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Happy 100th Birthday, Desi!


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For anyone in New York or Los Angeles, the Paley Center is saluting Desi every Sunday in March:



The Paley Center Salutes Desi Arnaz 

Sundays, March 5, 12, 19, 26 
12:15 to 4:00 pm

The Paley Center celebrates the 100th anniversary of the birth of legendary television pioneer Desi Arnaz (March 2, 1917). Desi Arnaz not only costarred on the most successful and beloved comedy of all time, I Love Lucy, but was one of the most important behind-the-scenes figures in television history. Founding Desilu Productions with wife Lucille Ball, Arnaz and the brilliant minds he hired created television methods still in use today, most notably filming a sitcom with multiple cameras in front of a live studio audience. Since the show was on film, I Love Lucy could be rerun forever. A proud Cuban man, Desi opened the door for other Hispanic performers on television and introduced viewers to Latin music on I Love Lucy. The Paley Center is happy to present some memorable and rare moments from the esteemed television career of Desi Arnaz. 

12:15 pm 
I Love Lucy: "Lucy Hires an English Tutor" (1952)

Pregnant Lucy decides that she wants her baby to only learn proper English, so she finds a tutor to help her, the Mertzes, and Ricky... especially Ricky. (28 minutes)

12:44 pm 
I Love Lucy: "Ricky Has Labor Pains" (1953)

Ricky starts to feel ignored when all the attention is on Lucy and their future child, so Lucy decides to throw him a “daddy shower.” When the gathering becomes a “stag party,” Lucy and Ethel decide to crash it. (28 minutes)

1:13 pm 
I Love Lucy: "Lucy Goes to the Hospital" (1953)

In an episode watched by a record 92 percent of television viewers, Ricky and the Mertzes meticulously plan Lucy’s trip to the hospital to give birth, but pandemonium breaks out when the time actually comes. Lucille Ball gave birth to son Desi Arnaz Jr. the morning this episode aired. The following day, Dwight Eisenhower was inaugurated President of the United States, but newspaper headlines read “Lucy Gives Birth to Baby Boy.” (26 minutes)

1:40 pm 
The Paley Center for Media: Classic Lucy And Desi 

Originally produced by the Paley Center in commemoration of the 60th anniversary of I Love Lucy in 2011, this compilation features notable moments in Lucy and Desi’s television careers including:
The Ed Wynn Show (1949)
Lucy and Desi make their joint television debut in this early variety show. Desi performs “The Straw Hat Song” and Lucy and Ed Wynn enact a silent movie sketch, but Desi keeps wanting to sing “Babalu!”
The Toast of The Town (1954)
On the eve of the fourth season premiere of I Love Lucy, Ed Sullivan devotes the entire hour of his show to Lucy and Desi. Highlights include a sketch of Sullivan visiting the Arnazes at home, a musical number by Vivian Vance and William Frawley, Desi performing “Babalu” (despite suffering from the flu and a high fever), and Desi giving an emotional speech about his love of America. 
The Ed Sullivan Show (Segment) (1956)

Lucy and Desi appear to promote their new film Forever, Darling. Desi sings the movie’s title song with the Ames Brothers and Lucy attempts to crash the proceedings disguised as the “fifth Ames Brother.” 
Stars in the Eye (Segment) (1952)

CBS produced this live television special to dedicate their new CBS Television City studio facilities. Desi appears to announce he is suing host Jack Benny for repeatedly ruining the filming of I Love Lucy. Desi is armed with film clips of Benny crashing the I Love Lucy set, much to the annoyance of Lucy and Desi. 

3:04 pm 
The Mothers-In-Law: "The Hombre Who Came to Dinner (Part 1)" (1968)

Desi produced, frequently directed, and occasionally acted in this sitcom created by I Love Lucy writers Madelyn Davis and Bob Carroll Jr. Longtime neighbors Eve and Herb Hubbard (Eve Arden and Herbert Rudley) and Kaye and Roger Buell (Kaye Ballard and Roger C. Carmel) become family when the Hubbards' daughter Suzie marries the Buells' son Jerry. Desi guest stars as famed matador Raphael del Gado who comes for a visit and stays and stays. Desi sings his own composition, “I Love You,” which he originally wrote in the 1940s for wife Lucy. (25 minutes)

3:30 pm 
The Mothers-In-Law: "The Hombre Who Came to Dinner (Part 2)" (1968)

When Raphael del Gado plans to do a musical show in Mexico City, everyone, including grocery delivery boy Tommy (Desi Arnaz Jr.), wants to get into the act. (25 minutes)



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Rose Marie remembers Desi. From her Facebook page.


So Desi Arnaz would be 100 years old today (I wish I could find a picture of us, but this will have to do - I'll explain the connection in a bit). Lucy and Desi used to come over to the house for dinner fairly regularly. Desi always brought the wine. He and Bobby would talk horses. For a few years we spent New Year's Eve with them at their place in Palm Springs. I remember one NYE, back when I was a fur fanatic (before I knew better), and this woman came in with what looked like a reversible mink coat. I said to Lucy, you have to find out for me if that's black mink on the inside of that white mink coat she's wearing. So Lucy walks across the room, inspects her coat and SCREAMS back to me, "yes it is." They were always good to me. When I did a pilot for them at DESILU for a show that would have been a summer replacement for I LOVE LUCY, Desi did all the work. He was such a gentleman and so helpful. Alas the pilot didn't get picked up and I didn't end up on the cover of TV GUIDE with Lucy & Desi, instead my dear friend and future 4 GIRLS 4 cast mate Margaret Whiting (and her sister Barbara) did. Thier show, THOSE WHITING GIRLS won that coveted summer replacement spot.

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This never, ever fails to make me smile.



For some reason, I think I skipped over this episode when I first got the DVD set back in 2010. I only JUST watched it for the first time a few weeks ago. I was absolutely blown away by it. Positively thrilling to see Desi back in action with such style.

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