"TV Radio-Life" was but one of many regional, limited- circulation magazines that sprang up around the country in the late 1940s/early '50s. Each included news and features about television stars and programs, and most included local TV listings for the geographic area in which they were sold. Many of these eventually were put out of business by the soaring popularity of "TV Guide," and by the growing sophistication of TV listings included free of charge in local newspapers.
"TV Radio-Life," available in Los Angeles, was published from 1948-1959. This particular issue was for the week of November 13, 1954. The cover story was based on an early-September interview by writer Jon Bruce with Lucille Ball and Desi Arnaz. The Arnazes had just returned to work after a 10-week vacation in Del Mar, California.
Lucy and Desi voiced different opinons about their summer hiatus:
LUCY: "The vacation was too long -- and Vivian and Bill thought so, too. Only Desi said it wasn't long enough.
DESI: "I came back to the office after being at Del Mar and just relaxing -- and by two in the afternoon I was ready to start another vacation."
LUCY: "That's because you work harder than anyone."
(Desi that season was not only acting in I Love Lucy, but as head of Desilu Productions, was overseeing the affairs of such company-produced programs as Willy (starring June Havoc) and December Bride (starring Spring Byington). Desilu was also providing production services and fascilities for the Ray Bolger, Danny Thomas and Eve Arden comedies, and a new CBS police drama, Line-Up.)
Desi explained the secret behind Desilu's success:
DESI: "We just do the best job we can. We have only one rule for all of our efforts -- to provide family entertainment, to do nothing that would offend anyone… TV means entertainment, where a man can sit at home with his wife and children and have fun and not be offended ever."
(Photo Left: Ed Sullivan put on a star-studded tribute to Lucy and Desi recently on "Toast of the Town." Ed admires one of the many trophies the popular stars have won for "I Love Lucy.")*
When asked about the rumors that Lucy wanted to quit weekly television, the Redhead explained that her feelings had changed:
LUCY: "Last year I had the feeling I'd like to stay home, but not now. The children will be in school soon and I'll want to be working… I've done everything about the house that I have ever wanted to. I've been busy working on scrapbooks recently -- we have sixteen of them -- and I have been cutting and storing a lot of the film I've taken of the family in the last few months. I've been putting one part of the film in vaults so they won't get lost."
(Photo Right: A recent visitor to the "I Love Lucy" set was Mrs. Caroline Appleby, who used to teach Lucy the three R's in the good old school days.)
Desi offered a preview of what was in store for I Love Lucy that season:
DESI: "There will be no change. Our format will remain the same -- two people who live together and like it. We do have one script coming up where Ricky gets a screen test and we wind up doing a couple of shows in Hollywood…. We may do a Lucy in color this year, by the way."
When asked why he thought the show was so popular, Desi explained that the stories concerned situations everyone could relate to:
DESI: "First, it is family entertainment for the whole family. Second, what happens in the Ricardo home could, and does, happen in the homes of those watching us… We get most of the comedy from the fact that Lucy carries things out farther than most wives do -- but as far as most wives would like to if they had the nerve."
Regarding I Love Lucy's chances of being #1 in the ratings again that season, both of the Arnazes were philosophical:
DESI: "It doesn't matter to us what spot we are in as long as we can entertain."
LUCY: "We just want to do the best show we can to the best of our ability. It's not as important to stay on top as it is to do a good show."
(Photo Above: ARB, one of the nation's biggest rating systems, gave Lucy and Desi an award for being the first TV program in history to reach 10,000,000 homes. This was some time ago, for "I Love Lucy" has passed the 50,000,000 mark now.)**
*Ed Sullivan's Toast of the Town tribute to the Arnazes aired on CBS Sunday, October 3, 1954, a day before the start of I Love Lucy's fourth season.
**That's producer Jess Oppenheimer looking over Lucy's shoulder. The group is reading the latest TV ratings report.
__________________________________________________"TV-Radio Life" is used courtesy of Stuart Shostak Collection.
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Original material © 2000 Lucyfan Enterprises.
I Love Lucy is copyrighted by and a registered trademark of CBS Worldwide, Inc.
Images of Lucille Ball and Desi Arnaz used by permission of Desilu, too, LLC.
Licensing by Unforgettable Licensing, Northbrook, Illinois.