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Emsworth Mon May 26 21:37:35 2003
The Lost History of "I Love Lucy" reveal

Courtesy of my friend, historian and Scrappy fanatic Harry McCracken (, with additional research by yours truly, who in the past has delved into the vaults and revealed the shocking tales of the lost animation theme parks such as Terrytown in Tarrytown, NY, which used live rats to simulate the animated Terry ones and save money, and Walt's Place, the restaurant which actually inspired Disneyland and which used animation cels as place mats. Now the true story of the network struggles, lost episodes, and controversial casting can be told....

" [Few people know that] Walt Disney played the director in the Vitameatavegimin episode, filling a role written for Gale Gordon. In 1956, CBS, indignant at Arnaz and Ball's lavish spending and public marital difficulties, refused to renew their contracts. Network executives hastily retitled the show _Fred and Ethel_; comedian Bill Dana was hired to appear as Ricky Ricardo's brother, Cesar, while a then-unknown Barbara Eden played Lucy Ricardo's cousin Millie. The revamped show ran for two months until a deal was struck with Desilu to return to the previous format.

In 1957, another casting changed was neccesary when William Frawley quit the show in a salary dispute after learning that costar Vivian Vance earned nearly twice his $4000 per show wage. Forswearing show business forever, Frawley entered the rapidly-expanding automobile rental field, naming his new company Mertz Rent-a-Car. The name changed to Hertz after Desilu threatened a lawsuit. Paul Lynde was quietly cast as Fred Mertz's cousin, Ted; it was explained that he'd moved in with Ethel to keep her company while Fred went on a round-the-world trip he'd won in a radio contest

The aging emperor Hirohito was an obssessive fan of the show. In 1954, he offered Arnaz one billion yen to write him into the continuity. He appeared in four episodes that year as Hip Sung, the Ricardos' oriental houseboy.These scenes were removed from all syndication prints of the program.But many prints retain the scenes in which Mao Tse-Tung played Danny, a busboy at Club Babalu. [Presumably where he coined his "Hey, Fred!" catch phrase.] This was followed by the rather unfortunate guest appearance by Nikita Kruschev as Ricky's great grand-uncle Nicky, who playfully waves his shoes in front of Little Ricky. The Russian dignitary's constant mugging garnered the disapproval of the regular cast, and led to his blacklisting from all Hollywood sitcoms thereafter.

In an attempt to improve ratings, networks suits insisted that Desilu introduce Lucy's vampish twin sister Moosey, who was after Ricky and almost became the club headliner. Since Desilu's budget couldn't afford the technology adn camera tricks to make Lucy appear next to herself, a life-size cardboard cut-out of a brunette Lucille Ball in a black strapless evening gown was created, with the voice dubbed by June Foray and moving lips courtesy of Cambria's brilliant techniques.

As the show neared its final episode, Arnaz became concerned that CBS intended to continue it with different performers. (His fretting was justified; the network had approached Burgess Meredith and Jayne Meadows to play Ricky and Lucy.) Arnaz instructed the scriptwriters of the final episode to end it in a manner that would ensure that the program would not be continued. Bolivian drug smugglers burst into the Ricardos' Connecticut home, slaughtering them and the Mertzes in a bloodbath whose graphic intensity was unknown in American television of the time. Arnaz's ruse worked perfectly, and for years afterwards it was used to end other situation comedies, including Bewitched, The Adventures of Ozzie and Harriet, and Family Affair."

So now you know.... the rest of the story. Good day!

Emsworth Mon May 26 21:58:13 2003
More Lost History of "I Love Lucy"

Breaking news, from an examination of an anonymous lighting designer's personal production notes:

During the show's third season, Arnaz developed a paralyzing addiction to bacon bits. He consumed up to 50 bottles of the salad topping a day, and found himself unable to go for more than a few minutes without consuming any. This personal problem developed into a logistical nightmare for _Lucy_ filmings. Stagehands would place tables of bacon bits just out of camera view, and Arnaz would eat them ravenously when not on-camera. Tell-tale signs of this system are clearly visible in _Lucy_ episodes: Arnaz is often caught chewing or brushing bacon bits from his mouth. At other times, scriptwriters attempted to deal with the addiction by writing it into the continuity: Arnaz is seen eating salads in nearly half of all _Lucy_ episodes.

mouse Tue May 27 16:34:36 2003
Re: More Lost History of "I Love Lucy"

you know, i did _wonder_ if we should let you stay up past your bedtime watching 'nick at nite'.....

Emsworth Mon Jun 2 15:30:41 2003
Re: More Lost History of "I Love Lucy"

> you know, i did _wonder_ if we should let you stay up past your bedtime
> watching 'nick at nite'.....

TVLand was one of the main things that kept me going while recovering from my accident. Now I need to save up for it again. They're bringing back "Mr. Ed" after all! I cannot miss that. Recently found my tape of "Dennis the Menace" too!

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