Lucy and Ricky Ricardo

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Lucy and Ricky Ricardo
I love lucy 1956.JPG
Lucy and Ricky Ricardo in the Alps on their European vacation, 1956
First appearanceThe Girls Want to Go to a Nightclub (1951)
Last appearanceLucy Meets The Mustache (1960)
Portrayed by

Lucille Ball as Lucy

Desi Arnaz as Ricky
Information
Nickname(s)Bird Legs,[1] Droopy Drawers, Lucita, Cousin Lucy
AliasesLucy:
Lucille McGillicuddy
GenderFemale and male
OccupationHousewife, Mother, Club Officer,[2] Committee Officer,[3] Chicken Farmer,[4] Girl Friday[5]
TitleHousewife and band leader
FamilyMrs. McGillicuddy (Lucy's mother)
Significant other(s)

Ethel and Fred Mertz (best friends/landlords/farm partners)
Mrs. Trumbull (neighbor),

Bruce & Betty Ramsey (neighbors),
Ernie Ford (friend)
ChildrenRicky Ricardo Jr. (son; born January 1953)
NationalityAmerican (Lucy)
Cuban American (Ricky)
 
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Lucy and Ricky Ricardo
I love lucy 1956.JPG
Lucy and Ricky Ricardo in the Alps on their European vacation, 1956
First appearanceThe Girls Want to Go to a Nightclub (1951)
Last appearanceLucy Meets The Mustache (1960)
Portrayed by

Lucille Ball as Lucy

Desi Arnaz as Ricky
Information
Nickname(s)Bird Legs,[1] Droopy Drawers, Lucita, Cousin Lucy
AliasesLucy:
Lucille McGillicuddy
GenderFemale and male
OccupationHousewife, Mother, Club Officer,[2] Committee Officer,[3] Chicken Farmer,[4] Girl Friday[5]
TitleHousewife and band leader
FamilyMrs. McGillicuddy (Lucy's mother)
Significant other(s)

Ethel and Fred Mertz (best friends/landlords/farm partners)
Mrs. Trumbull (neighbor),

Bruce & Betty Ramsey (neighbors),
Ernie Ford (friend)
ChildrenRicky Ricardo Jr. (son; born January 1953)
NationalityAmerican (Lucy)
Cuban American (Ricky)

Lucy Ricardo ((née Lucille Esmeralda McGillicuddy Ricardo) and Ricky Ricardo (Ricardo [or Enrique] Alberto Fernando Ricardo y de Acha III) are a fictional married couple from the American television sitcom I Love Lucy, portrayed respectively by Lucille Ball and Desi Arnaz. Ricky is a band leader, and his trademark song is "Babalu". A red-haired Lucy is his housewife, who always gets into trouble and mostly caught by Ricky. Lucy's full name is given in the episodes "The Marriage License," "Fred and Ethel Fight," and "The Passports". Ricky's is given in "Lucy Raises Tulips" (1957). They have a son Ricky Ricardo, Jr., also called "Little Ricky", whose grown age is portrayed by Keith Thibodeaux. They appear, as well, in The Lucy–Desi Comedy Hour.

Contents

Fictional character biography

Early life

Much like Lucille Ball herself, Lucy McGillicuddy was born and raised in Jamestown, New York (or West Jamestown per episode #138), to an American family of Scottish descent. Her parents were never referred to by name, and only her mother is seen over the course of the series (during which Mrs. McGillicuddy is portrayed by Kathryn Card). As a child she was babysat by Helen Kaiser, who gave her the nickname "Droopy Drawers" because of her baggy bloomers. She was also bitten on the ear by Fred Bigalow's cat. Her childhood doctor was named Dr. Peterson. In grammar school, she played a petunia in a recital. When she was in high school, she was involved in the drama program where she studied with Miss Hanna and played Juliet Capulet in "Romeo and Juliet." She was also known as "Bird Legs" as a child. In one episode, she talks about fishing in nearby Chautauqua Lake (a real lake near Celoron, New York and Jamestown, New York). She also played the saxophone in high school (as did the real Lucy), though every song she played sounded like "Glow-Worm." Lucy also knows how to play the ukulele. She is seen playing a ukulele in episodes "Ricky Loses His Voice", "Don Juan is Shelved", and "Little Ricky Gets Stage Fright". A reference to Lucille's attendance at an unnamed junior college is made in the episode "Fan Magazine Interview" (1954); Jamestown Community College, the nearest junior college to Lucy's hometown, did not exist until 1950).

Marriage

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), is that Lucy met Ricky while vacationing in Cuba in 1940.

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.

Lucy and Ethel quickly became best friends, even though Ethel was many years older than Lucy. Upon moving to the city, Ricky ended up getting a job headlining the Club Tropicana where they were held over indefinitely. To Lucy, Ricky's career and days seemed so much more exciting than her days of cooking and cleaning. She desperately wanted to be a star and constantly tried to get into Ricky's act. Ricky wanted his wife to stay home and complete her homemaking duties. However, in spite of Ricky's reluctance and usual refusal to give her a part, Lucy usually found a way into the show.

Birth of Little Ricky

In 1952, after going to the doctor complaining of feeling "dauncey" (a word her grandmother made up; Lucy's definition of feeling "dauncey" is when you're not really sick but just feel lousy) and gaining weight, she learns that she is pregnant. It was actually Ethel that first suggests to Lucy she may be expecting, even before Lucy heads out to the doctor. She is very excited to tell her husband the exciting news. The Mertzes learn the news first and are sworn to secrecy. When she was younger, Lucy had envisioned how she would tell her husband that they were going to have a baby. She decides to tell Ricky when he comes home for lunch that afternoon. However, with repeated interruptions from the telephone and the Mertzes, she is unable. She tries to tell him down at his club during rehearsals, but is uncomfortable telling him such a personal thing in front of his band, so she runs out crying. Finally, that evening, while Ricky is performing, Lucy pens a note and passes it to the maître d'hotel. He gives the note to Ricky. Ricky reads the note which basically alludes to a wife needing to tell her husband that they were having a baby through one of his songs. Ricky, unaware that the "husband" mentioned in the note is him, wants to bring the expectant couple up on stage to congratulate them. He goes from couple to couple trying to find them. Ricky notices Lucy in the audience, and it occurs to him that Lucy may be the one who is expecting. Lucy nods yes, and Ricky is overcome with emotion. They fight happy tears and sing "We're Having a Baby."

During her pregnancy, Lucy experienced the normal pregnancy woes. She became depressed when everyone seemed to focus their attention on the impending child and not on Lucy. She couldn't decide on a name for the child and was nervous that she wasn't going to be a good mother. However, she wanted the best for her child and enrolled herself, Ricky and the Mertzes in English lessons to make sure that her child learned how to speak properly. Finally, she took up sculpting so that she and Ricky could enrich their child's life with art and music, respectively.

Lucy's show business aspirations never waned however. She managed to break into Ricky's barbershop quartet number by firing the man who had the part she wanted.

Finally, on January 19, 1953 (the same day she had her real-life son and actor Desi Arnaz, Jr.), while husband Ricky was performing a voodoo act at his nightclub, Lucy gave birth to Ricky Ricardo Jr. The Mertzes were named Little Ricky's godparents. Little Ricky grew on a season-by-season basis and by the sixth season (1957) he had started school and learned to play the drums and speak fluently.

Hollywood

In 1954, Lucy's husband was 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 met many famous celebrities, including William Holden, Hedda Hopper, Rock Hudson, Cornel Wilde, Harpo Marx, Richard Widmark, Van Johnson and John Wayne. She reported having spotted 99 celebrities while in Hollywood and finally procured an even 100 when she met Wilde. Lucy was incredibly starstruck and saved anything that had even come in contact with a celebrity such as a can that was smashed by Cary Grant's left rear wheel. However, she didn't merely hob nob with celebrities, she also got a few chances to break into show business herself.

Ricky got her a small role in a film as a showgirl. Lucy's role required her to wear a large headdress and she also got a death scene. However, the headdress proved cumbersome and her part was downgraded. She eventually ended up as a showgirl who is already dead on a stretcher when the scene begins. Lucy's second foray into show business was when she replaced Van Johnson's sick redheaded partner in his act at the hotel. She wanted to impress her friend Carolyn Appleby and successfully coaxed Johnson into giving her the job through flattery. She does an excellent job and impresses the crowd. Finally, she has her third shot at stardom when she appears with a Ricky Ricardo dummy at a luncheon for movie executives. Ricky was asked to perform, but he declined in favor of a fishing trip he had planned. Lucy accepted on his behalf and schemed to build the dummy and then pretend that he's ill and she finishes the show herself. Her plan doesn't go as well as she had hoped, but she's still a smash success and is offered a contract. She declines however, when she realizes that it would take her away from her husband and son.

Europe

Very soon after returning home from Hollywood, Ricky's band was given a chance to tour around Europe. Lucy and the Mertzes were again given the opportunity to tag along on the trip and get a once in a lifetime opportunity. They sailed on a cruise ship across the Atlantic where Lucy won a ping pong trophy. She also managed to get stuck in a porthole.

After landing in England, Lucy got the chance to perform for and meet Queen Elizabeth. She also participated in a fox hunt and got to stay at a real English estate. In Paris, she met Charles Boyer and was temporarily detained in a French jail after having inadvertently trying to use counterfeit money. Also, she stomped on grapes in Turo, a wine making town in Italy, and wrestled (and was nearly drowned by) her professional grape-stomping partner in a grape vat.

Moving to Connecticut

In 1956, Lucy and her husband Ricky decided to move to Connecticut. This happened after a trip there and Lucy falling in love with the area. Before they moved in, though, she tried to get out of the deal. Soon they decided to raise chickens. Their best friends, Fred Mertz and Ethel Mertz, moved into their guest house (Fred was raised on a farm). After this was unsuccessful, they decided to shut their business down. Lucy and Ricky also have made close friends while in Connecticut, Betty Ramsey and Ralph Ramsey (the Ricardos' next door neighbors).

After I Love Lucy

After I Love Lucy concluded, Lucille Ball played Lucy Ricardo-inspired characters on her following sitcoms The Lucy Show and Here's Lucy, although in both of those shows, the Lucy character was portrayed as a widow, reflecting Ball's real-life divorce from Desi Arnaz. In the mid-1960s, she was involved in a lawsuit against Jess Oppenheimer, the co-creator of I Love Lucy, over the similarities shared between the separate Lucy characters. The dispute was later settled out of court.

Arnaz never reprised the Ricky Ricardo character in any form after The Lucy-Desi Comedy Hour ended its run.

Other television series sought to copy the Lucy Ricardo theme. Even Janis Paige in her short-lived Desilu-produced CBS sitcom It's Always Jan wore her hair like Lucy. Cara Williams followed the Lucy Ricardo format in Pete and Gladys. which lasted only two seasons on CBS.

References

  1. ^ TV Acres: Nicknames -"B"
  2. ^ In the I Love Lucy episode "The Operetta," Lucy is the treasurer of The Wednesday Afternoon Fine Arts League. In the episode "The Club Election," she and Ethel become the club's co-presidents.
  3. ^ In the I Love Lucy episode "The Ricardos Dedicate a Statue," Lucy says she is chairman of the committee that organizes the Yankee Doodle Day Celebration.
  4. ^ In the I Love Lucy episode "Lucy Raises Chickens," The Ricardos decide to raise chickens.
  5. ^ In the Lucy-Desi Comedy Hour episode "Lucy Wants a Career," Lucy gets a job of a Girl Friday on the Paul Douglas Early Bird Show.