A series of photos depicting various stages of the onscreen and offscreen life of Lucille Ball and Desi Arnaz and their filming of the television classic, I Love Lucy, have been posted online, giving fans a new glimpse of their favorite program. The show, which premiered in October 1951, took a number of groundbreaking steps that are now standard, but were seen at the time as being revolutionary.
The series of photos show the couple on the set, outside their trailer, in their dressing room, with five of the shots in color, a rarity for the time period. Also included with the photos are bits of trivia concerning the program, which is still in syndication, more than 63 years after going on the air.
For example, I Love Lucy was the first show to be filmed in front of a live audience and the first to show a couple sleeping in the same bed. However, censors refused to allow the word of the use pregnant, and a trio of religious clergy had to approve scripts. In addition, the show’s popularity was such that departments stores closed early and utility usage dropped.
Tobacco sponsor Philip Morris kept the show on the air, but insisted that the characters smoke and Philp Morris be mentioned in scripts. Finally, Ball was a perfectionist who refused to improvise, but almost drowned in a tub of grapes during an onscreen fight that her partner in the scene took a bit too seriously.