I Love Lucy: 4 Areas of Continuity You Probably Missed
I Love Lucy: The Movie
In the early 1950's when the show was still young but becoming very popular, Desi Arnaz decided to capitalize on things by bringing the series to the movies. The idea was to stitch together three episodes from the first season with newly filmed wrap around scenes to provide a semblance of continuity. On top of that, the story spilled into the real world with wrap arounds for the wrap arounds, featuring a sub-plot of a couple going to see a live filming of I Love Lucy.
The film was completed and screened for an audience, a successful premiere. However Lucy and Desi's film The Long, Long Trailer was also released, and to avoid confusion at the box office it was decided to postpone release of the I Love Lucy film. It sat in the vaults for decades and was forgot about, at one point thought to be lost forever. It was only relatively recently that the negative was found and restored, after which it finally was made available on DVD.
Another interesting fact is that I Love Lucy lives in the same fictional universe as Danny Williams (from the Danny Thomas show), Andy Taylor (from the Andy Griffith show), and Lucy Carter (from Lucy's own third sitcom Here's Lucy). How do we know?
When celebrities guess starred on what came to be known as The Lucy-Desi Comedy Hour they typically played themselves. One of the exceptions was Danny Thomas who, along with his fictional wife and kids played the Williams family from Make Room for Daddy. On one episode of that series, Thomas introduced the character of Andy Taylor, which also served as a pilot for the Andy Griffith show. Late in the 1970's, Thomas made a revival of his show called Make Room for Granddaddy. One episode featured a visit by the character of Lucy Carter from, you guessed it, Here's Lucy, the sitcom which ran for six seasons and featured Ball's real life children.
Some of the shared universe was invoked by guest appearance trade-offs. Lucy and Desi had a policy of trading appearances with fellow celebrities on their respective shows. While many of these were simply Lucy and Desi playing themselves on variety show formats, such as their trade-off with Bob Hope, that wasn't always the case.
When Ann Southern guest starred as Lucy's old friend on the first hour-long episode of I Love Lucy she wasn't playing herself, but rather the character from her own sitcom The Ann Southern Show. When Lucy guest starred on her show, she came as Lucy Ricardo. While this episode isn't available on home video, the copyright expired and it can be found on YouTube.
While Milton Berle's appearance on Lucy had him playing himself, Lucy and Desi traded by playing their fictional characters the Ricardo's on a standalone TV special starring Berle. The Lucy-Desi Milton Berle Special is now available on DVD.
an I Love Lucy comic
The adventures of the Ricardo's and the Mertz's continued in written form with a series of comic books. While some were adaptions of TV episodes, there were also new original stories.