On this day in history, May 6, 1957, the last episode of hit sitcom ‘I Love Lucy’ airs
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The last episode of the hit television sitcom”I Love Lucy” aired on this day in history, May 6, 1957.
William Asher, iconic producer, director and screenwriter, directed the episode, which was titled “The Ricardos Dedicate a Statue.”
“Lucy organizes a Revolutionary Day Celebration, including a statue dedication,” the episode’s page on IMDB notes.
Typical of the antics enjoyed by viewers of “I Love Lucy,” something goes awry in the lead-up to the statue’s dedication.
“Lucy accidentally breaks the statue and decides to step in with stone makeup to take its place for the ceremony,” notes IMDB.
“I Love Lucy” ran for 181 episodes during its six-season run on CBS, says the Lucille Ball Desi Arnaz Museum.
It’s a nonprofit gallery in Jamestown, New York — Ball’s birthplace — which is dedicated to preserving the legacy of Lucille Ball and Desi Arnaz.
Although “I Love Lucy” ended, the show’s characters would go on to appear in a spinoff, “The Lucille Ball-Desi Arnaz Show,” which was also called “The Lucy-Desi Comedy Hour,” notes the Emmys website.
“The Lucille Ball-Desi Arnaz Show” consisted of 13 hour-long episodes over three seasons, from 1957 to 1960, the same source indicates.
“I Love Lucy” was nominated for 20 Emmy Awards and won four.
Lucille Ball won for Best Actress-Continuing Performance in 1956; Vivian Vance won Best Series Supporting Actress in 1954; and the show was awarded Best Situational Comedy in both 1953 and 1954.
“I Love Lucy” was added to the Television Academy Hall of Fame in 1991.
A cultural phenomenon, “I Love Lucy” was the most-watched show in the United States for four of its seasons, notes the Emmys website.
The episode “Lucy Goes to the Hospital,” from season two, attracted 44 million viewers when it initially aired on Jan. 19. 1953, said the Lucille Ball Desi Arnaz Museum’s website.
This figure revealed that more than 70% of American households tuned in.
This figure is reportedly 15 million more than the viewership of the inauguration of President Dwight D. Eisenhower, which took place the next day, the museum added.
“Lucy Goes to the Hospital” featured the birth of Enrique Alberto Ricardo IV, better known as Little Ricky.
The pregnancy plot line of “I Love Lucy” (which mirrored Ball’s real-life pregnancy) also made history during its run.
“You cannot teach someone comedy. Either they have it or they don’t.” — Lucille Ball
Ball was the first woman to appear pregnant on a major television network in the United States, says the Lucille Ball Desi Arnaz Museum.
“Desilu Studios consulted with network censors and leaders from different religious organizations to determine that Lucy Ricardo would be described as ‘expecting’ rather than ‘pregnant,'” said the museum.
Ball’s impact on comedy is felt to this day, historians note.
Calling Ball “one of the most beloved comediennes of all time,” the National Women’s Hall of Fame website says she “left an impact on the business and entertainment industries that endures still today.”
Ball once said, “You cannot teach someone comedy. Either they have it or they don’t,” that site notes.
Ball and Arnaz had two children, Lucie and Desi, Jr.
“The best part of my life is having children,” Ball once said, according to Countryliving.com.
The couple divorced in 1960 after “20 tumultuous years of marriage,” says the History Channel.
“The breakup of the couple, stars of the hit sitcom ‘I Love Lucy’ and owners of the innovative Desilu Studios, was one of the highest-profile divorces in American history at the time,” that site adds.