"I Love Lucy" Rough Draft-1 st It is almost hard to believe that the television series "I Love Lucy" originated over 50 years ago. This is quite amazing, being that this show is still alive and kicking today. Who would have thought, that over 50 years ago a little show, based off of a radio program, would have had such an impact on the entertainment industry? Becoming a great legend, and bringing the gift of laughter to people for over 5 decades? Expected to become a flop, still "I Love Lucy" caught everyone's attention and brought never before seen ideas to television. The making of "I Love Lucy" revolutionized the world of television and helped evolve the entertainment industry to be what it is today. America in the fifties, less than ten years after WWII, was all about creativity.
People were trying to find fun ways to make themselves happier people. The fifties were the years that rock and roll was born. They had teen idols such as Fabian, and Ricky Nelson. In these years Elvis would start to show his talent and begin his reign of the "rock and roll king." Amusing and fun toys like; silly putty, Mr. Potato head, and play doh were created, as Barbie would come in later in the fifties.
T. V. was invented and right along with that was T. V. dinners (created by a man with to many Thanksgiving leftovers; might I add. ) Western shows became popular as well as sitcoms, which is greatly due to "I Love Lucy." In July of 1948, Lucille Ball (a.
k. a. Lucy), had agreed to do a radio program called "My favorite Husband." In it she played a dizzy housewife very similar to Lucy Ricardo. In 1950 CBS brought about the idea to her that they may want to make the show into a television series. Lucy had liked the idea but refused to do it unless she could have her husband Desi Arnaz to be her costar, instead of her radio partner Richard Denning. "Unless Desi and I can act together, I will never act again." - Lucille Ball.
CBS did not accept until they heard that NBC had offered Lucy the job with Desi. In 1950, in fear of losing Lucy, CBS agreed Lucille could do the show with Desi as her husband. On March 2 nd 1950, they had finished their pilot episode. Desi and CBS did not agree on many of the ideas and was not working well with CBS so he decided to make his own producing company over using theirs, beginning the Desilu Empire. They used the Blow Company as their agency and everything was set. By the summer of 1951, all of the chaos finally fell into place, only waiting for the show to begin.
The beginning productions of "I Love Lucy", proved to be very hard work, which greatly paid off in the end. October 15 th 1951- the day the world first saw the soon to be the most popular television show in history, was the beginning of "I Love Lucy." It aired on CBS, on Monday night from 9-9: 30. Originally, the critics had predicted that "I Love Lucy" didn't stand a chance. However, when the people saw this first episode, which was titled "The Girls want to go to a Nightclub", they quickly disregarded the critics' comments. They enjoyed the show and continuously would watch "I Love Lucy" on Monday nights.
" The name Lucy can only mean one person." - Michael McClay. And thus began a new society tradition. When "I Love Lucy" premiered on October 15 th 1951, the critics were quick to make a 180 and give praise to the show. Within two months it ranked sixteenth in the nation, and by the end of the season it was ranked number three behind "Arthur Godfrey's Talent Scouts" and the "Texaco Star Theatre." Variety reported that an average of twenty-nine million viewers were watching the show every week and that "I Love Lucy" was the first TV show in history to reach over ten million homes. The second season of "I Love Lucy" (1952-1953), the fairly new series had no competition and finished off clearly as first place with a 67 rating, with now more than forty-five million viewers. The Desilu Company had such a huge growth that they were in need for a new studio and they moved from General Service Studios to Motion Picture Center, a seven acre facility with nine sound stages! They received a million dollars from CBS for their grand success.
During its third season, "I Love Lucy" had won its second Emmy for best situation comedy, and Vivian Vance (Ethel) had walked away with best supporting actress in a comedy. Unfortunately, Lucille had lost the award for Best comedienne to her friend Eve Arden. Again the show was first place with a rating of 58. Lucille Ball and Desi Arnaz had stared together in a movie called "The Long, Long Trailer", which had been very good publicity for "I Love Lucy." Things seem great- right? "I Love Lucy" suffered a major crisis that almost killed the show during its third season.
Lucille Ball had been accused by the FBI of being a communist. They called this the "red scare." The press had put a photo stated copy of the 1936 registration card on which Lucy had indicated her intention to vote for the Communist party candidates in that years election. They did not know that Lucille's aging grandfather had a friend running for a city council seat on the communist ticket and her grandfather had insisted on his grandchildren to vote for his dear friend. To try and better the situation, Desi made a live announcement, before one of their shows - "Lucille is no communist. Lucy has never been a communist-not now and never will be. We both despise the communists and everything they stand for! I was kicked out of Cuba because of communism." He said with a shaking voice and tears filling his eyes.
The audience gave an exploding applause and a standing ovation. Lucy then came out and hugged Desi and kissed her mother and friends with tears in her eyes. Finally the show was back on schedule. The very next day the papers had Lucille's testimony. Eventually things were cleared up and it was long forgotten.
This hard time for the show really strengthened the show and the bonds that the show held. For the fourth season of "I Love Lucy" (1954-1955), the Ricardo's and Mertz es moved to Hollywood for Ricky's business. This new change brings more excitement to the show and its ratings go back up to 70 at first place. In the 1955 Emmys, they had been nominated for a record of five nominees. Sadly, they took home none that night. To make matters worse, the next day Philip Morris, their sponsor, had dropped their sponsorship.
Thankfully, General Foods quickly filled their spot and helped to sponsor. The Desilu Empire continued to expand. The fifth season gave Lucy her second Emmy for best actress. William Frawley had lost to Art Carney for the third consecutive year, while Vivian Vance wasn't at all nominated. "I Love Lucy" dropped to number two, because "The $64, 000 Question" was a 1. 4 higher rating.
Next, the show lost their beloved producer Jess Oppenheimer left for a five year contract with NBC, while two new writers had joined the staff: Bob Schiller and Bob Weis kopf. During its sixth season, "I Love Lucy" climbed back up to number one at a 47 rating. Desilu Productions was in need of money so Desi sold all 179 episodes of "I Love Lucy" to CBS for four and a half million dollars. During this season, the Ricardo's move to Connecticut. At the close of the 6 th season Desi decides that he wants hour long shows monthly; instead of half hour shows weekly. Thus beginning "The Lucille Ball-Desi Arnaz Show." Due to his decision, the show loses their sponsors and receives many negative comments and bad criticism, yet he still would not change his mind.
After that, they do a couple more years of hourly shows together then take their separate routes. Throughout the years "I Love Lucy" earned over two hundred awards due to its high and new entertaining value. In 1954 it wins Emmys for Best situation comedy and for best comedian- Lucille Ball. In 1953 "I Love Lucy" wins Emmys for best situation comedy again and best supporting actress- Vivian Vance. And in 1955, "I Love Lucy" won one award for best actress in a continuous performance- Lucy.
"I Love Lucy" would not have been near as successful if it did not have the determined minds behind the camera or the devoted casts talents. The two great writers that stuck out the show through its entire run were Bob Carroll Jr. and Madelyn Pugh-Davis. They had also been the writers of the radio program, "My Favorite Husband", where the "I Love Lucy" idea originated. Jess Oppenheimer was the fabulous director and producer of the radio program and most of the television show. He was there the first five years but then left due to a contract with NBC, and also partially due to the fact that he and Desi Arnaz didn't get along.
Their ideas for the show contrasted one another's and they would argue on who had the better or more original ideas. Those three people were the most important people behind the camera, along with Desi. Desi Arnaz was born on March 2, 1917 in Santiago. He grew up in Cuba where his father was mayor of Santiago. There they were very wealthy. In the summer of 1934, Fulgenco Batista rallied the army against the corrupt Machado government, and all of the people associated with his power structure, which Desi's father was apart of, and threw them all in jail.
Desi watched the mobs destroy his house and slaughter all of his animals. When Desi's father was released from prison his family sent him to Miami. Desi left three months later. At sixteen years, Desi auditioned to be a bandleader and got the job instantly.
After listening to him, a man asked if he would consider being in the play "Too Many Girls" on Broadway. He did so well on Broadway that they gave him the job to be the same role in the film, which is where he met Lucille Ball. They married on November 30, 1940. He tried to pursue acting, after Lucille, but there weren't very many parts for Latins.
He soon got very jealous of Lucille's fame and stardom. He realized that film was not the right career choice for him and went back to band leading. During world war two he was called to join the army and help at the hospital where he would often sing and entertain there. One night he was planning to surprise Lucy by going to go see her.
He took a plane while his band drove. That night his bands bus was involved in a major accident and if he hadn't left to go surprise Lucille that night, but gone with his band instead, he would have been in the seat that was squashed and he would have died. Because of this scare they try to stick together and work out their marital problems. When "I Love Lucy" begins, Desi feels awful because he knows he is unwanted at the show. However, in the second year when he buys his own production company he basically runs the show. Unfortunately in 1955, Lucy and him were on the rocks because of his many problems: unwilling to remain faithful to her, drinking too much and letting his anger and jealousy become out of control.
Lucy filed for divorce on March 3, 1960. 26 years later, on December 2 nd of 1986 Desi Arnaz died in his daughter Lucien arms. All of his alcohol abuse had finally taken its toll. Lucille Ball was born on August 6, 1911, in Jamestown, New York. Her father died of typhoid fever when she was four years old. Four years later Lucy's mother remarried a man named Ed Peterson, a factory worker who drank and gambled too much.
Lucille's mother sent her two kids to go live with their grandfather. In high school, Lucille did a production of "Charles Aunt", playing the male lead, and realized then that she wanted to act someday. At fifteen years old, Lucille's mom enrolled her into a school special for performing arts. However, after a year at the school they told her that she didn't have any talent and to find another career. At 22, Lucy became a "Chesterfields Girl" model, which helped her in her movie career.
She was eventually contracted by RKO. Then she starred in "Too Many Girls", meeting Desi who she fell in love with instantly and married. Her marriage to Desi proved to be rocky with Lucy even filing for divorce at one point, but is reconciled to Desi. She also suffers a miscarriage during this turbulent time. Soon she is getting too old to be doing movies and is replaced with much younger girls. That's when she changes courses and goes into radio and makes "My Favorite Husband." She finally becomes pregnant and carries full term to, giving birth to Desi Jr.
on January 19, 1953 at 8: 15. The next year she has to go through the "red scare" and is accused of being a communist, which is a major downfall on her career. Things continue to spiral downhill for Lucy. In 1960, Lucy files for divorce on the charge of mental cruelty. She continued to do TV shows such as: "The Lucy show", "Desi-Lucy show", "Here's Lucy", etc... On April 26 1989, the legendary Lucille Ball dies unexpectedly during surgery.
"I Love Lucy" was the first television sitcom, which changed comedy and entertainment forever. "I Love Lucy" was the first show to have ever televised a pregnancy. The first pregnancy episode was called "Lucy is enceinte." Enceinte is a French word meaning "with child." They were forbidden to say the word pregnant so they would say things like enceinte or expecting. When Lucy told the public that she was pregnant, a few people thought it was an outrageous idea to let it be known on television. The crew on "I Love Lucy" feared how the audience would react knowing that they were having sex.
Another area in "I Love Lucy" that has slightly led television to be where it is today, was the way that they took lightly serious issues like marriage. In one episode, Ricky goes to see the neighbor Mrs. Grace Foster, who is wearing a low-cut sundress, however he tells Lucy that he is going to see Fred, but Lucy gets suspicious. Ethel tells Lucy that she saw Ricky come out of Mrs. Fosters apartment and she knows that Mr. Foster is out if town.
Lucy later listens in on Ricky and Grace on the telephone and hears her ask, "does Lucy expect anything yet?" and Ricky replies, "We got her fooled." Later, Lucy pretends to be a painter and lowers herself down to Mrs. Foster's window and see's Ricky put a pearl necklace on her. We later learn that Ricky was buying a pearl necklace for Lucy from Grace and wanted to surprise Lucy. As you can see from demonstrations like that, "I Love Lucy" helped to bring in the sitcom culture today. Shows like Friends, Seinfeld, Will and Grace, etc...
all originated from beginning shows taking little steps forward as "I Love Lucy" did. If we see enough of it we may become adjusted to it, which is what should not be done. Just because you " ve seen something on television doesn't mean that it is normal or o. k.
These shows may not be morally correct. "I Love Lucy" brought out woman power like never before. It is still a fairly new idea to America that male and female are equal. It shows a big step for woman to have made a show revolved around a girl that is not the typical damsel in distress. After "I Love Lucy" is made, many more comedic, female based shows come up such as: Mary Tyler Moore, Laverne and Shirley, Rhoda, bewitched, I dream of Jeannie, and more.
"I Love Lucy" started many of the fundamental filming techniques and technology that we still use today. First of all, it is the very fist show to ever use three cameras while filming. Another new idea is the lighting that they used. It illuminated the entire set and balanced the lights evenly. The lights were suspended from a maze of catwalks, which helped to keep power cables off of the floor. Another new invention made for "I Love Lucy" was the intercom phone system, which is still in use today.
"I Love Lucy" also came up with new photographic methods that changed the way photography was done. And last but not least "I Love Lucy" created the idea of a "live" television show. This leads to great, new shows such as Saturday night live and the tonight show. Still to this day, "I Love Lucy" is watched around the world and it is still a popular sitcom-comedy. It has changed the way we watch, make and approve television. "I Love Lucy" brings the great gift of laughter to people.
Lucy, Ricky, Ethel, Fred. These four great characters are what our television world revolves around today. They are our entertainment basics. The foundations. "I Love Lucy" has helps people to feel better when down, which is one reason it was so popular. If "I Love Lucy" had never been created, where would entertainment be today? Would we have live shows or sitcoms? "I Love Lucy" really helped shape our society, and helped the advancement of television to be where it is today.
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