24 Interesting Tidbits You May Not Have Known About “I Love Lucy”

“Lucy, you got some ‘splaning to do.”

1. I Love Lucy was the first television series to use the three-camera format.

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2. 300 live audience members attended each taping of I Love Lucy.

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3. The show was filmed in its entirety from start-to-finish, and rarely had to retape scenes.

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4. According to Lucille Ball, nothing on the show was ever ad-libbed. “We never ad-libbed. We never ad-libbed on the set when we were putting it together. It was there.”

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5. The opening titles of “I Love Lucy” were based on the diamond-encrusted, heart-shaped lapel Desi Arnaz gave Lucille Ball on her 29th birthday.

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However, this title slide was not actually used until the show went into syndication. The original episodes opened with animated matchstick figures of Lucy and Desi referencing the particular episode’s sponsor.

6. Originally producers wanted the plot of I Love Lucy to mirror the celebrity lives of Desi Arnaz and Lucille Ball.

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7. Fortunately both Arnaz and Ball felt that the audience wouldn’t find their celebrity lives relatable, and instead chose to center the plot around an average family.

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8. Lucile Ball’s natural hair color was brown. She dyed it blonde upon entering Hollywood, but didn’t dye it her trademark red until starring in the 1942 film “DuBarry was A Lady.”

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9. Ricky Ricardo’s name was originally supposed to be Larry Lopez, but the producers apparently didn’t like the alliteration of Larry and Lucy.

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10. The first episode of I Love Lucy aired when Lucille Ball was 41.

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11. There was a 22 year age difference between Fred (William Frawley) and Ethel (Vivian Vance.)

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12. Actresses Lucille Ball and Vivian Vance (Ethel) were rumored to not have gotten along during the first few seasons of the show.

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13. Desi Arnaz was reportedly so good at memorizing his lines that he often only read each script once.

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14. Many of the show’s characters were named after Lucille Ball’s close friends and family members.

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15. In 1952, when Lucille Ball was pregnant IRL, they had to use the phrase “expecting” on the show instead of “pregnant.”

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16. Additionally, each episode about Lucy’s pregnancy had to be reviewed by a minister, priest and rabbi in order to ensure that they weren’t offensive to the television audience.

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17. 44 million viewers tuned in to watch Lucy give birth to little Ricky, accounting for 72% of all U.S. homes with TVs at the time.

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18. The Vitameatavegamin liquid was actually just apple pectin.

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19. Lucille Ball reportedly almost choked to death while filming the grape stomping scene in the episode “Lucy’s Italian Movie,” though no one noticed until after the scene was completed.

 

20. The words to the I Love Lucy theme song can be heard in the episode, “Lucy’s Last Birthday.”

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The lyrics are as follows: “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.”

21. Lucille Ball was on the very first cover of TV Guide. Eventually, she would appear on the cover more times than any other celebrity, a total of 39 covers.

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22. In 1962, Lucille Ball became the first woman to run a major television studio, Desilu.

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23. I Love Lucy was the first to series to end its run at No. 1 in the Nielsen ratings.

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24. Though the show ended in 1957, because of syndication I Love Lucy continues to be watched by approximately 40 million Americans each year.

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Proving that we still really do love Lucy after all.

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