The “I Love Lucy” show broke boundaries in many ways. It was the first scripted television program to be shot on 35mm in front of a live studio audience. The show was also one of the first to use a three camera set up rather than a single camera for filming in front of the live audience. They used this set up because sponsor of the show Phillip Morris wanted the series to be filmed in New York where the live broadcast signal would the highest for area that held their biggest cigarette smoking audience, however Lucy and Desi wanted to film in Los Angeles, so as not to uproot their newborn daughter Lucie. They struck a deal with the network and Phillip Morris to use the more expensive three-camera set which would assure equal broadcast quality coast to coast by taking a massive cut in the pay for the series, but their company Desilu would maintain complete ownership of the films. This ended up working out in their benefit because when the show went into syndication, they owned all the rights and became two of the first millionaires in TV history.
The laughter from the audience was completely authentic and garnered much positive praise from the network, as it was much more realistic than the previously used canned laughter tracks used by other sitcoms. In fact, the laughter was so authentic that the studio actually recorded it and that laughter was used as a track for a variety of other television programming. “I Love Lucy” was also one of the very first comedy sitcoms to tackle star Lucille Ball’s real life pregnancy with her husband, star and co-producer Desi Arnaz. Her pregnancy played out in real time in front of the audience, however at the time the actual word “pregnant” could not be spoken on the airwaves. The series used the word “expecting” to describe Ball’s pregnancy. Once her son Desi Arnaz, Jr. was born, audiences were able to watch him grow-up before their very own eyes, as he appeared on the show with his parents.
Sadly, while Lucy and Desi were on of America’s most beloved married couples on television, they could not remain married in real life. They ended up divorcing in 1960 after twenty years of marriage, however, amazingly they always remained the very best of friends. Even as he took his last breaths, Desi Arnaz claimed, “I Love Lucy was never just a title”. Anyone who has ever seen the show will definitely agree. Lucy came into our homes and won over our hearts and created some of the most amazingly comedic moments in television history. Many of the catchphrases and anecdotes from this series are still continually used and recognized today!
We broke down a few of the most memorable “I Love Lucy” moments:
Season Two of I Love Lucy in 1952 included the most popular and remembered skit from the show – Lucy selling (and drinking) Vitameatavegamin. It had the ingredients you might expect – vitamins, meat, veggies and minerals. It also had a high (23%) alcohol content – 46 proof.
The infamous Lucy and Ethel wrap chocolates episode
The grape stomping battle
And finally, just what happens with “Too Much Yeast”