12 tiny little goofs you never noticed in 'I Love Lucy'

We can 'splain these minor slip-ups.

Nobody is perfect, especially Lucy Ricardo. She always had some 'splaining to do on I Love Lucy. That's what made the character so darn funny. 

The sitcom itself slipped up here and there, but we can certainly cut Desilu some slack — Lucille Ball and Desi Arnaz were breaking new ground on television. If a camera or microphone slipped into a shot here and there, well, the whole studio setup was a novel idea.

Some of the minor errors are interesting in hindsight. The Ricardos subtly moved both apartments and anniversary dates. Other errors reveal a bit of how the sitcom was made. It takes the keen eye of a devoted fan to catch those goofs. 

Let's take a look at a dozen tiny mistakes found in I Love Lucy.

1. Ball, room, dancing


"Lucy Thinks Ricky is Trying to Murder Her"

Right away in the first episode, a couple of tiny blunders make the screen. When Lucy and Ricky dance around the living room of their apartment, we can briefly see the wall dividing the different sets and catch a brief peek into their bedroom.

2. Candid camera


"Lucy Thinks Ricky is Trying to Murder Her"

I Love Lucy pioneered the three-camera technique for filming a sitcom on a studio stage. In the premiere episode, when Ricky takes a phone call and sits at his desk, you can briefly catch one of the other cameras on the right side of the frame.

3. Fred's head



Near the end, Lucy and Ricky enter the room, which has been wildly covered in wallpaper. Take a look behind the two when they walk in the door. William Frawley (Fred) can be spotted in the background, peeking around a wall, awaiting his cue. He quickly realizes he is in the shot and steps back to hide.

4. Mic drop


"Lucy Gets Ricky on the Radio"

We've already seen the cameras used to capture I Love Lucy in all its glory. Ever wonder what they used to record the audio? Well, a microphone and stand can be seen on the right of the frame in this shot.

5. Now seen in 3D


"The Ricardos Change Apartments" and "The French Revue"

In season two, the Ricardos upgrade their living space and move into apartment 3B. You can see the number and letter on the front door. However, the following season, it has changed to 3D, as seen in "The French Revue." Why the change? In the prior episode, "Lucy Tells the Truth," the writers had Lucy say her apartment number is "3D" in an audition to make a pun work.



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6. Don't forget the date


"The Anniversary Present" and "Hollywood Anniversary"

Perhaps Ricky should be forgiven. In "Hollywood Anniversary," the hubby comically cannot remember the date on which he and Lucy tied the knot. Ricky contacts the records office back in Connecticut, which wires him the info — the Ricardos were married on the 7th. Yet, a couple of seasons back, Lucy had their anniversary circled on a calendar in the kitchen. The date? The 19th.

7. Not reading Palms


"Hollywood at Last!"

Speaking of the gang's time in L.A., the two couples spend their vacation staying in the "Beverly Palms Hotel." However, when the four pull up in Ricky's convertible, the real name of the hotel can be seen outside — the Beverly Carlton Hotel.

8. Everything but the kitchen sink


"Ricky's Screen Test"

Lucy ruins Ricky's big screen test, of course. The director only wants to shoot the back of her head, but the fame-craving Lucy continues to turn around to face the camera. The irate director asks if her head spins around like a lighthouse. If you look behind the director when he yells at Lucy, you can spot the set of the Ricardos' kitchen.

9. Cable car


"Lucy Learns to Drive"

Ever wonder how they drove those big ol' automobiles on a closed set? Well, they didn't. The cars were pulled around with cables. In this episode, Ethel waits for Ricky to pull up. When his car arrives, a thin black cable can be seen tugging the vehicle into the shot. The black wire shakes wildly as it hauls in that heavy car.

10. A peeking porter


"The Great Train Robbery"

Fred was not the only actor caught peeking into a shoot. Who could blame them? We would find it hard to keep our eyes off Lucille Ball, too. In this episode, when Lucy and Ricky find their train compartment, take a look to the far left of the screen. The extra who plays the train's porter can be spotted looking through the next door. He is waiting for his cue.

11. Keeping in the peeps


"Lucy Raises Chickens"

In one of the most memorable scenes of the series, dozens of adorable chicks are loose in the Ricardo's Connecticut home. The production would not want to risk losing a baby bird, so the little chicken actors were corralled on stage with a tiny fence. You can briefly spot the chicken wire pen in the corner of the frame.

12. Recycling the paper


"Ricky's Old Girlfriend" and "Lucy's Club Dance"

The same New York Gazette newspaper appears repeatedly on the show. Either that or "BOND ISSUE DEFEATED" was a common headline back in the 1950s.



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floridabruce 7 months ago
Pluto TV has an I Love Lucy channel that plays episodes non stop 24 hours a day.
annrgriffin3 25 months ago
On an I Love Lucy Episode “The Great Train Robbery, Ricky called an older African American Train Porter “Boy” when the man put their bags in their room. I’m surprised because Ricky himself was a minority and calling a black man boy was a derogatory term.
lucyfan11 34 months ago
After Little Ricky is born, and Ricky and Lucy move to the bigger apartment, it is understood that their apartment is to the left of the Mertz's apartment (from the perspective of if you are walking out of Ethel's apartment, you would turn left to go to the Ricardo's apartment). However, in one episode - entitled LITTLE RICKY LEARNS TO PLAY THE DRUMS (Episode #157, Aired October 8, 1956) - Ricky and Lucy are frantically searching for Little Ricky and come running into Ethel's apartment from the other direction (the right side of Ethel's doorway). This is the only time there is such a discrepancy- all other episodes the come in from the left. I know that they are just sets, but since I watch Lucy nearly every day and it I just happened to notice this continuity error. It is really hard to find any mistakes on I Love Lucy. This was such a well produced show - great writing, great acting, and timeless story lines. Just a quick mention, have any of you other I Love Lucy diehard fans notice how often Ricky wore a dark colored necktie with light colored dots running down the tie in a jagged line? I wonder if this was a favorite or lucky tie of his since he wore it on so many of the shows. I haven't found any info on this - just curious
Skiptonius 46 months ago
There were a couple of times that Lucy accidentally called Ethel "Viv" instead of her character name.
robertg222 47 months ago
One thing people don't understand about older TV programs is that it was normal to consider that the outer 3-5% of the picture was not going to be seen because of the way older TV's over-scanned the picture. So it was acceptable to have unwanted things appear in the edge of the pictures, not a mistake. But today's new none tube TV's don't "overscan" so we see all these little things in the older TV shows that were never seen when they aired.
Telefila 55 months ago
But the biggest mistake was that when the Ricardos are moving to Connecticut Ricky says that they lived for sixteen years in that apartment and that wasn't true because they had changed their apartment during season 2.
Wiseguy 55 months ago
Ethel's middle name went from Louise in 1953 to Roberta in 1954 to Mae in 1955. The Ricardos lived in the apartment building for five years, then nine years, then four years then twelve years within a two-year period. Fred an Ethel were married 18 years then 25 years a year later, then three years later they celebrated the 25th anniversary again. Ethel knew how to drive in 1953 then didn't know how in 1955. Ethel could play the piano well in several episodes then in 1957 suddenly had trouble.
teire Wiseguy 55 months ago
Ethel May Potter, we never forgot her.
And Caroline Appleby started out as Lillian Appleby.
teire 55 months ago
Very happy that I Love Lucy is returning on MeTV. Hallmark is bringing it back as well, for a while it was absent from my region/market entirely. Also Antenna TV is showing episodes of That Girl beginning Jan. 2. Happy New Year.
Wiseguy teire 55 months ago
Decades has been showing the series for some time at 8-9am CT followed by an hour of The Lucy Show.
teire Wiseguy 55 months ago
We no longer get Decades in our channel lineup, I miss those weekend binges.
AllisonWunderland teire 55 months ago
Me too! It comes on here at 5:30am beginning tomorrow...Hope you have a very Happy New Year 🎉🎈
teire AllisonWunderland 55 months ago
And a wunderful new year to you Allison.
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