National I Love Lucy Day is observed annually on October 15. This day celebrates one of television’s all-time greatest shows; I Love Lucy.
I Love Lucy, an American sitcom starring Lucille Ball, Desi Arnaz, Vivian Vance and William Frawley made its debut on October 15, 1951. The program created a new television experience with the first filmed and scripted program performed before a live audience. The studio literally knocked a hole in a concrete wall creating room for theater seating inviting the once-banned fans to see the stars perform – for free! The new format and I Love Lucy won five Emmy Awards, received numerous nominations.
In four of its six seasons, I Love Lucy was the most-watched show in the United States and was the first to end its run at the top of the Nielsen ratings. In 2002, TV Guide ranked the sitcom television’s 2nd greatest show of all time, and in 2007 it landed on TIME Magazine’s “100 Best TV Shows of All-TIME” list.
- CBS DIDN’T THINK AMERICANS WOULD BUY THAT LUCY WAS MARRIED TO A “FOREIGN” MAN. When CBS approached Lucille Ball with the offer of turning her popular radio show My Favorite Husband into a television show, she was agreeable with one condition: that her real-life husband, Desi Arnaz, would be cast in the role of her spouse (played on the radio by Richard Denning). The network balked—there was no way that American viewers would accept average housewife Liz Cooper (her character’s name on the radio series) being married to a “foreign” man with an indecipherable accent. Never mind the fact that Lucy and Desi had been married more than a decade; such a “mixed” marriage was unbelievable.
- THE “MERTZES” DESPISED ONE ANOTHER OFF-CAMERA. Vivian Vance was 22 years younger than her TV husband and resented having such an “old poop” play her spouse. Frawley responded in kind, referring to her variously as “that sack of doorknobs” or just plain “b*tch.” But all that animosity was strictly behind the scenes and known mostly only to the series’ writers and directors.
- THE CANDY LADY WAS A BIG DIPPER IN REAL LIFE. “Job Switching” (often referred to as “The Candy Factory Episode”) has long been a fan favorite, particularly the scene where Lucy and Ethel are stuffing their faces and clothing with chocolates while trying to keep up with a speedy conveyor belt. The previous scene featured Lucy hand-dipping chocolates with a real-life dipper that stage manager Herb Browar found at See’s Candies on Santa Monica Boulevard.