I Love Lucy initially centered on the relationship between bandleader Ricky (the “I” in I Love Lucy) and Lucy Ricardo and their friends, the Mertzes. However, it soon developed into the relationship between millions of American television viewers and their Monday-evening neighbors.
I Love Lucy enjoyed enormous popularity during its six-season run—so much so that, beginning in the 1950s, it generated a line of I Love Lucy merchandise—including paper dolls, jewelry, clothing, knickknacks, and a comic book series. In recent years, the show and its members, creators, and producers have been the subjects of numerous books—biographies, chronologies, coffee-table, trivia, and even The I Love Lucy Cookbook.
In 1955 I Love Lucy achieved a significant television first―it became the first television series to be broadcast as reruns, a phenomenon made possible because it was produced on film and not the grainier kinescope, as were most other programs of its time. The show continues to be rerun and is now also available on DVD.
Following the completion of the final half-hour I Love Lucy episode broadcast on May 6, 1957, Desilu Productions, Inc., produced a series of thirteen additional Ricardos-and-Mertzes shows The Lucille Ball-Desi Arnaz Show, (later rerun as The Lucy-Desi Comedy Hour), broadcast between November 1957 and April 1960. Other Desilu productions included Star Trek, The Andy Griffith Show, Mission Impossible, and The Dick Van Dyke Show. However, I Love Lucy was the company’s first and greatest achievement. It has been dubbed into twenty-two languages and seen in eighty countries. More than a half-century after the final episode was first broadcast, viewers around the world continue to Love Lucy.
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