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.