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The Lucy Show: The Official First Season

The Lucy Show – the official first season

Lucy on Stilts in The Lucy Show

The Lucy Show was Lucille Ball‘s return to primetime television after her first successful television series, I Love Lucy — €”and her well-publicized divorce from Desi Arnaz.  She was initially hesitant to do another weekly series, since she knew the work load involved — and she didn’t know how American audiences would react to her after her divorce. One of the stipulations she had with the new CBS show was that she wanted Desi to be its executive producer, (which he was for the first season), as Lucy knew Desi had the mind and ability to produce a top-rated show.  

Lucille Ball and Vivian Vance fixing their TV antenna in The Lucy Show

She also wanted her friend, Vivian Vance, to star along with her. Lucy’s demands were met, with Lucy playing the role of Lucy Carmichael, widow, and Vivian playing the role of Vivian Bagley, a divorcee.  They were two single women, living together, trying to figure out how to live on their own.  It was a very funny series, and I enjoy watching it — €”I hope you do as well.

Editorial review of The Lucy Show season one

The Lucy Show - karate class

The Lucy Show does not have the iconic status of I Love Lucy, but it was a worthy and very popular successor (it was the fifth-rated show in its inaugural season). Based on a book, Life Without George, it was something of a groundbreaking series in that it centered on two single moms: one, Lucy, a widower, and the other, Vivian (Vivian Vance), a divorcee (the first such sitcom character). Vivian and her son, Sherman (Ralph Hart), share Lucy’s suburban home in Danfield, New York, with her two children: teenage daughter Chris (Candy Moore) and wisecracking young son Jerry (Jimmy Garrett), who delivers zingers like a pint-sized Fred Mertz.

Lucille Ball in beauty makeup in The Lucy Show

Don’t look for Gale Gordon as banker Mr. Mooney. He doesn’t arrive until season two. The great Charles Lane (one of Mr. Potter’s minions in It’s a Wonderful Life) appears this season as cranky Mr. Barnsdahl, who is in charge of Lucy’s trust fund. Also appearing this season only is Dick Martin, of Rowan & Martin fame, as Lucy’s neighbor, Harry. The Lucy Show is more contemporary than I Love Lucy. One episode references the dance craze, the Watusi. “Lucy Visits the White House” directly references the Kennedy clan and includes some mild political humor. When Lucy asks a diner counter man (Alan Reed, the unmistakable voice of Fred Flintstone) why he won’t give her sugar cubes to rebuild a damaged model White House to present to the president, he replies “I’m a Republican.”

Lucille Ball as Charlie Chaplin in The Lucy Show

But The Lucy Show has aged gracefully thanks to the timeless physical comedy Lucy performs with Chaplin-esque grace (in “Chris’s New Year’s Eve Party,” she appears in a silent movie routine as the Little Tramp). Episodes may begin routinely, but they inevitably end up with Lucy and Viv stuck in a rapidly filling shower stall, wrestling with a circus elephant, or some other outrageous predicament.

Lucille Ball in the chimney on The Lucy Show

The Lucy Show is not as widely syndicated as I Love Lucy so these episodes have not been rerun to death. A treasure trove of archival extras includes an interview with Lucie Arnaz, who made her screen debut opposite her mother in the first-season episode “Lucy Is a Soda Jerk,” and another with Garrett, who tells some great and heartfelt stories about working with Lucy. Also fun are commercials that feature members of the cast in character, and clips from a 1962 CBS special, “Opening Night,” which previewed the network’s fall lineup. With all this, what’s not to love? –Donald Liebenson

Episode list for The Lucy Show season one

  1. Lucy Waits Up For Chris
  2. Lucy Digs Up A Date
  3. Lucy Is A Referee (Desi Arnaz Guest Stars)
  4. Lucy Misplaces $2,000.00
  5. Lucy Buys A Sheep
  6. Lucy Becomes An Astronaut (Nancy Kulp Guest Stars)
  7. Lucy Is A Kangaroo For A Day
  8. Lucy, The Music Lover
  9. Lucy Puts Up An Antenna
  10. Vivian Sues Lucy
  11. Lucy Builds A Rumpus Room
  12. Lucy And Her Electric Mattress
  13. Together For Christmas (Mitchell Boys Choir Guest Star)
  14. Chris’ New Years Eve Party
  15. Lucy’s Sister Pays A Visit
  16. Lucy And Viv Are Volunteer Firemen
  17. Lucy Becomes A Reporter
  18. Lucy And Viv Put In A Shower
  19. Lucy’s Barbershop Quartet
  20. Lucy And Viv Become Tycoons
  21. No More Double Dates
  22. Lucy And Viv Learn Judo
  23. Lucy Is A Soda Jerk
  24. Lucy Drives A Dumptruck
  25. Lucy Visits The White House (Elliot Reed Is The Voice Of JFK)
  26. Lucy And Viv Take Up Chemistry
  27. Lucy Is A Chaperone
  28. Lucy And The Little League (Desi Arnaz Guest Stars)
  29. Lucy And The Runaway Butterfly
  30. Lucy Buys A Boat


Computer nerd by day, professional clown on evenings and weekends (Raynbow), who combines the two by maintaining a bunch of websites dedicated to the history and performances of clowning, such as Free Clown Skits, and comedy such as Best Clean Funny Jokes.

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