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15 Movies That Were Turned Into TV Shows

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By the time 2015 has concluded, you’re likely to see at least one movie remake—voluntarily or otherwise—on the big screen. But the remake trend that has overtaken Hollywood in the past few decades is encroaching on small-screen originality, too. Just days after FX’s series remake of the Coen brothers’ Fargo took home two of its five Golden Globe nominations, Syfy is readying its newest series, 12 Monkeys, based on Terry Gilliam’s 1995 dystopian drama of the same name (which was based on Chris Marker’s 1962 short, La Jetée). And more movies-turned-series are on the way, including The Odd Couple, Scream, and School of Rock. Here are 15 other television series that began life as feature films.

1. PARENTHOOD

The most amazing thing about Ron Howard’s 1989 family dramedy isn’t that it spawned a television series, but that it spawned two television series. The first one, which premiered in 1990, boasted a pretty impressive pedigree, with Howard as executive producer and Leonardo DiCaprio as one of its stars (he took over the role Joaquin Phoenix originated in the film). Yet it lasted only one season. Twenty years later, Howard, his producing partner Brian Grazer, and showrunner Jason Katims tried again—and this time, it worked. In 2010, Katims told Fanbolt that “what got me really excited was once I did talk to [Ron and Brian], they were really interested in only doing the show if we could reimagine it, not do something which is a copy of the movie but to look at, to let the movie inspire something that is new.” In its six seasons on the air (the series will make its final bow on January 29th), Parenthood has earned nearly two dozen award nominations.

Truth be told, producer Katims wasn’t totally new to the whole movie-turned-series concept when he launched Parenthood in 2010; he had done the same for Friday Night Lights in 2006 (and did so again last year with About a Boy).

2. CASABLANCA

Casablanca may be one of the most famous movies in the history of cinema, but the two series it spawned (one in 1955, the other in 1983) were completely forgettable. Both shows revolved around the adventures of Rick Blaine, the mysterious protagonist made famous by Humphrey Bogart in Michael Curtiz’s 1942 film, and were essentially prequels. The latter attempt, which starred David Soul (Starsky and Hutch’s Hutch) as Rick, Hector Elizondo as Renault, Ray Liotta as Sacha, and Scatman Crothers as Sam, lasted just one season (though it did win an Emmy for its cinematography). In 2012, Liotta talked about the series with The Huffington Post: “I think it just ran for seven episodes. Or maybe three or four. They got rid of it quick. And I don't think I had more than only one line each episode.”

3. BUFFY THE VAMPIRE SLAYER

You’d be hard-pressed to convince any Buffy diehard that the world’s coolest vampire-killing cheerleader could be played by anyone other than Sarah Michelle Gellar. But it was Kristy Swanson who originated the role in Fran Rubel Kuzui’s campy 1992 horror-comedy. The good news for fans of the show is that creator Joss Whedon wasn’t thrilled with the big-screen version of his kickass heroine, and made sure the television series represented the Buffy he had in mind. “I finally sat down and had written it and somebody had made it into a movie, and I felt like—well, that's not quite her,” Whedon said of his reaction to the film. “It's a start, but it’s not quite the girl.”

4. DELTA HOUSE

Earning more than $140 million at the box office made Animal House the third highest-grossing film of 1978—which prompted television executives to quickly jump on the idea of extending the movie’s success onto the small screen with Delta House, a short-lived sitcom that saw Dean Wormer (John Vernon), Flounder (Stephen Furst), D-Day (Bruce McGill), and Hoover (James Widdoes) reprising their film roles. It also marked the onscreen debut of Michelle Pfeiffer (as “The Bombshell”) who was quoted in Douglas Thompson’s book, Pfeiffer: Beyond the Age of Innocence, as saying, “It was a no-brainer, and I detested it. But it was exposure so I did the best I could with terrible scripts. I told myself: ‘There are so many unemployed actors around, you should be glad you're working at all.’”

5. SERPICO

In 1976, two years after Al Pacino earned his second Oscar nomination for the title role in Sidney Lumet’s gritty biopic of NYPD officer Frank Serpico, NBC launched a crime drama based on his life. David Birney took over the role of the courageous, corruption-fighting cop, but audiences weren’t biting; only 14 episodes aired before the show was canceled in January of 1977.

6. FERRIS BUELLER

The 1990-1991 television season was full of movie adaptations, and Ferris Bueller was one of the most highly anticipated—and ultimately disappointing—of them all. John Hughes had nothing to do with its production, and reportedly asked that the network not use his name in promoting the series (in which an up-and-coming Jennifer Aniston played the role of Jeannie, Ferris’ sister). Hughes was right to fear that the series couldn’t live up to the film’s popularity. It was met with mostly negative reviews upon its August 1990 premiere. In response to a scene in which Charlie Schlatter, as Ferris, chainsaws the head off of a cutout of Matthew Broderick, The Washington Post’s Tom Shales commented, “Oh, then this is the ‘real’ Ferris Bueller? Fine. Now will the real Ferris Bueller please shut up.” The show was canceled in December.

7. UNCLE BUCK

Uncle Buck is yet another John Hughes movie that got the small-screen treatment during the 1990-1991 television season. The show continued the premise that the movie set up—slovenly Uncle Buck (played by John Candy in the film and Kevin Meaney in the series) is tasked with taking care of the nieces and nephew who barely know him—but to make it work as a series (read: to have Uncle Buck be a permanent babysitter), the series creators got morbid and killed off the parents in a car accident. A total of just 19 episodes were shot, and the series was canceled during its first season. In October 2014 it was announced that a new attempt to adapt Uncle Buck for television is in the works at ABC; the families of both the late Hughes and Candy were quick to publicly voice their disapproval of the concept.

8. TREMORS

In 2003, Syfy’s Tremors: The Series picked up where the franchise’s third entry had left off, but its broadcast didn't go according to plan. Instead of showing the series’ first two episodes on its premiere night, episodes one and six were screened instead, causing serious confusion among the show’s audience. Which forced the show’s editors to recut the season in order to make sense of it all—none of which helped its ratings (nope, not even with Michael Gross reprising his role as survivalist Burt Gummer). Only 13 episodes of the show were shot, but the series’ failure hasn’t damaged the franchise’s cult status: In 2004, Tremors 4: The Legend Begins was released, with Tremors 5 scheduled for release this year.

9. THE NET

In 1998, the USA Network debuted The Net, a series based on the wildly outdated 1995 Sandra Bullock film of the same name. The storyline echoed the early same “early days of the Internet” vibe as the movie, with Brooke Langton stepping in as Angela Bennett, a computer pro who mistakenly receives an email about a terrorist organization’s plan to control the world via people’s PCs. Chilling stuff. Shortly before the series’ premiere, Langton told The Little Review that “I think getting to play a female lead that wasn’t La Femme Nikita, that didn’t have to be like a hired assassin, was a cool opportunity,” and noted that she was a fan of Bullock’s. “People have compared me to her, so I understood why I got the offer—we both have that dark-haired, sort of girl-next-door disposition. It’s so rare to get a really great part. She's been a great character.” The Net was canceled after one season.

10. WORKING GIRL

Before Sandra Bullock was, well, Sandra Bullock, she was busy filling Melanie Griffith’s Reeboks as Tess McGill, the secretary-turned-titan at the center of Working Girl. Griffith earned an Oscar nomination for the 1988 film. Bullock played the part for just a dozen episodes (four of which never aired). In what might be the most era-appropriate twist of fate, Bullock only landed the role when Nancy McKeon (a.k.a. Jo from The Facts of Life) dropped out.

11. CLUELESS

In 1995, Clueless turned Alicia Silverstone into one of Hollywood’s hottest commodities—which explains why Rachel Blanchard took over the star-making part of Cher Horowitz when the movie became a series, and joined ABC’s TGIF lineup in September 1996 (before moving to UPN for its final two seasons). But much of the original cast made the jump to the small screen, including Stacey Dash as Dionne, Donald Faison as Murray, Elisa Donovan as Amber, Wallace Shawn as Mr. Hall, and Twink Caplan as Ms. Geist. Perhaps presciently, writer-director Amy Heckerling initially pitched the project as a television series before turning it into a film.

12. 10 THINGS I HATE ABOUT YOU

Like Clueless, 10 Things I Hate About You catered to the teen crowd. Created by Carter Covington, 20 episodes of the series—which debuted in 2009, a full decade after the movie became a hit—were created for ABC Family. But it was announced in the spring of 2010 that the network was canceling the show due to low ratings. A few months later, Covington apologized to fans—by way of an interview with Entertainment Weekly—for the many cliffhangers he left. “It’s really hard for me because there’s nothing I would wish more than to have been able to have a series finale that really provided some closure for everybody,” said Covington. “In the life of the series, to me, Kat and Patrick were always going to run off into the sunset together. In a way, I’m happy that the series ended where it did because at least they were together.”

13. STARMAN

The television version of John Carpenter’s cult 1984 sci-fi film debuted in 1986, but was set 15 years after the movie. It tells the story of an alien (played by Robert Hays) who has returned to earth in the body of a deceased journalist in order to spend time with his son, only to have government conspiracies and pesky UFO investigators interrupt their father-son bonding time. The series spent just one season on ABC.

14. GUNG HO

Scott Bakula took over for Michael Keaton when Gung Ho, Ron Howard’s 1986 autoworker comedy, was ordered to series. The film continues the plot set by the movie: Hunt Stevenson, the Pennsylvania-based liaison for a Japanese car company, must try to mitigate the culture clashes happening all around him. Many of the film’s original cast resumed their roles for the television version, including Clint Howard, brother to Ron. The show was canceled after one season.

15. DIRTY DANCING

Before she was antagonizing Michael Scott, Melora Hardin (Jan from The Office) was learning the cha-cha with Patrick Cassidy in this short-lived—and not well-conceived—television spinoff of the 1987 hit movie. More of a remake than a continuation, the series re-set the burgeoning romance between pro dancer Johnny and spoiled rich kid Baby (who in the case of the show is the daughter of resort owner Max Kellerman, not a guest) with enough tweaks to set the series up for a multi-season run. Unfortunately, it was not to be. CBS put Dirty Dancing in a corner after 11 episodes.

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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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