12 tiny little goofs you never noticed in I Love Lucy
Nobody is perfect, especially Lucy Ricardo. She always had some 'splaining to do on I Love Lucy. That's what made the character so darn funny.
The sitcom itself slipped up here and there, but we can certainly cut Desilu some slack — Lucille Ball and Desi Arnaz were breaking new ground on television. If a camera or microphone slipped into a shot here and there, well, the whole studio setup was a novel idea.
Some of the minor errors are interesting in hindsight. The Ricardos subtly moved both apartments and anniversary dates. Other errors reveal a bit of how the sitcom was made. It takes the keen eye of a devoted fan to catch those goofs.
Let's take a look at a dozen tiny mistakes found in I Love Lucy.
Ball, room, dancing
"Lucy Thinks Ricky is Trying to Murder Her"
Right away in the first episode, a couple of tiny blunders make the screen. When Lucy and Ricky dance around the living room of their apartment, we can briefly see the wall dividing the different sets and catch a brief peek into their bedroom.
"Lucy Thinks Ricky is Trying to Murder Her"
I Love Lucy pioneered the three-camera technique for filming a sitcom on a studio stage. In the premiere episode, when Ricky takes a phone call and sits at his desk, you can briefly catch one of the other cameras on the right side of the frame.
Near the end, Lucy and Ricky enter the room, which has been wildly covered in wallpaper. Take a look behind the two when they walk in the door. William Frawley (Fred) can be spotted in the background, peeking around a wall, awaiting his cue. He quickly realizes he is in the shot and steps back to hide.
"Lucy Gets Ricky on the Radio"
We've already seen the cameras used to capture I Love Lucy in all its glory. Ever wonder what they used to record the audio? Well, a microphone and stand can be seen on the right of the frame in this shot.
Now seen in 3D
"The Ricardos Change Apartments" and "The French Revue"
In season two, the Ricardos upgrade their living space and move into apartment 3B. You can see the number and letter on the front door. However, the following season, it has changed to 3D, as seen in "The French Revue." Why the change? In the prior episode, "Lucy Tells the Truth," the writers had Lucy say her apartment number is "3D" in an audition to make a pun work.
Don't forget the date
"The Anniversary Present" and "Hollywood Anniversary"
Perhaps Ricky should be forgiven. In "Hollywood Anniversary," the hubby comically cannot remember the date on which he and Lucy tied the knot. Ricky contacts the records office back in Connecticut, which wires him the info — the Ricardos were married on the 7th. Yet, a couple of seasons back, Lucy had their anniversary circled on a calendar in the kitchen. The date? The 19th.
Not reading Palms
"Hollywood at Last!"
Speaking of the gang's time in L.A., the two couples spend their vacation staying in the "Beverly Palms Hotel." However, when the four pull up in Ricky's convertible, the real name of the hotel can be seen outside — the Beverly Carlton Hotel.
Everything but the kitchen sink
"Ricky's Screen Test"
Lucy ruins Ricky's big screen test, of course. The director only wants to shoot the back of her head, but the fame-craving Lucy continues to turn around to face the camera. The irate director asks if her head spins around like a lighthouse. If you look behind the director when he yells at Lucy, you can spot the set of the Ricardos' kitchen.
"Lucy Learns to Drive"
Ever wonder how they drove those big ol' automobiles on a closed set? Well, they didn't. The cars were pulled around with cables. In this episode, Ethel waits for Ricky to pull up. When his car arrives, a thin black cable can be seen tugging the vehicle into the shot. The black wire shakes wildly as it hauls in that heavy car.
A peeking porter
"The Great Train Robbery"
Fred was not the only actor caught peeking into a shoot. Who could blame them? We would find it hard to keep our eyes off Lucille Ball, too. In this episode, when Lucy and Ricky find their train compartment, take a look to the far left of the screen. The extra who plays the train's porter can be spotted looking through the next door. He is waiting for his cue.
Keeping in the peeps
"Lucy Raises Chickens"
In one of the most memorable scenes of the series, dozens of adorable chicks are loose in the Ricardo's Connecticut home. The production would not want to risk losing a baby bird, so the little chicken actors were corralled on stage with a tiny fence. You can briefly spot the chicken wire pen in the corner of the frame.
Recycling the paper
"Ricky's Old Girlfriend" and "Lucy's Club Dance"
The same New York Gazette newspaper appears repeatedly on the show. Either that or "BOND ISSUE DEFEATED" was a common headline back in the 1950s.
Watch I Love Lucy on Catchy Comedy
Weekdays at 12p ET | 9a PT