‘I Love Lucy’: Lucille Ball and Desi Arnaz Were Originally Written as Different Characters

by Clayton Edwards
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There were many things that made I Love Lucy so popular. It was smart, funny, and endearing. The series showed a loving couple but they weren’t portrayed as having a storybook life. The fact that they faced trials and troubles together and never faltered as a couple was a sweet look at married life. Even today, people can relate to Lucy and Ricky. The fact that they were a middle-class couple adds to their relatability. However, that wasn’t the original plan.

The original plan for the couple’s roles on I Love Lucy would have made them a little less relatable. At the same time, their roles would have influenced the plots of the show. So, it is fortunate that they changed things before the show premiered.

The Original Characters on I Love Lucy

Originally, Ricky and Lucy were going to be much more affluent, according to the Lucy-Desi Museum. Instead of a bandleader and his wife, they were going to be a successful orchestra leader and his movie star wife. This would have made the Ricardo family richer. At the same time, they would have been involved with a completely different class of friends. I Love Lucy would have lost much of its charm if they had moved forward with the original plan.

Could you imagine I Love Lucy without the classic chocolate factory scenes? What about the episode where Lucy sells Vitameatavegemin? Lucy, Ricky, Fred, and Ethel had crazy good chemistry on-screen. There’s no telling who their friends would have been if they played the rich and successful couple. At the same time, it may have changed Lucy and Ricky’s relationship dynamic. For most people, that is the backbone of the show. So, who knows how well the show would have done.

The original character plan for I Love Lucy and the subsequent change sounds much like the show’s predecessor. Before it became a TV show, the iconic series was a radio program. It was called My Favorite Husband. The show starred Lucille Ball and Richard Denning as Liz and George Cugat. In the beginning, he was a rich banker and she was a socialite. Later in the series, their last name was changed to Cooper. Around the same time, other things about them changed as well. The Coopers were a middle-class couple. That change was made for much the same reason that it was made for I Love Lucy: to make the characters more relatable to a wider audience.

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