I Love Lucy/The Lucy-Desi Comedy Hour and Private Secretary

I Love Lucy/The Lucy-Desi Comedy Hour (1951-1961)/(1962-1967)
Private Secretary (1953-1957)
Type: Crossover
Group 2

   Ahhh, a crossover most people would probably miss if it wasn't pointed out to them. 'Cause I missed it until it was pointed out to me. I saw the episode in question and I didn't know it was a crossover until told.

   It all happened on the first episode of The Lucy-Desi Comedy Hour. Well, really when it first aired it was just a one hour I Love Lucy special. Well, actually an hour and fifteen minute special. Sigh. This is getting complicated but all will be made clear.

   I Love Lucy the half hour sitcom actually stopped making new episodes in 1957 even though reruns stayed on network TV on and off through 1961. For those who have never seen a TV in their lives, I Love Lucy starred Lucille Ball and her husband Desi Arnaz as Lucy and her famous bandleader husband Ricky Ricardo. Even though no more half hour episodes were made after 1957, Lucy and company continued to make one hour specials featuring the Ricardos and the Mertzes. Then eventually these specials were packaged as a series and titled the Lucy-Desi Comedy Hour.

   The first of these specials told the story of how Lucy and Ricky first met. It started with Lucy and Ricky telling gossip columnist Hedda Hopper the story and then jumped back to actually show the story. A still single Lucy and her friend Susie McNamera are on a cruise to Havana, Cuba. Also coincidentally on the ship are Fred and Ethel Mertz, Lucy and Ricky's soon-to-be best friends. Once in Havana Lucy and Susie meet up with Ricky and his friend Carlos who are bribed into dating the girls. Only before long the guys actually fall for the girls. Of course by the time they are in love the girls find out they were paid to hang out with them. And in such miscommunications and misunderstandings is of course room from some good yuks. No sarcasm in that. I might take shots at shows but I have to say I Love Lucy in any form is almost always solid comedy.

   Now that I have explained the plot I can point out the crossover. Lucy's friend Susie McNamera was played by Ann Southern who also played the same character on the sitcom Private Secretary. On Private Secretary, Susie was the private secretary of talent agent Peter Sands. Similar to the way Lucy would cause trouble for Ricky, Susie would in trying to help her boss end up meddling in his life and causing all sorts of trouble and...comedy!

   Both Private Secretary and I Love Lucy aired on CBS for largely the same number of years and both stopped production in 1957. In point of fact Private Secretary stopped airing two months prior to this Lucy special airing. So it served as sort of a nice farewell for both shows (even though more Lucy specials were to come). And it is also cool because it served as both the first and last appearance of the Susie McNamera character. Given that the flashback part of the story was set so far in the past it actually happens before anything shown on Private Secretary it is her first appearance chronologically. But it was also, as I've said, the last television appearance for the character. Clearly I am easily impressed.

   I think that wraps it up. Yep, crossover pointed out, the various incarnations of I Love Lucy explained... whoops. I forgot. That whole hour and fifteen minute special thing. Didn't explain that. See, when they filmed this special it went long. Cut tight and to the bone it went one hour and fifteen minutes. Desi Arnaz didn't want to see anything else hacked out because the episode played just right. So get this. He talks to the folks whose show was going to follow the special and said, "Can we have 15 minutes of your show's time?" He pointed out that it might bring the show more viewers. And he had a point. As a viewer you stick around 15 minutes to see the end of the show and whatever show you might have planned on flipping to is 15 minutes in already. Easier just to stay put on the channel you're on and watch a complete episode of a show. The producers of The United States Steel Hour, the show following Lucy, saw the wisdom in his idea and said okay. Thus an hour and fifteen minute episode.

   Like I said though, CBS later packaged all the specials as a show. And its sort of a pain having one episode fifteen minutes longer than the others. Sorta puts a crimp in repeatedly scheduling it. Who wants to juggle show times every time it repeats? Please. So after its first airing the first part with Hedda Hopper got the axe. Thunk! It's gone. Buh-bye. Seeya Hedda. Just so you'll know. I don't want anyone seeing the episode in its cut state and thinking I'm making stuff up.

Other I Love Lucy Crossover Links
I Love Lucy and The Danny Thomas Show

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