucy: Lucy Wants to Move to the Country (1957). Little Ricky's name is listed 64 times in seasons 2, 3, 4, 5 and 6. 12 times Little Ricky Ricardo is uncredited. Three times in season 2. Once in season 3. Five times in season 4. Twice in season 5 & Once in season 6. 3 + 1 + 5 + 2 + 1 = 12.In the "Christmas Show," Kevin Thibodeaux is credited as "Little Ricky."
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Lucy asked The Beatles if they would make an appearance, but they refused her request.
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See also

Goofs | Crazy Credits | Quotes | Alternate Versions | Connections | Soundtracks

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