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Trivia / The Lucy Show

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  • Actor Allusion:
    • A subtle example: In "No More Double Dates," Lucy, Viv, Harry and Eddie each want to see a different movie. Two of the movies under consideration are Whatever Happened To Baby Jane and Two for the Seesaw. Ralph Hart, who played Sherman, had bit parts in both films.
    • In "Lucy Decides to Redecorate," Viv cracks a joke about spray painting the furniture while wearing a yellow evening gown, alluding to a series of print ads that Lucille Ball had recently done.
  • Blooper:
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    • In "Lucy Misplaces $2,000," the elephant's trainer is standing behind the elephant during the entire scene, and his pant leg can be spotted in a few shots.
    • In "Lucy Puts Out a Fire at the Bank," Lucy incorrectly addresses Fran as Mary (the actual first name of the actress playing Fran).
  • The Cast Showoff:
    • Vivian Vance, who got her start in musical comedy, got to show off her singing voice a few times.
    • Ralph Hart, a trained dancer, was given several opportunities to display his talents.
  • Creator Backlash:
    • After Gale Gordon joined the show, Vivian Vance was displeased that she was progressively given less to do. Allegedly, having to commute all the way from Connecticut each week just to play a secondary role was one of the reasons she decided to leave.
    • Candy Moore, who played Chris Carmichael, enjoyed working on the series but was unhappy with how one-dimensional her character was. Later, after the original writing team departed, she expressed displeasure at the decreasing quality of the scripts, and was very disappointed when the retool dropped her and the other children with no fanfare. Ralph Hart was similarly crushed at being written off the show.
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    • Candy Moore's least favorite episode was "Lucy is a Chaperone," as she felt it was a poor imitation of a corny beach movie.
    • Original writers Bob Schiller and Bob Weiskopf didn't much care for the direction the series took after they departed, and openly felt that the new writers, though talented in their own right, were not up to crafting appropriate material for Lucille Ball. (Apparently, Ball herself wasn't always happy with the material her later writers gave her, and reportedly uttered "who WROTE this?" on more than one occasion.)
    • Dick Martin did not appreciate Gale Gordon's contribution to the show, feeling the addition of his character was a mistake. Martin felt the writers would've been better off creating a new love interest for Lucy, similar to Harry Connors, the part he played.
    • Director Maury Thompson hated the "Lucy & Pat Collins" episode, where Lucy and Mr. Mooney become hypnotized during Miss Pat's nightclub act. Thompson felt the premise was a flimsy excuse for Ball and Gordon to do shtick.
  • Creator's Favorite Episode:
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    • Lucille Ball's favorite episode was "Lucy Dates Dean Martin." Apparently, it wasn't just her favorite from this series, but her all-time favorite episode from any show she did.
    • Candy Moore's favorite episode was "Chris's New Year's Eve Party."
  • The Danza:
    • As with her previous series, Lucille Ball shared a first name with her character. Vivian Vance insisted that her character be named Vivian, as she was tired of being called Ethel in public. The character that replaced her in later seasons, Mary Jane Lewis, was played by Mary Jane Croft.
    • Several of Lucy's other girlfriends also shared first names with their actresses, such as Dorothy (Konrad), Kathleen (Freeman), Carol (Burnett), Doris (Singleton) and Vanda (Barra).
  • Dawson Casting: In the episode "Lucy Gets Her Diploma", several of the high school students are played by actors who were in their 20s. Steve in particular looks every bit of 25.
  • Edited for Syndication: The kaleidoscope opening was used for every episode in one syndication package, with Vivian Vance's name spoken instead of Gale Gordon's on episodes from the first three seasons.
  • Fatal Method Acting: A near miss happened during the filming of the episode "Lucy and Viv Put in a Shower". Ball nearly drowned during the filming of the shower scene, and Vance had to pull her up by her hair to save her from an accidental drowning. Vance did some ad-libbing to give Ball some time to catch her breath; neither the film crew (who kept filming) nor the studio audience (who were too busy laughing) noticed anything was amiss.
    • A second near miss happened after the scene was shot. A very wet Lucy walked over to the microphone stand to thank the audience for attending the filming (the shower scene was the last scene filmed in front of a studio audience; the final scene was shot once the audience had left), but her husband, Gary Morton, literally screamed at her not to touch the microphone for fear she might get electrocuted.
  • Hostility on the Set:
    • Vivian Vance's long commute from Connecticut each week, plus her eventual desire to leave the series, led to some tension between her and Lucille Ball at times. One instance occurred during "Lucy & Viv Play Softball," where an argument ensued over Ball throwing a bat in a way that prevented Vance from catching it. Ball ultimately stormed off the set to cool down while Vance was reduced to tears. Later, Ann Sothern recalled a very tense atmosphere on the set of "Lucy & The Old Mansion," the last episode shot featuring Vance as a regular. Ball did not want her co-star to leave but Vance's mind was made up. Reportedly, their friendship grew stronger once they were no longer working together on a weekly basis.
    • Lucille Ball did not get along with guest star Joan Blondell, allegedly taking issue with Blondell's "unfunny" delivery. Blondell argued that her lines were straight lines and therefore not meant to be funny. After a take, Ball pulled an imaginary toilet chain, indicating her displeasure with Blondell's performance. Blondell caught the gesture, delivered a four-letter word and stormed off the set, never to return.
    • Ball also clashed with Joan Crawford during the filming of "Lucy & The Lost Star." Not being used to the sitcom format, Crawford was filled with trepidation and allegedly turned to alcohol to calm her nerves, which greatly displeased the notoriously demanding and perfectionist Ball. After Crawford failed to perform a Charleston dance routine to Ball's satisfaction, Ball loudly threatened to fire her in front of the entire cast and crew, causing Crawford to flee to her dressing room in tears. There, she uttered the infamous quote: "And they call ME a bitch!" It is said that Desi Arnaz and Vanda Barra gave Crawford pep talks which helped get her through the shoot, and the episode became one of the biggest hits of the season when aired.
  • Money, Dear Boy: Vivian Vance initially had no interest in doing another series, having just remarried and settled down in Connecticut. The promise of a substantial salary increase from her I Love Lucy days (along with co-star billing, a more glamorous wardrobe and her character being named Vivian instead of Ethel) helped persuade Vance to take the job.
  • The Other Darrin:
    • Mr. Mooney's youngest son, Arnold, was played by Barry Livingston in season two. Teddy Eccles assumed the role in season three.
    • This could apply to Mr. Mooney's older son, Bob Mooney, played by Eddie Applegate. When Applegate was unavailable to reprise the role, Michael J. Pollard was brought on as Ted Mooney, essentially replacing Bob in the series continuity. Whether Ted was a replacement or simply another of Mooney's sons is a matter of contention.
  • Public Domain: 30 episodes from the series are believed to be in the public domain due to a studio oversight - 2 from the 1st season, 21 from the 5th season and 7 from the 6th season. These episodes can be easily found on budget DVDs.
  • Real-Life Relative:
    • Lucille's two children, Lucie Arnaz and Desi Arnaz, Jr., made numerous appearances on this series. They would go on to play her onscreen children in Here's Lucy.
    • Gary Morton, Ball's second husband, appeared in a few episodes - once as Lucy's beau of the week.
  • Temporary Substitute:
    • Ann Sothern played Countess Framboise in three of the six episodes Vivian Vance sat out during season 3. Sothern was written in specifically to fill in for Vance, and would reprise the role for three episodes the following season.
    • Two episodes from the final season - "Lucy & Robert Goulet" and "Lucy Gets Her Diploma" - were written to feature Mary Jane Croft as Mary Jane Lewis, but she had to back out due to illness. Lucie Arnaz filled in for her in the former, Doris Singleton in the latter.
  • Unfinished Episode: An episode written for the first season, "Lucy & Viv Fight Over Harry," began rehearsals but was cancelled before filming night. One factor was production problems - actor Jimmy Garrett injured his ankle while rehearsing a scene, and the show would've involved complex techniques never before attempted on a Lucille Ball program, such as silhouette photography. Another reason was the plot firmly established that Lucy Carmichael had feelings for neighbor Harry Connors (Dick Martin), and it had already been decided to write Martin out of the program. Therefore, the episode would've been working against the series' long-term goals.
  • What Could Have Been:
    • The series was originally going to be named The Lucille Ball Show.
    • According to The Lucy Book, the series was initially planned to last only a single season, and was created as a "stop-gap" measure to help leverage the sale of other Desilu shows to the networks, as the studio was floundering at the time. However, Ball so enjoyed working steadily on television again that it was soon decided to continue the show.
    • Lucy's daughter was named Linda in the earliest script drafts. Deborah Walley was a finalist for the part.
    • The character of Mr. Mooney was conceived for Gale Gordon during development of the first season, but Gordon had already committed to replacing the late Joseph Kearns on Dennis the Menace. Charles Lane was brought on as Mr. Barnsdahl in his place. Come season two, Gordon was available and the Mr. Mooney character written into the show.
    • Lucille Ball almost didn't do the elephant scene in "Lucy Misplaces $2,000" because she feared the animal. According to writer Madelyn Davis, she changed her mind after Vivian Vance volunteered to do the scene instead.
    • According to Carole Cook, "Lucy & Viv Are Volunteer Firemen" was meant to show both Lucy and Viv sliding down the fireman's pole along with Cook's character, Thelma Green. During rehearsals, both Ball and Vance got cold feet and refused to do it, leaving Cook to perform the stunt by herself. (Ball only did stunts she was comfortable with, and feared the possibility of injuring herself if she fell off the pole, thus putting the whole cast and crew out of work.)
    • After Dick Martin was written out, the writers wanted to make Frank Aletter's character from "Lucy, the Music Lover," Dr. Sam Eastman, the new recurring love interest for Lucy Carmichael. However, Aletter had already signed on to do a pilot and wasn't available, so the idea was abandoned. Aletter later regretted missing out on this opportunity, as the pilot he did never sold.
    • "Lucy Teaches Ethel Merman to Sing" was originally filmed as a single episode, but Ethel Merman and the cast had such a good time that it was expanded into a two-parter after filming concluded. The original ending to the first part, showcasing the Boy Scout show, was scrapped, and was replaced with a longer and more elaborate routine for the second episode, "Ethel Merman & The Boy Scout's Show." Only production stills of the cut ending survive.
    • Several scripts written for the series were never produced. Besides "Lucy & Viv Fight Over Harry" (see Unfinished Episode above), others, such as "Lucy Plays Basketball" and "Lucy is a Girl Friday," were not filmed because Ball had misgivings about the material.
  • You Look Familiar:
    • Mary Jane Croft played Audrey Simmons during the first two Danfield seasons. She was brought back in greater capacity as Mary Jane Lewis in season four, when the locale shifted to Los Angeles.
    • Lucie Arnaz and Desi Arnaz, Jr., first appeared as Cynthia and Billy Simmons, respectively, who were friends of Chris, Jerry and Sherman. They later played various teenager roles during the California seasons.
    • Kathleen Freeman, besides a few appearances as one of Lucy and Viv's girlfriends, played three other characters at various times, including Miss Putnam, their maid.
    • Carole Cook, best remembered as Lucy's friend Thelma Green, also appeared as a variety of other characters during both the Danfield and Los Angeles years, most notably society columnist Mrs. Valance.
    • Mary Wickes, besides her recurring role as Fran, played a number of other parts throughout the show's run.
    • Keith Andes first appeared in Danfield as Bill King, one of Lucy's potential suitors. He later returned as Brad Collins, a neighbor in Lucy's L.A. apartment.
    • Jack Benny first appeared as plumber Harry Tuttle in season three's "Lucy & the Plumber," who was noted for his resemblance to...Jack Benny. He later played himself in season six's "Lucy Gets Jack Benny's Account," but also did an uncredited voiceover in "Lucy & George Burns" as himself as well.
    • Harvey Korman (of The Carol Burnett Show fame) appeared in three episodes, each time as a different character.
    • Carol Burnett appeared as both Lucy's roommate, Carol Bradford, and fellow flight-attendant trainee Carol Tilford.
    • Ruta Lee portrayed Audrey Fields in "Lucy's Substitute Secretary." The following season, she played herself in "Lucy Meets the Berles."
    • Doris Singleton (famous for her portrayal of Carolyn Appleby on I Love Lucy) made two appearances on this show, both times playing a different part.
    • Elvia Allman appeared twice, first as an unnamed customer and later as Miss Allman, owner of the Unique Employment Agency.
    • Roy Roberts first played an Admiral in "Lucy & The Submarine" before assuming the recurring role of Mr. Cheever during the final season.
    • Sid Gould was a regular bit player, playing most waiters, deliverymen and other small male roles on the series.
    • Vanda Barra portrayed several different characters during the final season.
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