The I Love Lucy Show was a little before my time so I don’t know too much about it. I do like these little snippets that Desi Arnaz told about the period of his life when he was married to Lucille Ball and they were creating a landmark television series together.
“When we found out Lucille was pregnant we wanted to incorporate it into the show. CBS and the sponsors were horrified and said we couldn’t do it. So I wrote to Alfred Lyons, chairman of Philip Morris, asking him to reconsider their position and after a week or so all arguments about the “pregnant” shows stopped. I figured my letter had worked but wasn’t sure what he had said or done.
A couple of years later I called by his office in New York to say hello. As I was leaving his secretary tapped me on the arm saying “Did you ever wonder why all the objections to Lucy being pregnant on the show suddenly stopped?”
“Sure” I said. She showed me a well worn memo signed A.L. that explained everything. It only contained one sentence “Don’t fuck around with the Cuban!”
At the time we had to be very careful not to offend anyone especially religious groups. So we had a Catholic Monsignor, a Jewish Rabbi and Reverend Clifton Moore of the Hollywood Presbyterian Church with us four days a week, checking the scripts and watching us film. The only word we had trouble with was “pregnant” which the CBS censor would not let us say. Our religious advisors gave us the ok to use “expecting” instead which came out as “specting” because of my accent.
Our own son was born on the same night as the episode where Lucy gave birth was aired on national television. Over two million more people watched our show that night than watched General Eisenhower being inaugurated as President the following day. Desi Junior and I ran into the General ten years later playing golf at El Dorado Country Club. “So that’s the little fellow who bumped me off the front pages the day before my inauguration” he said. Not one to hold a grudge, he shouted Desi a banana split later at the clubhouse. But he didn’t offer to buy me any Cuban rum.”
Sometimes these posts are more about the accompanying images than the little stories. Check out this site where I found the Eisenhower photomorph. Barbarella Bush, Billi Clinton, Lynda Johnson, Sweet Ronni all make an appearance…..