This weekend, we continue our American Icons series by lobbing a giant cream pie your way: an hour about how I Love Lucy wrote the rules of American TV. Kurt talks to comedians, academics, a Pulitzer Prize-winning novelist, a famous rapper, and a couple’s therapist – all to explore how this sitcom about a Cuban bandleader and his wacky redhead wife still influences what we watch and why.
You and everyone on the planet (and perhaps in outer space) know all about Lucy, right – are you sure?
1. Which was not in the contract for the cast members?
A. Desi Arnaz could only perform a song when it was deemed by the writers to be essential to the plot.
B. Bill Frawley was allowed to miss performances if the Yankees were in the World Series.
C. Vivian Vance’s weight had to exceed Lucille Ball’s by 10 to 15 pounds for the entire run.
D. Lucille Ball and Desi Arnaz were given 100% ownership to the rights of I Love Lucy.
2. Which notorious dictator had reels and reels of old I Love Lucys?
A. Pol Pot
B. Idi Amin
C. Kim Il-sung
D. Robert Mugabe
3. Upon seeing the I Love Lucy pilot, which cultural luminary said, “Keep the redhead. Ditch the Cuban. No one will understand him.”
A. Oscar Hammerstein
B. Truman Capote
C. Dorothy Parker
D. Carmen Miranda
4. What did William Frawley not do on the set of I Love Lucy?
A. Pause rehearsals in order to place a bet on a horse race.
B. Rip out his pages from the script, so that he’d know his lines and nothing more.
C. Get in a fistfight with cameramen who he thought were shooting him at unflattering angles.
5. During the second season of I Love Lucy, Lucille Ball was pregnant, and so was her character on the show. Which of the following is not true:
A. The word “pregnant” was never used during on the show.
B. The twin beds of Lucy and Ricky Ricardo were pushed further apart.
C. A priest, a rabbi, and a minister vetted the scripts.
D. Philip Morris dropped sponsorship during the pregnancy.
6. Who played Little Ricky on I Love Lucy?
A. Richard Keith
B. Keith Richards
C. Desi Arnaz Jr.
D. Keith Thibodeaux
– Chloe Plaunt