TV Classics: The Lucy Show

The Lucy Show:

USA 1962-68, six seasons, 156 episodes 30 minutes each, CBS, black & white (first season) and color (seasons 2 through 6). Narrated by: Roy Rowan, Cast: Lucille Ball, Vivian Vance, Gale Gordon, Mary Jane Croft, Candy Moore, Ralph Hart, Jimmy Garrett, Dick Martin.

Plot summary: Lucy Carmichael, a widowed mother of two, lives with her divorcée friend Vivian Bagley and her son. Together, they master they ups and downs of everyday life, including money troubles and men.

Review:  In loving memory of a comedienne who has remained popular for many decades on television until today, I have decided to have a look at her first show without Desi Arnaz, The Lucy Show, which is available on DVD (some of you may be pleased to know).

Two years after the completion of  The Lucy-and-Desi Comedy Hour in 1960, Lucille Ball returned to playing another incarnation of her famous Lucy character on CBS. Starting out in black-and-white and insisting on her original I Love Lucy time slot on Monday nights, Ms. Ball and her network did not expect this new show to last longer than a season. Reunited with co-star Vivian Vance from her previous hit show, the new format, however, was instantly embraced by her audience as well as by the industry, which rewarded her with an Emmy Award nomination for Outstanding Continued Performance by an Actress in a Series (Lead). The sitcom would go on to pick up six additional nominations and two acting wins for Ball.

Starting out as a widowed mother of two, the new Lucy lived with her best friend Vivian, TV’s first divorcée mother, and had to face the challenges of everyday life as a single parent. Undergoing many changes in casting and plot throughout its six successful seasons, The Lucy Show proved to be a steady favorite on CBS and featured guest stars such as Ann Sothern, Wayne Newton, George Burns, Jack Benny, and many more. Shot in color from its second season on but broadcast in black-and-white until 1965, the show also did well in ratings until Ball bowed out of her own show after selling Desilu Productions. She moved on to star in Here’s Lucy on CBS for another six years, a show her new production company, Lucille Ball Production,s owned the rights to, and thus continued the tradition of the comedienne having control over her own program.

Melanie Simone is a writer with a degree in American Studies and English. On Talking Classics she savors her love for vintage Hollywood.