Professor Firstdraft’s GOODTIME SCRIPTORIUM

Dispatches from the far reaches of the WGF.

I Love Lucy: A Brief History with Bob Carroll Jr. and Madelyn Pugh Davis


For over 50 years, Bob Carroll Jr. and Madelyn Pugh Davis were a writing team, collaborating on roughly 400 television episodes and 500 radio episodes. Though they wrote for such stars as Steve Allen, Paul Lynde, Eve Arden, and Kaye Ballard, the two are best known for their work on the groundbreaking sitcom I LOVE LUCY. Carroll and Davis developed what would become the LUCY pilot after writing for Lucille Ball on her radio show, MY FAVORITE HUSBAND. Together they wrote over 120 LUCY episodes. They’re responsible for many of the show’s iconic episodes, from “Job Switching, in which Lucy and Ethel have a disastrous day of work at a candy factory, to “Lucy Goes to the Hospital,” in which Little Ricky is born. The pair were not only writers on the show, they’re credited with the development of Lucy as a character, and the two went on to write for Ball on THE LUCY SHOW, HERE’S LUCY, THE LUCY-DESI COMEDY HOUR, and LIFE WITH LUCY.

Here are Carroll and Davis discussing their long career together as part of THE WRITER SPEAKS, our oral history series documenting the life stories of film and television writers in the 20th century.

Bonus: Below are three pages from a draft of the Season 4 episode “Hollywood at Last,” one of many episodes written by Carroll and Pugh set during the characters’ trip to California. In this scene, Lucy, Ethel and Fred go to The Brown Derby, ostensibly to eat lunch but really to spot celebrities. This famous episode culminates in an encounter between Lucy, William Holden and a melting putty nose.


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