October 18, 2009

I Love Lucy!

I'm well aware that my love for the classic 'I Love Lucy' television show is not at all unique. I mean, isn't it like the absolute most popular t.v. sitcom of all time?! As far as I know, it's still always playing somewhere on some t.v. channel, in some country around the world. I'm not sure of the actual statistics, but I think that 'Lucy' has been loved by millions, if not billions of people since the show's debut back in the 1950s! Wait, am I overestimating a bit with the billions part? I've never been good at numbers. I just know that a whole LOT of folks have been big 'Lucy' fans over the years!

Of course, I've purchased all 6 seasons and all 13 Lucy-Desi Comedy Hours on DVD. I can watch them repeatedly, and never tire of them! In fact, it's one of my favorite things to do with Tommy. We just laugh, and laugh... And it doesn't seem to matter how many times we've seen an episode. I think that's quite a testament to the show's quality. The writing, the acting, the comedy, EVERYTHING was well-done!

It goes without saying that Lucille Ball was a comedic genius, and she was largely responsible for the show's success, but she also had a stellar ensemble cast to both back her up and play off of. I don't think they got enough of the credit they deserved, either. A lot of the show's funny bits happened between Lucy and Ethel, especially whenever they were being catty with each other, or even in a feud and not speaking. Plus, there was always some crazy scheme of Lucy's that Ethel would get reluctantly drug into. Vivian Vance was a great actress with excellent comedic timing and delivery. Sad thing was, privately she struggled with depression. And it certainly did not help matters any that Miss Ball insisted her female co-star be heavier, and look less attractive than her. Poor plump, not-as-appealing Viv... I've always thought you were pretty. Pretty darn funny, too!

"Zorch!" "Grebbitch!"
"Itza moo-moo."

Picking only ONE favorite 'Lucy' episode would be very hard
for me, but if my life depended on it, this might be the one
to receive that honor! It's Episode #89, titled 'Lucy is Envious'.
The above still is from its classic sequence where Lucy and
Ethel are doing their best lady-martian impersonations atop
the Empire State Building. Their hilarious attempt to "scare"
N.Y.C. tourists with this publicity stunt for an upcoming sci-fi
movie ('Women from Mars') is just SO bizarrely funny and
strange, that I couldn't even imagine another comedy team
doing it. Period.

"Lucy... You got some splainin' to do!"

Most anybody who's seen at least one episode is likely familiar
with this recurring confrontation. I like how you can obviously
see here that Lucy's brain is working overtime to come up
with something, ANYTHING, to tell Ricky that'll get her out of
the pickle she's gotten herself into.

Who could forget Ethel's stodgy old husband, Fred? I don't remember if they ever said what the age difference was supposed to be between those two, but it always seemed to me that Fred could almost be Ethel's father. He was such a grumpy character, too. The more I think about it, I realize Fred Mertz is probably the one character in the entire cast that I like the very least. Mostly, I think, because he was hardly ever nice to Ethel! In fact, Fred was always putting Ethel down, making fun of her weight and just humiliating her at every turn. I always wondered what would make a self-respecting woman stay married to an awful man like that? At least, Ethel did shoot back some real "zinger" lines of her own, once in a while! I do know that it was all just pretend, and that Fred was written to be that way, but it's also known that the actor, William Frawley, didn't talk to anyone (including his co-stars) if they weren't actually filming scenes for the show. He would just arrive shortly before an episode's filming, keep to himself, perform his scenes and then leave. Needless to say, Mr. Frawley was not one to suffer small talk gladly. Or much talk at all, for that matter. Just knowing this behind-the-scenes factoid tells me he must've been a real old, grumpy man! Wouldn't you agree?

I had no idea there were 'I Love Lucy' comic books!
I wonder if Little Ricky collected them?

I always liked the concept of Ricky Ricardo's character: A suave, handsome, charming and confident Cuban who also happens to be a talented bandleader that can both sing and beat a mean conga drum. Now, notice how I said I liked the concept. Actually, I do think that Desi Arnaz represented most of those qualities pretty well, but I never have thought his voice was very good. And I can't stand it when he sings in Spanish. Terrible of me, I know...

But I DID like the way Ricky dressed and styled his hair!

"I love Lucy
she loves me..."

I can see why the ladies were attracted
to Desi Arnaz. But it was awful and very

sad for Lucille Ball that he was such a
womanizing Casanova-type in real life,
and couldn't ever resist temptation.

"Babalu, Babalu,
Babaluuuu Aye..."

I like watching Ricky go totally nuts on his conga
(bongo?) drum. He gets so into it that he's usually
out of breath by the number's end, and his perfectly
coiffed hair becomes a total mess. That's what I
call passion!

"Yes, can I speak to a Mr. Jass?
I believe his first name is, Hugh."

Often times, Lucy used the good old telephone as a tool
for her plotting & scheming. Could you imagine the sort
of trouble she'd get into today, with a computer and
the internet?!

Here's a couple of funny Lucy-related toys that I found around the interwebs and thought would be fun to share... But don't fight over them, children.

My Little Lucy, My Little Lucy
What will today's adventure be?

I just had to include this one for the crazed adult
MLP collector in my life! You're welcome, Tommy.

Close your windows!
Lock your doors!
They're coming...
The Dolls from Mars!

These Kelly dolls totally cracked me up! What a
great idea. I'm thinking that I might actually need
to have these.

My second favorite episode would probably have to be Episode #147, titled 'Lucy Gets a Paris Gown'. That's the one where they're all in Paris as part of their European vacation, and Lucy decides to go on a hunger strike until Ricky agrees to buy her a Jacque Marcel dress. Ricky ends up feeling sorry for sad, starving Lucy and gives in. Then he comes to find out that Ethel had been smuggling food in to Lucy the whole time! Well, of course, he had to get even. So Ricky and Fred get a local tailor to make a couple of wacky outfits from burlap potato sacks, and a few hats out of a horse's feedbag and a restaurant ice bucket. Then they just sewed in the Jacque Marcel labels. The funniest part was watching Lucy and Ethel strut down the Paris street like they were a couple of haute couture models, or something! Classic.

"Do you like our
Jacque Marcel originals?
They are the latest
high-fashion in all of Paris."

It's too bad Lucy and Ethel decided to burn these.
But then, how could they have known that the
REAL Jacque Marcel would steal their husbands'
crazy designs and pass them off as his own?

For the longest time I felt quite strongly about wanting to meet Lucille Ball just so I could give her a BIG hug and thank her personally for all of the laughs and happiness she brought into my life. It never did happen, but I think Miss Ball knew how much she and Lucy Ricardo meant to the fans of 'I Love Lucy'. I just hope that, before her death, she fully understood how profound her impact was on both show business and pop culture.

~All photos via Google Images~


  1. I just watched an episode of I Love Lucy on Friday with my 88 year old friend Lola. She had tears in her eyes and I know she was remembering where she was and what her life was when she watched the show back in the day. It was a very bitter sweet moment. It was the episode where Lucy was trying to sing a barbershop quartet number with Ricky, Ethel and Fred. We laughed until we cried. Ricky was not a great singer but Lucy was horrific. Love her. And I thought Ethel looked beautiful. You are right, they always tried to make her out to be the not so hot one.

  2. Lurrrve all the shows...my mom & I used to watch them all the time! The Dolls fm Mars are cute...with costumes like that who needs a gun?! ;)
    Such a wonderful post Michael!

  3. Your octogenarian friend, Lola, sounds very sweet, Mid Century Madam!

    Watching 'Lucy' with someone else is always more fun, I think. It's a wonderful thing to share, and laughing with others is good for the soul!

    I like that barbershop quartet episode, too. There's hardly one that I don't like!

  4. Lenore, have you been drinking again?!
    No, my first name ain't Michael.
    It's Anthony... Ms. Jackson, if you're nasty!

    Glad you liked the post, though!

  5. Wow - mammoth post. I now feel a little ashamed to admit that I've never watched a whole show... GASP! I'll have to track down an episode or two.

  6. WHAT?!
    You've never watched an entire episode of 'I Love Lucy', MoonDoggie?!

    (Please, excuse me a moment while I pick my jaw up off of the floor...)

    Is that because you don't enjoy the show, or you just haven't managed to catch a whole episode from start to finish on t.v.? If it's the latter, you might want to rent some on DVD because it really is a true classic. And there are so many laugh-out-loud moments throughout the 6 season run of the show! I think that you and Ebbo might have a blast! :)

  7. This is such a great post, my suave handsome charming man. You're better than Ricky any day. But does this mean I need to dye my hair black and learn to play congas? I love what you said about Ethel! So true. Thanks for the pony shout-out! And we totally need those Martian dolls! Are they super expensive? Oh- and I love the prank call you have Lucy making. That made me laugh out loud. It's like I can totally imagine her saying that, but of course she never would have said something like that! At least not on the show. I Love Anthony!

  8. Thank you, Mr. Ricar, err...
    I meant, Mr. Kovac.
    Thank you, Mr. Kovac! ;)

    No, you do NOT need to dye your hair black and play the bongos! I just enjoy watching Desi's Ricky character in that setting, and in that time period. You know I like a lot of things aesthetically about the 1950s!

    I think you are right about something, though. We DO need those 'Women from Mars' Kelly dolls!

  9. Wouldn't that be weird if the Lucy From Mars doll was riding the My Little Lucy? That would be, like, kinky or something. Ew.

  10. What is WRONG with you, Tommy?!
    This is NOT the place for that kind of talk.
    See me after school...

  11. P.S. - Alright, Tommy, since you've taken things to THAT level, here's something else kinda kinky and wrong for you to think about:

    If you hadn't already noticed, take another look at the My Little Lucy pony... Not only is she wearing a polka-dotted dress and matching black belt & shoes, she also happens to be wearing a "PEARL NECKLACE"! ;)

  12. Hasbro would not appreciate this line of discussion. Neither would Jesus.

  13. Correct me if I'm wrong, Tommy, but I don't think that Jesus would ever even visit a circus, so he couldn't have known what we were saying...

    You know, if he WAS seen at a circus, with that long hair and beard of his, he'd probably be mistaken for a carny. And not the one who's in 'Wilson Phillips'!

  14. Yeah, Leah, that one is pretty great!

    They should do an Ethel one to go with it, don't you think? Or at least, a Ricky... ;)

  15. Ahh, yes - another fellow Lucy-lover!! What a wonderful post, Anthony.

  16. Thanks, Heidi!

    It was a fun one to put together, but it's icing-on-the-cake when a lovely lady, such as yourself, reads it and declares, "What a wonderful post"! :)


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