Fans would greet William Frawley and ask ''Where's Ethel?''
Fred and Ethel Mertz were the husband and wife duo that never sugar-coated married life. Things weren't always perfect; they bickered and had plenty of disagreements. This wasn't really normal to see on television in the Fifties.
In productions, the wives usually "obeyed" their husbands. They also ensured their clothes were washed and a meal was cooked and ready to be served when he got home from work. Yet, in I Love Lucy, things were a tad bit different. Ethel and Lucy often challenged their husbands and stood up for themselves.
It's one of the reasons why many viewers loved William Frawley and Vivian Vance; they were a dynamic duo, and it was a challenge to separate the actor from the character. In 1954, during an interview with The Cincinnati Enquirer, Frawley revealed that fans would greet him on the streets as Fred Mertz and ask, "Where's Ethel?"
"I usually say, 'She's at home doing the wash,'" the actor said. In reality, the actress was at home with her husband, which Frawley also acknowledged. "She's really married to another man, a real nice dude. And he wouldn't let her run around with the likes of me."
Although William Frawley was a little grumpy and penny-pinching like Fred Mertz, the two had totally different lives. Frawley's personal life wasn't as interesting as Mertz's.
"I stay with my sister, play a little golf and see a few baseball games," he added. I Love Lucy was the main thing that added some excitement to Frawley's life.
"We're on our 105th film (episode), and it's been fun doin' a success. I think it's been good because we're such a happy combination."
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