I Love Lucy

  • Directors:
  • Producers:
  • Writers: Jess Oppenheimer, Bob Carroll Jr, Madelyn Davis, Bob Schiller, Bob Weiskopf
  • Genres: Comedy, Family
  • Actors: Lucille Ball, Desi Arnaz, Vivian Vance, William Frawley

Originally set in New York City, I Love Lucy centers on Lucy Ricardo (Lucille Ball), and her singer/bandleader husband Ricky Ricardo (Desi Arnaz), along with their friends and landlords Fred Mertz (William Frawley) and Ethel Mertz (Vivian Vance). During the second season, Lucy and Ricky have a son named Little Ricky (whose birth was devised to coincide with Lucille Ball’s real life pregnancy). “Little Ricky” literally grows up on the show and during the final season is played by 6-year-old actor Keith Thibodeaux.

Lucy is somewhat naïve and ambitious, with an overactive imagination and a knack for getting herself into trouble. Primarily she is obsessed with joining her husband in show business, despite his refusal to cooperate. Fred and Ethel are former vaudevillians and this only strengthens her resolve to prove herself as a performer. Unfortunately, she has little discernable ability. She cannot carry a tune or play anything other than off-key renditions of songs such as “Glow Worm” or “Sweet Sue” on the saxophone, and many of her performances devolve into disaster. On occasion, she is shown to be to be a good dancer and a competent singer.

The show provided Ball ample opportunity to display her considerable skill at clowning and physical comedy. Lucy’s determination to get into the act in any way possible results in numerous wacky situations. Character development was not a major focus of early sitcoms, so little was offered about her life prior to the show. A few episodes mentioned that she was born in Jamestown, New York, (later corrected to West Jamestown), that she graduated from Jamestown High School, and that she met Ricky on a blind date. Her family was absent, other than occasional appearances by her mother (Kathryn Card), who annoyed Ricky to no end by constantly mispronouncing his name as “Mickey” and mistaking him for fellow bandleader Xavier Cugat. Lucy also exhibited many stereotypical female traits that were standard for comedy at the time, including being secretive about her age, and being careless with money. She is also depicted as a devoted housewife and attentive mother.

The Manhattan building they all lived in before their move to Westport, Connecticut was addressed at a fictional 623 East 68th Street, on the Upper East Side of Manhattan, which in reality would be located in the East River.

Miracle on 34th Street

  • Directors: George Seaton
  • Producers: William Perlberg
  • Writers: Valentine Davies, George Seaton
  • Genres: Comedy, Drama, Family, Fantasy, Romance
  • Actors: Maureen O Hara, John Payne, Natalie Wood, Edmund Gwenn, William Frawley

Kris Kringle (Edmund Gwenn) is indignant to find that the person (Percy Helton) assigned to play Santa in the annual Macy’s Thanksgiving Day Parade is intoxicated. When he complains to the event’s director, Doris Walker (Maureen O’Hara), she persuades Kris to take his place. He does such a fine job that he is hired to be the Santa for Macy’s flagship New York City store on 34th Street.

Ignoring instructions to steer parents to goods that Macy’s wants to sell, Kris tells one woman shopper (Thelma Ritter) to go to another store for a fire engine for her son that Macy’s doesn’t have. She is so impressed, she tells Julian Shellhammer (Philip Tonge), head of the toy department, that she will become a loyal customer. Kris later informs another mother that archrival Gimbels has better skates for her daughter.

Fred Gailey (John Payne), an attorney and neighbor of Doris, is babysitting the young divorcee’s nine-year-old daughter Susan (Wood) and takes her to see Kris. When Doris finds out, she lectures Fred about filling Susan’s mind with fantasy. Meanwhile, Susan sees Kris talking and singing with a Dutch World War II orphan girl in her native tongue and begins to wonder if perhaps Kris is real. (In the 1994 remake, Kris communicates with a deaf girl via sign language.) When Doris asks Kris to tell Susan that he really isn’t Santa Claus, Kris surprises her by insisting that he is.

On Christmas morning, Susan is disillusioned because Kris was unable to get her what she told him she wanted most. As they are about to leave, Kris gives Fred and Doris a route home, supposedly to avoid traffic. Along the way, Susan is overjoyed to see the house of her dreams (exactly matching the drawing she had given Kris earlier) with a For Sale sign in the front yard. Fred learns that Doris had encouraged Susan to have faith, and suggests they get married and purchase the house. He then boasts that he must be a great lawyer, since he managed to do the seemingly impossible. However, when he notices a cane leaning against the fireplace that looks exactly like the one Kris used, he wonders, “Maybe I didn’t do such a wonderful thing after all.”