*I Love Lucy was one of the funniest TV shows ever. The black-and-white series originally ran from October 15, 1951 to May 6, 1957 on CBS and it was the first scripted television show shot on 35mm film before a live studio audience. The show garnered five Emmys.
According to FilmMakerIQ.com each show included 300 viewers from the first shoot until the last, and there were many “one take” scenes.
Later, Desi Arnaz, the real life husband of Lucille Ball, revealed the comedic actress works better when real people are watching her performance.
Everyone watched I Love Lucy — no matter what race or culture — we loved the shenanigans of that crazy redhead and the frustrations and gentle reprimands of her handsome, Latin musician-husband, Ricky Ricardo.
But did you know that ‘Ricky Ricardo’ was not the original name the network came up with for Lucy’s hubby?
Uh-uh. They had something else in mind.
Do you think we would’ve felt the same about this Latin lover if his character was named Larry Lopez?
Let me get that for you…
Here’s some more never heard before FUN FACTS about ‘I Love Lucy’ and its incredible cast!
‘Fred’ and ‘Ethel’ couldn’t stand each other in real life…
I don’t know about you, but it would be hard for me to kiss some man I didn’t even like. But as acting goes, Vivian Vance (Ethel) and William Frawley (Fred) did just that…when they weren’t crackin’ on each other, that is. Funny thing about time though. The two didn’t even realize (or admit to) the tension they worked around until years later.
Where was the building that Ricky and Lucy, and Fred and Ethel lived in and how much rent did they pay?
In the early 1940’s, Lucy and Ricky moved into an old reconverted brownstone apartment at 623 East 68th Street in New York City (references made during the series date the move to 1940 or 1943). The apartment rented for $105 per month. Their landlords (soon to be best friends) were Fred and Ethel Mertz.
Was Lucy’s hair really flaming red?
Nah. That iconic red hair didn’t come about until 1942 when she dyed it for the film ‘DuBarry was a Lady.’ Not unlike many of us, Ms. McGillicuddy (as she would often refer to herself on the show when she was up to something no good) was originally a brunette. She dyed her hair blonde when she first came to Hollywood, but would later become known for her bright red hair.
Hollywood insiders say Desi Arnaz had a great memory!
Desi’s incredible memory allowed him to read and memorize every one of his lines in just one script reading. Staffers on the show say even with very little prep, he never messed up his lines.
Lucy almost choked to death in one episode, but people thought she was faking.
Remember that infamous grape-stomping scene? It was in the “Lucy’s Italian Movie” episode. Turns out Lucy was actually choking on the grape, but continued to film. Once the cameras were off, the crew realized she was actually choking on ‘dem grapes and came to help.
Now THAT’s determination!
William Frawley couldn’t memorize his lines for sh*t!
Well, he was no Desi Arnaz when it came to lines apparently. Actually, ‘Fred Mertz’ was quite the opposite. While Frawley’s portrayal as Fred Mertz in I Love Lucy will go down in TV comedy history, he reportedly could not memorize his lines so well and would get so frustrated with his lines that he would allegedly rip out pages from the script and complain about having so many lines in each episode.
That off-camera ‘Uh-oh’ line we always heard when Lucy went astray was none other than her real-life mom.
Nepotism will always find a way. Lucille Ball’s mama Desiree Evelyn Hunt may not have been a skilled actress, but her loving daughter found a way for her to be a memorable part of I Love Lucy and she was present at every filming. The sound producer for the show, Glen Glenn, even used the “Uh-Oh!” for other shows!
Lucy and Desi took pay cuts at one point.
Sometimes this business hits you right where it hurts: The pocket! But being the troopers they were, in order to get the show filmed on the most expensive – and therefore best – type of film possible, Ball and Arnaz both took pay cuts so the production crew could afford it.
If you don’t believe me just watch! The series was so popular during it’s initial run that parts of American life would simply shut down while it aired.
Telephone and water usage would dip dramatically for the program’s half-hour duration, and even department stores would shut their doors early due to lack of customers.
Elephant in the Room: Lucille Ball had to fight with the networks for her interracial marriage.
Now I know y’all wonder how did this white woman and her Latin husband even existed at the time when segregation was still in existence? Well, you know some mess had to go down. But Lucille Ball was a powerful woman (Desilu) and she fought tooth and nail to have her interracial marriage portrayed on air.
A Huffington Post article reports…
“CBS and its sponsor, Philip Morris cigarettes, were adamantly opposed to this,” Kathleen Brady, author of Lucille: The Life of Lucille Ball, told NPR. “They said that the American public would not accept Desi as the husband of a red-blooded American girl.”
According to Brady, Ball told CBS she wouldn’t do the show without Arnaz, and they eventually gave in.
Stupid never looks good on anyone. So glad the network gave in (and I’m sure they are too!)
There are MANY MORE interesting facts about I Love Lucy. If you’d like to learn more visit def.in.i.tion here
But before you go, here’s one last fact.
Lucy and Desi owned the show.