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…..

Published in: on September 15, 2010 at 12:18 pm  Comments (48)  
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48 CommentsLeave a comment

  1. Best memo ever.

  2. The mystery, of course, is how Lucy ever got into her interesting condition since they had to sleep in twin beds. . .

    • He was very well endowed

      • I bet Desi had no trouble reaching Lucy’s neck-cervix.

  3. wish i could say the Lucy shows were before my time 😳

    • Well you could say it but whether we’d believe you is another thing

  4. I’d rather meet that Cuban than a Brazilian…..

    • Do you still keep a stock of 1970s Playboys under the bed Affer? Good for you!

  5. Brevity is the key to a good memo.

    • And a good comment 😉

  6. I used to love ‘I Love Lucy’ ….. very funny.

    BTW, every time I smoke a cigar now I’m going to have a very strange image in my mind ……. *puff*

    • I nearly always have strange images in my mind after visiting your blog daddyp

  7. Oooo …. the link only goes to that particular piccy ….

    • Thanks for the alert – I’ve fixed it now xx

      • That is one very odd collection …..

  8. I grew up with I Love Lucy reruns. The thing that struck me about the show was that it seemed like every episode she would do something stupid and then concoct a series of ridiculous lies – lies upon lies – only to be found out and to be forgiven by Ricky.

    Apparently, she was quite the savvy business lady. She ran Desilu productions with an iron corset.

    Trivia: Lucy saved Star Trek after NBC rejected the show after the pilot episode, which they considered to be “too cerebral”. She liked the show and pushed for a second pilot – something which almost never happens. She made a fortune on that franchise.

    • Haha! An iron corset – I love it!

  9. Ha, “Stop fucking around with the Cuban.”

  10. I love that memo. I am, of course, far too young to remember “I Love Lucy.”

    “Hey Lucy, I’m hommmmmmmmme!”

  11. Going back to the beds thing, I feel like marriages would last longer if husband and wife kept separate beds. That way doin’ it seems more clandestine.

    • Excellent idea Rassles

      • I always thought the secret to a long marriage was separate bathrooms.

  12. It’s strange to believe that there was such prudery

  13. Great post. Lots of laugh-links.
    One day, someone will do a number on the Disney behemoth.(Over to you, Nursey;-) )

  14. Well,lookee here http://meanjin.com.au/spike-the-meanjin-blog/post/huxley-in-wonderland/

    Someone already has!

    • Thanks for the link, very interesting story there

  15. I loved Lucy very much, it’s amazing how many novellists seem to weave her and Desi into their narrative

    • I didn’t know that Lulu. Got any recommendations?

  16. I was around back then and remember when they couldn’t show a double bed in the bedroom. Had to be two beds. Cleavage was out of the question. Even the word hell was outlawed. The Catholic church put out a newspaper every week with a list of condemned movies, Blackboard Jungle being one of them. The time of back alley abortions and wayward girls homes. The time when anyone with any speech or hearing defect was labeled deaf and dumb or worse.

    Snake oil salesmen stilled traveled door to door, and bras were so pointed one could open tin cans with them. People who smoked marijuana were possessed by the devil. Elvis was an evil sinner for shaking his hips.

  17. Ahh, Lucille Ball, druggie.

  18. I missed you, love.

    And I could feel your yearnings, as well.

    • Denny, when I try to visit your site I get a virus warning 😦

      • Prepare to catch something if you come to Deni…!

  19. Haha! The only thing that beats the memo is the tattoo…

    • I hope it’s just body paint and not a permanent tattoo

  20. Weren’t they one of TV-land’s first inter-racial (or simply multi-cultural) couples? Or would that be Batman and Cat-woman?

  21. Fascinating how far we’ve come, or fallen, in the world of media. I used to watch the show quite regularly. I’m just that old!!!!!!!!

  22. That’s just freaky.
    I used to watch this show, although I liked Dick VanDyke’s show better, but Lucy was fun.

  23. Phillip Morris didn’t care as long as everyone (lucy included) kept smoking..haha

    • Desi told another little story about Alfred Lyons visiting them at home when Lucy was sick in bed. she was sitting up with a pack of Chesterfields on the night table beside her, smoking like a train.

      Alfred told Desi he appreciated the joke but he would prefer it if they transferred the cigarettes to a Philip Morris carton in public!

  24. I love the letter he sent to let Desi continue with the storyline about the pregnancy. LOL!!

    The show was immensely popular here and ran in reruns for as long as I can recall and then in the 90s the show seemed to vanish. I never see it on the air anymore.

    Jerry Seinfeld claims he never saw an episode of this show.

  25. That Cuban tat theme would also work for the Taliban. Wonder if they’d consider that a sin…

  26. I grew up watching I love lucy. Cool hey?

  27. How I wish business could still be accomplished with one line memos. Great pics as always.

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