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Wednesday, April 6, 2011

So, Did Fred and Ethel Really Hate Each Other?

In one word?  Yes. 
Yet they managed to play a married couple for nine years on television.  My own personal opinion is that they used their mutual dislike of one another to enrich their weekly character portrayals. 
When they first met, Vivian Vance was appalled she had to play the wife of someone old enough to be her father (23 years older, to be exact), and William Frawley was simply convinced that Vance had no talent whatsoever.  Eventually, Vance accepted that Frawley was just an old codger, and too much so to change his ways.  The only thing she always maintained was every week they got their scripts for that week's show, she would "pray there wasn't a scene where I had to be in bed with him."
Frawley couldn't have cared less what Vance thought of him.  Although he maintained his attitude that Vance couldn't sing or dance, many episodes in "I Love Lucy" continue to prove him wrong.  The show's premise of having the Mertzes as ex-vaudevillians turned out to work perfectly, as both Frawley and Vance had performed in vaudeville earlier in their careers (Frawley, of course, to a greater extent simply because of his age).  Regardless of their mutual disdain for one another, they performed perfectly together, perfectly with Lucy and Ricky in the "Battle of the Sexes" episodes, and were and are an integral part of the success of "I Love Lucy".

2 comments:

  1. Just shows how professional and talented they both were. I've been watching I Love Lucy for as long as I can remember and I never would've known their extreme dislike for one another.

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  2. Definitely! I always say they used their mutual dislike for each other to enhance their performances, and they learned to do it so well that no one could really tell the difference. Needless to say, "I Love Lucy" would never have become "I Love Lucy" without Vivian Vance and William Frawley.

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