HomeEntertainment‘I Love Lucy’: Why One ‘Here’s Lucy’ Episode Was Shockingly Filmed Without a Live Audience

‘I Love Lucy’: Why One ‘Here’s Lucy’ Episode Was Shockingly Filmed Without a Live Audience

by Madison Miller
Photo by: Bettmann / Contributor / via Getty Images

One of the most iconic episodes to ever come out of “Here’s Lucy” was titled “Ginger Rogers Comes to Tea.” “Here’s Lucy” was the last of Lucille Ball’s famous sitcoms. Prior to this program, she had been the star of “I Love Lucy” and “The Lucy Show.”

In one episode from 1971, the crew of “Here’s Lucy” goes to a Ginger Rogers film festival. Rogers is actually in attendance but is in disguise. She ends up seated next to Lucille and Uncle Harry. After accidentally offending Rogers, she storms out of the theater but forgets her purse. Both Harry and Lucy look through the purse, discover her true identity, and chase after Rogers.

Lucie Arnaz Reveals ‘Here’s Lucy’ Secret

The most memorable moment of the episode happens when Lucy, Ginger, and Lucie all do their goofy rendition of the Charleston dance together. It remains one of the most iconic memories of the show. The dance number even ends with some thunderous applause from the audience. However, as it turns out, there was not a single person sitting in the audience that day.

“There’s a great story that goes with that … it’s the only show I can think of that we shot without an audience,” Lucie Arnaz said in an interview on “KMC Chat: Coffee & Cocktails” in 2020.

Arnaz shared that the normal process of the show happened over the course of a week. Scripts were given out on Monday, but then there was staging and rehearsing that happened throughout the week. By the end, the crew and cast would be ready to film in front of a live audience, just like it was done on “I Love Lucy.”

However, there was an actor’s strike at the time. The cast was told they would need to stop what they were doing and go home, but Lucille Ball was not about to let that happen. Instead, the show went on and Arnaz said they “hadn’t really even staged it.”

They filmed the show the day of or after getting the script with no rehearsal. It was the only episode that had applause and laugh tracks added since there was no audience there to add it in authentically.

Despite all the drama, fans loved the episode and it’s nearly impossible to tell what all went down.

Apparently, the scene of the three iconic ladies dancing has reappeared in the media again. Lucie Arnaz shared a remix of the dance on her official Facebook post. Instead of dancing to the tune of the Charleston, the women are vibing to Beyoncé’s insanely popular song, “Single Ladies.”

‘I Love Lucy’ Live Audience

“I Love Lucy” was groundbreaking and historical for a number of reasons. From showing a real-life pregnancy to having one of the first interracial couples on television.

In addition, “I Love Lucy” was the very first TV series to be filmed in front of a live audience. Other shows relied on laugh tracks, but “I Love Lucy” had authentic laughter mixed into the production.

This is part of why it’s so shocking to learn “Here’s Lucy” had an episode with no audience. The show is also known for being one of the first to use a three-camera approach when filming. This is now a normal occurrence in TV to use a multicamera set-up.