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Thursday, September 15, 2011

Happy 60th Birthday, I Love Lucy!

Okay, my title is slightly misleading. If you were to consider the first day "I Love Lucy" ever went on air (and has not gone off since), that would be about a month from now (and I've got, of course, a lot under my sleeves for that).

HOWEVER, the first episode of "I Love Lucy" was filmed on September 8th, but it would not go on air until a whole four episodes later because of complications. The first episode to air was "The Girls Want to Go to a Nightclub", and it was filmed on this date sixty years ago. Technically, that makes it the first episode and therefore I will celebrate the 60th filming anniversary on this date.

*Few*. I hope I didn't confuse the heck out of you there, though I probably did.

Anyhow, in honor of this day, I have a few tributes. The first is the top ten most classic moments of "I Love Lucy"; not exactly my favorite, I listed those here in my 100th birthday tribute for Lucy. These are the ten most iconic or classic moments that have emboldened the show into history, and keep it fresh and a favorite nearly 60 years after it first went on air.


1)      Vitameatavegamin Lucy Does a TV Commercial (1952):
“And it’s so tasty, too!” Ask anyone and they’ll recount one of Lucy Ricardo’s greatest moments: Vitameatavegamin. Lucy wheedles her way into a TV commercial on Ricky’s TV spot. The product is Vitameatavegamin, a type of elixir that contains vitamins, meat, vegetables, and minerals – that promises to “spoon your way to health!” What Lucy doesn’t know is the product contains 23% alcohol. It isn’t long before Lucy is in a woozey state, – “Do you pop out at parties? Are you unpoopular?” – Therefore creating one of the most hilarious and well-known Lucy moments of all time…and sixty years later, it still has us keeling over with laughter.
2)      Lucy, A Pie, and Bill Holden LA At Last (1956):
One of the most infamous Lucy scenes in history – when Lucy and the gang finally arrive at Hollywood, the first thing Lucy, Ethel, and Fred decide to do is scope out all the movies stars at the “watering hole,” or rather, the Brown Derby. While there, Bill Holden innocently takes the booth behind Lucy, Ethel and Fred. Lucy and Ethel can’t stop drooling and eying the star until Bill tries to give them a taste of their own medicine. When he won’t stop gazing at Lucy, she gets uncomfortable, jumps up, and starts to leave – crashing into a waiter carrying a pie. The pie goes flying into Bill Holden’s face, and, well, need we say more?
3)      Lucy and the Putty Nose LA At Last (1956):
This other famous bit takes place in the same episode. After smashing a pie into Bill Holden’s face, Lucy hurries home. Whereas later on, Ricky brings Bill home to give his starstruck wife the pleasure of meeting the star, Lucy is scared to death knowing Bill Holden will recognize her as the woman who smashed a pie into his face. So she disguises herself with glasses and a scarf to cover her memorable hair, and then makes a putty nose for herself. While chatting with Bill Holden, she lights a cigarette – or rather, her nose! Her putty nose on fire another classic Lucy moment.
4)      Lucy Tells Ricky She’s Pregnant Lucy is Enceinte (1952):
In 1952, Lucille Ball made history as the first pregnant woman on TV. In fact, “I Love Lucy” was the first show to acknowledge a pregnant woman on TV – just, they couldn’t use the word pregnant. So instead they said “expecting,” or rather, “enceinte,” the French word for pregnant. In the episode which Lucy tells Ricky she is pregnant, she wants to tell him the way she’s always dreamed she would. But something or another keeps interrupting the perfect moment. Finally, she goes down to the club that night and writes an anonymous song request for the song, “We’re Having a Baby, My Baby and Me”. Ricky goes from table to table trying to find the expecting couple. When he comes to Lucy, she nods, and Ricky is ecstatic – “It’s me! I’m the father!” He and Lucy dance while he sings her the song. Actress Lucille Ball and Desi Arnaz, who played Ricky, were married in real life. They were so happy to be expecting another child (they already had one daughter, Lucie Desiree) after so many miscarriages they couldn’t help it; the tears came spilling out. The director filmed a more emotional take, but the audience protested – “NO! NO NO!” the original, sentimental take was used, and is considered one of the sweetest moments in TV history.
5)      Lucy and Ethel are Candymakers  Job Switching (1952)
Lucy and Ethel and Ricky and Fred decide to switch places for one day. Ricky and Fred will stay home and do housework while Lucy and Ethel go out to get jobs. While Ricky and Fred struggle with cooking dinner and ironing clothes at home, Lucy and Ethel get jobs at a chocolate factory, which is where the famous scene takes place. Chocolate truffles are coming down a conveyor belt and Lucy and Ethel must wrap every single piece and put it back on the belt; not a single piece must go by unwrapped. At first, it’s easy, but when the conveyor belt becomes too fast for them, they struggle to grab all the truffles and try to hide them anywhere they can – down their shirt, in their hats, in their mouths.
6)      Lucy’s Happy Little Loaf of Bread Pioneer Women (1952):
Its boys vs. girls when the gang bets each other they couldn’t do with the modern appliances of the time. So they pretend its 1900 again and can’t use any appliances made after that year. Which means Lucy and Ethel have to bake and make their own bread and butter. While Ethel churns (so hard that her hands begin to grow to the dasher), Lucy uses one too many cakes of yeast to bake a loaf of bread – one that turns out to be 5 feet long! When Lucy opens the oven, the bread is so long it pushes her across the kitchen and forces her up against the counter! The huge loaf of bread was later shared with the studio audience.
7)      Lucy Gives Birth Lucy Goes to the Hospital (1953):
The night Lucy Ricardo gave birth, 71.7% of all Americans with televisions tuned into watch the episode. The next morning, President Eisenhower was sworn into office, and only 67.7% of people tuned into watch! The whole episode is iconic; when Lucy’s doctor tells her the baby may be coming in any day now, Ricky, Ethel, and Fred are all jittery. When Lucy goes to lie down, they even rehearse what to do when Lucy tells them, “the time has come.” When the time does come, they’re so nervous they almost forget Lucy! It’s also opening night at Ricky’s club. He’s desperate to be at the hospital while Lucy is in labor, but the setup does not allow him to do so. While he is at the club performing a voodoo number (complete with makeup) he gets a notice his wife has given birth. He rushes back to the hospital, where he is almost arrested by the hospital police because of his stage makeup. Finally, he gets to peer into the glass window to see his little baby boy – Ricky Ricardo, Jr. The same morning that day, actress Lucille Ball gave birth to she and Desi Arnaz’s second child – Desi Arnaz, Jr.! The timing turned out, well, perfect!
8)      Lucy Smashes Eggs Lucy Does the Tango (1957):
The episode which would garner the longest laugh from the studio audience in Lucy history (65 seconds – so long it had to be edited!) featured Lucy doing the tango with eggs in her shirt. It all begins when the Ricardos and Mertzes’ chickens aren’t producing any eggs, so Ricky threatens to get rid of them and get out of the egg business for good. He and Fred get into a fight, and Fred is all planned to move back to New York unless the chickens start laying eggs. Lucy and Ethel buy some eggs to put in the chickens’ nest so Ricky and Fred will think they are laying. When they bring them home, circumstances cause them to hide the eggs – in their shirts, in their back pockets. Then Ricky shows up and forces Lucy into practicing the tango they are learning for a PTA meeting at Little Ricky’s school. The end calls for Ricky to throw Lucy away from her, and then for Lucy to throw herself back at him, crushing herself against him. Knowing this is a setup for disaster, Lucy tries to wheedle her way out of it, but it doesn’t work. The eggs smash in Lucy’s shirt and the whole story spills out – along with all the yolk!
9) Lucy is a Thief - Lucy Visits Grumman’s, Lucy and John Wayne (1956)
Lucy decides to get herself the perfect souvenir from the Ricardo/Mertz trip to Hollywood: John Wayne’s footprints from Grumman’s Chinese Theater! Of course, this cannot possibly go off with a hitch and this results in a hilarious series of events which include Lucy getting stuck in some cement, the breaking of the precious footprints, and a guest visit from the Duke himself.
10) Lucy Stomps Grapes – Lucy’s Italian Movie (1956)
In order to prepare for her “movie debut” in an Italian film called Bitter Grapes, Lucy decides to go soak up some local culture. The shots of Lucy and a real Italian grape stomp-er wrestling in a vat of juicy, big grapes (with Lucy teasing her through and through, of course) is one of the most classic “Lucy” moments of all time.

A shot from the first episode to air, "The Girls Want to Go to A Nightclub"

Also, a tribute to Lucy Ricardo/Lucille Ball set to the song "Bubbly." I think this song is absolutely perfect for both Lucys. I was working on it for a while but decided to publish it on this particular day as it will have a meaning! Enjoy! :)


That's it for now. Take a little time for some "I Love Lucy" today! Well, you should always make room for some "I Love Lucy" in your day. But especially today. ;)


Anonymous said...

Lovely page!!!

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