Trivia / I Love Lucy

  • Banned Episode: For a period of time in the 1960s, networks stopped airing the final season episode "The Ricardos Visit Cuba", due to the then-strained relationship between the U.S. and Cuban governments.
  • Beam Me Up, Scotty!: Ricky never actually entered a scene with, "LU-CYYYY, I'M HO-OOOME!"
    • "Lucy...you got some splanin' to do!" was created by parodies long after the end of the show, although Ricky does say "Lucy! Splain!" in the episode "Charm School".
  • The Danza: Lucille Ball as Lucy Ricardo. She did the exact same thing in her two later shows, despite being different characters. She also always gave her character a last name containing "ar" as a tribute to Desi Arnaz: Ricardo (I Love Lucy), Carmichael (The Lucy Show), Carter (Here's Lucy), and Barker (Life With Lucy).
    • Vivian Vance (who played Ethel) was so sick of being called "Ethel" on the street that when she appeared on either of the spin-offs her character was always named Viv, Vi, or Vivian.
    • Cousin Ernie, played by Tennessee Ernie Ford.
  • Funny Character, Boring Actor: While Lucille Ball is known as one of the funniest women on television, she actually didn't think she was that good at improvisation, and would often rehearse a scene endlessly until she thought she had it just right.
    • Contrasted with Desi, who was not a professional comedian but was naturally funny and had a knack for improvisation.
  • Laugh Track: The show didn't have one – it was famously filmed in front of a live audience. However, the laughter you hear here would be used as the basis for canned laughter in sitcoms for decades to come.
  • Missing Episode: The Christmas Special was not included in syndication packages in order to prevent the episode from airing out of season, and also because of a supposed lack of interest in Clip Shows. From 1990-1994, CBS had a yearly tradition of airing the special in color, which they revived in 2013 with a newer print.
    • The Pilot was not intended for public broadcast, but it might also qualify. After CBS approved the show, Lucy and Desi gave a kinescope of the pilot to their friend Pepito Perez, who guest-starred. Since no one saw it afterward except for Pepito, his wife, and their friends, archivists spent decades assuming it got lost altogether. Pepito's widow finally brought it out of hiding in 1990. It took over 20 more years for CBS to find the uncut 35mm negative for the pilot.
  • Real-Life Relative: As mentioned, Lucille Ball and Desi Arnaz really were married for the entire length of the series, though their marriage was failing towards the end of it and they divorced almost immediately after the final episode wrapped.
  • Red Scare: Lucille Ball almost fell victim to it in real life – she was known to despise Vice President Richard Nixon, and had given a private testimony to the HUAC (House Un-American Activities Committee) the day "The Girls Go Into Business" was filmed. She was cleared, and was one of the lucky ones to not get put onto the Hollywood Blacklist.
    • When he learned HUAC was after Lucy, Desi went in front of the studio audience before one episode began taping and gave a defiant defense of Lucy, insisting that, "the only thing red about Lucy is her hair… and even that's not legitimate!"
    • Oddly enough, after their divorce, Desi spent a great deal of time in Cuba – apparently with Fidel Castro's blessing, and in direct violation of the embargo. It's worth noting that Desi came from the comparatively small wave of pre-1959 Cuban expats who fled rightwing dictator Fulgencio Batista (rather than the far larger wave that fled the communists); thus, he had no particular animosity toward Fidel.
  • Rerun: As mentioned, the show's creators invented this trope.
  • Throw It In: The 1952 episode "Cuban Pals" features Ricky attempting to translate Lucy's questions for his Cuban friends. Desi Arnaz mistakenly translates one question in English, resulting in him almost doubling over in laughter onscreen for almost a minute.
    • Another is the scene in Hollywood when Lucy's fake nose catches on fire and she dunks it in a glass of water to extinguish it. It's notable because Lucille Ball was a very strict perfectionist who rehearsed scenes tirelessly, and that was one of the few times where a Throw It In moment wasn't thrown out.
      • It probably didn't hurt that reportedly Lucy was very concerned about the safety of a lit wick so close to her face, and figured better not push her luck with a second take.
  • Unintentional Period Piece: Some unintentional examples really really scream "The Fifties":
    • The candy factory showing Lucy and Ethel working, handling food, without gloves. That would not happen today.note 
    • Telephones. Notice how every telephone in the series looks the same? That's because the show was made back when AT&T required you to use their phones, which came in two styles, both black. It took no less than the Supreme Court to step in and say third-party phones were legal.
      • Also the phone numbers. "Circle-7" and "Murray Hill-5" make absolutely no sense to modern audiences. The latter of course is still occasionally used instead of 555 as a Shout-Out to this show.
    • Almost any mention of money. Occasionally a joke simply doesn't work anymore thanks to inflation completely ruining the frame of reference. It's hard to understand Ricky getting angry at Lucy for spending so much money on something since, at this point, everything on the show sounds incredibly cheap.
      • Inverted for the episodes set in Paris. When the show was made, France was still using the old Franc, the value of which had utterly collapsed thanks to two world wars – the going exchange rate at the time was 350 francs to the dollar and would soon rise. France switched it out for the New Franc in 1960, which had much saner exchange rates (around 7F=1USD at the time they adopted the Euro).
      • Of course the episodes set in the UK make reference to Old British Money, which wasn't "old" then; Sterling would be decimalized in 1971, fifteen years after the episodes aired.
    • One particular sequence – where Lucy gets stuck at the border between France and Italy and can't cross to join everyone else – makes no sense in post-Schengen Europe.
    • When preparing to drive to Hollywood, Fred buys a 1923 Cadillac, which Lucy and Ethel treat as The Alleged Car (and to be fair, it isn't in the best condition). Today that car, even in the less-than-ideal shape it was in in that episode, would be worth a lot.
    • As mentioned above, the episodes where the cast visit Cuba seem absolutely bizarre in an era where Americans have been banned from travelling to the island for over half a century and counting. The regular series ended two years before Castro and the communists took over (even if the Comedy Hour specials are included, the series wrapped a year before the embargo happened).
  • What Could Have Been:
    • Desi Arnaz demanded that the second act of the episode "Lucy Tells The Truth" be rewritten. The plot involves Ricky, Fred and Ethel betting Lucy that she could not tell the truth for 24 hours. The original second act involved an IRS agent coming to the apartment to audit Ricky, and Lucy being forced to tell him about Ricky cheating on his taxes. Desi balked at the idea of Ricky cheating on his taxes, and a new second act was written.
    • "Lucy Goes to Scotland" would have aired in full color, if not for CBS's inability to afford color film. The episode was later colorized in 2007, as a bonus feature for a complete series DVD set of I Love Lucy and the Lucy Desi Comedy Hour.
    • After the Hollywood Arc was over, Desi suggested a Spin-Off taking place in their Hollywood hotel with Bobby the Bellboy as the main character as he deals with guests (he'd be given a female costar to play his girlfriend and get him involved in hijinx a la Lucy), but nothing came of it. With this in mind, the episodes featuring Bobby could be considered a Poorly Disguised Pilot.
    • Toward the end of the run, Desi Arnaz asked William Frawley and Vivian Vance if they would like their own Spin-Off show after I Love Lucy's cancellation. Frawley readily agreed, sensing a very financially lucrative opportunity. Vance declined, however, in large part because of the hatred she and Frawley had for each other both on and off the set.
    • Lucille Ball originally wanted the roles of Fred and Ethel to be played by longtime friends and comic foils Gale Gordon and Bea Benaderet. However, at the time, Gordon was already committed to play Dean Bitterman Osgood Conklin on Our Miss Brooks, while Benaderet was committed to play Nosy Neighbor Blanche Morton on The Burns and Allen Show (Gordon would later act as Lucy's foil on The Lucy Show). Another longtime friend of Ball's, Barbara Pepper, who later went on to play Doris Ziffel on Green Acres, was also considered to play Ethel. Unfortunately, Pepper had at that time been drinking very heavily after her husband, Craig Reynolds, passed away in a tragic motorcycle accident. With Frawley, whose fondness for the bottle was legendary, already cast as Fred, Desi Arnaz felt he couldn't take the chance of having the responsibility of keeping two people in line.


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