Nearing Birth of (?) Arnaz Is Engendering Interest of Fans of "I Love Lucy"




Nearing Birth of (?) Arnaz Is Engendering Interest of Fans of "I Love Lucy"
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 offspring. 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.