CAROLE LOMBARD - My Favorite Actress

Saturday, January 12, 2013

The Greatest TV Comedies - I LOVE LUCY (1951-1957)

I have written about the greatest TV comedies of all time before on my blog and it makes for perfect timing as Lucille Ball is my TV goddess of the month. And without a doubt, her series, I Love Lucy is one, if not, greatest sitcom of all time. I know any number of fans can chime with their all time greatest but if you made a list of top 5 sitcoms of all time, I Love Lucy would probably be on 99.9% of those lists. 

Lucy in a typical Lucy situation

Lucille Ball created one of the most famous characters in TV history with the zany housewife Lucy Ricardo, who was married to Cuban bandleader Ricky (real life husband at the time Desi Arnaz). She would continually try to get into the biz herself through some kind of crazy shenanigans, usually involving her best bud, Ethel Mertz (played by good pal Vivian Vance). Ethel was married to Fred (played by William Frawley). The couples lived in the same apartment building which made for perfect comedic situations.

Fred, Ethel, Lucy and Ricky

The chemistry between the four leads was about as good as it gets. Ricky, usually losing his cool after finding out about Lucy's latest scheme...and the madder he got, the less English he would speak. And Lucy herself was perfect..playing off everyone with great timing. She wasn't called the First Lady of Television for nothing.

The Ricardos

The series produced 179 episodes over the course of six years to huge success and several Emmy wins. Everyone has their favorite episodes but once you start talking about them, a smile comes across your face and the memories come flooding back. Everyone remembers Lucy and Ethel working at the chocolate factory or Lucy get hammered on Vitameatavegamin, as she pitches the medicine for an advertisement. There are so many classic episodes to choose from that you can't go wrong with any of them.

Classic Lucy expression

Facts and trivia:

The original choices to play Fred and Ethel were Gale Gordon and Bea Benaderet, the co-stars of Lucille Ball's radio show, My Favorite Husband.

William Frawley and Vivian Vance actually hated each other in real life. In the show, displays of affection were forced.

Voted #2 on TV Guide's 50 Greatest TV Show of all time.

Desi Arnaz invented the rerun during the pregnancy episodes of this series by re-airing some episodes from the first season to give Lucy some rest.

Lucy and Vivian each won an Emmy for their performances during the series 6 year run. The fellas did not. The show itself notched 2 Emmys for Best Situation Comedy in 1953 and 1954.

Follow-up series: which both had lengthy runs as well...

The Lucy Show (1962-1968, 156 episodes)

Here's Lucy (1968-1974, 144 episodes)


Victoria said...

I never get tired of watching I Love Lucy episodes. One of my favorites is where the boys are always off golfing, so Lucy and Ethel decide to try basketball. They're playing in the living room in these ridiculous outfits and I laugh so hard I cry when I see that one. Then the boys agree to teach them how to golf but create a completely crazy game to try and get them to quit. It's definitely one of my favorite episodes!

silverscreenings said...

Wow - great post! So many things I didn't know. I was shocked - SHOCKED! - to discover that William Frawley and Vivian Vance hated each other. Who knew!


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