These candid photos show the messy aftermath of the famous grape-stomping scene from I Love Lucy

i love lucy provided many iconic moments still enjoyed 70 years later. Along with the hilarious “Vitameatavegamin” commercial and chocolate factory treadmill track “Job Switching,” Lucy’s attempt to stomp grapes in Italy ranks among the show’s greatest scenes. It has been referenced and reproduced countless times since it was first broadcast. Julia Roberts pokes fun at Lucy’s chaotic antics in A pretty woman and Megan Mullally reenacts the scene with Leslie Jordan in the sitcom will and grace.

Although the scene was a real double-deal, filming it was not fun at all. A language barrier between most of the crew and the Italian actor with Lucille Ball in the grape vat prevented clear communication and the beatings that escalated as the cameras rolled left Ball in fear for his life !

On the Dick Cavett show in 1974, Ball recounted the harrowing ordeal. She explained that the large vat was filled with real grapes and felt “like being in a vat of eyeballs,” to which Cavett replied, “Oh, I know what that is.”

Ball and his stage partner Teresa Tirelli pranced through the grapes until Lucy slipped and hit Teresa, a move that was planned. This fall was then supposed to lead to a fake fight with Lucy’s legs, arms, and head popping out the sides for comedic effect. But as Ball told Cavett, things got out of control.

“We told him we had to stay a while, [to] give me a chance to lift my legs so they appear in the camera. An arm would go up, then my head was supposed to [pop up]. Well, my head never popped up. She continued, “She held me by the throat! And I had raisins in my nose, in my ears and she was choking me.

When Ball finally emerged in exasperation, the director and live studio audience loved it, thinking it was all a laughing stock. She noted that half of the scene was cut from the episode and the crew had to explain to Tirelli to let Lucy get some air. “Drowning in a vat of grapes is not the path I had planned, Ball joked at the end of his story.

Although Lucille Ball may have overdone it a bit for comedic effect on The Dick Cavett Showit is clear that one of i love lucyThe most iconic scenes of did not go as planned. In these behind-the-scenes photos from this episode, her face appears to show that she’s just been through a pretty tough ordeal, though she’s still able to smile for the camera.

The Everett Collection
The Everett Collection
The Everett Collection

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