Jess Oppenheimer was not one to sit down for interviews. I couldn’t find any interviews with Oppenheimer with the Academy of Television, The Writers Guild Foundation, or even talk shows. However, he did give us a treasure trove of insight about his time on I Love Lucy in his book, Laughs, Luck…and Lucy: How I Came to Create the Most Popular Sitcom of All Time.
Assembled by his son, Gregg Oppenheimer, the book gives readers plenty of insight into the behind-the-scenes drama, excitement, and pressure that goes into making a half-hour of TV in the 1950s.
Laughs, Luck…and Lucy delves into Jess Oppenheimer’s relationships with Lucille Ball, Desi Arnaz, his fellow Lucy writers, and others in the industry at the time. It also gives us a look at his upbringing and life before and after the series, showing how his life experiences shaped his comedy sensibilities and work ethic that made him a very popular and in-demand TV writer.
Along with his interpersonal relationships, the book discusses TV production of the 1950s and how I Love Lucy revolutionized the way shows were filmed, edited, and distributed.
There is a wealth of information included in the Appendices at the end of the book, including I Love Lucyscripts; a script from My Favorite Husband; an unperformed episode of I Love Lucy (the only script Lucy and Desi refused to do); and articles about the production of the series.
Laughs, Luck…and Lucy is a must-read for Lucy fans and a great historical document about the Golden Age of television.
Click HERE for interviews with others talking about working with Jess Oppenheimer from the Television Academy.
Other than I Love Lucy, what is your favorite TV series of the past? Leave a comment and let me know!