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The Lucy Show [9.1]

The Lucy Show Plot Summary

The Lucy Show was Ms. Ball's follow-up series to her classic I Love Lucy and subsequent Lucy-Desi Comedy Hour series of specials. To insure its success, she brought along many crew members from her previous series, including the writing staff.

During the course of its run, the show underwent several format changes. Initially, the series was set in small town Danfield, New York. Lucy Carmichael was a widow with two children, Chris and Jerry, who shared a house with her buddy Vivian Bagley (Vivian Vance) and her son Sherman. In the first handful of shows, neighbor and occasional boyfriend Harry Conners (Dick Martin) was featured. Many of the plots during the show's first few seasons revolved around parenting and Lucy and Viv's involvement in the community. But Lucy was still Lucy, meaning trouble for anyone who became involved in her ingenious schemes. Holding the keys to her trust fund was tightwad banker Mr. Barnsdahl (Charles Lane) who endured Lucy's numerous attempts to get at more of her money.

At the start of the second season, Lucille met her perfect foil in Gale Gordon, who as banker Theodore J. Mooney, was now in charge of Lucy's account. He bellowed ("Mrs. Carmichael!!!"), huffed, puffed and launched into hothead mode at the slightest provacation. Season two also marked the beginning of the series being filmed in color. Oddly, CBS was still transmitting its programming in black and white. It wasn't until later reruns that these episodes were ever seen in color. (Desilu knew that color was inevitable and having shows shot in color would improve their value later in syndication.) Tired of commuting from her home in the east for a supporting role, Vivian Vance left the show as a regular at the end of the third season. (She still made guest appearances every year or so.) This brought about major changes in the format of the series. In the fourth year, the writers had Lucy's daughter go to college and her son enrolled in a military academy, effectively making Lucy single and childless. (Her kids were basically sent to that same black hole where son Chuck on Happy Days would be sent--the place where characters just disappear, never to be mentioned again.) Lucy moved to an apartment in Los Angeles where, in one of TV's most unbelievable coincidences, Mr. Mooney had also transferred to work at the Westland Bank. He still had control over Lucy's money; he would eventually hire her to work at the bank.

In an effort to fill the void left by Viv's departure, Joan Blondell was hired to play Lucy's neighbor and partner in crime. Unfortunately, the two actresses did not get along and Blondell was released from her contract after just two shows. Soon, I Love Lucy alumnus Mary Jane Croft would take over the sidekick role as Mary Jane Lewis.

As the plots became centered on Lucy and Mr. Mooney at the bank the situations became increasingly more far-fetched. By the end, the series generally featured a weekly appearance by a famous star playing him or herself.

The series was brought to a close by Ms. Ball who had sold Desilu Studios to Paramount. Rather than do a show she didn't own, she cancelled The Lucy Show, reformatted and returned in the fall with Here's Lucy. (See the listing for that series for details.)

Note: In the listing for this series, the writer who began the series as "Madelyn Martin" worked under many variations of her name. Here, she's listed on episodes as "Madelyn Pugh Davis", regardless of how it appeared in the episodes' credits.

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