When Lucille Ball and Desi created Arnaz i love lucy, viewers fell in love with the talented performers. Though network executives were initially nervous about the show, it quickly became a hit. A few years into his run, Ball and Arnaz took another bold step, including Ball’s pregnancy on the show.
The result of this decision changed the world of television and is often celebrated as such the first time a pregnancy was recognized on a major TV show. But it wasn’t the first time Ball was pregnant while recording i love lucy.
Pregnant for the pilot
1951 pilot episode of i love lucy was filmed to have CBS pick up the sitcom. Corresponding IMDB, when the show actually aired, the first episode was recreated instead of using the pilot. The original pilot was thought to be missing and was not shown on TV until 1990.
The pilot’s plot was identical to the first episode, but there were a few details that were different. For example, the last name of the famous bandleader in the pilot was Lopez. When the show aired, that was changed to Ricardo so he wouldn’t be confused with real band leader Vincent Lopez.
Ball was her inimitable self in both the first episode and the pilot, trying to audition for Ricky’s show as a clown and captivating audiences with her antics. However, there was one major difference between the two performances. In the pilot episode, she was six months pregnant with their daughter, Lucie Arnaz.
When the famous sitcom began filming, Ball had already given birth. Because the pilot episode did not air, viewers did not have a chance to see her perform during her pregnancy. but outsider reported that several years later she was expecting her sonDesi Arnaz Jr.
At that time, the National Association of Broadcasters had adopted a set of ethical standards known as The Code of Practices for Television Broadcasters. These guidelines were very strict. They did not allow anything that could be construed as sexual to be shown on television. A pregnancy indicated it despite separate beds they slept late, the Ricardos must have behaved like married people at some point.
While some executives thought Bell’s pregnancy should have been hidden on the show, Arnaz and Ball disagreed. Eventually they agreed to allow the character of Lucy to be pregnant. However, the word “pregnant” was not used by any of the actors. To soften the reality of the situation, they only referred to their condition as “expecting” or “having a child.”
“I Love Lucy” changed television forever
Despite concerns over the disputed election, the gamble paid off. Corresponding ranger, the episode in which Lucy has her baby, aired on January 19, 1953 and attracted a huge audience of 44 million people. It was watched by 71.7 percent of all households with a television. President Eisenhower was sworn in the next day, and he couldn’t keep up, drawing only 67.7 percent of the audience.
Ball and Arnaz’s actual son was born on the same day the episode aired, which delighted fans. The couple didn’t know in advance if they were having a boy or girl, and when their son’s arrival “followed the show’s script,” they were even happier. The taboo against pregnancy on television was broken.
Advertisers were initially nervous about the idea of a TV show featuring a pregnant character. But in the end, the response was so overwhelmingly positive that it changed her mind — as did the television landscape.
TIED TOGETHER: ‘Being the Ricardos’: Was Lucille Ball really a communist?
https://www.cheatsheet.com/entertainment/lucille-ball-actually-pregnant-twice-i-love-lucy.html/ Lucille Ball was actually pregnant twice in I Love Lucy