Confessions of a TV-holic: We Still Love Lucy
Even if you've seen each episode 1,762 times, I Love Lucy fans still delight in "I didn't know that!" and "Did you notice that"¦?" moments. Here are a few of my favorite behind-the-scenes tidbits.
TVLand currently shows I Love Lucy with an edited version of the original opening credits, but the introduction most fans associate with the show is the elaborate script credits over a satin heart that was used when the show first went into syndication. Why were the original animated openings altered? Because they featured the Lucy and Ricky stick figures popping out of a pack of Philip Morris cigarettes, the show's sponsor. This is also why the word "lucky" was rarely included in a script "“ Lucky Strike was a major competitor of Philip Morris.
More Lucy trivia after the jump...
Lucille Ball's favorite episode is also a fan favorite: Job Switching, better known as the "Candy Factory" episode. The stone-faced silent woman working next to Lucy in this scene is Amanda Milligan, who wasn't an actress but an actual candy dipper whose full-time job was putting swirls on top of chocolates at See's Candy Factory. At one point during a break in filming, Lucille asked Amanda if she was enjoying her stint in "show business." Ms. Milligan replied, "To be honest, I've never been so bored in my life." She also admitted that she'd never seen I Love Lucy; she watched wrestling on Monday nights.
Thanks to a technique pioneered by Desi Arnaz and cinematographer Karl Freund, I Love Lucy was filmed in front of a live studio audience using a three-camera setup. As a result, each episode was filmed in sequence, much like a play (unlike other sitcoms of that era). Retakes were done only when necessary, so many "bloopers" made it to the final edit:
In Redecorating the Mertz's Apartment, Lucy fluffs her line while talking to Ricky during breakfast. Instead of saying "We'll paint the apartment," she says "We'll paint the furniture and reupholster the old furniture." (Desi ad-libs beautifully and rescues the scene.)
In The Dancing Star, Lucy is supposed to say "I danced with Van [Johnson]," but instead it came out "I vanced with Dan." Desi again covered the slip-up by muttering, "Vanced with Dan? She's gone." Later in this same episode, Lucy addresses co-star Vivian Vance as Viv instead of Ethel.
In Ricky Loses His Voice, Desi asks piano player Marco Rizo to phone Lucy at home at tell her that he's coming home early. Despite it being his only line of dialogue in the episode, Marco forgets that he's dealing with Mr. Ricardo instead of Mr. Arnaz, and replies "Okay, Des" instead of "Okay, Ricky."
The closing credits of several episodes of the show misspell Desi's name, crediting the music to "The Dezi Arnaz Orchestra."
Loyal viewers may recall having heard an audible "Uh-oh" or "Oh no!" from the studio audience during precarious situations in I Love Lucy. Those exclamations were uttered by DeDe Ball, Lucille's mother, who attended every taping of the show and whose proximity to the set made her voice easy to hear.