65 years ago today “I Love Lucy” aired it’s first episode.
If you’ve never seen an episode of “I Love Lucy” …then you’ve got some ‘splaying to do! But here are the basics – Starring Lucille Ball, Desi Arnaz, Vivian Vance and William Frawley, the show followed the antics of a mischievous, red-headed housewife who wanted so desperately to be in show business like her husband, Cuban musician Ricky Ricardo.
What you may not know is that “I Love Lucy” was actually based on a radio program from 1948 called “My Favorite Husband” which starred Lucille Ball with actor Dick Denning playing the role of her husband. But when CBS bought the rights to the show, Lucille insisted on recasting her real-life husband Desi in the TV show.
“I Love Lucy” was a pioneer of television sitcoms for many reasons. Lucille Ball paved the way for strong-female leads, producers and comedians for decades that followed her – stars like Mary Tyler Moore, Carol Burnett, Tina Fey, Amy Poehler and many more. In it’s day, “I Love Lucy” was also a ground-breaking on social norms, portraying an on-screen interracial marriage, and later an on-screen pregnancy. In fact, the network prohibited the use of the word “pregnant” so the show’s writers used the French word “enceinte.”
The show and its stars are legendary. “I Love Lucy” ended in 1957 after six seasons, but is still syndicated to this day across the globe. It’s been the topic of many books, biographies and films. A biographically-inspired movie starring Cate Blanchett in the role of Lucille Ball, written by Aaron Sorkin, is said to be in top-secret production now.
To celebrate the 65th anniversary, here are the 10 best and most iconic moments of the show:
1. Lucy Does a TV Commercial (Season 1, Episode 30) Hillarious! “Vitameatavegmin… it’s so tasty too!”
2. Job Switching (Season 2, Episode 4) Amusing portrayal of gender roles and is one of the few episodes which has been colorized and rebroadcast.
3. Lucy is Enceinte (Season 2, Episode 15) “We’re having a baby, my baby and me.” Notable for how the show’s writers avoided saying the word ‘pregnant’ and the beginning of taping episodes with pregnant-in-real-life Lucille Ball.
4. First Stop (Season 4, Episode 13) …because it displays some of the show’s best physical comedy with the entire cast.
5. Harpo Marx (Season 4, Episode 28) …because it’s just one of many episodes which featured cameos from guest stars.
6. Lucy Thinks Ricky Is Trying to Murder Her (Season 1, Episode 4) …because we’ve all gotten lost in a book before or gotten spooked by a story.
7. Equal Rights (Season 3, Episode 4) …because it continues to speak to gender roles and topics of the day. “What else do you want? You’ve got the vote. You wear pants.”
8. Lucy Hires an English Tutor (Season 2, Episode 13) …because this episode is an example of how the show did well to poke fun at Ricky’s pronunciation at every opportunity.
9. The Christmas Special …because this colorized special airing is seldom-seen.
10. Lucy’s Last Birthday (Season 2, Episode 25) …because it features the show’s theme song, complete with lyrics.
Which “I Love Lucy” episode is your favorite?