‘I Love Lucy’ Turns 60

Oct 15, 2011 9:00am
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CBS Photo Archive/Getty Images

Sixty years later, and everybody still loves Lucy.

I Love Lucy,” the classic TV series that gave birth to the modern sitcom and left the nation with countless hilarious and indelible images, turns 60 today.

The comedy featuring Lucille Ball and real-life husband Desi Arnaz as Lucy and Ricky Ricardo made its TV debut Oct. 15, 1951 in a half-hour episode on CBS.

PHOTOS: Look back at the best of Lucille Ball’s “I Love Lucy” moments.

The relationship between the fearless, red-headed Ball and Arnaz as “the Ricardos” was the center of the show’s 179 half-hour episodes and 13 hour-long specials over nine seasons.

Fans loved to watch the couple deal with Lucy’s screw-ups, and listen to Ricky switch from English to Spanish in his exasperated reactions.

They also loved how the couple brought their off-screen life onto the TV screen, even incorporating Ball’s pregnancy into the show.  She and her “I Love Lucy” character gave birth on the same day.

That 1953 episode, “Lucy Goes to the Hospital,” in which Ball’s Lucy Ricardo has a baby, still ranks as the highest-rated episode in television history, according to Nielsen ratings.

Joining them in the kind of zany, slapstick comedy that Americans loved then, and still do today, were Vivian Vance and William Frawley as their neighbors, Fred and Ethel Mertz.

The show’s durability as a national fascination is a testament to Ball, the show’s core, and thanks to the fact that it never really left our airwaves.

Fans who never tire of the classic “Luuucccyyy, I’m hoooome,” line uttered by Arnaz, or can’t get enough of watching Ball stuff chocolates down her shirt, stomp on grapes, as she did in two of the show’s most beloved episodes, can still watch the series through worldwide syndication or on VHS and DVD.

 

 

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