‘I Love Lucy’: Lucille Ball Didn’t Want Her Children to Go to College Due to Infamous 1970 Tragedy

by Joe Rutland
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“I Love Lucy” star Lucille Ball did not want her kids going to college. If you want to know why they end up in her TV series, then read on.

Lucie Arnaz, in a 2013 interview with Smashing Interviews Magazine, recalls her mother, Ball, putting her and brother Desi Arnaz Jr. on “Here’s Lucy.” Why would she do this?

“My mother was changing series, and she wanted us to be closer to home,” Arnaz says of her mom, who plays Lucy Ricardo in “I Love Lucy.” “I think she was scared if I went to college, I’d get shot because it was the year of Kent State [1970]. I’m not kidding.

“She literally put us on the show so we wouldn’t get shot (laughs),” she says. “It’s funny, but when I think about it now, that’s what happened.”

Arnaz says her mother would say, “‘You’re gonna get shot if you go to college! Don’t go to college! They’re going to shoot you!'”

On May 4, 1970, four students died after Ohio National Guard soldiers shot them at Kent State University in Kent, Ohio. Nine more students suffered injuries while protesting the United States’ involvement in the Vietnam War.

‘I Love Lucy’ Star Launches Third Sitcom After Ending ‘The Lucy Show’

“Here’s Lucy” was the “I Love Lucy” star’s third TV sitcom in a row. “I Love Lucy” ran on CBS between 1951-57, followed by “The Lucy Show” between 1962-68.

Lucie Arnaz stars as Kim Carter, Lucy’s daughter, in the show. Desi plays Craig Carter, her son. Ball plays Lucy Carter, a widower with two children. The show also features longtime Ball foil Gale Gordon as her bachelor brother-in-law Harry Carter. The series would run six seasons, ending in 1974. Ball finishes her TV career with “Life with Lucy,” a short-lived sitcom in 1986.

Because of Ball’s clout with CBS thanks to “I Love Lucy” and her friendships with many celebrities, guest stars would appear left and right. Among them were Milton Berle, George Burns, Carol Burnett, Danny Thomas, Ann-Margret, Richard Burton, Elizabeth Taylor, and Vivian Vance.

Vance appeared in six episodes of “Here’s Lucy” as Vivian Jones. One unique guest-host appearance is by comic legend Jack Benny in “Lucy Meets Jack Benny.” Benny also appears on “The Lucy Show” playing his usual tightwad-like character, which is totally opposite from the in-real-life philanthropic Benny.

In this clip, Ball appears with Lucie and Desi in an episode of “Here’s Lucy.”

Lucille Ball died on April 26, 1989, at 77 years old. She became one of the entertainment world’s most powerful women as she ran Desilu Studios after divorcing “I Love Lucy” costar and husband Desi Arnaz.

“Here’s Lucy” lets Ball be closer to her two children. It put them on a popular TV sitcom for five seasons and helped them move along in their careers.

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