‘I Love Lucy’: Lucille Ball Explained Show’s Influence in Production of ‘Mame’ Film

by Clayton Edwards
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I Love Lucy was one of the most popular shows of its time. Even today, the series remains well-loved by fans of all ages. Behind the scenes, the show changed the face of television forever. The iconic sitcom is the reason that we have reruns. At the same time, it shifted the center of broadcast television from New York to Hollywood. The number of major things that the show changed is, honestly, shocking.

I Love Lucy left several indelible marks on the film and television industry. However, it also left its mark on the minds of the people who watched it. For instance, many people could only see Lucille Ball as Lucy Ricardo after the show ended. After all, that character is how many people came to know Lucille. So, that was their point of reference for her as a performer as well as a person. In the series, she stars alongside her then-husband. So, some viewers assumed that the show was a little more true-to-life than it really was.

Even years after I Love Lucy ended, the shadow of Lucy Ricardo loomed large in the life of Lucille Ball. While Ball was grateful for the fame that the show brought her, she still wanted to have a career outside of the show. So, in her future projects, she did what she could to keep any Lucy-isms out of her performances.

Lucille Ball talked about this back in 1974 while promoting her new movie Mame. In the interview, she talks about how I Love Lucy affected the production of the film.

I Love Lucy Influences the Production of Mame

Early in the chat, the interviewer asks Lucille Ball if she had any issues separating her I Love Lucy character from her character in the film. Or, as the interviewer put it, “separating Lucy, as we all know you, from Mame.”

Lucille Ball said she personally didn’t have that issue. However, there were scenes in the film that felt very “Lucy-ish.” So, she tried to downplay those scenes. She would hold back but the director wanted her to lean into the scenes. Ball was afraid that people would think that she was adding in elements of her I Love Lucy character. So, she didn’t want to go all-out on those scenes. The last thing she wanted was to play Mame like Lucy Ricardo.

After seeing the finished film, though, Lucille Ball said that the director was correct. She wished she would have played into those scenes a little more.

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