‘I Love Lucy’: Why It Took Years for the Show to Get Opening Credits Right

by Keeli Parkey

“I Love Lucy” remains one of the most popular sitcoms in the history of television. To put it simply, the show is a classic. And, it is still making viewers laugh almost six decades after it premiered.

The show aired from 1951 until 1957. It starred Lucille Ball and Desi Arnaz as Lucy Ricardo and Ricky Ricardo. It also starred William Frawley as Fred Mertz and Vivian Vance as Ethel Mertz.

However, some fans may have noticed that the spelling of characters’ names – particularly Fred and Ethel – changed in the show’s opening credits and closing credits over time. According to Screenrant.com, this took place due to mistakes by those who worked on the show.

For example, according to TVOverMind.com, Ethel’s name appeared differently in the credits over time. Once she was called Ethel Roberta. Another time the character’s name was Ethel Mae. She was also called Ethel Louise. Interestingly, according to IMDb.com, the character of Ethel is known as Ethel Louise Roberta Mae Potter Mertz thanks to these multiple names. The “Potter” part of her name is the character’s maiden name.

This was the only time a character’s name was incorrect. During one season, Desi Arnaz’s first name was spelled “Dezi” when referring to his Desi Arnaz Orchestra.

In addition to messing up these character names, the show also had two spellings for the game show host character who appeared in several episodes of “I Love Lucy.” That character was Freddy Fillmore. In addition to spelling his name that way, the credits also listed this character as Freddie Fillmore.

The Style the Credits for ‘I Love Lucy’ Changed Over Time

In addition to noticing a change in the names of some characters on “I Love Lucy,” fans of the show also noticed a change in the style of the show’s credits.

The show is famous for the heart it used as a background in the credits with “I Love Lucy” inside. However, this heart background was not part of the original credits. Instead, the show originally had animated versions of Lucy and Ricky appear in the credits.

These animated versions of the “I Love Lucy” stars were shown interacting with a packet of cigarettes. These cigarettes were the brand Phillip Morris. This brand was used in the credits because Phillip Morris was the sponsor of “I Love Lucy.”

The change to the now-famous heart with “I Love Lucy” on it reportedly did not take place until 1958. It was at that time that CBS began airing reruns of the popular sitcom.