Still in Love with Lucy

by Thomas Watson

Monday, October 1, 2012

Dear Fellow Lucyfans,

Happy Anniversary to The Lucy Show!

It was 50 years ago tonight – on October 1, 1962 – that The Lucy Show first aired on CBS Television Network. The premiere episode was “Lucy Waits Up for Chris” – and within moments after it started, the American viewing public heaved a sigh of relief: Lucy, one of the most beloved TV characters of all time, was back! (Photo, above, is from the first scene of that very first episode. I love seeing the studio overhead lights, etc.)

The Lucy Show, like its predecessor, I Love Lucy, was produced by Desilu Studios, with many of the same “behind-the-scenes” personnel returning to their former roles. Desi Arnaz himself again served as Executive Producer (for the first half-season), and writers Bob Carroll, Jr., Madelyn Martin, Bob Schiller and Bob Weiskopf were back at their typewriters.

Lucille Ball, of course, starred in the series, now playing widow Lucy Carmichael. Old pal Vivian Vance was back at her side, now playing divorcee Vivian Bagley. Candy Moore and Jimmy Garrett portrayed Lucy’s children, Chris and Jerry Carmichael; and Ralph Hart, appeared as Viv’s son Sherman.

For many of us, who had fallen in love with Lucy in the 1950s, this show was like a dream come true. When I Love Lucy ended, Lucille Ball had sworn she would never attempt series television again. “I couldn’t possibly top myself!”

Well, she may not have topped herself, but she certainly came back at the top of her form, and made countless new viewers fall in love with her. The series ran six seasons – albeit with a few format changes – and, again like it’s predecessor, never fell out of Nielsen’s Top 10.

When the series ended its primetime network run in 1968, CBS aired repeats on its daytime schedule through 1971, after which The Lucy Show went into syndication. It later aired on Nick-at-Nite cable network, and since 2009 has been released on DVD by CBS Home Entertainment.

An Extra-Special Day

October 1, 1962, was very memorable for Lucy fans for yet another reason – especially if you were a viewer back then of CBS’ daytime reruns of the original I Love Lucy series.

Those reruns had started back in January, 1959, and for the intervening 45 months had included repeats of only the first five seasons of programs. Those first 153 episodes had been televised seven or eight times each.

Recognizing the ratings power of Lucy, CBS had set aside the remaining 26 episodes (from Season 6), just in case it needed them for special duty in primetime. Most of those episodes had only been aired twice previously on the network: once when originally televised back in 1956-57, and once as a summer replacement series.

(The first 13 episodes, set in the New York apartment, had been run during the summer of 1959; the last 13 episodes, set in the suburban home, had been run during the summer of 1960 under the title Lucy in Connecticut.)

Now, in 1962, with Lucy back on CBS in primetime with all new adventures, the network felt it safe to incorporate the Season 6 reruns of I Love Lucy into the daytime cycle. On October 1, "Lucy and Bob Hope" (photo, right) aired on the morning show, leading into 5 weeks of "new to daytime" episodes.

So, once again, Happy 50th Anniversary to everyone involved with The Lucy Show on both sides of the camera and both sides of the TV screen. It has brought us all much happiness.

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Original materials © 2012 Dual-Crown Productions. All rights reserved.
"I Love Lucy" is copyrighted by and a registered trademark of CBS Worldwide, Inc.
Images of Lucille Ball and Desi Arnaz used with permission of Desilu, too, LLC.
Licensing by Unforgettable Licensing, Northbrook, Illinois.