The series was originally intended to air for only one season. Ball and Desi Arnaz's studio, Desilu, was losing money. Arnaz persuaded Ball to return to series television only to help their studio become viable again. Ball agreed to do the show only if it aired on Monday nights like "I Love Lucy" (1951)_ had and if her former co-star, Vivian Vance, and her former writers would be involved.
Frustrated with Joan Crawford's lack of memorizing her lines, Lucille Ball was said to have asked fellow producers if Gloria Swanson was available to film the episode instead (Ms. Swanson was not available).
The show ended in 1968 as a result of the sale of Lucille Ball's production company Desilu to Gulf + Western Industries on July 26, 1967. Gulf + Western used their ownership of Desilu to create a television division for its other property, Paramount Pictures (Desilu officially became Paramount Television on January 1, 1968; the new Paramount Television logo made its debut at the close of the "Lucy Show" episode, "Lucy and Viv Reminisce"). Because Ball no longer owned Desilu, she no longer owned the show. She started a new production company (Lucille Ball Productions, Inc.) and also a new sitcom, Here's Lucy (1968).
At the start of Season 5, the opening sequence featured Lucille Ball's head on an animated jack-in-the-box. Ball hated this sequence and it was changed back to the Season 4 version, which showed clips of Lucy in a kaleidoscopic fashion. This sequence remained until the end of the show's run. The "jack-in-the-box" sequence has never been shown in syndication since the 1970s.
For reasons which are not entirely clear, 30 episodes have entered the public domain - 2 are from the first season (black & white); 21 are from the fifth season (all episodes in that season, minus #18 "Lucy Puts Main Street on the Map" which is apparently still under copyright); and 7 are from the sixth season (seven of the first eight episodes, with #5 "Lucy Gets Her Diploma" apparently still under copyright). In series order, the full list of 30 public domain episodes are: "Lucy and Viv Put in a Shower", "Lucy's Barbershop Quartet", "Lucy and George Burns", "Lucy and the Submarine", "Lucy, the Bean Queen", "Lucy and Paul Winchell", "Lucy and the Ring-a-Ding-Ding", "Lucy Goes to London", "Lucy Gets a Roommate", "Lucy and Carol in Palm Springs", "Lucy Gets Caught Up in the Draft", "Lucy and John Wayne", "Lucy and Pat Collins", "Lucy and the Monkey" (aka "Mooney the Monkey"), "Lucy and the Efficiency Expert" (aka "Lucy and Phil Silvers"), "Lucy's Substitute Secretary", "Viv Visits Lucy", "Lucy, the Baby Sitter", "Main Street U.S.A.", "Lucy Meets the Law", "Lucy, the Fight Manager", "Lucy and Tennessee Ernie Ford", "Lucy Meets Sheldon Leonard", "Lucy Meets the Berles", "Lucy Gets Trapped", "Lucy and the French Movie Star", "Lucy, the Starmaker", "Lucy and Jack Benny's Account", "Little Old Lucy" (aka "Little Old Lady"), and "Lucy and Robert Goulet".
After filming the final episode of the 1966-1967 season, Lucille Ball had overworked director Maury Thompson to the point he was in tears. Maury Thompson then confided to fellow co-worker Tommy Thompson (who were *not* related) that - after working him so hard and insisting on her own ways during the filming - he wanted Ms. Ball to give him a raise, but not to say anything about it until after he returned from a South American vacation he would take the next week. Unfortunately, Tommy spilled the beans to Ms. Ball while Maury was away, and Ms. Ball became infuriated, after which she re-hired Jack Donahue - who directed all of "The Lucy Show"'s episodes during the first three seasons - to direct the series' final season episodes. Upon returning from his vacation the following week, Maury Thompson was blithely informed by Tommy Thompson that Ms. Ball had canned him.
William Frawley's last TV appearance was on The Lucy Show episode "The Traveler". He plays a farmhand in a barn Lucy and Anne Southern are visiting. After they talk she says, " He looks like someone I used to know".
William Frawley appeared on My Three Sons for a few seasons, which started after I Love Lucy wrapped, but it was produced by Desilu. Since The Lucy Show was filming in the same studio, and since Frawley still held a grudge against Vivian Vance, he would hurl empty movie cans through the window at her, and pull other assorted pranks.
In the episode where Lucy and Viv are stuck in the shower and it starts flooding, Lucille Ball was actually drowning for a few seconds, she was stuck underwater and couldn't get herself up. When you see Viv hoisting her up, she is actually saving her life. They kept this take for the episode that aired.
After starring in a disappointing show on Broadway, "Wildcat", and some other failed projects, Lucy came back to television, in a sitcom that was exactly the same as her last one. It was considered an admission of failure by many in the industry, that she couldn't springboard I Love Lucy into some sort of film career. But at the time Desilu was in the red and in danger of being shut down, so she had to take desperate measures. She only intended this sequel series to run for 2 years or so, and the decision was completely financially motivated.
Richard Burton and Elizabeth Taylor appeared on "I Love Lucy". Richard Burton said he detested Lucille Ball as a result of appearing on her program. He said he had murderous fantasies while they were working together and never wanted to see her again.
Gary Marshall became a staff writer on the show. After he submitted a script to Lucy for her approval, she handed it back a few minutes later with writing in magic marker on the front page:"THIS IS ****!!!!"
Lucy did a couple Untoucahable-themed episodes on The Lucy Show, one was called Lucy the Gun Moll which has her working with Robert Stack to catch a gangster, another was called Lucy and the Lost Star which costarred Joan Crawford, and had a fantasy sequence with the Untouchables theme. The Untouchables was a Desilu productions show. When Desi Arnaz was putting the final touches on The Untouchables he had to ask Lucy about hiring Walter Winchell to be the narator. Winchell had done many announcements about Lucille Ball's alleged communist activities, and Lucy still held a grudge. But when Desi said "Lucy! This is business!" she relented.
Lucy was very superstitious. She actually believed a major reason for her success with the first series was that her character's last name, Ricardo, had an "R" and a "C" in it. Which is why with the sequel series the last name was "Carmichael", and for the third series it was " Carter".
Lucille Ball was notoriously abusive to her costars. Joan Blondell made an appearance on the show, and Ball told her she "stunk" in between takes. Blondell responded in front of the audience: " F___ you Lucille Ball! "
According to the Lucille Ball biography "Ball of Fire", Dede Ball, Lucy's Mom, and Lucy were at a social event, and they were introduced to a guest. At one point in the conversation Dede warned the guest, "Be careful with Lucy! She's a bitch!". And Lucy replied, " No I'm not! Only when I'm working". To which Dede replied " When else does anybody see you?"