‘Lucy’ ‘splains long-running popularity

TV Land, Acad salutes 'grandmother of all sitcoms'

HOLLYWOOD — Although the Academy of Television Arts and Sciences has packed Emmy away until Nov. 4, two of the golden girls were in prominent position Monday at the 50th anni celebration for “I Love Lucy” at the Hollywood Center Studios.

Sponsored by cabler TV Land and the Academy, event in Stage 1, where many episodes were lensed, brought out some of the show’s creative members and their families.

Desi Arnaz Jr. said the reason people like to “see it over and over again is because it’s like an old friend they remember.”

Referring to “I Love Lucy” as the “grandmother of all sitcoms,” TV Land G.M. Larry Jones said, “The reason some shows last and some don’t is because (those that last are) still funny.”

Writer Madelyn Pugh Davis said the cast members “were just wonderful performers. Desi (Arnaz) said once ‘if Lucy (Ball) gets 90% of the credit, the rest of us can float around in the other 10%.’ ”

As the first episode of “Lucy” unspooled — almost to the exact minute 50 years ago — complete with the original animated opening and ads, what had the audience laughing was a Phillip Morris cigarettes pitchman asking “Do you inhale?”

Among those who still love Lucy were ATAS Foundation prexy Jim Chabin; ATAS chairman Bryce Zabel; “Lucy” writers Bob Carroll Jr. and Bob Schiller; director William Asher; editor Dann Cahn; assistant editor Ted Rich; plus guests Barbara Billingsley, Gordon Clapp, Fyvush Finkel, Rose Marie and Isabel Sanford.

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