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"I Love Lucy"
Exhibition Guide:
Intro: TV's First Megahit
Lucy on the Radio
red arrow I Love Lucy: The Pilot
Coming Attractions
Episode Guide   

Lucille Ball, Desi Arnaz/In a new Comedy Series/I Love Lucy
  original pilot
  title cards
Part Two:
I Love Lucy:
The Pilot Episode
Lucille Ball & Desi Arnaz  
Lucy and Desi in the "I Love Lucy" pilot (3/2/51)
(Click to enlarge)
Trying Out for TV
by Gregg Oppenheimer

TO THE NETWORK, IT SEEMED like a longshot -- taking Lucille Ball's tested, successful radio sitcom off the air and betting instead on an unknown (and unwritten) new TV show with an untested costar -- Desi Arnaz. But Lucy said it was either Desi or no show. So in December 1950, CBS finally gave in to Lucy and signed on to finance a pilot for a TV series, starring Lucille Ball and Desi Arnaz, to be produced in Hollywood by her radio producer-director-head writer, Jess Oppenheimer. Only one question remained -- what would the show be about?
"I Love Lucy" series ideablue arrow click
The Million Dollar Idea
What do you do with a comedienne and a Cuban orchestra leader? Jess Oppenheimer thought he might have the answer.
original title cardsblue arrow click
Who's On First?
Everyone agreed that Lucille Ball would be the star of I Love Lucy, with top billing, of course. Everyone except Desi.
theme songblue arrow clickWithout a Song?
They had everything -- stars, a script, even a shooting date. But wait! What about a theme song!?
Desi Arnazblue arrow click
Sign Here, Please
Everything was ready for the big moment -- except Lucy's and Desi's contract.
Vivian Vance & William Frawley
blue arrow click
Mr. & Mrs. Mertz
The pilot was a success, but something was missing. Where were the Mertzes?


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Brought to you by
Laughs, Luck...and Lucy:
How I Came to Create the Most Popular Sitcom of All Time

By Jess Oppenheimer,
with Gregg Oppenheimer
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"I Love Lucy" is a registered trademark of CBS Worldwide Inc. Copyright © 1998-2003. All rights reserved.  
Images of Lucille Ball and Desi Arnaz are used with the permission of Desilu, too, LLC.
Licensing by Unforgettable Licensing, a division of Unforgettable Enterprises, Inc.