1951 - 1957
"I Love Lucy" was originally on air for the first time on October 15th, 1951. Its pilot, in addition to the successful 'vaudeville' tour of Lucy and Desi, convinced producers and television networks that "I Love Lucy" would survive on television as a situation comedy.
First Filmed Episode ("Lucy Thinks Ricky Is Trying To Murder Her") : September 8, 1951
Last Filmed Episode ("The Ricardos Dedicate A Statue") : April 4, 1957
...I Love Lucy was filmed in front of a live audience...
6 Seasons in total.
1st Season: 1951-1952
...The show is introduced to the world of television and the Lucy character develops.
Memorable Episodes: "Lucy Does A Television Commercial" (3/28/52)
2nd Season: 1952-1953
...In this season, "little ricky" is born, as well as the authentic little Ricky, Lucy and Desi's son, Desi Arnaz Jr.
Memorable Episodes: "Job Switching" (5/30/52)
3rd Season: 1953-1954
...Lucy and the gang remain in their apartment buildings this season, and no major trips are planned. A few episodes are focused on the new baby.
Memorable Episodes: "Bonus Bucks" (2/4/54)
4th Season: 1954-1955
...Rising high in the television industry, Lucy and Desi are promoted in "The Long, Long Trailer" and the show develops a plot where the characters are headed for Hollywood.
Memorable Episodes: "Harpo Marx" (3/24/55)
5th Season: 1955-1956
...Just after returning from Hollywood, Ricky is booked in Europe, and the gang looks forward to an enticing European vacation.
Memorable Episodes: "Lucy's Italian Movie" (3/8/56)
6th Season: 1956-1957
...The final season of the show, Lucy encounters such celebrities as Bob Hope and Orson Welles. Little Ricky can now speak and is attending school and taking drum lessons, and the gang heads off to Florida, Cuba, and finally, they move out of New York and into Connecticut. The move to Connecticut prepared the "I Love Lucy" story line for the Lucy Desi Comedy Hours.
Memorable Episodes: "Lucy Raises Chickens" (1/17/57)
When negotiations were settled about the future of the "I Love Lucy" show, it was decided that a new, monthly, hour long series would develop. "I Love Lucy" was a half-hour, weekly aired series, and this new plan would give the cast and crew an easier job. This new series was "The Lucy and Desi Comedy Hour" series, with the regular cast (Vivian Vance, William Frawley, and "little Ricky" - Keith Thibodeaux).
Unlike "I Love Lucy", the LDCHs were not filmed in front of a live audience. Instead, they edited laughs into the final editing of each show. The LDCHs finally ended when Lucy and Desi were experiencing domestic and marital problems. There are only thirteen of these hour-long episodes which are now actually released on video.
The LDCHs aired from 1957 - 1960 [the year of their divorce]. The final episode, "Lucy Meets The Mustache", was actually filmed in April of 1960, and on the same day they filed for divorce.