Tons of TV shows have been turned into movies — “Mission: Impossible,” “Star Trek,” “The Addams Family,” “The Untouchables.” But how often do you go to a movie theater to watch an actual TV show?

Fathom Events has cooked up an evening of television at the theater, and it will honor one of the most beloved shows of all time: “I Love Lucy.”

At 7 p.m. Tuesday, more than 600 theaters nationwide, including 12 in Northeast Ohio, will screen “I Love Lucy: A Colorized Celebration.”

The night will include five episodes of “I Love Lucy” and a short feature, “Redhead Tales,” about colorizing the old black and white shows. Tuesday is also Ball’s birthday. She was born on Aug. 6, 1911, and died in April 1989 at age 77.

“I Love Lucy” debuted on CBS on Oct. 15, 1951, and quickly became a comedy smash. It ran for six seasons and 180 episodes and has lived on forever in reruns.

Ball and real-life husband Desi Arnaz (they divorced in 1960) starred as Lucy and Ricky Ricardo, along with William Frawley and Vivian Vance as neighbors Fred and Ethel Mertz.

Arnaz and Ball produced the series through their own company, Desilu. They took an innovative approach, filming the show before a live audience.

Thanks to cinematographer Karl Freund, it was shot using a three-camera setup that became the standard for TV situation comedies. (Freund had shifted over from motion pictures where he was the cinematographer on such classics as “Metropolis” in 1927, and the original “Dracula” in 1931.)

The primary writers on “I Love Lucy” were Madelyn Pugh Davis, Bob Carroll Jr. and Jess Oppenheimer. The majority of the episodes were directed by William Asher. Davis and Carroll also went on to write for Ball on “The Lucy Show” and “Here’s Lucy” in the 1960s and 1970s.

The colorized episodes include:

• “Lucy Does a TV Commercial.” Lucy hawks the wonder medicine “Vitameatavegamin” on live TV, gulping down spoonfuls while unaware of its potent alcohol content. If you've ever wondered why Ball is considered so brilliantly talented, watch this episode.

• “Job Switching.” It features the classic sequence of Lucy and Ethel getting jobs at a candy factory and trying to keep up with a speedy conveyor belt filled with chocolates.

• “L.A. at Last!” The Ricardos and Mertzes head to Hollywood and Lucy becomes enraptured with guest star William Holden at the Brown Derby Restaurant. Much of the 1954-1955 season was devoted to Hollywood encounters with the likes of Rock Hudson, Hedda Hopper and Harpo Marx.

The gang also tries to get rich quick in "The Million Dollar Idea," and abandons all modern conveniences in "Pioneer Women." A DVD featuring 11 additional colorized episodes will be released on Aug. 13.

If you can’t get enough Lucy, you could also venture to her hometown of Jamestown, N.Y., and check out the memorabilia at the Lucille Ball Desi Arnaz Museum.

Jamestown, about a three-hour drive from Akron, is also home to the National Comedy Center, which will host the annual Lucille Ball Comedy Festival Wednesday through Sunday.

More than 30 artists will be performing, including John Mulaney, Matthew Broussard, Lachlan Patterson and Akron native Rhea Butcher.

 

Clint O’Connor can be reached at 330-996-3582 or coconnor@thebeaconjournal.com. Follow him on Twitter @ClintOMovies.