Thursday, March 2, 2017


From Wikipedia:
Desiderio Alberto Arnaz y de Acha III (March 2, 1917 — December 2, 1986), better known as Desi Arnaz or Desi Arnaz, Sr., was a Cuban-born American musician, actor, television producer, writer, and director. He is best remembered for his role as Ricky Ricardo on the American television series sitcom 'I Love Lucy', starring with Lucille Ball, to whom he was married at the time. Arnaz was also internationally renowned for leading his Latin music band, the Desi Arnaz Orchestra. Ball and he are generally credited as the inventors of the rerun in connection with 'I Love Lucy'.

Had he been alive today, Ricky Ricardo would have been 100 years old.  In 2000, Lucy Ricardo was the January inductee into the Television Crossover Hall of Fame to kick off a year long (for the most part) salute to the women of Toobworld.  On this special occasion it seems only appropriate that Ricky should join his wife in the Hall.  ('The Lucy-Desi Comedy Hour' ended with Desi and Lucy getting divorced in real life.  However, the Ricardos vanished from our TV screens still married and I'd like to think they remained so til Death did them part.  Anything else, chiefly divorce, would have to be considered fanfic.)

We could have saluted Mr. Arnaz as a member of the League of Themselves in September when we pay tribute to the talent behind the scenes who make the crossovers possible.  (We did the same for Lucille Ball in April of 2000 - Ms. Ball dominated the Hall for those first four months of the year.)  But where's the sport in that?

So let's get some background on Ricky Ricardo, courtesy of Wikipedia.......

Lucy and Ricky Ricardo are fictional characters from the American television sitcom 'I Love Lucy', portrayed respectively by Lucille Ball and Desi Arnaz. The Ricardos also appear in 'The Lucy–Desi Comedy Hour'.

Ricky is a character very similar to Arnaz himself, a Cuban-American bandleader whose trademark song is "Babalu". They have a son Ricky Ricardo, Jr., also called "Little Ricky", portrayed by child actor Richard Keith.

Ricky gives his full name in the episode "Hollywood Anniversary" as Ricardo Alberto Fernando Ricardo y de Acha, but in the episode "Lucy Raises Tulips" Lucy calls him "Enrique Alberto Fernando Ricardo y de Acha III".

When she was 22, Lucy was set up on a blind date by her friend Marion Strong. Her blind date turned out to be a Cuban conga drummer, Ricky Ricardo. The two fell in love and eventually got married at the Byram River Beagle Club in Connecticut. An alternate scenario given to guest star Hedda Hopper in the 'Lucy-Desi Comedy Hour' episode "Lucy Takes a Cruise to Havana," with Lucy and friend Susie McNamara (Ann Sothern, reprising her role from 'Private Secretary'), is that Lucy met Ricky while vacationing in Cuba in 1940.

O'BSERVATION: This is a Zonk which can be easily splained away by invoking future Hall member Helen Cutter.  Mrs. Cutter altered the original Toobworld timeline at some point in Earth Prime-Time's past.  Among the changes she caused which affected the Ricardos directly was the way Lucy and Ricky first met.  The blind date scenario took place in the original timeline, while the Havana encounter happened in the revised timeline. 

Let's go back to the Wikipedian information... information... information:

In the early 1940s, Lucy and Ricky moved into an old reconverted brownstone apartment at 623 East 68th Street in New York City (references made during the series date the move to 1940 or 1943). The apartment rented for $105 per month. Their landlords (soon to be best friends) were Fred and Ethel Mertz.

O'BSERVATION:  Other changes to the Ricardos' lives caused by Helen Cutter were the variations in Ethel Mertz's maiden name and the numbering of the Ricardos' apartment.

Upon moving to the city, Ricky ended up getting a job headlining the Club Tropicana where they were held over indefinitely.

In 1954, Lucy's husband is given a role in an upcoming MGM film based on the life of Don Juan. Lucy and the Mertzes followed Ricky on his journey to Hollywood stardom. While in Hollywood, Lucy meets many famous celebrities, including William Holden, Hedda Hopper, Rock Hudson, Cornel Wilde, Harpo Marx, Richard Widmark, Van Johnson, and John Wayne.

O'BSERVATION:  Some of the celebrities they encountered serve as connections to other TV shows by virtue of their appearances as their own televersions.  Harpo links 'I Love Lucy' to 'Mr. Smith Goes To Washington', for example.  Hedda Hopper links the Ricardos to 'The Beverly Hillbillies', as does Crossover Hall of Fame member John Wayne who also appeared in an episode of 'Maude' and 'Here's Lucy'.

Onwards, Wiki-wise.....

Very soon after returning home from Hollywood, Ricky's band is given a chance to tour around Europe. Lucy and the Mertzes again tag along on the trip and get a once in a lifetime opportunity. They sail on a cruise ship across the Atlantic,

 There were three major countries on the tour of Europe:
  • England - Lucy took part in a fox hunt and got to meet the Queen of England.
  • France - Lucy met Charles Boyer in Paris, but it could just as easily have been a "rogue" named Marcel St. Clair who was a con artist, thief, and Boyer impersonator.
  • Italy - Lucy nearly drowned in a vat of grapes because she had angered the grape-stomper who didn't like Lucy seemed to be mocking her in her profession.  (In my Toobworld adventures, Toob Cooper tracked down the bottle of fermented grape which had come in contact with Lucy Ricardo's feet and was able to purchase it for an insanely low price.)
But the Ricardos and the Mertzes may have visited other countries with the orchestra but these trips were never seen by the audience of the Trueniverse.

And finally.....

In 1956, Lucy and her husband Ricky decide to move to Connecticut after making a trip there, and Lucy falls in love with the area.

O'BSERVATION: The farmhouse they bought was just outside Westport and by the early 1960s, Lucy and Ethel could have become friends with Samantha Stephens and even Gladys Kravitz.  (In fact, I came up with a little bit of fanfic where Ricky was hired by McMann & Tate to promote a product being sold by a Cuban expatriate.  But a spell bumbled by Aunt Clara turns Lucy into Fidel Castro and it takes all of Sam's magic to smooth things over.)

So these are the shows which cement Ricky Ricardo's qualifications to be in the TV Crossover Hall of Fame:

"I Love Lucy" 
181 episodes

"Make Room for Daddy"
    - Lucy Upsets the Williams Household 

"Sunday Showcase"
    - The Milton Berle Special 

"The Lucy-Desi Comedy Hour"
13 episodes

But that's not all, dear reader!

These commercials have as much validity in Earth Prime-Time as the appearances by the Ricardos in their own series.  And they show us that the Ricardos were serlinguists, able to talk to the people of the Trueniverse.

So welcome to the Hall, Mr. Ricardo.  And happy birthday - wherever you are - Mr. Arnaz....

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