Remember that one day when you could wake up without an alarm? When you would get your favorite bowl of cereal and sit between the hours of 8 and 12? This is a blog dedicated to the greatest time of our childhood: Saturday mornings. The television programs you watched, the memories attached to them, and maybe introducing you to something you didn't realize existed. Updated every weekend.
wanted to adapt their radio show My
Favorite Husbandto television, they naturally sought to bring that
show’s stars to the small screen. However, star Lucille Ball saw it as an
opportunity to finally work together with her husband, bandleader Desi Arnaz. I Love Lucy focused on the misadventures
of New York housewife Lucy Ricardo (Ball) who had delusions of stardom and did
whatever it took to try and achieve those dreams, despite not having a single
marketable talent. She often tried to become part of her husband, Ricky’s
(Arnaz), nightclub show through any means necessary; a constant source of
headaches for him. They were best friends with their landlords, Fred (William Frawley) and Ethel (Vivian Vance) Mertz. Fred was a
cheapskate who would end up becoming Ricky’s manager, and Ethel was Lucy’s
sidekick, often ended up involved with her various schemes.
Lucy, Ethel, Fred and Ricky conversing during a meal.
Madelyn Pugh, Bob Carroll, Jr. and Jess Oppenheimer, who also
produced, set about adapting the radio show for television. Original sponsor Philip Morris wanted the show to be filmed in
New York so that the larger Eastern audience wouldn’t be subjected to delayed
and inferior quality kinescope
recordings. Lucy and Desi worked out an arrangement to keep the show in
Hollywood for Lucy’s pending childbirth by having the show recorded onto
more-expensive film in exchange for their taking a pay cut and majority
ownership of the show. They also produced the show through their new production
Productions. Oppenheimer had the show filmed before a live audience to
provide Lucy with the energy she needed for her performance, and the show
pioneered the use of a three-camera system for sitcoms that would become the
industry standard. When previous episodes were aired to give Lucy recovery time
after her second childbirth, they effectively gave birth to the concept of the rerun when the episodes
received high ratings.
Lucy up to one of her schemes.
Love Lucy ran for 6 seasons on CBS. Lucy’s second pregnancy was
incorporated into the show, cited as her being “expecting” at CBS’ insistence,
and gave birth to the character of Little Ricky (James John Ganzer, Richard Lee Simmons, Ronald Lee Simmons, Michael Mayer, Joseph Mayer & Keith Thibodeaux at different
periods). The show was a ratings success, taking the top spot for four of its
seasons. In 1957, the show was retooled into the hour-long The Lucy-Desi
Comedy Hourand showed extended hour-long episodes as part of an
anthology series for the next three seasons. An emphasis was placed on big name
guest stars at the expense of the Mertz characters. To make it up to them, Desi
offered to do a spinoff centered around them, but as Vance and Frawley barely
got along, she ultimately declined. Beginning in 1955, CBS began airing reruns
of Lucy at various points throughout
its schedule, with reruns hitting Saturday mornings in 1959. These reruns
introduced the familiar “heart on satin” opening, which replaced the original
stick figure caricatures of Lucy and Desi introducing that episode’s sponsor
created by an uncredited William
Hanna and Joseph
Barbera and animated by Gene
Hazelton (they were under exclusive contract to MGM at the time and had to keep their involvement
on the down-low). In 1967, CBS began offering their syndicated rerun package,
resulting in the show still being seen on various networks to this day.