I LOVE LUCY
DICK VAN DYKE
MARY TYLER MOORE
ALL IN THE FAMILY
The Classic Sitcoms Guide to...
I Love Lucy
Season Six: 1956-57
1956-57: THE SIXTH SEASON
Year-End Rating: 43.7 (1st place)
The show ends its phenomenally successful run as a half-hour sitcom
at the close of the sixth year, as the Ricardos and the Mertzes settle
down to a new life in Connecticut during the final thirteen installments.
New cast members include Keith Thibodeaux as the five-year-old Little
Ricky and Frank Nelson and Mary Jane Croft, who play neighbors Ralph
and Betty Ramsey in the Connecticut episodes.
Desi Arnaz is the producer of the show's final year, and writers Madelyn
Pugh Martin, Bob Carroll, Jr., Bob Schiller, and Bob Weiskopf continue
to pen all of the scripts. William Asher replaces James V. Kern as staff
director for the final thirteen episodes.
Lucy tries to talk Bob Hope into appearing as the opening-night act
at Ricky's new nightclub.
Bob Hope was an old friend of the Arnazes. Desi had been his orchestra
leader in radio, and Lucy co-starred with him in Sorrowful Jones
and Fancy Pants.
Ricky decides to give his son a head start in show business when he
buys the five-year-old a snare drum.
Keith Thibodeaux, officially the world's tiniest professional drummer--and
a dead ringer for the senior Arnaz--was brought in to play the five-year-old
Little Ricky in the sixth season.
When Orson Welles invites Lucy to take part in his act, she starts
brushing up on her Shakespeare--only to discover that the director has
other plans for her.
Welles uses Lucy in his magic act, much as he called on the services
of two other redheads--Marlene Dietrich and Rita Hayworth--to fill the
role when he performed the novelty act for USO troupes during World
Clearly demonstrating how the ambitions of Desilu had grown beyond
I Love Lucy, in 1956 Arnaz engaged Welles to direct a proposed
series of classic short-story adaptations for television. The director
fashioned a Peabody Award-winning adaptation of John Collier's Fountain
of Youth as a pilot film, but the series never sold.
Little Ricky gets cold feet on the eve of his first music-school recital.
Ricky's drum teacher is played by Howard McNear, the lovable character
actor who later portrayed Floyd the barber on The Andy Griffith Show.
The Ricardos offer a helping hand to a visiting gondolier they met
during their tour of Venice.
When Lucy loses the train tickets for her trip to Florida, she and
Ethel are forced to share a ride with an eccentric old woman.
Ricky and Fred stage a fishing competition with the wives to see who
can hook the largest catch on a deep-sea-fishing expedition.
Jay Sandrich, the son of RKO director Mark Sandrich, signed on as
assistant director with this episode. After a stint as director of He
and She in the late sixties, Sandrich distinguished himself as the
Emmy-winning director of The Mary Tyler Moore Show in the seventies
and of The Cosby Show in the eighties, making him one of the
few directors whose career has spanned three generations of superior
The wives go to extreme measures to prevent their husbands from participating
as judges in a Miami Beach beauty pageant.
Lucy is a nervous wreck at the prospect of meeting Ricky's Uncle Alberto
at the Ricardos' family reunion in Cuba.
The Mertzes and Ricardos are the improbable supporting players in Little
Ricky's kindergarten production of The Enchanted Forest.
As the Ricardos and Mertzes trim the tree on Christmas Eve, they reminisce
how much their lives have changed since the arrival of Little Ricky.
Here's one for video archaeologists. Because of its seasonal theme
and an uncharacteristic reliance on flashbacks, this show was left out
of the bundle when the series was later packaged for syndication, and
would not be rerun until CBS rebroadcast it as a prime time special
on December 18, 1989.
Lucy gets lost on the New York subway system with a loving-cup trophy
stuck on her head.
Lucy impersonates Superman at Little Ricky's birthday party when she's
unable to arrange an appearance by the real man of steel.
Lucy schemes to let Little Ricky keep a puppy, despite the no pets
clause in their lease agreement with Fred and Ethel.
June Foray, the voice of Rocky the flying squirrel, provided the yelps
of Little Ricky's dog, Fred. Unlike most sitcom pups, who vanish unaccountably
from subsequent episodes, Fred did manage another appearance in the
final episode of the series.
The Ricardos make plans to forsake Manhattan's grit and grime for a
new home in suburban Connecticut.
The decision to remove the Ricardos from the familiar surroundings
of their New York apartment house seems almost sacrilegious, but after
five and a half years, and close to 170 scripts, the writers had finally
run out of movie stars for Lucy to pester, and they'd long since exhausted
her repertoire of material for Ricky's nightclub.
Of course, the Mertzes and Ricardos weren't alone in their urban flight.
By the late 1950s, the colorful melting pot of Ralph Kramden's Bensonhurst,
Amos 'n' Andy's Harlem, and Molly Goldberg's Bronx would give way to
a half dozen bucolic and geographically undefined towns with names such
as Mayfield, Hilldale, and Springfield. By the mid-1960s, TV's prime-time
atlas would read like the Farmer's Almanac, with the most popular
sitcoms set in exotic rural communities such as Mayberry, Pixley, and
Hooterville--all far from the harsh urban reality that had typified
the shows of Lucy's era.
Lucy and Ricky double up and cram in with the Mertzes until their new
home in Connecticut is ready.
Guest star Gene Reynolds, a former child actor, discovered far greener
pastures as a producer of such acclaimed series as Room 222,
M*A*S*H, and Lou Grant.
After less than eight hours in their new home, Lucy and Ricky find
life almost unbearable without the Mertzes.
The Ricardos decide to redecorate with the help of their new neighbors,
Ralph and Betty Ramsey.
Fred and Ethel join the Ricardos in their newest venture as Connecticut
When the Mertzes and Ricardos invest in 200 laying hens, Lucy ends
up with egg on her face--and everywhere else.
Ricky is enlisted as reluctant bandleader when Lucy and the Mertzes
combine their meager musical talents to form a band to play at a charity
The Mertzes and Ricardos plan to see the latest Broadway hit, until
Lucy realizes that she bought the wrong tickets.
Ethel is jealous of Lucy's burgeoning friendship with her new neighbor,
Lucy is convinced that she's lost her wedding ring in the wet cement
of their freshly constructed backyard barbecue.
The episode provided Lucy and Ethel with one of their last comic set
pieces--a huge brick barbecue that they stay up all night to dismantle
and then rebuild, brick by brick.
Lucy and Ethel decide to give a local glamour girl some mature competition.
Lucy tries her hand at gardening when she competes with Betty Ramsey
to win a tulip-judging competition.
Lucy accidentally destroys a statue that Ricky is supposed to dedicate
during Westport's Yankee Doodle Days.
The Mertzes and Ricardos would return in a series of thirteen hour-long
specials over the next few years, but no episodes of I Love Lucy
would be made after the show left the air on May 6, 1957, while still
the highest-rated series on television.
Of course, I Love Lucy didn't really end there.
In 1957, Desi Arnaz sold the rerun rights to CBS, and the series began
what is probably the most successful afterlife in TV history. To this
day it remains one of the most durable half-hour sitcoms in syndication,
appearing almost perpetually in every major market in the country.
Finally, in 1986, the most innovative comedy of the 1950s was ushered
into the new video age, when I Love Lucy became one of the first
TV series to be made widely available on home videocassette. It's not
hard to imagine historians from some far-distant age stumbling across
one of these odd little videotapes as they explore the remains of the
third planet from the sun. If that happens, assuming they're able to
dig up a videoplayer--VHS format-- it's almost certain that those explorers
from that faraway era will find the antics of this twentieth-century
Earthling as worthy of repeated viewing as we did.
And before long, it's a sure bet, they'll love Lucy, too.