It was on October 15th, 1951 that “I Love Lucy” went into production. It was the first show ever to have a script and be filmed live in front of an audience that got in for free! It was sort of like live theater, but with a lot of starts and stops.
The original cast included Lucille Ball, Desi Arnaz, Vivian Vance and William Frawley. Arnaz and Ball were actually married at the time, having tied the knot in 1940. Though at times it seemed as if there were a million episodes, the show only lasted 6 seasons, which is still pretty good! It won 5 Emmy Awards and was nominated for many, many more.
It was rated #2 by TV Guide as the greatest tv show ever and was #1 on the Nielsen ratings when it went off the air. Everything was a Desilu Production, owned by Ball and Arnaz. They were supposed to be equal in the show but it soon became obvious that it was Lucy’s show. In 2007 it was rated by Time Magazine as one of the top 100 television shows of all-time.
It’s hard to watch an episode and not find some humor that can be related to some part of everyone’s life. They wanted to keep the show family oriented and fun for all while still being as real as they could be. The couple being married, and Desi’s real life music shows, kept them grounded as the show was as much about them, as it was about all of America.
Sadly the couple parted a few years after the show went off the air in 1960. Apparently Lucille thought that Ricki was pulling a Bill Clinton on her and could not stand the strain of it any longer. They did remain friends though, each getting married again but remaining in contact with the other until Arnaz death in 1986.
How to celebrate – Take in a marathon of “I Love Lucy” as it still is readily available on re-runs. Try to relate as many of the mistakes that happened to Lucy to your life. Visit the Lucille Ball shop at Universal Studios.