‘I Love Lucy’: How Lucille Ball Cast Arnold Mooney Actor Barry Livingston on ‘The Lucy Show’

by Joe Rutland
(Photo by George Rose/Getty Images)

Lucille Ball needed to fill a role for her new show after “I Love Lucy” ended. She found a talented, young boy to play on “The Lucy Show.”

Barry Livingston, who classic TV fans will remember as one of the sons on “My Three Sons,” managed to find himself in the good graces of Ball. Talk about being at the right place, at the right time.

“Then I got a contract from the people doing ‘My Three Sons,'” Livingston said in an interview with the Archive of American Television. “And I was not a son but a friend next door. So I had a lot of time on my hands.

“Again, my favorite activity was to get on my bike and go explore the lot,” he said. “We were working on Desilu, which is her (Ball’s) studio, and she was the studio head as well as the star of her show. Which was ‘Here’s Lucy’ or ‘The Lucy Show.’ It was ‘The Lucy Show’ maybe.

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“I remember riding the bike and I’d see her, you know, from ‘I Love Lucy’ which was a great show,” Livingston said. “And I knew how important she was. So, you know, I ride my bike, and one day she is speeding by and, you know, totally exceeding the speed limit in her souped-up golf cart.

“Cigarette in her mouth and bandana and she goes, ‘Hey, hi Barry,'” he said. “You know, gravely voice. I went, ‘Holy crap, she knew my voice.’ That was pretty amazing. I mean it’s one thing to be recognized but she knew who I was.”

Livingston said he ended up dumping his bike, falling over when the legendary Ball of “I Love Lucy” fame called out to him.

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“And not long after that, she asked me if I could be in one of the episodes,” he said. “It was a recurring (role) and I was playing Arnold Mooney, who was Mr. Mooney, who was Gale Gordon, her boss.”

What episode was it? Well, Lucy, playing Lucy Carmichael in this show, is attempting to impress her bank boss Mr. Mooney that she knows how to save money. One way is to give Mooney’s son Arnold a haircut. It happened to be a mohawk, which Livingston received from Ball. It was a “gag” haircut.

“There’s nothing scarier than seeing Lucille Ball come at you with a pair of shears,” Livingston said. “Wow, that was crazy.”

For Barry Livingston, it was all in a day when the “I Love Lucy” star welcomed him into her world.