Original “Lucy” title sequence goes up in smoke

Although Viacom’s TV Land channel had hoped to be able to broadcast the premiere episode of I Love Lucy unedited at 9:00 p.m. tonight — the same day and time that the episode first aired 50 years ago — the cable channel was unable to get permission from the Phillip Morris company to show the opening title sequence in which animated renditions of Lucille Ball and Desi Arnaz are seen climbing down a package of cigarettes.

TV Land spokesman Paul Ward told today’s New York Daily News that the cable network had received a letter from Phillip Morris saying, “Because of FCC regulations and because of all of the different rules that we have on us, we cannot give you permission to use that in your open.” Instead, TV Land plans to run the animated-heart sequence that has been used since the show first went into syndication.