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14 Things You Probably Didn’t Know About Bewitched

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Sony Pictures TV recently green-lighted a pilot for a revamped version of the supernatural classic sitcom Bewitched. The new show will feature Samantha’s granddaughter, who is also a witch but who finds her magic useless when it comes to finding true love. For those who truly loved the original series, here are 14 fun facts about the show and the actors that might surprise you.

1. CREATOR SOL SAKS WAS INSPIRED BY TWO MOVIES.

Sol Saks, credited onscreen as the creator of Bewitched, has admitted in several interviews that his script for the pilot episode was inspired by the films I Married a Witch and Bell, Book and Candle. Saks wasn’t worried that some litigious types might find too many similarities between his TV show and those movies, though; both films were owned by Columbia Pictures, which in turn also owned Screen Gems, the company that produced Bewitched.

2. HE WANTED TAMMY GRIMES TO PLAY THE SHOW'S WITCH.

Tammy Grimes, who’d won a Best Actress Tony Award in 1961 for The Unsinkable Molly Brown, was under contract to Screen Gems in 1964 and was the studio’s first choice for the role of “Cassandra” (as the lead character was named at the time). Grimes was not a fan of the premise, asking why she wouldn’t use her powers to stop wars or deal with Los Angeles traffic. The producers didn’t agree, so she accepted a role in High Spirits on Broadway and the witch character, now named “Samantha,” had to be recast.

3. RICHARD CRENNA COULD HAVE BEEN DARRIN.

Elizabeth Montgomery and her then-husband, producer/director William Asher, were looking for a television project they could work on together, and Harry Ackerman encouraged them to look at Saks’ Bewitched pilot script. The Ashers thought the show had possibilities, and Liz signed on to be Samantha. While Grimes was still scheduled to play the lead, a young actor named Richard Sargent was close to being signed on to play Darrin Stephens. Sargent took another job while the pilot was in search of a new Samantha, and interestingly enough he would go on to play Tammy’s twin brother on her short-lived show. Richard Crenna was the next actor offered the part of Darrin, but he’d just spent several years on The Real McCoys, so he passed as well. Enter Dick York, who had an impressive list of acting credits in film, on Broadway and on TV. His 1959 role in They Came To Cordura changed his life forever.

4. DICK YORK HAD TO LEAVE THE SHOW BECAUSE OF PAIN CAUSED BY AN OLD INJURY.

During the second-to-last day of filming Cordura, York was operating a railroad handcar carrying wounded men. When the director yelled “Cut,” one of the “wounded” extras reached and pulled himself up on the opposite side of the handle that York was about to upswing. He unsuspectingly lifted the extra’s entire weight, and being unprepared for that additional 180 pounds, he tore most of the muscles on the right side of his back, and his spine never healed correctly. There was no type of surgery that would repair his injuries at that time; instead, the best the specialists could do was supply him with a steady supply of increasingly strong pain medications. York managed to work through his severe pain for the first four seasons. In the middle of Season Five, however, he was run-down and it showed on camera. On the day of filming the “Daddy Does His Thing” episode, he skipped lunch to see his doctor, who was out. The replacement doctor instead gave him B-12, and while filming a scene with Maurice Evans on a scaffold 15 feet in the air, the hot lights, exhaustion and medications combined to send York into a seizure. He was rushed to the hospital and never returned to the Bewitched set. Some Darrin-less episodes were filmed until Dick Sargent took over the role.

5. ELIZABETH MONTGOMERY WAS PREGNANT DURING EARLY FILMING ON THE FIRST SEASON.

Montgomery wore progressively looser clothing to disguise her expanding waistline. Her subsequent two pregnancies were written into the Bewitched script, adding Tabitha and Adam to the Stephens family.

6. IT WAS MONTGOMERY'S IDEA TO NAME HER CHARACTER'S DAUGHTER TABITHA.

"I loved it, because it was so old-fashioned," she said in 1967. "I got it from one of the daughters of Edward Andrews, the actor. The two Andrews girls are named Tabitha and Abigail. ... But, somehow or other, her name came out 'Tabatha' on the credit roll, and that's the way it's been ever since. Honestly, I shudder every time I see it. It's like a squeaky piece of chalk scratching on my nerves."

7. ALICE PEARCE HAD TERMINAL CANCER WHEN SHE TOOK THE PART OF THE STEPHENS' NOSY NEIGHBOR.

Alice Pearce played the part of a nosy busybody so well that even today the local neighborhood buttinski is referred to as a “Gladys Kravitz.” When Pearce was 9, she fell from a playground swing and landed on her chin, stunting its growth. Her undershot jaw prevented her from landing any leading lady roles when she took up acting, but she could be counted on as a good comic foil. Four months prior to receiving a phone call from her agent telling her that William Asher wanted her for a role on his new TV show, Pearce was diagnosed with ovarian cancer. She’d had surgery, but the doctors informed her that her case was terminal. She told none of her coworkers of her condition, and other than her being a little tired on the set now and then, no one suspected her of being ill. Pearce passed away in March 1966, and was awarded a posthumous Outstanding Supporting Actress Emmy Award two months later. Sandra Gould took over the role of Gladys Kravitz for the remainder of the series.

8. MOST OF THE SUPPORTING ACTORS ON THE SHOW WORE THEIR OWN CLOTHES AND ACCESSORIES ONSCREEN.

According to Kasey Rogers (“Louise Tate”), they’d bring their clothes in a week prior to filming and the wardrobe department would clean and press them. Agnes Moorehead was often pictured wearing a starburst brooch that was set with 8.5 carats of old-mine diamonds. Montgomery admired the pin, and when Moorehead passed away in 1974, she bequeathed it to her TV daughter. You can see Moorehead wearing the brooch on an episode of Password above.

9. YORK AND MOOREHEAD WERE CLOSE OFF-CAMERA.

Even though Endora barely tolerated Darrin on the show, off-camera Moorehead was closer to York than any other cast member. Moorehead was a very religious Fundamentalist, and she admired York’s New Age-type spirituality. She also admired his acting talent and was not at all pleased when he was replaced with Dick Sargent.

10. MARION LORNE, WHO PLAYED AUNT CLARA, COLLECTED DOORKNOBS.

Lorne turned bumbling into an art form with her portrayal of loveable Aunt Clara. The character’s unusual fascination with door knobs was based on Lorne’s real-life fetish; she had a collection of over 1000 antique door openers. Aunt Clara was so endearing that even Darrin (who despised most of Sam’s relatives) loved her, even when her spells went wonky and turned him into a chimpanzee or a seal.

11. LARRY TATE'S SON ON THE SHOW WAS NAMED AFTER ACTOR DAVID WHITE'S OWN SON.

David White, who played unctuous advertising exec Larry Tate, had a son named Jonathan whom he’d raised as a single father after his wife died due to complications during her second pregnancy. When Larry and Louise Tate were blessed with a son on Bewitched, the child was named Jonathan at White’s request. Tragically, Jonathan was a passenger on Pan Am Flight 103 which exploded over Lockerbie, Scotland, on December 21, 1988, killing all 259 souls on board. David died two years later of a heart attack, and is inurned with his son in a niche at the Hollywood Forever Cemetery.

12. ONE CHRISTMAS EPISODE WAS WRITTEN BY AFRICAN-AMERICAN HIGH SCHOOLERS.

The Christmas episode entitled “Sisters at Heart” would be considered politically incorrect today, to say the least (Tabitha, her parents, and even Larry Tate all appear in blackface at one point). But the story idea and basic script was written by 22 African-American 10th graders in Marcella Saunders’ English class at Jefferson High School in South Central Los Angeles.

The plot involved unabashed racist Mr. Brockway, owner of a toy company whose million-dollar advertising account McMann and Tate was eager to land. However, Brockway refused to allow Darrin to handle his account, since he mistakenly believed that Darrin was married to a black woman (actually the wife of Darrin’s co-worker). Meanwhile, that co-worker’s daughter was Tabitha’s close friend and was spending the weekend with the Stephens. Tabitha liked to pretend that the two were sisters, and tried to make them both the same color so that they’d be twins. Her spell went haywire and Tabitha ended up with black polka dots on her face and pal Lisa with white spots. In the end, Samantha explained that all men and women are brothers and sisters despite the color of their skin, and then for good measure zapped everyone at their Christmas party into blackface when Mr. Brockway arrived. Of course mean ol’ Brockway immediately saw the error of his ways and not only asked Darrin to handle his account, he also shared Christmas dinner with an ethnically diverse group of guests.

13. SAMANTHA'S "MAGIC" WAS MADE BY STAGE HANDS.

There was no such thing as computer-generated hocus-pocus in the 1960s; all the “magic” on Bewitched was created by a team of hard-working stagehands. For example, if Samantha wanted to quickly tidy up the living room for a surprise visit from her in-laws, she’d raise her arms in the air and “zap” the room clean. In a case like that, Elizabeth Montgomery had to stand in place, arms upraised, while the director called “cut” and members of the crew then rushed around to remove the laundry, newspapers, and other clutter from the set. Once the living room was nice and neat, “action” was called and Montgomery could lower her arms and continue the scene.

Other effects included fast-motion film, backward-motion film, and “invisible” wires for levitation. When a character popped in and out and changed clothes in the interim, the director made sure that the actor’s shoes were firmly affixed in place on the stage while the actor dashed backstage to change costume. That way when he returned he’d be standing in exactly the same spot. Bernard Fox, who played Dr. Bombay, reported that he’d gotten some minor surface burns on occasion from the pyrotechnics that were used to pop him into various scenes.

14. THE THEME SONG HAD LYRICS.

They were never actually sung over the opening credits, but the Bewitched theme song does have lyrics. Here’s Steve Lawrence swinging the tune in his trademark ring-a-ding style:

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20 Things You Might Not Have Known About I Love Lucy
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Wikimedia Commons // Public Domain 

When I Love Lucy premiered on October 15, 1951, no one could have predicted that it would become one of television’s most beloved and enduring programs of all time. But a combination of innovative filming techniques, the dogged perfectionism of star Lucille Ball, top-notch writing, the “can do” attitude of the production staff, and the business savvy of Desi Arnaz, I Love Lucy topped the Nielsen ratings for four out of its six seasons and picked up a handful of Emmys along the way. And even though the show’s main stars couldn’t stay married to one another (Lucy and Desi divorced in 1960, after 20 years of marriage), they remained the best of friends. As Desi would proclaim until his dying day, “I Love Lucy was never just a title.”

1. CBS DIDN’T THINK AMERICANS WOULD BUY THAT LUCY WAS MARRIED TO A “FOREIGN” MAN.

When CBS approached Lucille Ball with the offer of turning her popular radio show My Favorite Husband into a television show, she was agreeable with one condition: that her real-life husband, Desi Arnaz, would be cast in the role of her spouse (played on the radio by Richard Denning). The network balked—there was no way that American viewers would accept average housewife Liz Cooper (her character’s name on the radio series) being married to a “foreign” man with an indecipherable accent. Never mind the fact that Lucy and Desi had been married more than a decade; such a “mixed” marriage was unbelievable.

2. LUCY AND DESI HAD TO TAKE THEIR SHOW ON THE ROAD TO CONVINCE THE NETWORK BRASS.

Arnaz had a successful career touring the country with his rhumba band, which was one of the reasons Lucille wanted him to get cast as her TV husband—to keep him off the road and close to home. In an effort to show the network (and potential sponsors) that they could work together as a comedy team, they crafted a sort of vaudevillian skit that was inserted into the middle of performances by the Desi Arnaz Orchestra during a tour in the summer of 1950. The audiences roared over Lucille’s antics and her interaction with Desi as she interrupted his band’s concert confusedly, cello in hand, thinking she had an audition scheduled. The “Professor” skit not only convinced the network powers that be that the couple could, in fact, be convincing as husband and wife—it also was such a hit that it was incorporated into episode six of I Love Lucy’s first season.

3. THE SHOW BROKE GROUND IN SEVERAL WAYS, SIMPLY BECAUSE THE ARNAZES WOULDN’T MOVE TO NEW YORK.

Lucille and Desi wanted to work in Los Angeles, near their home and their new baby daughter Lucie. But in 1951 the majority of television shows were broadcast from New York, and that’s where sponsor Philip Morris wanted their show to originate as well. In those days the U.S. wasn’t wired for television from coast-to-coast; shows broadcast live could only be transmitted so far. As a result, such shows were preserved on kinescopes (a movie camera aimed at a TV monitor that recorded the show in negligible quality) and shipped to distant stations.

Philip Morris objected to I Love Lucy being performed in California and the kinescopes sent to New York; their biggest cigarette market was up and down the east coast and they wanted the best TV picture quality for that area. Desi Arnaz suggested that the show be filmed with three cameras, like a stage play, which would provide the same quality picture for every market. But multi-cameras had never been used on a situation comedy before, and there were many obstacles involved, not the least of which was accommodating a live studio audience (Desi knew that Lucille worked best when she got immediate audience feedback).

Desi hired legendary cinematographer Karl Freund to help solve the dilemma, and along with writer-producer Jess Oppenheimer and director Marc Daniels, they built a set, and the necessary filming equipment was strategically placed. CBS balked at the additional expense involved in this undertaking, so Arnaz struck a deal: he and Lucille would take a large cut in their salaries and their company, Desilu Productions, would retain ownership of the films in exchange. The enduring high quality of the 35 millimeter film was part of the reason that I Love Lucy became so popular in rerun syndication, and Desilu’s 100 percent ownership of the series made Lucille and Desi the first millionaire TV stars.

4. ONLY LUCY WAS ALLOWED TO MAKE FUN OF RICKY’S FRACTURED ENGLISH.

After a few episodes were filmed, it became an unwritten rule that only Lucy would ever poke fun at her husband’s pronunciation problems. The writers had allowed other characters to make remarks, but in each case the “joke” was met with stony silence from the studio audience. For some reason, it seemed cruel when anyone other than Lucy “mucked” Ricky’s English.

5. SMOKING WAS REQUIRED ON-CAMERA.

I Love Lucy almost never made it to the air because CBS had trouble securing a sponsor for the show. Finally tobacco giant Philip Morris signed on at the 11th hour. As a result, lots of smoking was featured in each episode, and the name “Philip Morris” was worked into the dialogue whenever plausible. There was, however, one small problem: Lucille Ball was a Chesterfield girl. She eventually overcame this little hurdle by having a stagehand stuff any on-camera Philip Morris packs full of Chesterfield cigarettes.

6. WILLIAM FRAWLEY WAS FAR FROM THE FIRST CHOICE TO PLAY FRED MERTZ.

Lucille Ball was eager to have Gale Gordon, whom she’d worked with on her My Favorite Husband radio show, play crusty neighbor and landlord Fred Mertz. But Gordon, who had a steady gig at the time on the Our Miss Brooks radio program, asked for more money than Desilu had to offer. Character actor William Frawley knew Ball in passing (they’d met back in the 1940s) and phoned her personally when he read about her upcoming TV show in the trade papers to inquire if there might be a part for him. CBS and Philip Morris were wary of hiring Frawley, who had a reputation for being a heavy drinker. But Arnaz (no stranger to the bottle himself) thought that Frawley was just curmudgeonly enough to bring Fred Mertz to life. He met Frawley for lunch at Nickodell’s on Melrose Avenue and offered him the role with the proviso that if he missed work for any reason other than legitimate illness, he’d be written out of the show.

7. DORIS ZIFFEL WAS ALMOST ETHEL MERTZ.

Lucille had worked with Bea Benaderet in radio and wanted her to play Ethel Mertz. But Benaderet had just signed on to play Blanche Morton on the TV version of The Burns and Allen Show and was unavailable. Barbara Pepper was a personal friend of Ball’s, and the two had worked in films together, so she was the next serious consideration for the role. Pepper was the right age and body type to play Ethel, but she was also a known alcoholic and the network nixed her after Frawley was hired; two heavy drinkers in the main cast was too risky. I Love Lucy had already gone into early rehearsals by the time director Marc Daniels saw Vivian Vance performing in a play at the La Jolla Playhouse and recommended her to Arnaz. Pepper did play background characters on several I Love Lucy episodes and would go on to land the role of Doris Ziffel on Green Acres.

8. THE “MERTZES” DESPISED ONE ANOTHER OFF-CAMERA.

Vivian Vance was 22 years younger than her TV husband and resented having such an “old poop” play her spouse. Frawley responded in kind, referring to her variously as “that sack of doorknobs” or just plain “b*tch.” But all that animosity was strictly behind the scenes and known mostly only to the series’ writers and directors. Frawley and Vance were savvy enough to not jeopardize their jobs on TV’s most successful show by openly airing their mutual hostility. Even co-workers like Keith Thibodeaux (Little Ricky, a.k.a. Richard Keith) and Roy Rowan (the show’s announcer), who were on the set daily, had no idea that things were less than cuddly between the two actors until years after I Love Lucy ceased production.

9. DESI ARNAZ HAD LIFTS IN HIS SHOES (AND HIS LOVESEAT).

Arnaz listed his height as 5’11” in most official biographies, but those who worked with him knew that in reality he was 5’9” and wore four-inch lifts in his shoes. Lucille Ball stood 5’7” in her stocking feet, and when she wore heels she seemed to tower over her husband. Desi Arnaz Jr. would later explain to an interviewer that his father “was a Cuban with a Latin male’s pride,” which is why it was important to him to be taller than his wife. A dual-purpose, subtle additional cushion (undetectable by the viewing audience) was added to the Ricardos’ loveseat so that Ricky would be taller than Lucy while seated, and would also give him the extra boost needed to gracefully rise from a sitting position up onto his elevator shoes.

10. ARNAZ FLATLY REJECTED A SCENE THAT INVOLVED RICKY CHEATING ON HIS TAXES.

Desi Arnaz was an unabashed believer in the American Dream and was very patriotic when it came to his adopted homeland. Desi was 17 years old when Fulgencio Batista overthrew the Cuban government and the Arnaz family fled to Miami with little more than the clothes they were wearing. The family lived in a warehouse with some other refugees and Desi got a job cleaning birdcages for a man whole sold canaries to pet stores. As he said during his acceptance speech on Ed Sullivan’s Toast of the Town in 1954, “From cleaning canary cages to this night in New York is a long ways. And I don’t think there’s any other country in the world that could give you that opportunity.” So when a scene in original script in the episode “Lucy Tells the Truth” called for Ricky to fudge some numbers on his income tax return, Arnaz refused to play it and asked the writers to remove it. He didn’t want the audience to think that Ricky would cheat the U.S. government.

11. THE CANDY LADY WAS A BIG DIPPER IN REAL LIFE.

“Job Switching” (often referred to as “The Candy Factory Episode”) has long been a fan favorite, particularly the scene where Lucy and Ethel are stuffing their faces and clothing with chocolates while trying to keep up with a speedy conveyor belt. The previous scene featured Lucy hand-dipping chocolates with a real-life dipper that stage manager Herb Browar found at See’s Candies on Santa Monica Boulevard.

Amanda Milligan had never seen I Love Lucy (she watched wrestling on Monday nights), but Browar hired her anyway; he thought her deadpan expression would make her the perfect straight woman for Lucille to react to. During rehearsals Lucille was worried that the scene just wasn’t going to be funny on film because Milligan seemed hesitant to hit her in the face as the script specified. When the cameras were rolling, Milligan hauled off and smacked Lucille so hard that Ball feared her nose had been broken. Despite her pain and ringing ears Ball didn’t call for a “cut” because she did not want to have to do another take! During a break in filming Lucille asked Milligan “So, how do you like working in show business?” An unsmiling Milligan, who’d spent eight hours per day for the past 30 years putting swirls on chocolates, replied, “I’ve never been so bored in my life.”

12. LUCILLE WAS TOO STRESSED TO APPRECIATE THE HUMOR IN ONE OF HER MOST POPULAR EPISODES.

Another fan favorite was, interestingly, not one of Ball’s favorite episodes. It wasn’t until “Lucy Does a TV Commercial” was voted tops in many viewer polls over the years that she acknowledged that it was a funny episode. During filming, she was too nervous and worried about messing up her lines (imagine having to say “Vitameatavegamin” that many times during a spiel) to appreciate the humor.

Ball was many things, including a great physical comedienne, but one thing she was not was an improviser or extemporaneous speaker. Every slurred word of her drunken Vitameatavegamin pitch was in the script. Lucille even came up with a backup plan, lest she forget her lines: she had script supervisor Maury Thompson made up and placed off-side in front of her podium holding up her lines (there were no cue cards on the I Love Lucy set), much like a real commercial setting.

By the way, that stuff Lucy was pouring onto the spoon was apple pectin.

13. BECAUSE THE SHOW WAS FILMED IN FRONT OF AN AUDIENCE, THEY HESITATED TO YELL “CUT” AND RESHOOT SCENES.

As a result, the occasional blooper was left in and sort of papered-over. One classic example occurred in “Redecorating the Mertz’s Apartment,” at the breakfast table when Lucy is musing aloud about how to repair both the Mertz’s marriage and their tacky apartment. See how Desi saves the scene after she mistakenly says “paint the furniture and reupholster the old furniture:”

14. LUCILLE’S PREGNANCY CREATED PANIC BEHIND THE SCENES.

During season two, Ball discovered that she was pregnant. While the Arnazes were overjoyed (Lucille had previously suffered three miscarriages before giving birth to daughter Lucie in July 1951), they were also concerned about the fate of their hit series. Other than the late 1940s sitcom Mary Kay and Johnny (which also starred a real-life married couple), a visibly pregnant female had never starred on a TV series. It would be impossible to conceal Lucille’s condition because, as Desi told the network, “she got as big as a house when she was carrying Lucie.”

Eventually, the network agreed to write Ball’s pregnancy into the show, and Desi hired a local Catholic priest, a minister, and a rabbi to sit in while each episode was filmed to determine whether there was anything objectionable. CBS deemed that the word “pregnant” was vulgar, so it was replaced with “expecting” (or, as Ricky pronounced it, “‘spectin’”). The scene at the Tropicana, where Lucy finally breaks the news to Ricky, was genuinely emotional for the actors, who both started crying and Desi had to be prompted “sing the baby song!” Director William Asher reshot that scene, but decided that the raw emotion in the original take made for a more poignant moment and used it.

15. LITTLE RICKY AND DESI ARNAZ JR. WERE BORN ON THE SAME DAY.

The Arnazes already knew that Lucille would give birth via Caesarian section when her time came (as that was how Lucie had been delivered), and Ball’s obstetrician regularly scheduled all his C-sections on Mondays. As luck would have it, I Love Lucy aired on Monday nights, so with the pregnancy episodes timed just so, Ball went to the hospital the same night that Lucy Ricardo did.

What the Arnazes did not know in advance, however, was the gender of their pending bundle of joy. I Love Lucy head writer Jess Oppenheimer had decided that the Ricardos would have a boy, so when Desi Arnaz Jr. was born, Desi Sr. joyfully called Jess to announce proudly, “Lucy followed your script! Ain’t she something?!” (By the way, a record-breaking 71.7 percent of American televisions were tuned in that Monday night to see the Ricardo baby, which topped the number of folks who watched Dwight D. Eisenhower get sworn in as President the following day.)

16. LUCILLE TRULY SUFFERED FOR THAT ICONIC GRAPE-STOMPING EPISODE.

“Lucy’s Italian Movie” faced a variety of obstacles. First was getting a vineyard to donate the necessary grapes for stomping. The company that ultimately agreed did so with the proviso that it must be mentioned in the script that foot-pressing was an outmoded method of making wine in Italy. Next was the local extra cast to wrestle Lucille in the grape vat; Teresa Tirelli didn’t speak any English and an interpreter had to explain the scene to her. Apparently something was lost in the translation because Tirelli didn’t grasp that this was supposed to be a filmed-from-the-waist-up fake fight and she literally held Lucille’s head under the grape mush until the star very nearly drowned. And even though the show was broadcast in black and white, Ball, Arnaz, and the production staff were sticklers for detail so a formula for a purplish/blue dye had to be worked out that would properly tint Lucille’s flesh and hair without irritating her skin or reacting with the chemicals used to keep her permed locks that famous henna color for that final scene.

17. LUCILLE EXASPERATED GUEST STAR HARPO MARX.

Ball was a long-time admirer of Harpo Marx, but when it came to actually working with him, she was unprepared for his “never the same way twice” approach to his comedy routines. In the Hollywood episode where she was required to mirror his moves, she insisted on incessant rehearsals to get the bit just right. But Harpo’s attitude was “I’ve done this bit for 35 years, why do I need so much rehearsal?” In the end, this was one of the few instances where the scene was re-shot several times after the studio audience had left and was later pieced together by editor Dann Cahn.

18. THE LONGEST LAUGH ON THE SHOW LASTED 65 SECONDS.

When Lucy hid dozens of eggs and then danced the tango with Ricky (resulting in the inevitable blouse full of scrambled yolks), the audience roared for so long that ultimately some of the laughter had to be edited out in the final film. Neither Ball nor Vance had used eggs during rehearsals so that their onscreen reactions would be more genuine when the shells cracked and the albumen slimed its way down their flesh.

19. ARNAZ REQUIRED AS MUCH REALISM AS POSSIBLE, NO MATTER THE COST OR DIFFICULTY.

No matter how wacky the situation, Arnaz tried hard to maintain some veracity, thinking that that the audience would believe it (and thus find it more humorous) if the actors believed it. So when a scene in “Pioneer Women” required an eight-foot-long loaf of bread to pop out of the oven, the producers found a New York bakery willing to bake one. (It was rye bread, by the way, and when filming was finished it was cut up and served to the audience.) Likewise, in “Deep Sea Fishing” when Ricky and Fred entered into a bet with Lucy and Ethel to see who could catch the biggest fish, two 100-plus pound tunas were purchased at San Francisco’s Fisherman’s Wharf, packed in ice into child-sized coffins and air-shipped to Hollywood.

20. THE “UH-OH” LADY HEARD IN THE STUDIO AUDIENCE WAS LUCILLE’S MOM.

Quite often when Lucy Ricardo was stepping into a precarious situation, a woman in the audience could be heard uttering “uh-oh.” That was Dede Ball, who attended every taping and tended to get wrapped up in the proceedings. I Love Lucy sound engineer Glen Glenn was the co-founder of Glen Glenn Sound, and in the 1960s and ‘70s his company was one of the leading providers of laugh tracks, or canned laughter, to TV sitcoms. Many of the yuks used in their recordings were culled from I Love Lucy and The Red Skelton Show, which is why Dede’s “uh-oh” could be heard years later on shows she’d never seen, much less been in attendance.

Additional Sources:
A Book, by Desi Arnaz The Lucy Book, by Geoffrey Mark Fidelman Meet the Mertzes, by Ron Edelman and Audrey Kupferberg The “I Love Lucy” Book, by Bart Andrews Lucy & Ricky & Fred & Ethel: The Story of I Love Lucy, by Bart Andrews Laughs, Luck….and Lucy, by Jess Oppenheimer

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Steven Spielberg’s Anthology Series Amazing Stories Is Being Rebooted for Apple
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Michael Loccisano / Getty Images

Steven Spielberg may be best known for his Oscar-winning work as a film director, but he’s also put forth some prestige television shows. His best known example, Amazing Stories—which ran from 1985 to 1987—offered a lighter take on a fantasy/sci-fi anthology series for a post-Twilight Zone world. Now, The Wall Street Journal reports that the program is being revived for Apple, with Bryan Fuller (Pushing Daisies, Hannibal, American Gods) being tapped to lead the project.

After making a deal with Amblin Entertainment, Spielberg’s production company, Apple announced it will release a 10-episode season of the rebooted series with each episode telling a new story in the genres of fantasy, horror, or science fiction. Fuller will act as both showrunner and executive producer. A release date has yet to be announced.

Amazing Stories will mark Apple's first foray into original content, joining other producers of streaming-only shows like Netflix and Hulu. And with a budget of $5 million per episode, Apple appears to be tackling the program just like any major network would.

When Amazing Stories, named after the early science fiction pulp magazine, debuted in 1985, it was praised for packing Spielberg’s cinematic flair into 30-minute packages. Big names like Martin Scorsese, John Williams, Clint Eastwood, and Brad Bird all contributed to the original project. Details as to who might be on board for the revival are still pending.

[h/t The Wall Street Journal]

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