Seldom Seen Scenes:
"These Lucy prints are very rare. I found a guy who knew the man that transferred all of (NAME EDITED)'s personal 16mm prints to video back in 1979 - the man kept copies for himself (of course!).
"The remarkable thing about them is that they contain footage that was cut from the ORIGINAL syndication prints.
instance, in "The Great Train Robbery", when Fred and Ethel are headed
to the dining car for the first time, there is an additional bit of dialogue between them
and then footage of them being seated. This is not in the Collector's
When 'Little Ricky' was born, a scene was filmed for the end of the program, showing the real life Desi Arnaz, Jr., with congratulations from Phillip Morris cigarettes.
Lucy did a number of specials during the Sixties, here's a video clip from the surrealistic 1966 CBS special Lucy in London.
The trippy, hippy tune was written and produced by Phil Spector and features Lucy like you've never seen her, dancing around London dressed as a mod with The Dave Clark Five!
In the special, Lucy plays her Lucy Carmichael character from 'The Lucy Show'.
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THE CUBAN REVOLUTION
Desi Arnaz, co-star and producer of I Love Lucy, was a visionary television pioneer, responsible for so many revolutions in the medium. He practically invented the three-camera method of filming that is the standard today, and refined the way advertisers utilized the then struggling medium.
Despite heading the number-one show in the early-fifties, Desi was always looking for ways to do things better. For instance, he hated the way television episodes would abruptly stop and go to black when it was time for a commercial. It interrupted the flow of the program, he felt, so he devised a way of integrating the commercials more fully with the show.
Animated buffers featuring 'Ricky' and 'Lucy' as cartoon stick characters were created to start each episode, 'bringing on' the sponsor's message and mixing in the show's musical soundtrack at the beginning and end of the spot. This way the show could open quickly and go right to commercial while the audience was alert.
After the sponsor's message, the theme song would swell and the show began. Arnaz reasoned that ever-changing, animated interstitials (designed by Gene Hazelton of Hanna-Barbera fame) would provide for a richer overall viewing experience - and increased value for advertisers. He was right.
(This concept is hot again as TV networks, film studios and web developers try to find ways to integrate their content more effectively with an advertiser's message.)
Here are some examples of Arnaz's visionary concept, unseen for almost fifty years, along with other animated themes from later Lucy shows you may not have heard of.
The illustration at the left is from the VERY FIRST broadcast - note how crude the lettering is and the heart seems to have a weight problem! Throughout the long run of I Love Lucy, there was no consistent graphic for the opening titles, although the music stayed pretty much the same season to season.
(The beginning and ending from the I Love Lucy reruns you grew up with (featuring the familiar heart image) was created especially for the syndication package and wasn't a part of the original network run.)
Another interesting factoid about the old Lucy-Ricky cartoon openings is that they were done in secret by Hanna-Barbera - who were working for MGM at the time and were strictly forbidden to do any work for television.
Here is one of the openings to I Love Lucy as sponsored by Sanka Decaffeinated Coffee. These clever cartoon framing devices were customized for each new episode. Here is a Lilt Home Permanent theme and a Fluffo Cooking Oil theme. I Love Lucy was also sponsored for some time by Phillip Morris Cigarettes.
Arnaz's concept of integrated sponsorship is effectively demonstrated here, with another of the transitions and commercials for Lilt Home Perms, leading into the ending theme, with the credits running over a jar of Sanka. (If you're keeping track, this is from the episode where Lucy and company are on the train, and she keeps pushing the emergency brake.)
Reruns of I Love Lucy ran under this title during the summer of 1955 - on Sunday nights, obviously.
Lucy was the number-one show in the nation that year, so it was a natural for the fledgeling CBS television network to devote two nights a week to it's biggest hit. Here is the end theme for The Sunday Lucy Show.
This was a series of one-hour monthly specials featuring the I Love Lucy gang were aired from 1957-1960.
Again, several different theme song visuals were used during the run. Above is the opening to the very first show with footage of Desi introducing the series that you WON'T see on reruns today.
That episode was the first 75 minute show ever to air on network television in prime time. When Desi told the network of his plan for the first show, they flatly refused to give him 75 minutes - either cut it down 15 minutes or add 15 more.
Desi wasn't backing down. He personally called the head of U.S. Steel, sponsor of the following hour of programming, and asked for the first 15 minutes of their timeslot. In exchange, Desi guaranteed to double their normal ratings. Arnaz delivered on the ratings bonanza he promised.
Unfortunately, the show was butchered when rerun as The Lucy-Desi Comedy Hour (CBS summers from 1962-1967) to fit a 52-minute slot. The Hedda Hopper interview used to frame the original show is totally gone, as is an extended part of Lucy and Ann Sothern's jail scene... and many other key scenes were trimmed.
The Lucille Ball - Desi Arnaz Show was originally sponsored by Ford, then by Westinghouse. As a sponsor bonus, Desilu produced industrial sales films starring the I Love Lucy cast members for both companies. Here is a clip from the promotional film produced for Westinghouse dealers featuring Lucy and Desi as 'themselves' on the Desilu studio lot.
To retain continuity with their earlier productions, Desi hosted the Desilu Playhouse episodes that occupied the Monday night timeslot when the Lucy-Desi hours weren't on.
Lucy was seen at the end of the show as well; she would 'phone in' to Desi on the set or talk from behind a curtain to provide a cue for commercials. The animated Lucy and Desi characters were also employed for commercial transitions during the off weeks.
Never heard of it? This 1960 summer rerun series was taken from the final thirteen episodes of I Love Lucy featuring the Ricardos and Mertzes living in rural Connecticut.
The simple graphic titles reflected the down-home feeling the show took on. Notice the theme song itself is exactly the same as the syndicated version.
When I Love Lucy ceased production in 1957, it was the number-one rated show in the country. When The Lucille Ball - Desi Arnaz Show ended it's three-year run in 1960, rural-themed shows like The Real McCoys and The Andy Griffith Show (both of which were filmed on the Desilu lot) were topping the charts.
CBS had been rerunning I Love Lucy in primetime under various titles for years (and in a daytime slot as well, beginning in 1959). The unending appeal of the series made the network all the more anxious to get Lucy back on television in a new half-hour sitcom, despite her declaration that, "I will never do another TV series. I couldn't top I Love Lucy, and I'd be foolish to try."
THE LUCY SHOW
During the six-year run of The Lucy Show (1962-1968), the series had five completely different opening themes. When the Nickelodeon network reran the show in the late-eighties and early-nineties, the various themes were replaced entirely with the more familiar 'kaleidoscope' opening.
The strange repackaging for the reruns on Nick were the result of The Lucy Show's first reruns on CBS daytime in 1968 before they were syndicated. (I Love Lucy daytime reruns ended in 1967 when that series entered the syndication market).
was obviously a very hasty job and when Nick got the rerun rights, Paramount
just gave them the old video masters from the CBS reruns since the syndicated
Lucy Shows (which had the different themes) were never transferred
to video - as far as I know only 16mm film prints were/are available
For the first time in over 40 years -
discover for yourself the 5 different
Lucy Show theme songs:
The First Theme (1962
- season one)
Second Season Theme (1963)
The Third Theme (1964)
Season Theme (1966)
The Final Theme
You can buy the first three seasons of I Love Lucy on DVD. CLICK HERE TO ORDER!
Remember when we were talking about 'integrated sponsorship?'
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