‘I Love Lucy’: Here’s the Show that Was the ‘Summer Replacement’ Before Reruns Were Invented

by Katie Maloney

Before reruns were a thing, what did I Love Lucy fans do when the season ended? They watched this “summer replacement” show.

It’s difficult to imagine a time when show reruns didn’t exist. A time when no one had yet thought. “Hey, I’d like the chance to watch this episode again at a later date, let’s make that happen.” But there was such a time. And I Love Lucy was airing during that time. So, when the season ended, CBS wanted to offer fans something else to keep them entertained while producers filmed new episodes of Lucille Ball’s beloved show. The show that producers offered fans during the off-season was called My Little Margie.

Just like I Love Lucy, the summer replacement show featured another headstrong and funny woman, Margie Albright. Margie frequently got into mischief while trying to protect her handsome widowed father, Vernon. Vernon was a wealthy investment executive and Margie didn’t want any of the beautiful socialites to take advantage of him or his fortune. Meanwhile, Vernon worried that Margie’s interference would sabotage his efforts at his investment firm.

Clips from My Little Margie.

I Love Lucy Wasn’t The Only Famous Show To Air Before Reruns Were Invented

There are several shows that are still popular today that started airing long before anyone ever knew that it would be possible for people to watch the show decades later. One of these shows included the famous Gilligan’s Island. The show first aired in 1964 and producers didn’t even know if the show would be a hit let alone be a hit 50 years later. Unfortunately for the actors, because reruns weren’t on anyone’s radar, compensation for reruns wasn’t written into any of their contracts. So, even after years of success, the actors on Gilligan’s Island don’t receive any money for reruns of the show. During an interview, Dawn Wells, who played Mary Ann on the show, talked about people’s misconception that the Gilligan’s Island actors are incredibly wealthy.

“A misconception is that we [Gilligan’s Island stars] must be wealthy, rolling in the dough, because we got residuals. We didn’t really get a dime. I think my salary — of course, I was low on the totem pole, Ginger [Tina Louise] and Thurston [Jim Backus] got more — was $750 a week. Sherwood Schwartz, our producer, reportedly made $90 million on the reruns alone!” said Wells.

Luckily, Lucille Ball did end up receiving compensations for I Love Lucy reruns. She and Desi Arnaz made $5 million from reruns of the show alone.