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I love Lucy

I love Lucy

Category: Sitcom

Created by: Desi Arnaz

Stars: Lucille Ball, Desi Arnaz, Vivian Vance, William Frawley, and Richard Keith.

Number of Seasons: 6

Number of Episodes: 193 (including the "lost" Christmas episode and original pilot) 13 Lucy-Desi Comedy Hours

Original Run: October 15, 1951 to May 6, 1957

I Love Lucy is a popular American situation comedy, starring Lucille Ball, Desi Arnaz, Vivian Vance and William Frawley. The series originally ran from October 15, 1951 to May 6, 1957 on CBS. The show continued on for three more seasons with 13 one-hour specials, running from 1957 to 1960, known first as The Lucille Ball-Desi Arnaz Show and later in reruns as The Lucy-

I love Lucy : Desi Comedy Hour

It was the most-watched show in the United States in four of its six seasons, and was the first to end its run at the top of the ratings (to be matched only by The Andy Griffith Show and Seinfeld), although it did not have a formal series finale episode. I Love Lucy is still syndicated in dozens of languages across the world.

The show won five Emmy Awards and received numerous nominations. In 2002, it was ranked second on TV Guide's top-50 greatest shows, behind Seinfeld and ahead of The Honeymooners. In 2007, it was placed on Time magazine's unranked list of the 100 best TV shows. The same year, the Washington Post named it the second best TV rerun, attesting to its longevity and sustained popularity.

I love Lucy Premise

I Love Lucy is a story about a husband and wife living in New York City. The wife is Lucy Ricardo (Lucille Ball) and the husband is Ricky Ricardo (Desi Arnaz). They have friends, Fred Mertz (William Frawley) and Ethel Mertz (Vivian Vance), who are also their landlords. In later seasons, Lucy and Ricky had a son named Little Ricky. 

Lucy is child-like in her ways. She has an overactive imagination and gets into trouble easily. Lucy can't sing. Lucille Ball proved she was great at physical comedy through I Love Lucy. Lucy (the character) would do anything to be involved in show business. The show did not make much mention of family history. It basically worked with the here and now. 

Lucy's husband, Ricky Ricardo, is an up-and-coming Cuban American singer and bandleader. He is not very patient. When he's mad he speaks rapid Spanish. He had attended Havana University. 

Ethel Mertz is Lucy's best friend. They confide in each other and Ethel helps Lucy with her crazy plans. Ethel gets more chances to perform at Ricky's nightclub than Lucy because Ethel can actually sing and dance. Ethel tries to keep Lucy out of trouble.

Ethel's husband, Fred, served in World War I and lived through the Great Depression. He is cheap and by the book. He's a softy when it comes to Little Ricky, the Ricardo's son. Fred can actually sing and dance too.

Lucy and Ricky often play tricks on each other. One time Lucy tried to convince Ricky into thinking she was a compulsive thief. The four main characters share a close bond.

I love Lucy Cast

Regular Cast

Lucille Ball as Lucille "Lucy" Esmeralda McGillicuddy Ricardo (in "The Marriage License" and "Fred and Ethel Fight")

Desi Arnaz as Enrique 'Ricky' Alberto Ricardo y de Acha III (in "Lucy Raises Tulips")

Vivian Vance as Ethel Potter (maiden name), Ethel Roberta Mertz (in "Million Dollar Idea"), Ethel Louise Mertz (in "Lucy and Ethel Buy the Same Dress"), Ethel Mae Mertz in ("Ethel's Hometown" and subsequent episodes)

William Frawley as Frederick 'Fred' Hobart Edie Mertz

Keith Thibodeaux (billed as Richard Keith) as Ricky Ricardo, Jr., "Little Ricky" (1956-1957)

Gale Gordon and Bea Benaderet, supporting cast members on My Favorite Husband, were originally approached for the roles of Fred and Ethel, but neither could accept due to previous commitments. Gordon did appear as a guest star in two episodes, playing Ricky's boss, Mr. Littlefield. Gordon was a veteran from the classic radio days in which he perfected the role of the exasperated character, as in Fibber McGee and Molly. He would go on to co-star with Ball in most of her post–I Love Lucy series.

Benaderet once guest-starred as the Ricardos' neighbor, the elderly Miss Lewis.Barbara Pepper (later featured as Doris Ziffel in the series Green Acres) was also considered to play Ethel, but Pepper had been drinking very heavily after the death of her husband, Craig W. Reynolds. Her friendship with Ball dated back to the film Roman Scandals, in which both appeared as Goldwyn Girls. She turned up regularly in bit parts.

Supporting Cast

Kathryn Card as Mrs. McGillicuddy, Lucy's mother (1955–1956) (also earlier appearance as "Minnie Finch" in 1954)Mary Jane Croft as Betty Ramsey (1957) (earlier appearances in various roles)

Ross Elliot in various roles

Jerry Hausner as Jerry, Ricky's agent (1951–1954) (also the show's announcer in early seasons)Bob Jellison as Bobby, the

Hollywood bellboy (1955) (earlier appearances in various roles)

Doris Singleton as Caroline Appleby (1953–1957) (earlier appearance as Lillian Appleby and various other roles)Shirley

Mitchell as Marion Strong (1953–1954)Frank Nelson as Ralph Ramsey (1957) (many earlier appearances in various roles, including Freddie Filmore, a game show host)

Elizabeth Patterson as Mrs. Matilda Trumbull (1953–1956) (earlier appearance as "Mrs. Willoughby" in 1952)Joseph A. and Michael Mayer as Ricky Ricardo, Jr. (baby) (1953–1954)Richard and Ronald Lee Simmons as Ricky Ricardo, Jr. (baby) (1954–1955)

Lucille Ball liked naming supporting characters after real-life people. For instance, Carolyn Appleby had been one of her teachers, and Marion Strong was a friend in Jamestown, New York.

I love Lucy Radio

When Desi was 33, CBS asked Lucy to take her popular radio show to television, but Lucy insisted that the man playing the role of husband be her own husband, who had been on the road as a bandleader touring, and away from Lucy for months at a time. When CBS refused because he was foreign-born, Lucy decided to create a television series of her own to bring her husband back home, and "I Love Lucy" was brought to television.

On February 27, 1952, an I Love Lucy radio show was produced, but it never aired. This was a pilot episode, created by editing the soundtrack of a television episode with added Arnaz narration. It included commercials for Philip Morris, which sponsored the TV series.

I love Lucy : Pregnancy and Little Ricky

Just before filming the show, Lucy became pregnant with her and Desi's first child, Lucie Arnaz. They actually filmed the original pilot while Lucy was "showing", but did not include any references to the pregnancy in the episode.

Later, during the second season, Lucy was pregnant again with second child Desi Arnaz, Jr., and this time the pregnancy was incorporated into the series' storyline. Despite popular belief, Lucy's pregnancy was not television's first on-screen pregnancy. That distinction belongs to Mary Kay on the late 1940s sitcom, Mary Kay and Johnny.

CBS would not allow I Love Lucy to use the word "pregnant", so "expecting" was used instead. The episode in which Lucy gives birth, "Lucy Goes to the Hospital," first aired on January 19, 1953. To increase the publicity of this episode, the original air date was chosen to coincide with Lucille Ball's real-life delivery of Desi, Jr. by Caesarean section. "Lucy Goes to the Hospital" was watched by more people than any other TV program up to that time, with 68% of all American television sets tuned in.

It has sometimes been incorrectly stated that once Little Ricky was born, the writers rapidly aged the child to fit story plot lines, a device that has been used on many other television shows. In reality, Little Ricky was one of the few child characters allowed to grow up in real time. America saw Little Ricky as an infant in the 1952-53 season, a toddler from 1953 to 1956, and finally a young school-age boy from 1956 to 1960. However, five actors played the role, two sets of twins and later Keith Thibodeaux.


Most episodes take place in the Ricardos' modest brownstone apartment at 623 East 68th Street or at the downtown "Tropicana" nightclub where Ricky is employed, though other parts of the city are sometimes used. Later episodes take the Ricardos and the Mertzes to Hollywood for Ricky to shoot a movie, and to Europe, when Ricky and his band tour the continent. There is also a trip to Miami Beach for the two couples, with a side trip to Ricky's homeland of Cuba. Eventually, the quartet move to Westport, Connecticut.

Some especially memorable episodes: "Lucy Does a TV Commercial". Lucy is hired to act as the "Vitameatavegamin girl" in a TV commercial, to promote a health tonic that contains healthy amounts of vitamins, meat, vegetables, minerals — and a less-than-healthy dose of 23% alcohol. Lucy becomes progressively more drunk, but gamely keeps on pitching the product. In November 2001, fans voted this episode as their favorite, during a 50th anniversary I Love Lucy television special. TV Guide and Nick at Nite ranked it the second greatest television episode of all time, after the Mary Tyler Moore Show's "Chuckles Bites the Dust"."Job Switching".

Lucy and Ethel get jobs packaging candy that is delivered on a conveyor belt. The work seems easy enough when they are shown what to do by their supervisor, but then the pace picks up and the women soon fall further and further behind. In desperation, they resort to comical means to try to keep up. The skit, a variation of an old vaudeville routine, has been parodied numerous times.

"Lucy and Superman". Lucy tries to get George Reeves, star of the 1950s Adventures of Superman TV series, to appear at little Ricky's birthday party. When she fails, she dresses up as Superman herself, only to have Reeves turn up in costume at the last minute.

"L.A. At Last". Lucy, Fred, and Ethel have lunch at The Brown Derby, where Lucy accidentally causes a waiter to heave a pie in William Holden's face. Later at the hotel, Ricky has a surprise for her. He has brought one of her favorite actors to meet her — none other than William Holden. Fearing that the actor will recognize her, she puts on a disguise that includes a putty nose which catches on fire when she lights a cigarette."Lucy and Harpo Marx". While living in Hollywood, Lucy is visited by Carolyn Appleby, a friend who is under the impression that Lucy knows numerous celebrities. After Lucy and Ethel get Carolyn's glasses away from her, Lucy pretends to be various stars.

Meanwhile, Ricky and Fred invite Harpo Marx to the Ricardos' apartment. When he shows up, Lucy is disguised as him; seeing the real Harpo, she hides in a kitchen doorway. Harpo is perplexed when he sees what he thinks is his reflection, forcing Lucy to mimic his every move to avoid detection. This was a tribute to Harpo and Groucho's famous mirror scene in the Marx Brothers comedy classic, Duck Soup.

"Lucy Does the Tango". The Ricardos and the Mertzes chicken business isn't doing very well. Lucy and Ethel come up with a scheme to fool the boys into thinking the hens are laying lots of eggs by smuggling some, hidden underneath their clothes, into the henhouse. On one such trip, Ricky insists that he and Lucy rehearse their tango number for a local benefit. Unbeknownst to Ricky, Lucy's blouse is filled with chicken eggs.

After Lucy

After the conclusion of the sixth season of I Love Lucy, Lucy and Desi decided to cut down on the number of episodes that were filmed. Instead, they extended I Love Lucy to 60 minutes, with a guest star each episode. They renamed the show the The Lucille Ball-Desi Arnaz Show and later changed for syndication to The Lucy-Desi Comedy Hour. Thirteen hour-long episodes aired from 1957 to 1960. The main cast, Lucille Ball, Desi Arnaz, Vivian Vance, and William Frawley were all in the show. The Lucy-Desi Comedy Hour is available on DVD, released as I Love Lucy: The Final Seasons 7, 8, & 9. On March 2, Desi's birthday, 1960, the day after the last hour-long episode was filmed, Lucille Ball filed for divorce from Desi Arnaz.

When the series ended, Vance and Frawley were said to have been offered a chance to take their characters to their own spin-off series. Frawley was willing, but Vance refused to ever work with Frawley again since the two did not get along. Frawley did appear once more with Lucille Ball--in an episode of The Lucy Show.

In 1962, Ball began a six-year run with The Lucy Show, followed immediately in 1968 by six more years on yet another sitcom, Here's Lucy, finally ending her long run as a CBS sitcom star in 1974. Both The Lucy Show and Here's Lucy are notable for having Vance as recurring characters named Viv (Vivian Bagley Bunson on The Lucy Show and Vivian Jones on Here's Lucy), so named because she was tired of being recognized on the street and addressed as Ethel. Vance was a regular during the first three seasons of The Lucy Show but continued to make guest appearances through the years on The Lucy Show, and on Here's Lucy. In 1977, Vance and Ball were reunited one last time in the CBS special, Lucy Calls the President, which co-starred Gale Gordon.

In 1986, Ball tried another sitcom, Life with Lucy. The series aired on ABC for eight episodes before being cancelled due to low ratings. Oddly enough, the show debuted to very high ratings, landing in Nielson's Top 20 for that week.

I Love Lucy has remained perennially popular. For instance, it was one of the first programs made in the USA seen on British television, which became more open to commerce with the launch of ITV, a commercial network that aired the series, in September 1955. As of July 2007, it remains the longest-running program to air continually in the Los Angeles area, almost 50 years after production ended. Ironically, the series is currently aired on KTTV, which had given up the CBS affiliation several months before I Love Lucy premiered. In the US, reruns have aired nationally on Nick at Nite and TV Land in addition to local channels. This is particularly notable because, unlike some shows to which a cable channel is given exclusive rights to maximize ratings, Lucy has been consistently—and successfully—broadcast on multiple channels simultaneously.Nielsen Ratings

I Love Lucy consistently ranked very high in the Nielsen Ratings throughout its run.

1951-52: #3 1952-53: #1 1953-54: #1 1954-55: #1 1955-56: #2 1956-57: #1

Click here for a great I Love Lucy video clip.

Emmy Awards


Best Situation Comedy, 1953, 1954

Best Comedienne, Lucille Ball, 1953

Best Series Supporting Actress, Vivian Vance, 1954

Best Actress - Continuing Performance, Lucille Ball, 1956


I Love Lucy

Best Situation Comedy, 1952

Best Written Comedy Material: Madelyn Pugh Davis, Jess Oppenheimer, Robert G. Carroll, 1955

Best Situation Comedy, 1955

Best Comedy Writing: Bob Carroll Jr., Madelyn Davis, Jess Oppenheimer, Bob Schiller, Bob Weiskopf for the episode "L.A. At Last", 1956

Lucille Ball

Best Comedian or Comedienne, 1952

Most Outstanding Personality, 1953

Best Female Star of Regular Series, 1954

Best Actress Starring in a Regular Series, 1955

Best Comedienne, 1956

Best Continuing Performance by a Comedienne in a Series, 1957

Best Continuing Performance (Female) in a Series by a Comedienne, Singer, Hostess, Dancer, M.C., Announcer, Narrator, Panelist, or any Person who Essentially Plays Herself, 1958

Vivian Vance

Best Supporting Actress in a Regular Series, 1955 Best Supporting Performance by an Actress, 1957 Best Continuing Supporting Performance by an Actress in a Dramatic or Comedy Series, 1958

William Frawley

Best Series Supporting Actor, 1954 Best Supporting Actor in a Regular Series, 1955 Best Actor in a Supporting Role, 1956


In 1999, Entertainment Weekly ranked the birth of Little Ricky as the fifth greatest moment in TV history. In 2002, TV Guide ranked I Love Lucy #2 on its list of the 50 greatest shows, behind Seinfeld and ahead of The Honeymooners (According to TV Guide columnist Matt Rousch, there was a "passionate" internal debate about whether I Love Lucy should have been first instead of Seinfeld. He stated that this was the main source of controversy in putting together the list.) In 2007, Time magazine placed the show on its unranked list of the 100 best TV shows.






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