Lucy wanted to do travel shows, too
Way before Conan, another redheaded comedian wanted to do comedy without borders
In 1966, professionally, Lucille Ball had very little to prove. She'd already achieved much of what there was available to do in television and film. She'd won awards, toplined multiple shows, and was the president of her own corporation. With so few domestic worlds left unconquered, Lucy turned her ambitions internationally.
"In fact," said Ball, "if this should be my last year in the series, what I'd really like to do is a few specials a year, made in various places all over the world, that showed them through my eyes." Her words appeared in an interview with The Evening Times during the fourth season of The Lucy Show. The same year, CBS aired a standalone special, Lucy in London.
She was in New York promoting that special when she spoke with The Evening Times. "I always like to go somewhere special in May," said Ball, "Just as I like to come to New York now."
"First I thought it would be fun to make a show in Paris, but we couldn't get Zero Mostel and another star we wanted for it. So I said let's go to England and do something there instead."
The change in plan ended up leading to a day in London, where Lucy, in character, had a whirlwind trip around the city. "It covered a lot of what I'd want to do there myself as a tourist," said Ball. "And believe me, there's a lot of Lucille Ball in Lucy Carmichael."
The interviewer from The Evening Times used the opportunity to gauge Lucy's confidence as part of her primetime TV schedule. While the red-headed star wasn't number one, she was happy with where she was. Specifically, Lucy wasn't too concerned about Rat Patrol, a then-new series that briefly out-performed The Lucy Show. Instead of ill will toward the other series, Lucy displayed grace and humility.
"Good luck to them," she said. "I've had 15 good years in television and surely there's room for plenty of shows. I hope they do well - as long as my show stays in the top 10, which it did."