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I Love Lucy (TV Series 1951–1957) Poster

(1951–1957)

Trivia

Frank Nelson appeared on the show in numerous roles, including that of game show host Freddy Filmore. During the final season he took on the occasional role of Betty Ramsey's husband, Ralph Ramsey.
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.
William Frawley and Vivian Vance actually hated each other in real life. In the show, displays of affection were forced.
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.
When Lucy was pregnant with Little Ricky, network censors wouldn't permit her to say "pregnant." She had to say "expecting."
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!"
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.
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.
The writers mirrored the actors' real lives in presenting the character back stories. Lucy Ricardo, like Lucille Ball was born in Jamestown, New York, 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 a vaudevillian.
There were plans to spin off the Mertzes on to their show after "Lucy's" run had ended. However, while William Frawley was all for it, Vivian Vance was against it due to her hatred of Frawley. Because of this, their feud became even more intense.
Sometimes, Desi Arnaz's distinctive laugh can be heard on the laugh track.
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.
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, 50 years after he originally recorded it.
The back door so much used in both the Ricardo's and Mertz's apartments were in actuality a common trait of older buildings in Los Angeles and not of those in New York.
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.
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.
Voted #2 on TV Guide's 50 Greatest TV Shows of All Time.
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/gowns.
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.
Three "flashback" episodes, that were shown during the period when Lucille Ball was recovering after giving birth to Desi Arnaz Jr.. These episodes were filmed in advance after Lucille Ball found out she was pregnant.
The full names of Fred and Ethel are Fredrick Edie Hobart Mertz and Ethel Louise Roberta Mae Potter Mertz.
In the episodes when the Ricardo's and the Mertz'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.
During the course of living in their New York apartment the Ricardo's had three different telephone numbers. The first was MUrray-hill 5-9975, the second was CIrcle-7-2099, and the third was MUrray-hill 5-9099. In actuality these numbers were unused telephone numbers of the New York Bell Telephone Company. When the numbers were entered in to service the Bell company would advice the shows producers and give them a new number to use. Murray Hill and Circle were also actual call names used in Manhattan at the time.
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 pilot.
Other sponsors of "I Love Lucy" are Procter & Gamble's Cheer Detergent and Lilt Home Permanent.
Bea Benaderet and Gale Gordon were Lucille Ball and Desi Arnaz' first choice to play the Mertzes.
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.
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.
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.
The show started out as a radio program in 1948 called, "My Favorite Husband". And during the program, it was Dick Denning who played Lucy's husband. When CBS decided to take the show to television, it was Lucille Ball's idea to bring her real life husband, Desi Arnaz.
Just prior to the premier of "I Love Lucy", Desi Arnaz was a panelist on the long running What's My Line? (1950) alongside Bennett Cerf, Arlene Francis and Dorothy Kilgallen. He was replaced by Fred Allen who reined as a regular panelist until Allen's death in 1956. That spot was then filled by Steve Allen as well as other guest panelists, including Lucille Ball.
The series' 180 normally televised dates, 179 (all except Hidden/Lost Pilot) were on early Monday evenings.
My Little Margie (1952) was I Love Lucy's "summer replacement" on CBS during 1952 because the rerun had not been invented yet.
References to the series' original sponsor, Phillip Morris, can be seen in some episodes. Most notable is the scene in I Love Lucy: Lucy Does a TV Commercial (1952) in which Lucy dresses up as Johnny the Bellhop, the Phillip Morris icon.
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 tragedy, on Thursday, May 6th, 1937.
On 11 August 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 The Milton Berle Show (1948), 1954-1956), The Tonight Show (which began as Tonight! (1953)), Twilight Zone (1959), and You Bet Your Life (1950).

See also

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

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