The Lucy Show
|The Lucy Show|
|Also known as||The Lucille Ball Show
This Is Lucy
The New Adventures of Lucy
|Created by||Bob Carroll, Jr.
|Directed by||Maury Thompson
Mary Jane Croft
|Narrated by||Roy Rowan|
|Theme music composer||Wilbur Hatch|
|Country of origin||United States|
|No. of seasons||6|
|No. of episodes||156 (List of episodes)|
|Executive producer(s)||Desi Arnaz (1962)
Elliott Lewis (1962-'64)
|Producer(s)||Elliott Lewis (1962)
|Running time||30 minutes|
|Production company(s)||Desilu Productions (1962-1967)
Paramount Television (1967-1968)
|Distributor||CBS Television Distribution|
|Picture format||Black-and-white (1962-1963)
|Original run||October 1, 1962– March 11, 1968|
|Preceded by||The Lucy-Desi Comedy Hour|
|Followed by||Here's Lucy|
The Lucy Show is an American sitcom that aired on CBS from 1962–68. It was Lucille Ball's follow-up to I Love Lucy. A significant change in cast and premise for the 1965–66 season divides the program into two distinct eras; aside from Ball, only Gale Gordon, who joined the program for its second season, remained. For the first three seasons, Vivian Vance was the co-star.
The earliest scripts were entitled The Lucille Ball Show, but when this title was declined, producers thought of calling the show This Is Lucy or The New Adventures of Lucy, before deciding on the title The Lucy Show. Ball won consecutive Emmy Awards as Outstanding Lead Actress in a Comedy Series for the series' final two seasons, 1966–67 and 1967–68.
In 1962, two years after Lucille Ball and Desi Arnaz divorced and their final show aired (using the I Love Lucy format), Desilu Studios was struggling. Both The Ann Sothern Show and Angel, a sitcom starring Marshall Thompson and French actress Annie Farge, were canceled in the spring of 1961, and another show, Guestward, Ho! wasn't doing well either, also lasting only one season. Another comedy series, Pete and Gladys starring Harry Morgan and Cara Williams also fell prey to cancellation in 1962. The red-headed Williams, in fact, had been promoted as the next Lucille Ball. So that left Desilu with only one hit series in the spring of 1962—The Untouchables.
Arnaz, as President of Desilu Studios, offered Ball an opportunity to return to television in a weekly sitcom. At that time, CBS executives were somewhat dubious as to whether Ball could not only carry a show without Arnaz, but also follow such a landmark series as I Love Lucy. According to Geoffrey Mark Fidelman (author of The Lucy Book - Renaissance Books), it was "never intended for this program to go beyond a single season." Fidelman also writes in his book that this arrangement was "meant to be a stop-gap measure for the beleaguered studio" and that through the sale of this series, Desilu was able to "force the CBS network to invest in and air other upcoming Desilu products." It would be a strategy that Ball herself would use in the future, where instead of CBS having the final say on whether or not The Lucy Show would continue for another year, Ball would have the final say as to whether she wanted to continue her series. Nevertheless, under Arnaz's encouragement and persuasion, Ball agreed to do the show provided it be shown on Monday nights (the night on which I Love Lucy had aired) and that she would be reunited with Vivian Vance and her writers from I Love Lucy. CBS agreed to a full season of episodes and The Lucy Show premiered on Monday night, October 1, 1962, at 8:30 p.m.
The show began with Lucille Ball as Lucy Carmichael, a widow with two children, Chris (Candy Moore), and Jerry (Jimmy Garrett), living in the fictional city of Danfield, New York, sharing her home with divorced friend Vivian Bagley (Vance) and her son, Sherman (Ralph Hart). In order to get Vance to commit to the series, Arnaz acquiesced to her demands for an increase in salary; co-star billing with Ball; a more attractive wardrobe; and, finally, that her character's name be Vivian. After doing I Love Lucy, she was still being called Ethel by people on the street, much to her unhappiness. Although the book on which the show was based (Irene Kampen's Life Without George) centered on two divorcées living together in the same house raising their children, it was decided early on that the Lucy Carmichael character should instead be a widow. According to Geoffrey Mark Fidelman in The Lucy Book, the consensus was that fans would be offended with a Lucy who was divorced, despite the fact that this was a new character. So, the character of Vivian Bagley became television's first divorced woman.
In the show's original format, Lucy had been left with a substantial trust fund by her late husband, which was managed during the first season by local banker Mr. Barnsdahl (Charles Lane). Comedian Dick Martin, working solo from his longtime partner Dan Rowan, was cast in ten episodes as Lucy's next-door neighbor, Harry Connors, during the show's first season. Character actor Don Briggs was also featured in six episodes as Viv's beau, Eddie Collins, and Tom Lowell, a young actor seen on various primetime television shows, appeared in three installments as Chris Carmichael's boyfriend, Alan Harper. The first season of The Lucy Show fully utilized the talents of Bob Carroll, Jr., Madelyn Martin, Bob Schiller, and Bob Weiskopf (the original writers of I Love Lucy) in creating the first season's classic thirty episodes, and it also featured Desi Arnaz as executive producer for fifteen of the first season's thirty shows. At the end of its first season, The Lucy Show received rave reviews from the critics and ranked #5 in the Nielsen ratings. Ball was nominated for an Emmy Award as Best Actress in a Series, but lost to Shirley Booth for the NBC comedy hit Hazel. Bolstered by great ratings, the series was renewed for a second year, but many changes were made.
At the beginning of the 1963-1964 season, Desi Arnaz resigned as head of Desilu and as the executive producer of The Lucy Show. Ball took over as President of the studio and Elliott Lewis replaced Arnaz as executive producer of Ball's series. Dick Martin (as Harry), Don Briggs (as Eddie), Tom Lowell (as Alan), and Charles Lane (as Mr. Barnsdahl) left the show. The characters of Harry Connors and Alan Harper were never referred to again. Briggs, in fact, would make one more appearance as Eddie Collins in the episode "Lucy Goes Duck Hunting". The Barnsdahl character was replaced by Theodore J. Mooney, played by Gale Gordon, who would remain with the series for the remainder of its run, surviving the format change. In the episode "Lucy Gets Locked In The Vault", Gordon's character is introduced when Lucy discovers that Mr. Barnsdahl has been transferred to another bank and that the management of her trust fund has been taken over by the new banker, Theodore J. Mooney (Gordon). The name "Theodore Mooney" had been earlier used by the actor George Cisar, who was cast as a police sergeant on thirty-one episodes of Gordon's other CBS sitcom, Dennis the Menace.
Gordon had worked with Ball as far back as the late 1940s on the CBS radio program My Favorite Husband. When CBS transferred that show to television as I Love Lucy, Gordon was to have played Fred Mertz, however, he was already committed to the radio series Our Miss Brooks (which also was about to move to television) so William Frawley was cast in the part. In 1952, Gordon, however, did guest star on the first season of I Love Lucy as Ricky Ricardo's boss at the Tropicana, Alvin Littlefield. Six years later, Gordon became a regular on the short-lived NBC-TV sitcom Sally which starred actress Joan Caulfield (who ironically inherited Lucille Ball's role as Liz Cooper when My Favorite Husband was transferred to television in 1953). In the late fall of 1958, Gordon guest-starred as a judge in the hour-long Lucy-Desi Comedy Hour episode "Lucy Makes Room For Danny". From 1960 to 1962, he had recurring roles on two CBS-TV sitcoms - The Danny Thomas Show and Pete and Gladys. Gordon was to have joined The Lucy Show at its premiere in the fall of 1962, but he was still contractually obligated to his role as Mr. John Wilson on Dennis the Menace, in which he had replaced the late Joseph Kearns for the last year of the series. It was later revealed that Ball had grown unhappy with Charles Lane because of his difficulty remembering his lines in front of the studio audience and was eager to have Gordon join the cast. Lane then became a semi-regular on the CBS-TV sitcom Petticoat Junction as Homer Bedloe.
Even though Dick Martin felt his role of Harry was superfluous, he curiously stated that hiring Gale Gordon was a mistake and that there instead should have been a steady boyfriend written for Lucy. The show became limited in terms of creating fresh situations. Mrs. Carmichael spent so much of her time and effort trying to get Mr. Mooney to allow her to invade the principal of the trust fund for various ideas and projects, that it seemed feasible to have her work for Mooney directly as his secretary, which she eventually did a few years later, after the original format of the series changed.
Under Ball's supervision, beginning with the 1963-64 season, episodes were filmed in color, although they would continue to be broadcast in black and white up until September, 1965. Ball realized that when the series ended its prime-time run, color episodes would command more money when sold to syndication. CBS was equipped for color but would only use color transmission equipment for feature films. They stated that turning on color equipment was too tough to do for short periods. But at the time most color equipment and color TV sets were made by RCA, parent company of rival network NBC. CBS was reported[by whom?] to have felt that to use color would be promoting a rival's product and would not be beneficial to CBS. Also, less than 5% of the population even had a color TV set back in 1963. The second season proved to be just as popular in the ratings, ranking at #6. However, with the addition of Gale Gordon and his cantankerous character of Mr. Mooney, as well as the absence of Arnaz, the quality of the scripts suffered. Also, Vance had grown tired of her weekly commute back and forth between California and her home in Connecticut. She was also unhappy with the way her character's on-screen time was reduced. In fact, Lucy Carmichael's home life as well as her interaction with her children began to be downplayed.
At the end of the second season, a disagreement erupted between Ball and head writers Bob Carroll, Jr. and Madelyn Martin regarding a particular script Ball found inferior. As a result, Carroll and Martin left the series with Weiskopf and Schiller right behind them.
In the fall of 1964, CBS began to broadcast sporting events and color cartoons in addition to color feature films in color. They still refused to broadcast The Lucy Show in color. They still felt that they were not ready to promote a rival's (NBC) product. But through that year ownership of color TV sets grew, plus all other manufacturers were now making color equipment and color TV sets.
At the beginning of the 1964-65 season, The Lucy Show went through a significant staff change. Elliott Lewis left the series and was replaced by Jack Donohue, who also served as director. With the absence of Carroll, Martin, Weiskopf, and Schiller, Ball hired veteran comedy writer Milt Josefsberg, who had written for Jack Benny, as script consultant. Under Josefsberg's supervision there were no permanent writers for the series and different writers were employed each week (among them, Garry Marshall). Ball persuaded Weiskopf and Schiller to return and write four installments. The fact that there were no permanent writers became apparent in the form of an increasing amount of storyline inconsistencies.
In an interview for The Lucy Book, Candy Moore stated that around this time there was a feeling among the cast and crew that the series had lost its identity, as well as its continuity, and had begun to lose ground. An example of this was Lucy constantly changing her job situation. Episodes during the second and third season would find Lucy working as a restaurateur, hospital helper, meter maid, and policewoman. Another example was the frequent use of character or featured actors who were used regularly on the show, albeit in different roles. During the first two years, actress Carole Cook started off playing Thelma Green, a friend of Lucy's and Viv's. By the third season, Cook was playing another part - Mrs. Valance, a society lady living in Danfield. From then on, Cook, as well as veteran actress Mary Wickes, was seen regularly on the show playing a variety of roles, depending on the scripts. Also, actress-comedienne Kathleen Freeman was seen in three different parts during the second season - as a nurse in "Lucy Plays Florence Nightingale"; a chef in "Lucy and Viv Open A Restaurant"; and as Kathleen, another friend of Lucy's and Viv's, in "Lucy Takes A Job At The Bank" and "Lucy Enters A Baking Contest." In the third season, Freeman was featured as Miss Putnam, a domestic, in the episode "Lucy Gets Her Maid." During the first two seasons, Lucy and Viv were members of the Women's Volunteer Fire Department. By the beginning of the third year, the concept was dropped altogether, and in the installment, "Lucy Gets her Maid", Lucy and Viv became members of The Danfield Art Society.
There were further changes to the series. Vance reduced the number of episodes she appeared in to spend more time on the East Coast with her new husband, literary editor John Dodds. Lucille Ball's friend Ann Sothern made a number of appearances during 1964 and 1965 as the "Countess Framboise" (née Rosie Harrigan) to fill Vance's absence. The Countess, who had been widowed by the death of her husband, "who left her his noble title and all of his noble debts," was always trying to get some money to pay off said debts. So she also did battle with Mr. Mooney, whom she called "Mr. Money." Because it was known that Vance would be leaving the series, Sothern was proposed as the new co-star, but it did not come to be. Apparently Sothern wanted to share top billing with Ball. She did not want to be an under-billed co-star. This was not acceptable to Ball and, though Sothern did make three more guest appearances during the following (1965–66) season, the idea of her becoming a series regular was abandoned.
Even though Candy Moore, Jimmy Garrett, and Ralph Hart were still contracted to the series, they were used minimally during the third year. In the spring of 1965, Vance wanted to quit the show. Ball desperately hoped she would change her mind, but Vance remained adamant and left the sitcom. Moore, for example, appeared in less than 5 episodes where she had more than a few lines and usually was only in one scene. In the season 3 finale, 'Lucy The Disc Jockey', Moore appears in the opening scene, has one line of dialogue, then exits. Although the plot involves her character its the last she is seen. It's also her last appearance in the show as she was written out of it in season 4. Dropping Moore was Ball's decision not the network's. Because Moore was very popular with teenagers and the subject of dozens of youth oriented magazines at the time, her departure was originally nixed by CBS but finally accepted when Ball threatened to 'retire'.
As a result, the 1965-66 season saw the format of The Lucy Show change dramatically, also when the show fell to #8 in the ratings, which was, at that time, was the lowest ratings of a Lucille Ball show. In the first episode of the season, Lucy and Jerry Carmichael and Mr. Mooney moved from Danfield to California, where Lucy began working for Mr. Mooney at the bank, first part-time, and then full-time. Lucy's daughter Chris was said to have gone away to college and was subsequently not mentioned again. It was explained that Vance's character (Vivian Bagley) remarried and that she, along with her son Sherman and her new husband, remained in Danfield, although she would return for a few guest appearances towards the end of the series' run. Candy Moore (as Chris) and Ralph Hart (as Sherman) were dropped from the cast. Jimmy Garrett (as Jerry) would make only two appearances that year to help with the transition before he, too, was phased out of the series.
In another interview for The Lucy Book by Geoffrey Mark Fidelman, Candy Moore revealed that she was quite taken aback when she was told in the spring of 1965 that with Vance leaving the show, the format of the series would be altered and that she, Garrett, and Hart would also not be returning for the fourth season. She said, "I had no idea this was a possibility. We were on a hit show." She later found out that the reason for this maneuver was that it gave Desilu more revenue to continue the series. This procedure was later explained to Moore by Oscar Katz, one of Desilu's vice presidents. Katz told her that "if you go into a network with the same series but a radically changed format, the contracts allow for greater financial renegotiation." Moore soon realized that "by dropping all of us at once, Desilu was able to get a lot more money out of CBS for the continuation of The Lucy Show."
In the fourth season premiere episode, "Lucy at Marineland," Jerry was quickly shipped off to a military academy. He made one final appearance, in a Christmas-themed episode, near the conclusion of the 1965-66 season. Sothern made three more guest appearances as The Countess (a.k.a. Rosie) and Joan Blondell guest-starred in two episodes as Lucy's new friend Joan Brenner. However, Ball felt there was no chemistry between her and Blondell. As soon as she finished filming her second appearance on The Lucy Show, Blondell walked off the set when Ball (who had been known to be critical in front of a studio audience) humiliated her by harshly criticizing her performance in front of the studio audience and technicians.
Finally, Lucy gained a new best friend in Mary Jane Lewis, played by actress Mary Jane Croft. Croft also had prior experience performing with Ball. In 1954, she made her first appearance on I Love Lucy playing Cynthia Harcourt, a rich, haughty friend of Lucy Ricardo in the episode "Lucy Is Envious". In 1956, she returned to the series playing Evelyn Bigsby, a bewildered traveler seated next to Lucy on an airplane in the fifth season finale "Return Home From Europe". During the 1950s, Croft also had occasional roles on I Married Joan and Our Miss Brooks. She was also the voice of Cleo, the basset hound in the sitcom The People's Choice. In 1957, Croft joined the cast of I Love Lucy during its final season playing Lucy Ricardo's new friend and neighbor Betty Ramsey for the program's last thirteen episodes. Croft then portrayed Lucy Carmichael's friend Audrey Simmons during the 1962-64 first format episodes of The Lucy Show and, in real life, was the wife of former producer Elliott Lewis. At this time, Croft had also been a regular for ten years on the long-running ABC-TV sitcom, The Adventures of Ozzie and Harriet, which, by 1965, was in its final year of production. Even though Croft's main purpose was to replace Vance, she did not get co-star billing, and like Roy Roberts, who played Mooney's boss (Mr. Cheever) at the bank, she received featured billing despite being a regular character.
Also in the fall of 1965, CBS began broadcasting in color anything that was made in color. CBS continued to produce some programming in black & white but they now expanded their use of color to include television shows made as such. So The Lucy Show finally began airing in color that year, plus daytime reruns of the past two color seasons aired as such.
By January 1966, all references to Lucy Carmichael's children, her trust fund from her late husband's estate, and her former life in Danfield were eradicated. As a result, Lucy Carmichael was firmly established as a single woman living in Los Angeles. An interesting concept was developed that season with Lucy working in films disguised as a stunt man using the name "Iron Man" Carmichael for three episodes ("Lucy The Stunt Man", "Lucy and the Return Of Iron Man", and "Lucy and Bob Crane"). However, the idea was quickly dropped and never used again.
Overall, the fourth season is regarded as being the weakest with the quality of the scripts vacillating week to week from being good to mediocre at best. Nevertheless, the show continued to receive excellent ratings and in the spring of 1966, Ball received her second Emmy nomination for The Lucy Show, losing this time to Mary Tyler Moore of The Dick Van Dyke Show.
The next two seasons featured many stars making guest appearances, usually playing themselves, in storylines involving their encountering Lucy while conducting bank business. This essentially turned the show into a "skit-com" as opposed to a traditional sitcom. For the 1966-1967 season, Gale Gordon was nominated for an Emmy Award as Best Supporting Actor in a Comedy Series, but lost to Don Knotts, who won for the episode "The Return of Barney Fife" on The Andy Griffith Show. After eleven years, Ball was finally awarded an Emmy as Best Actress In A Comedy Series (She had won her first two - as Best Comedienne in 1953 and as Best Actress in a Continuing Performance in 1956 for I Love Lucy).
During the 1967-68 season, Ball's second husband, Gary Morton, became executive producer of The Lucy Show. Lucille Ball sold Desilu Productions (which owned and produced The Lucy Show) to Gulf+Western Industries, which meant that she no longer owned the series. In the spring of 1968, The Lucy Show won Emmy nominations for Best Comedy Series, Best Actress in a Comedy Series, and Best Supporting Actor in a Comedy Series (Gordon). This time, Gordon lost the award to Werner Klemperer of Hogan's Heroes, and the show itself lost the Best Comedy Series Award to the NBC sitcom Get Smart. For the second straight year, Ball was awarded the coveted statuette. At the end of its sixth season, The Lucy Show posted its highest Nielsen rating, ranking at #2.
After six seasons, Ball decided to end the series, feeling that the show had enough episodes for syndication. Ball opted to continue on television under the provision that her two children, Lucie Arnaz and Desi Arnaz, Jr., agreed to appear alongside her. Thus, in the fall of 1968, an entirely new series, Here's Lucy, debuted. This series featured herself and her children, as well as Gordon, Croft, and Vance (in occasional guest appearances) playing "new" characters (though the returning actors played characters similar to their characters on the former series). Like I Love Lucy and The Lucy Show, Here's Lucy also ran on CBS for six seasons.
The credits list the show's basis as the novel Life Without George, by Irene Kampen. This book was a collection of humorous pieces about two divorced women and their children living together. A next-door airline pilot neighbor, Harry Connors, became a character in the series played by Dick Martin. The character of Chris, Lucy's daughter in the series, had the same name in the book. In a later volume of essays, Nobody Calls at This Hour Just To Say Hello, Kampen wrote a piece entitled "How Not to Meet Lucille Ball," which detailed her efforts to meet Lucy when she visited Los Angeles. Ms. Kampen and Ms. Ball never met.
- Lucille Ball – Lucille Carmichael
- Gale Gordon – Theodore J. Mooney
- Vivian Vance – Vivian Bagley
- Mary Jane Croft – Mary Jane Lewis
- Candy Moore – Chris Carmichael
- Jimmy Garrett – Jerry Carmichael
- Ralph Hart – Sherman Bagley
- Dick Martin – Harry Connors
From the 1965-66 season onward, with the change in format, a number of celebrities guest starred on The Lucy Show, usually playing themselves under the premise that the Lucy Carmichael character, now living in Hollywood, crossed paths with them, either in her day-to-day life, or through her job at the bank. These included Jack Benny, Bob Hope, Carol Burnett, George Burns, Joan Crawford, Tennessee Ernie Ford, Dean Martin, Frankie Avalon, Wayne Newton, Robert Stack, Mel Tormé, John Vivyan, Jack Cassidy, Clint Walker, and Milton Berle. Many lesser-known actors also guest starred, such as Patrick McVey.
Other Desilu productions were sometimes brought into the show. In the episode, Lucy and John Wayne, a photograph of Bob Crane as Colonel Hogan from Hogan's Heroes can be seen as guest star Wayne is exiting the scene.
The episode featuring Joan Crawford, "Lucy and the Lost Star", caused much celebrity fodder given Ball and Crawford's very public feud during the filming. According to Ball, Crawford was often drunk on the set and could not remember her lines. Ball was said to have requested several times to replace Crawford with Gloria Swanson, who was supposed to have filled the role originally but bowed out due to health reasons. Crawford was so upset that at one point, she wouldn't leave her dressing room. According to Ball's friend, singer-comedienne Kaye Ballard, it was Vanda Barra, a featured actress frequently used on The Lucy Show, who finally persuaded Crawford to continue with the show by giving her a much needed pep talk. As a result, Crawford sailed through the filming with nary a flaw.
The February 14, 1966 episode featuring Dean Martin (in which Lucy Carmichael accepted a blind date with Dean Martin's lookalike stunt double "Eddie Feldman," but when he could not make it, the real Dean Martin took his place on the date with Lucy) was described by Ball as her favorite episode of the series.
Lucie Arnaz, Ball’s daughter, appeared in several episodes of the show during its run: she was an extra in the first season’s third episode, "Lucy Is a Referee," the teenage best friend of Chris in "Lucy Is a Soda Jerk" and "Lucy Is a Chaperone" (though she was only 11 at the time), and later as one of her mother’s friends in the 1967 "Lucy and Robert Goulet" (although she was only 16). She was also seen briefly as a teen walking past Lucy and Mr. Mooney in the episode "Lucy and the Ring a Ding Ring. She was also seen playing a student named Patty in the episode "Lucy Gets Her Diploma".
A different opening sequences was created for each season:
- Season 1 (1962–63): animated stick figures of Ball and Vance were used (similar to the ones used in the original opening sequences of I Love Lucy and of the subsequent 13 hour-long specials later syndicated in reruns as The Lucy-Desi Comedy Hour).
- Season 2 (1963-1964): stills from previous episodes were used.
- Season 3 (1964-1965): footage from previous episodes were featured. For the six episodes in which Vivian Vance did not appear, the "co-Starring: Vivian Vance" voiceover, and accompanying text and still of Vivian were omitted.
- Season 4 (1965-1966): a kaleidoscope opening in which footage was used of Ball in a kaleidoscope-like pattern. In the first nine episodes of season four a slightly different opening was used (the first two clips of Ball were reversed). In the episodes in which Gale Gordon did not appear, the "Co-Starring: Gale Gordon" voiceover was omitted from the audio track.
- Season 5 (1966-1967): an additional opening was created at the beginning of the season that featured Lucille Ball as an animated "jack-in-the-box". Ball reportedly hated it, and it was only used in a handful of episodes at the start of the season before being replaced by a slightly revamped version of the kaleidoscope opening. However, because of poor editing, the theme music to this opening was retained while the kaleidoscope opening played for several of the early 1966 fall episodes.
- Season 6 (1967-1968): the kaleidoscope opening was used once again, but the theme music was reorchestrated. Also the "Glamor Shot" of Ball at the end of the opening is a different clip than season five. For the episodes in which Gale Gordon did not appear, the "Co-Starring: Gale Gordon" voiceover was omitted from the audio track.
During later television airings, including 1970s and 80s syndicated runs, as well as Nick at Nite's 1990s reruns of the series, the later "kaleidoscope" opening was used in nearly all episodes (with a "costarring Vivian Vance" voiceover edited in for episodes from the first three seasons).
There were several scripts written that were never filmed. "Lucy & Viv Fight Over Harry" was set to be produced as the 11th episode in the first season, but there were too many "production problems" and the episode was canceled. In an interview with Jimmy Garrett, he said the audience barely laughed at rehearsals, and Desi Arnaz cancelled the episode with Lucille Ball's permission. During season 2, both "Lucy is a Girl Friday" and "Lucy Plays Basketball" were canceled before filming began as well. The details of these "lost" episodes can be found on the official DVD sets for the first two seasons.
While filming the 1963 episode "Lucy and Viv Put In A Shower", in which the leading ladies attempted to install a shower stall (but become trapped inside, unable to shut the water off), Ball nearly drowned while performing in the tank of water. She was unable to bring herself back to the surface, and it was Vance who realized there was a problem and pulled her co-star to safety; Vance went on to ad lib until Ball could catch her breath to resume speaking her lines (all the while, cameras continued to film). Neither the film crew nor the live studio audience realized there was a problem.
In her autobiography Love Lucy, Lucy talks of this episode:
- ...I found I had no room to manoeuvre. I couldn't get back to the surface again. What's more I swallowed a lot of water and was actually drowning right there in front of three hundred people who were splitting their sides laughing. Vivian (Vance), realising in cold terror what had happened, never changed expression. She reached down, pulled me safely to the surface by the roots of my hair and then calmly spoke both sides of our dialogue, putting my lines in the form of questions. Whatta girl! And whatta night.
An episode from the 1966-1967 season called "Lucy Flies to London" served as the basis for a standalone one-hour special called Lucy in London, which featured Ball with guest stars Anthony Newley and the Dave Clark Five. Much of the "Lucy Flies to London" episode, which centered around Lucy’s lack of experience in air travel, was based on an unsold pilot written and shot in 1960.
The two special episodes to feature Ethel Merman ("Lucy Teaches Ethel Merman to Sing" and "Ethel Merman and the Boy Scout Show") were originally just one episode, "Lucy Teaches Ethel Merman to Sing". According to Geoffrey Mark Fidelman, author of The Lucy Book, this installment was a consolation prize to Merman after her Desilu-produced pilot, Maggie Brown, was rejected as a regular series by CBS. The plot was much as it remains today with Lucy and Viv trying to pass off Agnes Schmidlap as Ethel Merman, not knowing that it really is Ethel Merman, and Lucy attempts to teach her how to sing. In the original version, Lucy's voice lesson scene with Merman (which was lifted from the previous season's episode "Lucy's Barbershop Quartet" in which Hans Conried was the instructor and Lucy the pupil) was much shorter than it is today and that episode ended with the Boy Scout show, with Jerry Carmichael hosting, Sherman Bagley dancing, and Lucy joining Viv for a brand new version of Merman's great hit "Anything You Can Do, I Can Do Better". But then, Desilu Productions thought that maybe too much had been crammed into one half hour and since Ball and Vance (who both were great friends of Merman) were having such a marvelous time working with the legendary Broadway belter, they decided to expand it into two episodes, thereby taking advantage of Merman's formidable talents. So, a second filming was scheduled. In Part 1, Ethel was to be the houseguest of Lucy and Viv for a few weeks, and then in Part 2, a full blown episode was created that included scenes of Lucy once again, trying to get into the act. An all new Boy Scout Show was filmed also, with Jerry once again hosting, Sherman dancing, and Lucy, Viv, and Ethel, this time joined by Mr. Mooney, singing and dancing through a history of show business.
Unlike most sitcoms of the era, The Lucy Show was filmed before a live audience; standard practice at the time was to film an episode on a closed set and add a laugh track during post-production. However, a laugh track was still used to fill any gaps in audience reactions or missed punchlines. The live format was used for all of the I Love Lucy episodes, for all but a few Lucy-Desi Comedy Hour's and in The Lucy Show (by its Executive Director Desi Arnaz). Arnaz (and Ball) felt Ball performed better in front of a live studio audience.
- 1) 1962–1963: #4
- 2) 1963–1964: #6
- 3) 1964–1965: #8
- 4) 1965–1966: #3
- 5) 1966–1967: #4
- 6) 1967–1968: #2
Before July 2009, there were only 30 public domain episodes available on DVD and/or VHS (2 episodes from the first season, 21 from the fifth season, and 7 from the sixth season). These episodes have been released by different companies like Vintage Home Entertainment, Alpha Video, Digiview, Front Row Entertainment, Diamond Entertainment, Madacy Entertainment and Echo Bridge Home Entertainment.
CBS DVD (distributed by Paramount) has released all six seasons on DVD in Region 1, as of October 9, 2012. CBS announced that all the episodes have been remastered using the original 35mm negatives.
The first three official DVD releases allow viewers to view the original openings, closings, and cast commercials directly in the episode, while the fourth, fifth and sixth season DVD releases do not have this function.
|DVD Name||Ep #||Release date||Bonus Features|
|The Official First Season||30||July 21, 2009||
|The Official Second Season||28||July 13, 2010||
|The Official Third Season||26||November 30, 2010||
|The Official Fourth Season||26||April 26, 2011||
|The Official Fifth Season||22||December 6, 2011||
|The Official Sixth Season||24||October 9, 2012||
- Phil Hall (April 7, 2006). "The Bootleg Files: The Lucy Show". Film Threat. Retrieved 2009-06-21.
- Kathleen Brady (2001). Lucille. Billboard Books. p. 306. ISBN 0-8230-8913-4.
- The Lucy Book by Geoffrey Mark Fidelman -Renaissance Books, published in 1999 - writer Bob Schiller talks about Charles Lane on p. 156
- The Lucy Book - actor/comedian Dick Martin talks about Gale Gordon on p. 168
- from The Lucy Book - Renaissance Books - on pages 168-169, Dick Martin, Robert Rockwell, and Bob Schiller talk about Gale Gordon and the quality of the scripts.
- from The Lucy Book - Renaissance Books, - on page 177, the author Geoffrey Mark Fidelman talks about Vivian Vance's fatigue from commuting as well her frustration with the show.
- from The Lucy Book -Renaissance Books, - on pages 178-179, author Geoffrey Mark Fidelman, as well as Bob Schiller and Bob Weiskopf describe this incident.
- from The Lucy Show - Renaissance Books, on pages 182-183, author Fidelman, Bob Schiller, Maury Thompson, and actress Candy Moore discuss this situation. Also, on page 186, the author makes reference to the inconsistencies in the Lucy character.
- The Lucy Book by Geoffrey Mark Fidelman -Renaissance Books, published in 1999 - director Maury Thompson talks about Ann Sothern on p. 200
- Alexander Doty (1993). Making Things Perfectly Queer: Interpreting Mass Culture. University of Minnesota Press. p. 45. ISBN 0-8166-2245-0.
- Interview with Lucie Arnaz. The Archive of American Television (December 9, 2011).
- Ballard, Kaye; Hesselman, Jim (2006). How I Lost 10 Pounds in 53 Years: A Memoir. Back Stage Books. p. 139. ISBN 0-8230-8478-7.
- Barry Monush (October 9, 2008). "Lucie Arnaz: The Lucy Years". The Paley Center for Media. Retrieved 2009-06-19.
- Frank Castelluccio & Alvin Walker (1998). The Other Side of Ethel Mertz. Knowledge, Ideas & Trends. p. 270. ISBN 1-879198-26-6.
- Love Lucy by Lucille Ball with Betty Hannah Hoffman, Berkley Publishing Group, 1997, page 230 ISBN 978-0-425-17731-0
- Fidelman, Geoffrey Mark. “The Lucy Book: A Complete Guide to Her Five Decades on Television,” 1999. Renaissance Books. ISBN 1-58063-051-0
- Hobson, Dick (July 9, 1966). "Help! I'm a Prisoner in a Laff Box". TV Guide.
- "The Lucy Show - 'The Official 6th And Final Season' on DVD: Package Art, Extras and Street Date". Retrieved 2012-07-24.
|Wikimedia Commons has media related to The Lucy Show.|
- The Lucy Show at the Internet Movie Database
- A film clip of the episode "Lucy Gets Trapped" is available for free download at the Internet Archive [more]
- The Lucy Show at TV.com
- Classic free to download shows in Windows format