Nearing Birth of (?) Arnaz Is Engendering Interest of Fans of "I Love Lucy"
Nearing Birth of (?) Arnaz Is Engendering Interest of Fans of "I
New York Times 1953 (shortly before the birth of Desi Arnaz Jr.)
By: Jack Gould
From all indications the approaching birth of Lucille Ball's child, both
in real life and in the script of "I Love Lucy," has engendered as much
public interest as anything since the days when the world stood still
every evening to hear "Amos 'n' Andy" on the radio.
The climax, of course, is scheduled for next Monday when Miss Ball goes
to the hospital for a Cesarean operation and presents her husband, Desi
Arnaz, with either a boy or girl. On the screen that same night the
installment of "I Love Lucy," already made on film, will report "Lucy
Ricardo" giving birth to a boy. Presumably interest will be running high
whether the Arnaz correctly anticipated the sex of their real life
The deliberate parallel between the lives of the off-stage Lucille and
the on-stage Lucy undoubtedly is unique in theater annals for a number
of reasons. First, it hardly would be possible without television and,
second, the matter of approaching motherhood, although one of the oldest
themes for the dramatist, seldom has been treated with the light touch.
It is not revealing any great secret that both the Columbia Broadcasting
System and the Philip Morris Company, sponsor of "I Love Lucy," have
received letters from a number of viewers who for several reasons have
taken exception to the subject of pregnancy as the main point of
interest for a comedy series.
As the matter has been handled on the screen in the current episodes of
"I Love Lucy," however, there seems no grounds for valid objection.
Rather, there should be applause. Miss Ball and Mr. Arnaz not only have
handled the topic of their approaching baby with a great deal of taste
and skill but also have been thoroughly amusing in the process.
Far from ridiculing motherhood, "I Love Lucy" has made it appear one of
the most natural and normal things in the world. The gaiety and humor
which Lucy and Ricky have conveyed have been warm and recognizable to
everyone who has lived through the exciting and confusing weeks before a
new member's arrival. In short, one of the oldest and most familiar
stories is being told with a new brightness and charm. And why not?
That "I Love Lucy" as an item of theater has not been hurt by the
introduction of the anticipated birth goes without saying. One of the
great drawbacks to the vast majority of TV situation comedies is their
brittleness and artificiality. Since it is rooted in reality, "I Love
Lucy" should be able to go on and on. Viewers are going to have to raise
that child, aren't they?
Enjoying "I Love Lucy" does not preclude, however, regretting the
decision to schedule Miss Ball's Cesarean operation so that it will
coincide with the film narrative. The only possible solution is that she
and her husband accepted not only the advice of an obstetrician but also
of a too enthusiastic Hollywood publicity expert. If there's one thing
the expected child does not need, it's a press agent.