I Love Lucy
Originally set in an apartment building in New York City, I Love Lucy centers on Lucy Ricardo (Lucille Ball) and her singer/bandleader husband Ricky Ricardo (Desi Arnaz), along with their best friends and landlords Fred Mertz (William Frawley) and Ethel Mertz (Vivian Vance). During the second season, Lucy and Ricky have a son named Ricky Ricardo, Jr. ("Little Ricky"), whose birth was timed to coincide with Ball's real-life delivery of her son Desi Arnaz, Jr.
Lucy is naïve and ambitious, with an undeserved zeal for stardom and a knack for getting herself and her husband into trouble whenever Lucy yearns to make it in show business. The Ricardos' best friends, Fred and Ethel, are former vaudevillians and this only strengthens Lucy's resolve to prove herself as a performer. Unfortunately, she has few marketable performance skills. She does not seem to be able to carry a tune or play anything other than off-key renditions of songs such as "Glow Worm" or "Sweet Sue" on the saxophone, and many of her performances devolve into disaster. However, to say she is completely without talent would be untrue, as on occasion, she is shown to be a good dancer and a competent singer. She is also at least twice offered contracts by television or film companies—first in "The Audition" when she replaces an injured clown in Ricky's act, and later in Hollywood when she dances for a studio benefit using a rubber Ricky dummy as her dancing partner.
The show provided Ball ample opportunity to display her considerable skill at clowning and physical comedy. Character development was not a major focus of early sitcoms, so little was offered about her life before the show. A few episodes mentioned that she was born in Jamestown, New York (Lucille Ball's real-life home town), later corrected to West Jamestown, that she graduated from Jamestown High School, that her maiden name was "McGillicuddy" (indicating a Scottish or Irish ethnicity at least on her father's side, though she once mentioned her grandmother was Swedish; there are sizable Irish and Swedish communities in Jamestown), and that she met Ricky on a boat cruise with her friend from an agency she once worked for. Her family was absent, other than occasional appearances by her bird-brained mother (Kathryn Card), who could never get Ricky's name right. Lucy also exhibited many stereotypical female traits that were standard for comedy at the time, including being secretive about her age and true hair color, and being careless with money, along with being somewhat materialistic, insisting on buying new dresses and hats for every occasion and telling old friends that she and Ricky were wealthy. She was also depicted as a devoted housewife and attentive mother.
Lucy's husband, Ricky Ricardo, is an up-and-coming Cuban American singer and bandleader with an excitable personality. His patience is frequently tested by his wife's antics. When exasperated, he often reverts to speaking rapidly in Spanish. As with Lucy, not much is revealed about his past or family. Ricky's mother (played by actress Mary Emery) appears in two episodes; in another Lucy mentions that he has five brothers. Ricky also mentions that he had been "practically raised" by his uncle Alberto (who was seen during a family visit to Cuba), and that he had attended the University of Havana.
Lucy is usually found with her sidekick and best friend Ethel Mertz. A former model from Albuquerque, New Mexico, Ethel tries to relive her glory days in vaudeville. Ricky is more inclined to include Ethel in performances at his nightclub because, unlike Lucy, she can actually sing and dance rather well.
Ethel's husband Fred served in World War I, and lived through the Great Depression. He is very stingy with money and an irascible no-nonsense type. However, he also shows that he can be a soft touch, especially when it comes to Little Ricky. Fred can also sing and dance and often performs duets with Ethel.
The Manhattan building they all lived in before their move to Westport, Connecticut, was addressed at a fictional 623 East 68th Street, on the Upper East Side of Manhattan. The addresses only go up to the 500s before the street terminates at the East River.
|Lucille Ball||Lucy Ricardo||1||2||3||4||5||6|
|Desi Arnaz||Ricky Ricardo||1||2||3||4||5||6|
|Vivian Vance||Ethel Mertz||1||2||3||4||5||6|
|William Frawley||Fred Mertz||1||2||3||4||5||6|
|Jerry Hausner||Jerry, the Agent||1||2||3|
|Elizabeth Patterson||Mrs. Mathilda Trumbull||1||2||3||4||5||6|
|Doris Singleton||Caroline Appleby||1||2||3||4||5||6|
|Kathryn Card||Mrs. MacGillicuddy||5|
|Mary Jane Croft||Betty Ramsey||6|
|Frank Nelson||Ralph Ramsey||6|
|Keith Thibodeaux||Little Ricky||6|
|Season One||October 15, 1951||June 9, 1952||35|
|Season Two||September 15, 1952||June 29, 1953||31|
|Season Three||October 5, 1953||May 24, 1954||31|
|Season Four||October 4, 1954||May 30, 1955||30|
|Season Five||October 3, 1955||May 14, 1956||26|
|Season Six||October 1, 1956||May 6, 1957||27|
- At a Glance: Additional information about the series
DVD & Blu-Ray Releases
|The Complete Series||October 23, 2007||34||purchase|
|The Complete First Season|| September 23, 2003
June 7, 2005 (re-release)
|The Complete Second Season||August 31, 2004||5||purchase|
|The Complete Third Season||February 1, 2005||5||purchase|
|The Complete Fourth Season||May 3, 2005||5||purchase|
|The Complete Fifth Season||August 16, 2005||4||purchase|
|The Complete Sixth Season||May 2, 2006||4||purchase|
|The Movie and Other Great Rarities||April 27, 2010||1||purchase|
|Ultimate Season 1||May 6, 2014||6||purchase|