Mar 6, 2013

The Lucy Show

When I was a kid in the 1960s, there were no reruns of I Love Lucy; I knew only The Lucy Show (1962-68).

Apparently there were two versions.  The first (1962-65) was an early Kate and Allie: Lucy Carmichael (Lucille Ball) and her friend Viv (Vivian Vance) live in Danville, New York, with their children (Jimmy Garrett, Candy Moore, Ralph Hart).  Before my time.

But I remember the second version (1965-68), with Lucy Carmichael living in Los Angeles, where she worked for blustering bank president Mr. Mooney (Gale Gordon) and got into crazy predicaments.   I first watched in November 1966, when my birthday changed from 8:00 to 8:30.

It wasn't as evocative as my "good beyond hope" programs of 1966: Run Buddy Run, The Time Tunnel, Flipper, That Girl.  Maybe because there was no beefcake, and at the age of six I was all about muscles.  But it did have four points of interest:

1. Lots of cute guest stars, like Frankie Avalon, Ken Berry, and Clint Walker (left). Not her son, Desi Arnaz Jr., though.

2. Years later, when I began watching classic movies and tv shows, I realized that many of the stars were familiar from guest appearances on The Lucy Show: Milton Berle, Mickey Rooney, George Burns, Paul Winchell, John Wayne, Jack Benny, Sid Caesar.

3. The hip, sprightly Mary Jane (Mary Jane Croft, right), who seemed to "like" Lucy, and continued to hang around in spite of the constant scrapes and catastrophes.

4. Lucy and Mr. Mooney were two grown-ups, a man and a woman, but not married to each other.  In fact, they weren't married to anyone, nor did they express any interest in getting married.   Maybe Los Angeles offered an escape from the endless man-woman couples that I saw in real life, that the adults insisted was my destiny.

Maybe Los Angeles was a "good place."