'I Love Lucy' was a much-loved sitcom that ran from 1951 - 1957 and set the tone for many TV comedies to come. It broke many boundaries and was the first scripted TV series filmed with 35 mm. film in front of a live studio audience.
However, despite all this time, it is still held dear by many and there are still some things about the show that many don't know. Here we take a look at a few of those facts.
Desi Arnaz's character of Ricky Ricardo was initially written as Larry Lopez when the show was first being put together but it was changed fairly rapidly.
Producers didn't like the sound of the alliteration of Larry and Lucy and so changed Desi's character to Ricardo.
William Frawley and Vivian Vance Did Not Get Along
The actors who played Fred and Ethel on the show were really not big fans of one another with friction arising predominantly over their age gap of over 20 years.
Other actors of the show weren't aware of how high the tensions were until they left the show and realized not all working relationships were like that as the pair would regularly engage n verbal sparring and call each other names.
Lucille Ball Was Not A Natural Red-Head
Lucille Ball became famed for her iconic flame red hair but it hadn't actually been that way until 1942 when she dyed it for the film DuBarry Was A Lady.
She was naturally a brunette but dyed it blonde when she went to Hollywood before going red for the rest of her career.
300 People Watched Every Show
Each and every show was filmed in front of a live studio audience and 300 people would fill it out for the filming.
Desi Arnaz would later go on to claim that Lucille Ball worked better in front of a live audience as there was an incredible amount of 'one take' scenes.
There is One Episode Where You Can hear The Lyrics To The Theme Song
The catchy theme song to the popular show was never thought to have lyrics but in one episode, you can hear the lyrics with it. “Lucy’s Last Birthday” is the only episode to do this!
The lyrics are: “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.”
Desi Arnaz Was One Of The Best In The Business
Arnaz was noted for his incredible memory, so much so that he could often memorize all of his lines for an episode in one script reading.
Staffers on the show would often feel he was underprepared and then were surprised when he rarely, if ever, messed up his lines.
Lucille Ball Almost Died In Front Of The Audience and Crew Without Anyone Knowing
In one episode there is a grape stomping scene and Lucy begins to choke on a grape. In the episode, 'Lucy's Italian Movie' the actress begin to choke but the cast, crew and audience all thought it was part of the show.
It was only when cameras stopped rolling that anybody realized Lucille was actually choking and rushed to her aid but the footage remained part of the episode.
The Most Appearances On TV Guide
Featuring on the very first cover of TV Guide magazine, Lucille Ball went on to be on the cover 39 times in her career making her the most featured celebrity ever on the magazine's cover.
Given that she was a bonafide film star and revolutionized the way the television sitcom was viewed, she is perhaps quite deserving of such a prestigious accolade.
The Famous Drink Lucy Got Drunk On Was Actually Apple Pectin
Perhaps one of the most famous and most popular scenes in the whole series is when Lucy is downing a pretend product called Vitameatavegamin on which she then gets increasingly intoxicated on.
The drink was actually Apple Pectin and Lucille Ball said she actually didn't like filming the scene but would later go on to admit that it worked out very well.
Fred and Ethel Got Their Names From Real People
The neighbors and best-friends of The Ricardos were Fred and Ethel Mertz and their names actually came from people to whom Lucille Ball was close to.
Fred was the name of Ball's brother whilst Ethel was named after Broadway star and Ball’s friend Ethel Merman, who Vivian Vance had coincidentally understudied years earlier.
William Frawley Struggled with his Lines
Despite his portrayal of Fred Mertz becoming part of comedy iconography, William Frawley was not like Deni Arnaz in the sense that he could not memorize his lines.
He would quite often struggle with how many lines he had and would tear pages out of the script and complain about them regularly.
It Is Still In Syndication
When 'I Love Lucy' ended in 1957, it was number one on American ratings but the show has continued to grow its legacy with re-runs still being watched by over 40 million Americans a year.
On top of that, it continues to be syndicated worldwide and merchandise is still being sold.
It was Lucille's Mom Who Would Shout "Uh-Oh!"
One of the distinguishing parts of the show was that, whenever Lucy got herself into an awkward situation, someone off-screen would shout "Uh-Oh!"
This person was actually Lucille Ball's mom who was present at every filming. The sound producer for the show, Glen Glenn, would go on to use the recording in other shows as well.
Ball and Arnaz Took Pay Cuts To Make Sure The Show Was of The Highest Quality
Lucille Ball wanted the show to be of the highest quality possible and this included being filmed on the best equipment. Ball insisted that the crew use the best film available at the time but this was very expensive.
As such, both her and Desi Arnaz agreed to pay cuts so that the production crew could afford the film.
It was So Popular It Affected Trade And Amenities
During its initial run in America, the show was so popular that it was noted that telephone and water usage would drop dramatically during the half-hour the show was on.
Some stores would even close early due to a lack of customers at the time it was being aired.