''The Lucy Show'' was Lucille Ball's television comeback that almost didn't happen

Even though CBS gave Ball great offers to do the show, Vivian Vance is why the comeback happened.

After the series finale of I Love Lucy in 1957, viewers thought they'd never see Lucille Ball as the loveable character on their television screens again. The actress spent time on Broadway and in successful motion pictures during her television hiatus. In 1962, she returned as Lucy in The Lucy Show, but there were a few changes.

The character's last name was no longer Ricardo, it was Carmichael, and she was a widow with two children. Vivian Vance's character, Ethel Mertz, was now named Vivian Bagley, and she was divorced with one child. The new change made this highly anticipated comeback a mixture of exciting and worrying for Ball.

In an interview with the Chattanooga Daily Times in August 1962, two months before the show's debut on CBS, the actress talked about how she hoped viewers would accept the new plot. "I think they're going to miss Ricky and Fred," she began. "After all those years. But I hope, and pray, they'll like the show enough and that it's funny enough to help accept us without the husbands."

Although the two men were no longer a part of the show, Lucy and Vivian were the same characters who always found themselves in bad situations, arguing and dressed up in hilarious costumes.

Even though Ball was away from television acting for a while, she insisted that it was easy for her to get back into the hang of things. "[It's] like I've never been away," she added. "And I'm back playing the character I know best and like best, Lucy. But I don't think I'd be doing this if it hadn't been for Viv."

Vance thought working with Ball again was perfect, which was why the comeback happened.

"The studio had the idea, and the offers were fabulous. But the thing that jelled it was Viv," Ball said. "She said let's go back to working together, she'd been busy doing one thing or another and was getting homesick for regular work, hard as it is. We're great friends, and we love to work together. So here we are."

The Lucy Show was a success, producing six seasons of comedic episodes and the wild adventures of two best friends.

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LoveMETV22 10 months ago
Not interested pin pointing Lucille Ball in a video-clip.
Here is a photo ( different costume though) from Pinterest.

Lucille Ball in Kid Millions, 1934.
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JohnMcMullen 11 months ago
Please 🙏 start airing good video quality of the Lucy Show & Here's Lucy! Thanks. I have all of the Lucy Shows on DVD. I think this would boost the ratings over the roof!
Kramden62 11 months ago
I *loved* "The Lucy Show." I have *all six official* seasons on DVD, so now I'll never have to worry again about, say, if Decades abruptly decided to stop running the program.

I also liked "Here's Lucy," and I hope to get the DVD series box set of that one eventually.


Well, as I said on other postings, these were the "Lucy" shows I grew up with in the 60's and 70's (I was born on Sunday, April 29, 1962, five months before "The Lucy Show" premiered), and they remind me a lot of my childhood days. And Lucy and Viv were at their funniest (for example, in the "Together for Christmas" episode from the first season). And to be fair, as I've said before, different strokes for different folks!

By the way: "The Lucy Show" was based on a book called "Life Without George" by Irene Kampen. If I ever find a copy of that book, I've got to read it and see how Lucy got her inspiration for "The Lucy Show" (that book is *very* hard to find, even on Ebay. I suppose once the official DVD's of "The Lucy Show" were released, most people began taking notice of that and looked for a copy of "Life Without George").
AlbertHanson 11 months ago
The worst movie Lucille Ball was in was 'Mame', the remake of 'Auntie Mame' with Rosalind Russell.
hrcopter AlbertHanson 11 months ago
That was bad casting. Lucy couldn’t sing.
Agreed!They should have called it "Lame"!!
Steve2021 11 months ago
Both were great together on TV
tootsieg 11 months ago
Thanks MeTV for a very good behind the scenes story.
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The_Great_Gazoo 11 months ago
Candy Moore was the model for Alberto Vargas’ painting on the cover of The Cars album Candy-o. The album’s title song and her name was just a coincidence.
RedSamRackham 10 months ago
* True indeed! THE LUCY SHOW began as a show about 2 single moms and their children but eventually devolved into the Lucy and Mr. Mooney show.
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vinman63 11 months ago
Where as Lucy was prolific to end her kids dropped out of show business rather early
hrcopter vinman63 11 months ago
I thought Lucie Arnaz was a good actress. Desi Jr. not so much.
RedSamRackham hrcopter 10 months ago
* Actually Desi Jr. did a terrific dramatic performance on a Night Gallery episode "A Death in the Family" with E. G. Marshall bizarre as it was.
CoreyC 11 months ago
When I Love Lucy went to the 1 hour format the marriage between Lucille Ball and Desi Arnaz was ending due to Desi's drinking and constant cheating. As for William Frawley he and Vivian hate each other with a passion. So when CBS offered Lucy a new solo show she was a widow with two kids and her last name was Carmichael.
daDoctah 11 months ago
If I ever meet Lucie Arnaz, I'm going to ask her what Mary Jane Croft was really like. We've already heard all the stories about Vivian Vance, but Croft is kind of a mystery to most people.
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TheKodakKid daDoctah 10 months ago
Croft was great on radio, and appeared in a number of shows. That’s also where she met her husband, Elliot Lewis. He was a great radio performer (his best work was as Frankie Remley on The Phil Harris-Alice Faye Show”). He also had an impressive career as a producer as well.
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Runeshaper 11 months ago
Great story, MeTV! Thanks for sharing (-:
ncadams27 11 months ago
The article states that after I Love Lucy ended in 1957, viewers thought they would never see Lucille Ball as the lovable character again. It doesn’t mention that there were 13 new one-hour episodes spread out over 3 seasons and CBS aired them as a summer replacement from 1962-67. Also CBS aired I Love Lucy reruns in the morning from 1959-67 and in various other time slots such as late Sunday afternoon under the name The Lucy Show and Sunday evening in 1960 as Lucy in Connecticut, airing repeats of the final season.
LoveMETV22 ncadams27 11 months ago
Weren't the one hour episodes " The Lucy-Desi Comedy Hour?. They could do a whole story on what was recorded outside of the original I love Lucy episodes, as in extras. Fascinating topic though.
ncadams27 LoveMETV22 11 months ago
The 1 hour episodes first aired under different titles depending who sponsored them. The later ones aired as part of their Desilu Playhouse anthology series. Beginning in 1962 the 13 episodes were packed as a summer replacement series under the Lucy-Desi Comedy Hour title with new opening and closing credits.
Kramden62 ncadams27 10 months ago
In the 90's the syndication package was called "We Love Lucy."
Adamsfather45 11 months ago
Metv in Knoxville, Tn. doesn't carry The Lucy Show. I wish they would add it as a replacement for some of the shows that has been on for a long time.
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LoveMETV22 11 months ago
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LoveMETV22 wallyandbagfan 11 months ago
I had answered another users "brief" comment, "Adamsfather45" with information about the
Decades Network. as it "pertains" to both "I Love Lucy" and The "Lucy Show." The topic of the article.
I'll keep the post about the "Movies!" network up for a bit, as you've most likely read it. However not interested in the whole Analog vs Digital signal debate.

You can find the information on your select series ( Gomer Pyle, Happy Days) as any of us would. ( Look it up, research it, Google it)
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Kramden62 LoveMETV22 11 months ago
Mostly, the episodes from season 5 of "The Lucy Show" are the only ones more commonly shown. This was because in mid-1967, Desilu didn't copyright these season 5 shows and they are now in the public domain. At that time, Lucille Ball was in the process of negotiating Desilu's sale to Charles G. Bluhdorn, head of Gulf+Western Industries, which owned Paramount.
cperrynaples 11 months ago
Fun Fact: Lucy had only intended to do one season, but she ended up doing six! The reason she went to do Here's Lucy is that Paramount bought the Desilu studios and Lucy wanted to still be her own boss!
LoveMETV22 cperrynaples 11 months ago
Yes. Under her conditions. Lucy knew what she wanted. Admirable.
CoreyC cperrynaples 11 months ago
Desilu had to be sold to Paramount do to Lucy and Desi divorce. Desi in the 1960's became a drunk.
carrman CoreyC 11 months ago

He was a drunk way before the 60's😂😂
CoreyC carrman 11 months ago
True but Desi became a lot worse.
Kramden62 cperrynaples 10 months ago
I thought it was because Gulf+Western chairman Charles G. Bluhdorn wanted Paramount to get into television production. Desilu and Paramount were located next to each other in Hollywood. And, of course, Bluhdorn eventually cheated Ms. Ball out of Desilu, after promising it would be a wholly-owned subsidiary of G+W, and turned it into the first incarnation of Paramount Television.
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