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Having a 'Ball' on The Lucy Show and Here's Lucy!

Culture | September 19, 2017

Two years after her divorce from Desi Arnaz, Lucille Ball returned to TV in 1962 with her own wacky sitcom, “The Lucy Show”. The series ran for six seasons and because of this Desilu Production, series like Star Trek and Mission: Impossible came to light. Desilu executive Ed Holly stated, 'I told Lucy, 'If we do these [Star Trek and Mission: Impossible] and are unfortunate enough to sell them as series, we're going to have to sell the company and go bankrupt.' Lucy understood that Star Trek, if it worked, could be big. There had never been anything like it on TV, and if it hit, it would bring in money from the merchandise and reruns. Although it was a gamble, she made the call. In November of 1964 production began on the first Star Trek pilot.

Lucille requested to have her co-star Vivian Vance from “I Love Lucy” as her sidekick on the new show. Vivian asked that her new character be named Vivian as well, so there wasn’t any confusion with her old character Ethel. Lucy Carmichael was a widow and Vivian Bagley was a divorcee, which was very controversial back then. On the show, Lucy’s character had a son and daughter, Jerry and Chris. Vivian’s character had a son named Sherman. After Lucy’s husband passes away and Vivian is a recent divorcee, they all move in together sharing a house. And of course, Gale Gordon played her grumpy boss, banker Mr. Mooney with Lucy as his bumbling personal secretary.

Lucy had almost drowned during a shower scene, but thanks to Vivian, who lifted her upright by her hair for air, she didn’t! The show was filmed live with a studio audience, so what you saw is what happened while filming. Lucy wanted it shot in color, but CBS was stubborn and aired it in black in white for the first couple of years.  

Her daughter, Lucie Arnaz, appeared on the show in six episodes (as a pre-teen and teenager). Stars like John Wayne, Robert Goulet, Joan Crawford, Dave Clark Five, Mel Torme, Jack Benny, Dean Martin, Ethel Merman, Carol Burnett, Kirk Douglas, Milton Berle, Bob Hope and Don Rickles to name a few. Lucy and Mr. Mooney were the only two consistent characters throughout the series. Another famous name, Garry Marshall, was on the staff as a writer for the show. 

After “The Lucy Show” ended, Lucille came back to TV in “Here’s Lucy”. This time her own two kids, Lucie and Desi Arnaz Jr. were on the series as her two kids, Kim and Craig. The storyline for this series was that Lucy Carter and her two teenagers move to Los Angeles after her husband passes away. Gale Gordon returns as her stuffy brother-in-law, Harrison Carter who owns an employment agency and Lucy works for him as his secretary. Her best friend Mary Jane, played by Mary Jane Croft, was along as the straight-laced character to Lucy’s zany, slapstick character. The series ran from 1968 to 1974 and didn’t fare as well as “The Lucy Show” in the ratings, but was still a hit with the American audience. 

This show had some well-known guest appearances; like Richard Burton, Elizabeth Taylor, Ann-Margret, Flip Wilson, Carol Burnett, Jack Benny, Johnny Carson, Ed McMahon, Wayne Newton, Eva Gabor, Dinah Shore, Don Knotts and Donny Osmond. Lucy Carter, much like Lucy Ricardo, loved to get into the act and sing or dance with the stars while causing her usual comedy commotion. 

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Cyn Felthousen-Post

Writer

Cyn loves history, music, Irish dancing, college football and nature. Social media is also her thing, keeping up with trends and celebrities with positive news. She can be found outside walking or hiking with her son when she's not working. Carpe diem is her fave quote, get out there and seize the day!