Once upon a time, there was a very popular American television show on the air called I Love Lucy. Keep reading to learn more facts about the hit program that will fascinate you. Even if you consider yourself a big fan, we bet there are still some tidbits here you did not know about!
Who Is Larry Lopez?
In the beginning, they planned to name Desi Arnaz’s character Larry Lopez! Why did they decide to change gears, you ask? Apparently, the producers did not like how Larry and Lucy sounded together. They thought it was a terrible alliteration, and we agree with the sentiment. The show simply would not have been the same.
They Filmed Every Scene With 300 Live Audience Members
Can you believe that they shot each episode of the show in front of 300 viewers? Yes, they had this exact arrangement from the first shoot down to the very last. This is one of the reasons the show is so impressive. Despite the circumstances, they managed to take plenty of “one-take” scenes. According to Desi Arnaz, Lucille Ball actually performed better when there was an audience watching her.
You Can Hear The Theme Song Lyrics In This Episode
If you watch the episode called Lucy’s Last Birthday and listen carefully, you will be able to hear the theme song lyrics. As we all know, the lyrics go like this: “I love Lucy and she loves me. We’re as happy as two can be. Sometimes we quarrel but then how we love making up again. Lucy kisses like no one can. She’s my missus and I’m her man. And life is heaven you see. ‘Cause I love Lucy, Yes I love Lucy, and Lucy loves me.”
Desi Arnaz Boasted Of A Great Memory
When it comes to preparation for each scene, you will be hard-pressed to find someone better than Desi Arnaz in the industry. He has an amazing memory, which led him to read and then memorize his lines after reading them once. The crew on the set claimed the actor never flubbed his lines no matter what. We’re jealous – a skill like that would have come in handy during exams!
Lucille Ball Nearly Met Her End In Front Of The Audience And Crew
If you remember that famous scene with Lucy stomping on the grapes, you are in for a treat. Apparently, Lucille had actually been choking on the grape! Despite the worrying circumstance, filming continued. As soon as they got it, the crew realized the actress was choking in reality! Do you want to watch it for yourself? Head on to the episode titled “Lucy’s Italian Movie”.
Lucille Ball Can Be Considered The Queen Of ‘TV Guide’
Here is another first: Lucille Ball graced the very first cover of TV Guide. She would be featured on its cover numerous times in the following years. As a matter of fact, she appeared in 39 covers over the course of her career! Needless to say, she has been on it more than any other person. It is definitely fitting since she managed to revolutionize television like no one else. The sitcom accomplished things no other show has ever achieved before.
The Vitameatayegamin Liquid Was Actually Apple Pectin
It is among the most famous scenes in the whole series, if not the entire history of television. In it, Lucille Ball started to become more and more drunk as she consumed the product. In reality, the actress was actually drinking apple pectin. She did not enjoy the scene, though she would eventually admit, years later, that it was a hilarious moment from the series.
Fred And Ethel Mertz In Real Life
The best friends and neighbors of the Ricardos were named after people dear to Lucille Ball. They named Fred after her brother, who shared the name with their grandfather as well. Meanwhile, his partner was named after the star’s friend, Broadway star Ethel Merman. In a stunning coincidence, Vivian Vance actually served as an understudy for her character’s namesake in the past!
William Frawley Had Trouble Learning His Lines
As every I Love Lucy fan knows, his portrayal of Fred Mertz has gone down in the history of comedy television. However, William Frawley actually had difficulties memorizing the script. Out of frustration, the actor would allegedly rip out pages from the script and complain about the number of lines he had every episode! It seems like he is the exact opposite of Desi Arnaz in this aspect.
Vivian Vance And William Frawley Did Not Get Along
William Frawley and Vivian Vance played Fred and Ethel on the show. In real life, they had two decades between their ages, which caused quite a lot of tension on the set. Apparently, they did not get along well and even insulted each other behind the scenes! Moreover, it took their co-stars years after the conclusion of the show to notice the friction that existed between the pair. The more you know!
Lucille Ball Au Naturel
Lucille Ball is famous for her red hair, but can you believe that it did not exist before 1942? She actually colored her hair when she filmed DuBarry was a Lady. She is actually a natural brunette but dyed it blonde when she started working in Hollywood. She later became associated with her iconic red hair, which was actually the result of careful consideration.
The Show Never Died Down
Even though I Love Lucy aired its final episode in 1957, it still took the top spot in rankings that year. As a matter of fact, the show became even more popular after its conclusion. It continues to run on syndication in different parts of the globe. In the United States alone, 40 million people watch it every year. Moreover, merchandise featuring the title character’s red hair continues to be popular!
Mom And Her Adlibbed Lines
Every time that Lucy found herself in some crazy scenario, you will hear someone crying out “Uh-Oh!” in the background. We bet you are eager to know who was saying that! It actually came from the real mother of the star, who was always present during filming. It is interesting to learn that Glen Glenn, the sound producer on the show, used the same recordings for his other projects.
Giving The Lead Stars A Pay Cut
The executives wanted the show to be filmed on the best and most expensive kind of film on the market. To make this possible, they gave both Desi Arnaz and Lucille Ball a pay cut. Do you think it was worth it?
The Popular Show Dictated Life In America
It became so popular during its original run that certain aspects of American life would be affected every time that I Love Lucy was on the air. Can you believe that water and telephone usage significantly went down during the half-hour duration of the show? Certain department stores also closed early because their customers were right at home watching television.
Lucille Ball And Desi Arnaz Dominated The Show
The pair did not mind the pay cut since they actually wanted it to be shot on expensive 35 mm film! They also demanded that the show to be shot in Hollywood, not in New York City. In the beginning, CBS was not convinced but the couple later made it work by obtaining ownership of the show. Their company, Desilu Productions, earned $40 million after this, which is equivalent to $256 million today!
Advice Delivered Through The Subconscious
Can you believe that Lucille Ball did not originally want to go from the big screen to the small screen? However, things changed after she dreamt of her late friend and comedic actress, Carole Lombard. In her sleep, she asked Lucille Ball to “take a chance” with the television project. It goes without saying that the star followed the advice she was given. The rest is history.
Lucy Was The Only One Who Could Tease Desi For His Accent
On the show, Desi Arnaz’s accent received plenty of attention. However, it seems like no one but Lucy was allowed to poke fun at him for it. Whenever someone else did, the audience did not laugh. Clearly, the show had the unwritten rule that only Lucille Ball had any right to tease him for his pronunciations.
Relationship With A ‘Foreign’ Man
Lucille Ball agreed right away when she was approached by the CBS exec about turning her radio show “My Favorite Husband” into a television show. However, she did this on one condition. She wanted Desi Arnaz, her husband in real life, to play her on-screen spouse! Executives initially countered her proposal by saying the average Joe would refuse to believe she was the wife of a “foreign” man who spoke with an accent. By then, Lucy and Desi had already been married for over a decade.
William Frawley Had Important Contract Stipulations
William Frawley was a big baseball fan. To be specific, the actor was a supporter of the New York Yankees. His contract even included that he could skip work if the Yankees had a World Series game!
The Evolution of Lucy and Ethel’s Relationship
Although Lucille Ball and Vivian Vance later became good friends, things did not start out smoothly for these two. As a matter of fact, Lucille initially had doubts if Vance could perform without hogging all the spotlight. It is certainly a good thing they managed to patch things up as soon as the show began.
No One But Desi Arnaz Wanted To Work With William Frawley
William Frawley had a bit of a reputation for his binge-drinking and unbelievable antics. Many people on set had reservations about casting the actor, but Desi Arnaz knew from the very beginning that it was the right choice. However, he gave him this stipulation: Never be late. We are glad to hear that Frawley came through and always arrived on time!
Only One Of The Four Main Stars Was Not Emmy Nominated
The main stars on the show all received critical acclaim for their performances. However, Desi Arnaz was the only one who was not nominated for an Emmy. William Frawley was nominated five times, though he never won. The ladies took home the award multiple times over the years. Vivian Vance received four nominations and won once, while Lucy was nominated 13 nominations and won four of these!
Why They Kept Changing Phone Numbers
The producers of I Love Lucy had to change the phone numbers shown in the show again and again. This happened so they did not use numbers in service. The Ricardos had two different numbers, while the Mertzes had four.
Bonuses For Making Everyone Laugh
There was one tradition that stuck with the show until the end. Whenever an actor managed to make the audience break into spontaneous applause, said person received a silver dollar! We bet it lasted so long because it was an effective trick.
The Benefits Of A Photographic Memory
We already mentioned the photographic memory Desi Arnez had but wait until you hear its benefits. He usually skipped table reads and rehearsals to attend to Desilu Studios matters instead! No matter what, he was still able to perfectly deliver his lines in front of the camera. He even went out of his way to memorize the lines of other actors to ensure perfection!
Strange Situations Could Not Be Helped During Lucille’s Pregnancy
Lucille fell pregnant with a child in 1952 and they decided to write it into the show. There were certain regulations put in place, which included the use of “expecting” instead of “pregnant”. A minister, priest, and rabbi went into a bar… just kidding, they all reviewed the episodes to ensure it was inoffensive.
The Birth of A Baby And The Concept of Reruns
After the birth of their second child, Desi Arnaz wanted Lucille Ball to have the opportunity to skip work and rest at home. Clearly, this would be impossible if they had to shoot the next episode. He convinced the network execs to simply show the older episodes. This was how the concept of the TV rerun started! As we all know, it has since become a television industry staple.
Lucille Ball Was Also A Business Pioneer
When Desi Arnaz and Lucille Ball got a divorce in the 60s, she took over Desilu by herself. By doing this, she became the first woman to singlehandedly run a major TV studio! The actress succeeded in the industry by creating many hit series and later selling the company for millions of bucks.
Lucille Ball Was Formerly Known As…
When she was starting out in the industry, she was under the impression that a famous-sounding name would give her a leg up in Broadway. She went by the name Diana Belmond, which was inspired by the Belmont Stakes racetrack located in Long Island, New York.
The Actors Never Improvised On The Show
We already mentioned earlier that few scenes had to be reshot. The reason behind this is that the show was using a script. Lucille Ball had this to say about it: “We never ad-libbed. We never ad-libbed on the set when we were putting it together. It was there.” Yes, every single bit was scripted, even in the famous Vitameatavegamin scene. Moreover, cue cars were also used to remind the stars of their lines.
Not A Mirror Image Of Their Real Lives
In the beginning, the producers wanted the show to mirror the offscreen relationship and real lives of Lucille Ball and Desi Arnaz. However, the couple did not agree to the proposal as they were aware most people would not be able to relate to their celebrity lives. They were right on the money about that!
More Crazy Contracts Drafted Just For Kicks
After the show came to an end, Lucille Ball and Vivian Vance decided to go through the talk show circuit. Ball confessed that she once drafted “joke contracts” that asked for the silliest things. It included stipulations like “Vance must gain five pounds every week and she must never get more laughs than Ball.” If we were in Vance’s shoes, it might be worth it for all the free desserts in that alternate universe!
Their Kids Did Not Star In The Show
True enough, there are many celebrities who would jump at the opportunity to have their kids join them on the set. However, Lucille Ball expressed a dislike for the idea. This is why her children, Lucie and Desi, Jr., never became major characters on I Love Lucy. If you keep an eye out while watching the series finale, you will get a glimpse of Desi Jr., however. When the kids were all grown up, they never expressed any regrets about not starring in the show. This might be a good thing to keep in mind, folks.
A Big Star Living A Regular Life
Lucille Ball actually lived a fairly normal life when she was not filming or running her production studio. The actress liked to garden, swim, and paint in her free time. She might be a big celebrity, but it seems like the family truly carried that “every-guy” persona the couple portrayed on the show.
Giving Children A Taste Of Magic
They wanted to keep the illusion alive for their young viewers. That is why Hollywood actor George Reeves made an appearance in the episode called “Superman”. We think it is incredibly adorable that Ball asked him to appear as simply “Superman” in the credits! Of course, Reeves agreed.
The Country’s Favorite TV Star
When President Dwight Eisenhower was sworn into office, millions of Americans watched from their televisions. However, more people decided to tune into “Lucy Goes to the Hospital”! This was the episode in which Lucy delivered Little Ricky, of course. Do we really need to explain some more how Lucille Ball is America’s favorite television personality?