Top Ten Things Not to Do at The First ‘I Love Lucy’ in 1951

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This week marks the 69th anniversary of the first ‘I Love Lucy’ show on CBS television. This post was inspired by fellow blogger, author, and history buff Susannah.

The Olds from Eternal Road. There are only a few days left at 99¢ on Amazon. Click the car to go there. Come right back, though.

 

We cannot miss the first show, so let’s get in James 56 Olds and go there. So that we don’t cause a tear in the time continuum, grab the list of Top Ten Things Not to Do.

Top Ten Things Not to Do at the First ‘I Love Lucy’ Show in 1951

10 If you go with us, do not say out loud, “Lucy, you’ve got a lot of ‘splainin’ to do.” If you do, at best, you will be ignored. At worst, the director will take you out back. (You see, Maxence, those words were never said by Ricky. He may have used ‘splain in another context but never that line. Now the director wants you to take a hike. No, he’s not going to film you.)

9 If you go with us, do not ask Tiny, the WWF champ, why he’s not playing Fred Mertz. If you do, at best, Tiny will be distracted by the catered lunch. At worst, Tiny, who paid $50,000 for acting lessons and tried out for the part, will think you are mocking him. (Tiny did not get the part, Maxime because the director thought he was too menacing. She gave him the part of the night janitor instead. Not on screen but the actual night janitor. Oh yeah, here’s a message from Tiny. He wants to see you outside.)

8 If you go with us, do not bet anyone; the show will close after one performance. If you do, at best, you’ll only bet a dollar. At worse, you put up the Olds title. (Well, Maxton, this could have been not good if we hung around for another week. The “I Love Lucy’ show went on for six seasons with 181 episodes. Since you put the Olds up as collateral, it is a good thing we can leave before the bet is decided. Go warm it up since we only have six more things to cover, then we are outa here.)

7 If you go with us, do not make comments on how the show is filmed or the cast. If you do, at best, the pre-production noise will drown you out. At worst, cinematographer Karl Freund will hear you. (You now have Karl’s attention, Mayhew. He was the first to film a TV show in 35mm film with multiple cameras that moved. Freund also invented the flat lighting techniques used for filming TV shows. This technique eliminated shadows on the set. He thinks you are critical of the way he is doing things. He has a way to gain satisfaction, though. His second will be calling on you in the morning. You have experience in fencing, right?)

6 If you go with us, do not discuss the future success of the show. If you do, at best, everyone will be working and not hear you. At worst, the numbers you quote will probably cause all the actors to freeze. (After all, Maynor knowing the show would get five Emmys and have 40 million viewers in syndication would scare anybody. It looks like Ms. Ball wants a word with you, and she doesn’t look happy.)

5 If you go with us, do not point out that William Frawley and Vivan Vance do not speak to each other off-camera. If you do, at best, you will be ignored. At worst, the director will think you are from the media. (It is well known around the studio that the two do not get along, Medus. The director wants to make sure you are not going to write about it. I think he will let you out of this closet if you double dog guarantee you are not a journalist.)

4 If you go with us, do not wear your anti-tobacco t-shirt to the production. If you do, at best, it can be covered with a coat. At worst, the executive from Phillip Morris, the sponsor of the show, will spot you. (In the early days of television, Medus, the sponsors of shows often dictated content and frequency. Phillip Morris insisted the show be weekly instead of every other week, and Lucy and Desi desired. It looks like two huge guys are headed your way.)

3 If you go with us, do not suggest doing the show without an audience. If you do, at best. Lucille will not hear you. At worst, Lucille will think you are a TV critic. ( It was Lucille’s idea to use a live audience instead of canned laughter, Medwyn. She wanted the show’s spontaneous reaction to come through. She is now telling Tiny to help you out. Tell him where you came in, quick. Otherwise, he might not be fussy about using a door.)

2 If you go with us, do not mention re-run in front of Desi. If you do, at best, he will be talking to the director and miss what you say. At worse, he will think you are an industry spy. (Here’s the deal, Mehrdad. After the first year of the show, Lucy became pregnant and could not keep up with the weekly schedule. Since the show was shot in 35 mm film, Desi decided to air previous episodes from the first year to give lucy a break. The audience loved it and so the re-run was born. Desi set up the first syndicated re-run system which is still used today. BTW Desi wants to talk.)

1 If you go with us, do not suggest that ‘I Love Lucy’ become a radio show as well as television. If you do, at best everyone will think you are joking. At worse, someone will take you up on it ( A show was produced, Meinke. It was a compilation of the audio part of “Breaking the Lease” episode of the TV show. It never aired since Phillip Morris decided to sponsor “My Little Margie” instead.)

If you would like to hear some of the show here is a link for 8 minutes of it.

https://www.oldtimeradiodownloads.com/comedy/i-love-lucy/breaking-the-lease-1952-02-26 

76 comments

  1. Great list, John. Some of the episodes remain priceless and ageless. Thank you for the morning smiles and the backstories. 😀

    Liked by 2 people

    1. My pleasure, Gwen.

      Liked by 1 person

  2. fredhrohn · · Reply

    Hi John, this is Book Club Mom wearing my dad’s hat. We loved watching this show. I learned a few things from your post. I had forgotten that Fred and Ethel didn’t like each other off-screen. So many classic episodes – too many to mention!

    Liked by 1 person

    1. Thanks, Barbara.

      Liked by 1 person

  3. I’ve always been a huge fan of I Love Lucy, so this was a treat. Oh my…the radio segment mentioning the cigarettes…wow. I did enjoy listening to the show. Thanks for a great top ten and for sharing that link, John!

    Liked by 2 people

    1. Thank you, Jill. 😁

      Like

  4. Nice one, John. I always loved that show.

    Liked by 1 person

    1. Me too, Keith. Thanks.

      Liked by 1 person

  5. This show was some of the best comedy ever put on tv. What I’d forgotten was “My Little Margie” — and now I’m remembering “Our Miss Brooks.” Good times — thanks for bringing some of them back!

    Liked by 2 people

    1. It was awarded in 2012 the distinction of the best sit com ever. I can’t remember the group but it was a great honor. Thanks, Linda.

      Like

  6. I sure won’t mention the private lives of the cast – I wouldn’t want to rob Tiny of his innocence. 🙂

    Liked by 2 people

    1. Don’t you love that he thought he was Marlon Brando? 🙂

      Liked by 2 people

      1. That’s why control-freak Lucy reined him in!!

        Liked by 2 people

      2. Can you blame her?

        Liked by 2 people

      3. Yes. With his running around, divorce was the best course.

        Liked by 1 person

    2. He thanks you, GP.

      Liked by 1 person

  7. GOD JOHN…I LOVED THIS.

    Had no idea, Desi was the sire of reruns, and that she was only on for those few seasons. It seemed as if I Love Lucy aired for years, and I guess it was because…YES…OF THE RERUNS.

    Now it’s a pretty common fact Desi canoodled a lot on Lucy, so I liked how sweet he was while she pregnant. I always say, you can’t judge a man by just one trait, you need to line them all up, since some of the good will surely, out weigh the bad.

    I remember reading, how she always loved him, even after they divorced and she married comic, Gary Morton. And that when Desi was dying of lung cancer, also married to someone else, they spoke every day, and she was the only person he wouldn’t see because, he didn’t want her to see him so sick. That always puts a lump in my throat.

    She was the best, and has absolutely no splainin’ to do.

    Thanks for writing this. If you don’t mind, I’ll cut and paste it into my documents, so I can have it. Susannah 🙂

    Liked by 1 person

    1. Since you inspired, it you can have it. 😊

      Liked by 1 person

      1. Should’a known you was ba-ling-al.

        Liked by 1 person

      2. Stand back. I’m going to laugh out loud again. 😆

        Like

    2. Also they did some hour shows after the series was done.

      Liked by 1 person

      1. Yeah, but they weren’t as great, in my humble opinion.

        Liked by 1 person

      2. Those half hours were, and still are, priceless.

        Liked by 1 person

  8. PS I laughed at Tiny spending 50 grand on acting lessons and how they made him the actual janitor. You’re so funny. 🙂 🙂 🙂

    Liked by 1 person

    1. Poor Tiny. He can never get a break. (Unless it is someone else’s bone.)

      Liked by 1 person

      1. I’ll bet though, he was a great janitor.

        Liked by 1 person

      2. He actually is slightly OCD so when he is tasked with cleaning a floor that floor gets cleaned. No if, ands, or buts. 😊

        Liked by 1 person

      3. I love a focused man. sigh

        Liked by 1 person

      4. Yes he is that when his medication is working. 😁

        Like

  9. Great list, John. I learned a lot. Lucille will always have a spot in my heart for saving Star Trek from the dustbin. I think Tiny should have gotten the part of Fred, although, he might have body slammed Ethel, so maybe it was for the best. I’ll keep my mouth shut about the reruns, too. Mind if I skip over to give my 5-yr-old self a bit of advice?

    Liked by 1 person

  10. Great look at a slice of Americana.

    Liked by 1 person

    1. Thanks, Craig.

      Liked by 1 person

  11. They were light years ahead of their time, brilliant thinking. I didn’t know the reruns were originally because Lucy was pregnant. I also didn’t know Ethyl and Fred did not get along off the set. Super Top Ten, John!

    Liked by 1 person

    1. Thank you, Jennie. 😊

      Liked by 1 person

      1. You’re welcome, John!

        Liked by 1 person

  12. Some really cool trivia bits in here.

    Liked by 1 person

    1. Thanks, Charles.

      Like

  13. One of our favourite shows in repeats.

    Liked by 1 person

  14. I love that Lucy wanted to use a live audience – that canned laughter is the worst.

    Liked by 1 person

      1. It is: silly but fun!

        Liked by 1 person

  15. I love this. I once met their daughter, Luci Arnaz, and she spoke highly of her parents, Lucy and Desi. One of the first things I ever saw on TV was an I Love Lucy show.

    Liked by 1 person

    1. I have heard that both kids liked their parents.

      Liked by 1 person

  16. No wonder this one ran six seasons — they were far ahead of the times! Just hearing that the actors who played Fred and Ethel didn’t get along shows what professionals they were — I sure didn’t know that. Nowadays, they’d probably be hating on one another all over social media, ha!

    Liked by 1 person

    1. Can you imagine today what would be said? Hahaha.

      Liked by 1 person

  17. That was an interesting travel back in time, John. In October 1951, I was two months old. So, it was nice to feel young again. 🙂 I kinda’ like this ’56 olds!

    Liked by 1 person

    1. You are such a young chick, Jan. I was ten.

      Liked by 1 person

  18. D.L. Finn, Author · · Reply

    One of my favorite shows. I would have loved to have seen the first show in person. I did get to see the broadway verison of a I Love Lucy Show, that was a lot of fun.

    Liked by 1 person

    1. I was ten when it aired so I think I did see the first show. We were one of a few on our block to have a TV.

      Liked by 1 person

  19. One of my favorite TV shows from childhood. Made me giggle.

    Liked by 1 person

    1. Always nice to hear that you giggle, Audrey. 😁

      Like

  20. A few interesting nuggets I never knew about I Love Lucy. One of my favorite shows of all time and one my kids grew up on.

    Liked by 1 person

    1. Yes indeed. I was ten when it went on the air. I think I’ve seen every episode.

      Liked by 1 person

      1. I still laugh out loud at the episodes.

        Liked by 1 person

  21. That was a very fun trip!

    Liked by 1 person

    1. Thank you, Liz.

      Liked by 1 person

      1. You’re welcome, John.

        Liked by 1 person

  22. Mon Dieu! I didn’t know that first shows appeared so long ago! Thank you, dear John! 🙂

    Liked by 1 person

    1. That they did. 😁

      Liked by 1 person

  23. This is so funny as another blogger mentioned the Candy Factory episode just yesterday so I’m feeling like I’m seeing a rerun 😉 No, not even close. Who didn’t love Lucy?
    What a fun list, John. Had no idea Desi was the instigator of the rerun… the things we learn.

    Liked by 1 person

    1. I know, Right? He was quite an innovator. Thanks, Dale.

      Liked by 1 person

  24. Love this, John! When I was growing up, we didn’t get the network that aired I Love Lucy. So, I got to enjoy it in reruns as an adult. Used to watch it every weekday evening at 6:00, I remember:) My fave ep was the one about the mystery book and she thought Ricky was planning to murder her!

    Liked by 1 person

    1. Hahaha. Thanks for the memory, Becky. 😁

      Liked by 1 person

  25. I absolutely loved that show, John, so thanks for posting this. I knew about Fred and Ethel not getting along off-camera, too. It’s so sad. When you see how the actors connect so well on a show, you hope they all get along in real life. Lucy was a comedienne extraordinaire. I can still see that scene with her and Ethel at Sees Candy. Remember that one? 🙂 Thanks for the link also. I’ll listen a little later…

    Liked by 1 person

    1. I do remember that episode, Lauren. Thanks for the memory. 😁

      Liked by 1 person

  26. This was a good one. Thanks for the info.

    Liked by 1 person

    1. Glad you liked it.

      Like

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