Sunday, July 21, 2013

Classic TV: I Love Lucy (1951)

It was, and still is, one of the most cherished & beloved series in the early years of television, such that, more than 60 years later, it continues to charm audiences on cable.

I Love Lucy lasted six seasons (1951-7), but its titular star, Lucille Ball, remained a television fixture far longer, thanks to two solo series in the 60's and various appearances on talk shows and movies.

Unemployed housewife Lucy Ricardo (Ball) yearned for some excitement in her life, and so, either alone or with the aid of best friend Ethel Mertz (Vivian Vance), Lucy embarked on some wacky misadventures, and periodically tried to break into show business at the expense of husband Ricky (real-life husband Desi Arnaz) and his nightclub act. Television history was made early on in the series run when Lucy, expecting her first child, had it written into the show, leading to the birth of Little Ricky (Keith Thibodeaux), who figures prominently in a video clip below.

After the series ended, the Ricardos & Mertzes returned in The Lucy-Desi Comedy Hour, a short-lived series long thought lost, much like the original open to I Love Lucy, until Viacom located tapes of the series, leading to a brief run on TV Land, if memory serves me correctly. After that, William Frawley (Fred Mertz) would move on to My Three Sons before ill health forced him off that series.

Ratedbforblog serves up this montage of clips from January 1957, when George Reeves guest-starred in a sort-of-crossover with The Adventures of Superman:

As usual, Lucy means well, but chaos always seem to dog her trail......!

Rating: A-.


magicdog said...

I used to love watching this show as a kid, but I find many eps harder to watch now. Part of it is due to Lucy's behavior (always trying to horn in on Ricky's act) and how selfish and childish she was. However, many epic scenes were worth watching like job switching, when Ricky took her camping (to discourage her)and of course, when she found out she was pregnant and tried to tell Ricky.

I loved the Superman ep because George Reeves was still quite a figure and seemed to have some good comic timing as well. I loved his final line when he discovers Ricky has been married to a nut like Lucy for 20 years:

"And they call ME Superman!"

hobbyfan said...

The ep, "The Young Fans", w/Janet Waldo, isn't available on YouTube yet for some reason, though I did dig up a video of Janet on Ozzie & Harriet (it's over at the Archives) the other week. At least I found the next best thing.

We'll cover Lucy's other series during the week.