Bob Carroll, Jr.

Writer/Producer


The Academy of Television Arts & Sciences Foundation Presents

02:26

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About
About this interview

"Bob said, 'I don't want to get tied down, I'll give it a year.' We've been writing together, it'll be 50 years -- and he wasn't sure it would work out," Madelyn Pugh Davis laughs. Bob Carroll Jr. (1918-2007) and writing partner Madelyn Pugh Davis (1921-2011) first began writing for radio as a team in about 1946; in television they were writers on every one of Lucille Ball's series. In their Archive interview, each briefly recounts their early years and influences and then sit together for a career-spanning interview which begins with their work in radio for such legends as Steve Allen. They eventually became writers on radio's My Favorite Husband, which starred Lucille Ball. When Ball made the transition to television with I Love Lucy, producer Jess Oppenheimer hired the team as writers. During the interview they discuss in great length the process of writing for I Love Lucy and the immense talents of the cast. They recount how some of the classic scenes came about (including the candy factory scene) and how production of the show was done. They briefly discuss working on Ball's subsequent series and as well as a few non-Lucy sitcoms including Alice. When Lucille Ball returned to television in 1986 for her ill-fated Life With Lucy, Carroll and Davis were there, too, although Davis admits "none of us should have done it." They conclude the interview with their thoughts on the legacy of I Love Lucy and the timelessness of the series. Bob Carroll, Jr. (1918-2007) and Madelyn Pugh Davis were interviewed in Los Angeles, CA on November 24, 1997; Tom Gilbert conducted the two-and-a-half-hour interview (including individual interviews about their early years running approximately 10 minutes each).

"He [Desi Arnaz] came back from lunch one day. He said, 'I just bought RKO.'"

Interviewee(s)
Full Interview

Chapter 1

On his early years and influences; on his start in radio before teaming up with writing partner Madelyn Pugh Davis

Chapter 2

START OF JOINT INTERVIEW WITH BOB CARROLL, JR. AND MADELYN PUGH DAVIS: On teaming up as writing partners on the Ethel & Albert radio comedy, The Couple Next Door
On their early radio work and on their writing style in-general
On working on Steve Allen's radio show and leaving to work on My Favorite Husband
On working on the radio show My Favorite Husband and working with Lucille Ball for the first time
On the initial development, character creation, and production details of I Love Lucy
On the origin of the name "Mertz" and how Desi Arnaz's accent played into the comedy of I Love Lucy

Chapter 3

On bringing I Love Lucy to television
On working with Desi Arnaz and Lucille Ball
On the writing and production on I Love Lucy

Chapter 4

On writing the pilot of I Love Lucy
On I Love Lucy getting sold and writing the first scripts
On writing Lucy Ricardo's pregnancy episodes when Lucille Ball became pregnant
On the Blacklist and Lucille Ball being accused Communist affiliations
On writing the move of the Ricardos to Hollywood on I Love Lucy
On the growth in popularity of I Love Lucy after its premiere
On Those Whiting Girls and the addition of Bob Schiller & Bob Weiskopf to the I Love Lucy writing staff
On the treatment of women writers and producers

Chapter 5

On I Love Lucy and the Emmy Awards; Jess Oppenheimer's departure
On aging "Little Ricky" on I Love Lucy and the casting of Keith Thibodeaux
On moving I Love Lucy's Ricardos to Connecticut and the new sets
On the hourlong I Love Lucy shows (Lucy-Desi Comedy Hour )
On writing specific classic episodes of I Love Lucy
On working for Desi Arnaz as consultants at Desilu after I Love Lucy went off the air
On working on The Tom Ewell Show
On the end of Lucy and Desi's marriage and subsequent work with Lucy on Broadway
On producing The Lucy Show

Chapter 6

On working with Desi Arnaz and others on various projects including Here's Lucy
On producing Alice and Dorothy
On producing Life with Lucy
On the legacy of I Love Lucy and how they'd like to be remembered
Shows

Alice

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Bob Carroll, Jr. & Madelyn Pugh Davis on producing Alice

Here's Lucy

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Bob Carroll, Jr. & Madelyn Pugh Davis on their work on Here's Lucy

I Love Lucy

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Bob Carroll, Jr. & Madelyn Pugh Davis on meeting Lucille Ball when they were writers on her radio show
Bob Carroll, Jr. & Madelyn Pugh Davis on the development of I Love Lucy
Bob Carroll, Jr. & Madelyn Pugh Davis on transitioning from radio's My Favorite Husband to TV's I Love Lucy
Bob Carroll, Jr. & Madelyn Pugh Davis on the inspiration for the pizza-making scene in the "Visitor From Italy"  (aired October 29, 1956) episode of I Love Lucy
Bob Carroll, Jr. & Madelyn Pugh Davis on working with Desi Arnaz; they also detail the production of I Love Lucy
Bob Carroll, Jr. & Madelyn Pugh Davis on writing I Love Lucy
Bob Carroll, Jr. & Madelyn Pugh Davis on the show being sold; and writing the scripts for I Love Lucy
Bob Carroll, Jr. & Madelyn Pugh Davis on Lucy Ricardo's pregnancy storyline on I Love Lucy
Bob Carroll, Jr. & Madelyn Pugh Davis on the decision to move the Ricardos to Hollywood on I Love Lucy
Bob Carroll, Jr. & Madelyn Pugh Davis on writing for guest stars on I Love Lucy and how the episode, "L.A. at Last" (aired February 7, 1955) with William Holden 
Bob Carroll, Jr. & Madelyn Pugh Davis on writing specific classic episodes of I Love Lucy
Bob Carroll, Jr. & Madelyn Pugh Davis on the timelessness of I Love Lucy

I Love Lucy: "Job Switching"

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Bob Carroll, Jr. & Madelyn Pugh Davis on writing the I Love Lucy episode "Job Switching" (candy factory)

I Love Lucy: "Lucy Does a TV Commercial"

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Bob Carroll, Jr. & Madelyn Pugh Davis on Lucille Ball doing "vitameatavegamin" in one take

Life With Lucy

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Bob Carroll, Jr. & Madelyn Pugh Davis on producing Life with Lucy

Lucy Show, The

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Bob Carroll, Jr. & Madelyn Pugh Davis on working on The Lucy Show

Mothers-In-Law, The

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Bob Carroll, Jr. & Madelyn Pugh Davis on The Mothers-In-Law

My Favorite Husband

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Bob Carroll, Jr. & Madelyn Pugh Davis on writing for radio's My Favorite Husband

Those Whiting Girls

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Bob Carroll, Jr. &ƒ Madelyn Pugh Davis briefly on working on Those Whiting Girls at Desilu

Tom Ewell Show, The

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Bob Carroll, Jr. & Madelyn Pugh Davis on creating The Tom Ewell Show
Topics

Comedy

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Bob Carroll, Jr. & Madelyn Pugh Davis on the I Love Lucy episode "Lucy Does a Commercial" (Vitameatavegamin)
Bob Carroll, Jr. & Madelyn Pugh Davis on writing the I Love Lucy episode "Job Switching" (candy factory)
Bob Carroll, Jr. & Madelyn Pugh Davis on the I Love Lucy episode "Lucy's Italian Movie" (grape stomping)
Bob Carroll, Jr. & Madelyn Pugh Davis on the I Love Lucy episode "L.A. at Last" (nose catches fire)

Emmy Awards

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Bob Carroll, Jr. & Madelyn Pugh Davis on producer I Love Lucy and the Emmy Awards

Hollywood Blacklist

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Bob Carroll, Jr. & Madelyn Pugh Davis on the Blacklist and Lucille Ball's being branded a Communist during I Love Lucy

Studio and Network Management

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Bob Carroll, Jr. & Madelyn Pugh Davis briefly on working at Desilu

We Laughed

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Bob Carroll, Jr. & Madelyn Pugh Davis on the I Love Lucy episode "Lucy is Enciente," where she tells Ricky she's pregnant
Bob Carroll, Jr. & Madelyn Pugh Davis on the I Love Lucy episode "Lucy Does a Commercial" (Vitameatavegamin)
Bob Carroll, Jr. & Madelyn Pugh Davis on the birth of "Little Ricky" on I Love Lucy
Bob Carroll, Jr. & Madelyn Pugh Davis on writing the I Love Lucy episode "Job Switching" (candy factory)
Bob Carroll, Jr. & Madelyn Pugh Davis on the I Love Lucy episode "Lucy's Italian Movie" (grape stomping)
Bob Carroll, Jr. & Madelyn Pugh Davis on the I Love Lucy episode "L.A. at Last" (nose catches fire)

Women

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Madelyn Pugh Davis (with Bob Carroll, Jr.) on the early treatment of female radio and television writers and producers
Bob Carroll, Jr. & Madelyn Pugh Davis on the treatment of female producers
Professions

Writers

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Bob Carroll, Jr. & Madelyn Pugh Davis on their working style in their writing partnership
Bob Carroll, Jr. & Madelyn Pugh Davis on their writing process on I Love Lucy
Bob Carroll, Jr. & Madelyn Pugh Davis on scripting I Love Lucy's physical comedy
Bob Carroll, Jr. & Madelyn Pugh Davis on writing for Lucille Ball
Genres

Comedy Series

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Bob Carroll, Jr. & Madelyn Pugh Davis on the preparations to film I Love Lucy in Hollywood 
Bob Carroll, Jr. & Madelyn Pugh Davis on thd timelessness of I Love Lucy
People

Steve Allen

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Bob Carroll, Jr. & Madelyn Pugh Davis on writing for Steve Allen's radio show, It's a Great Life

Desi Arnaz

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Bob Carroll, Jr. & Madelyn Pugh Davis on using Desi Arnaz's accent for comedic effect on I Love Lucy
Bob Carroll, Jr. & Madelyn Pugh Davis on Desi Arnaz and his management style
Bob Carroll, Jr. & Madelyn Pugh Davis on how Desi Arnaz worked with writers on I Love Lucy
Bob Carroll, Jr. & Madelyn Pugh Davis on working with Desi Arnaz after I Love Lucy
Bob Carroll, Jr. & Madelyn Pugh Davis on the breakup of Lucy and Desi's marriage
Bob Carroll, Jr. & Madelyn Pugh Davis on Desi Arnaz

Lucille Ball

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Bob Carroll, Jr. & Madelyn Pugh Davis on meeting Lucille Ball when they were writers on her radio show
Bob Carroll, Jr. & Madelyn Pugh Davis on writing for Lucille Ball
Bob Carroll, Jr. & Madelyn Pugh Davis on audiences' love for Lucille Ball
Bob Carroll, Jr. & Madelyn Pugh Davis on the breakup of Lucy and Desi's marriage
Bob Carroll, Jr. & Madelyn Pugh Davis on producing Life with Lucy
Bob Carroll, Jr. & Madelyn Pugh Davis briefly on Lucille Ball's success

Marc Daniels

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Bob Carroll, Jr. & Madelyn Pugh Davis on working with director Marc Daniels on I Love Lucy and Alice

Madelyn Pugh Davis

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Bob Carroll, Jr. on meeting his future writing partner, Madelyn Pugh Davis

William Frawley

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Bob Carroll, Jr. & Madelyn Pugh Davis on how William Frawley was cast as Fred Mertz on I Love Lucy

Karl Freund

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Bob Carroll, Jr. & Madelyn Pugh Davis on director of photography Karl Freund's work on I Love Lucy

Wilbur Hatch

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Bob Carroll, Jr. & Madelyn Pugh Davis on working with I Love Lucy bandleader Wilbur Hatch

William Holden

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Bob Carroll, Jr. & Madelyn Pugh Davis on the I Love Lucy episode "L.A. at Last" (where Lucy's nose catches fire)

Polly Holliday

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Bob Carroll, Jr. & Madelyn Pugh Davis on working with Polly Holliday on Alice

Jess Oppenheimer

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Bob Carroll, Jr. & Madelyn Pugh Davis on working with producer Jess Oppenheimer on I Love Lucy
Bob Carroll, Jr. & Madelyn Pugh Davis on their writing process on I Love Lucy
Bob Carroll, Jr. & Madelyn Pugh Davis on working on I Love Lucy with Jess Oppenheimer
Bob Carroll, Jr. & Madelyn Pugh Davis on writing I Love Lucy and Jess Oppenheimer writing the final draft
Bob Carroll, Jr. & Madelyn Pugh Davis on Jess Oppenheimer leaving I Love Lucy
Bob Carroll, Jr. & Madelyn Pugh Davis on Jess Oppenheimer

Martha Raye

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Bob Carroll, Jr. & Madelyn Pugh Davis on working with Martha Raye on Alice

Bob Schiller

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Bob Carroll, Jr. & Madelyn Pugh Davis on the addition of the writing team of Bob Schiller & Bob Weiskopf to I Love Lucy

Alan Shayne

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Bob Carroll, Jr. & Madelyn Pugh Davis on working with TV executive Alan Shayne on Alice

Vic Tayback

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Bob Carroll, Jr. & Madelyn Pugh Davis on working with Vic Tayback on Alice

Keith Thibodeaux

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Bob Carroll, Jr. & Madelyn Pugh Davis aging "Little Ricky" and casting Keith Thibodeaux on I Love Lucy

Vivian Vance

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Bob Carroll, Jr. & Madelyn Pugh Davis on working with1 I Love Lucy's Vivian Vance

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