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Amazing $$ when calculated by inflation


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Some dollar amounts in Lucy's career don't sound like very much, until you calculate for inflation.

All that follows is in 2018 dollars (unless noted):

Lucy's initial 1933 Goldwyn Girl salary was $2,900 a week. (if she was paid 52 weeks of the year that's an annual take of $151,000!)

Her initial Columbia salary was $935 a week. (annualized: $48,600, a comedown from Goldwyn but still:  ain't hay! especially for the depression. )

By the end of Lucy's RKO contract, she was making $54,000 a week ($2.8mil a year, again assuming she got paid for all 52 weeks).  I think her MGM contract paid the same. ($3,500/wk in 1942 dollars).  She was at one time making $1,500 a week at RKO and that's still an impressive $27,000 a WEEK today. ($1.4million for 52 weeks).

Desi bought the Chatsworth house for $322,000 in 1941.

Her 3 picture deal at Columbia called for $884,000 for "Miss Grant", "Fuller Brush Girl" and her budget-busting salary for her "Magic Carpet" SUPPORTING role. 

Lucy sold Desilu in 1967 for $128million

"Wildcat" was backed with a budget of $3,000,000.  In the end, they (Desilu, the backer) had to refund $1,400,000 on advance sales when Lucy closed the show.  Top ticket price for Wildcat was $80 (Saturday night; orchestra seating)

The weekly budget for "The Lucy Show" in 1966 was $696,000.  The longer a show ran, it got a boost in budget every year so I don't know what CBS was paying for Here's Lucy by 1974.  That's one of the reasons still highly-rated, but older-audience-skewing series like "Red Skelton" and "Jackie Gleason" were cancelled. 

Lucy and Desi's combined salary for "Long Long Trailer" was $2,300,000, 16% of its budget of $14,000,000;  grossed $47,000,000.

"Yours Mine and Ours" had a budget of $19,000,000 and grossed $195,000,000

(LLT and YMO movie budgets and grosses based on wikipedia information. A direct comparison between the grosses then and the grosses today is not fair because I think movie ticket prices have outstripped inflation)

A Don Loper original would be $4,700 today.  No wonder Ricky through a fit!  ("Does Loper know any numbers besides 4-7-0-0 ??")

The amount Lucy and Ethel would have to raise to fund their portion of the Europe trip:  $28,000!

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Some great research there. Those early movie salaries are interesting. Seems like Lucy would have been able to bank some money ( and I know with the help of her business manager she was a saver) that they would have been able to buy the Chatsworth house outright, but they took out a morgage on it. That's not a pricy house, mine was almost that and I don't have a pool or chickens but I do have a mortgage.

The Wildcat top ticket price amazes me too. I was thinking it would have been more around $40. On a good discount I can get an orchestra ticket for just over $100 and I know back in the 90s I had to be paying around $80 for an orchestra seat. That just seems off to me for 1961.  And they didn't have premium pricing back then. 

$28,000 for Europe. Mhst have been for all those Paris gowns Lucy was planning on buying at $4700 a piece.


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