On Tue, 1 Jan 2013 15:23:04 -0800 (PST), Chris Tsao
Post by Chris Tsao Post by God's Debris
The Frawley-Vance story is essentially true.
One of them had to have been meaner than the other. Who was the mean one?
I'm probably misremembering because I probably heard wrong because I had just woken up, but Frank Decaro might have said that William Frawley played an uncle on My Three Sons and that he would have the kids on the show drop those metal containers that they used to put projection film in so that Vivian Vance would have to do the scene all over again.
There's a lot of stuff online about it. Here's some..
Vivian Vance and William Frawley had their feud basically because
Vance's contract was tied to his. Frawley had a bad reputation in
Hollywood as a boozer and an a gambler (horse races and ball games).
Frawley campaigned to Lucy directly for the role and Desi only agreed
by saying that if there was ONE SINGLE SLIP UP, he'd be written out.
Desi also made threats to see that he'd "never work again."
Vance was hired and this upset Lucy as Vance was only a few years
older and not frumpy and ugly. Vance had it in her contract that if
Frawley was written out for any reason she'd be let go too. She didn't
like her future tied to Frawley's.
As it turned out Frawley (according to Desi) performed without a flaw
and never was late or caused problems. But Frawley was only for the
bucks. Vance would say "Most actors complain about not having enough
lines. Bill would come in complaining about having too many, telling
the writers to cut some out. All Bill wanted to do was say his lines
and get to the race track." Vance also didn't like the fact Frawley
only learned his part and often had no idea of what the script was
The biggest problem between the two came because even though I Love
Lucy was a huge hit, neither Vance nor Frawley ever got much more than
they started with. Lucy and Desi were well known for only paying
Then CBS offered Frawley and Vance a spin-off of the Mertzes for a lot
of money and Vance refused, saying she didn't like Frawley enough to
do that. And after that it was all out war between the two.
I read in Stanley Livingstosn's autobiography (He played Ernie on My
Three Sons which was filmed on DesiLu next to The Lucy Show, where
Vance was playing Viv. Remember at this time Frawley was playing Bub
on My Three Sons)
Livingston said Frawley would pay him money to make noise or throw
things when Vance was saying her lines so she'd screw up. And Vance
would give the kids candy and such to screw with Frawley. So those two
really dislike each other.
I like Frawley's quote from the I Love Lucy book regarding Vance,
"Kansas never produced a finer actress than Vivan Vance, but today I
don't know where or what she's doing and we both like it that way"