Tuesday, October 3, 2023


April 22, 2011 by · Leave a Comment 

Madelyn Pugh Davis, one of the three writers of the groundbreaking I Love Lucy sitcom, died Wednesday in Los Angeles at age 90. In an obituary, today’s (Friday) New York Times quoted Davis as saying in a 1993 interview that she and fellow writers Jess Oppenheimer, who produced the show, and Bob Carroll Jr. “weren’t doing joke jokes or funny word jokes as much as we were setting up physical situations for [Lucille Ball].” Asked by the Times in 2010 whether Ball ever refused to perform one of the physical gags, Davis replied, “The only time she ever said she didn’t want to do something was when she saw an elephant on the set and ran up to her office.” The Times said that the script called for her to retrieve $500 from under the elephant’s foot. “Then the phone rang and it was Vivian Vance,” who played the supporting character Ethel Mertz on the show. “Vivian said, ‘It’s O.K., I told Lucy that if she didn’t want to do that funny thing, I’ll do it.’ And Lucy said, ‘O.K., I’ll do it.’ So she talked into the elephant’s trunk and got it to lift its foot.”