Saturday, October 15, 2011

Classic Television: I Love Lucy premiered 60 years ago tonight

I actually own this kitsch collectors plate - California Here I Come from I Love Lucy

I Love Lucy is a classic American television sitcom starring Lucille Ball (the centenary of her birth was this past August), Desi Arnaz, Vivian Vance, and William Frawley. The show is ranked, along with Seinfeld, as one of the two greatest television shows of all time, and certainly one of the two greatest sitcoms of all time.

The black-and-white series originally ran from October 15, 1951, to May 6, 1957, on the Columbia Broadcasting System (CBS). When the original series ended, the show continued for three more seasons with 13 one-hour specials, running from 1957 to 1960, known first as The Lucille Ball-Desi Arnaz Show and later in reruns as The Lucy-Desi Comedy Hour.

I Love Lucy was the most watched show in the United States in four of its six seasons, and was the first to end its run at the top of the Nielsen ratings (an accomplishment later matched by The Andy Griffith Show and Seinfeld). I Love Lucy is still syndicated in dozens of languages across the world.
The show was the first scripted television program to be shot on 35 mm film in front of a studio audience, won five Emmy Awards and received numerous nominations.

I am showing scenes from five classic episodes (there are many) in honor of the 60th anniversary.

This classic episode shows what happened when Lucy and Ethel decide to take a real life job wrapping candy in a chocolate factory.  This actually has become famous as a scenario with current days business schools as an example of what happens when production gets out of control.


This is one of my favorite episodes.  Lucy and Ricky decide that they want to break their lease and have an obnoxiously loud party in their apartment. The second song is called "El Breako De Lease-o" by Lucy.  I actually tried something like this to end a lease and it did not work.

In this episode, Lucy and Ethel end up buying the same dress -- Lucy at Gimbel's Department Store, and Ethel at Macy's. They both were supposed the dresses for others so they would not look alike, and neither did.  The song "Friendship" by Cole Porter is clearly inappropriate since they are ripping each other apart in the scene

Many Americans who moved to California during the boom years of the state from the mid 1950's for several decades had this scene playing in their heads upon departure (well at least I did but what do you expect - I own the collectors plate above).  The four stars sing the classic vaudeville  song "California Here I Come" -- driving over the George Washington Bridge out west to the Golden State for a season of the show based in Hollywood.

Here Lucy spots 50's heartthrob William Holden in Hollywood at the famous Brown Derby Restaurant. Later in this episode, she manages to light her nose on fire masquerading as Groucho Marx when Ricky brings William Holden back to their hotel room for an upcoming part in his movie.

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