"Lucy is quite a girl. She's been my
wife for ten years and I should know."
IT DOESN'T surprise me at all that so many people seem to
love Lucy. After all, Lucy — also known as Lucille Ball Arnaz
— is quite a girl. She's been my wife for over ten years now
and I should know.
Lucy and I have had a strange kind of life together. It's been
full of laughs — and some disappointments. But we wouldn't have
wanted it any other way. We're both glad, however, that a
certain TV show called "I Love Lucy" came along and was
lucky enough to be a hit, for it was this that finally gave us the
chance to be a family.
For the biggest part of our. married life, Lucy and I had a
long distance kind of marriage. I was away most of the time on
the road with my band while Lucy was in Hollywood doing all
right by herself in pictures. Frankly, I'd have liked to work in
Hollywood too, but somehow the opportunities that arrived for
me were usually in other cities.
Neither of us liked the situation, but it couldn't be helped.
Looking back on it now, I can appreciate how tolerant and
understanding Lucy was about my work. She knew an actor had
to act and that a musician had to play music. So she raised no
objections about the work that constantly separated us. Yet, I
knew it made her as unhappy as it did me.
Then one day we got an idea. Why not try television? We could
at least get together. The kind of show? We both thought of a
husband and wife type of format, but everyone said, "No one will
believe you're husband and wife." Lucy and I had the unique idea
that we would be believed simply because we happened to be husband and wife.
Before we made any moves though, Lucy and I decided to take
an act out on the road and test the public's acceptance t of our Mr.
and Mrs. status. We did some of the things we have done on our
TV show. The response we got in all the cities was beyond all our
expectations. Even the critics liked us. We came back home convinced we could safely try a television production based on our
I talked to two people, Harry Ackerman,vice-president of CBS on the Coast, and Don Sharpe, agent. They both liked the
idea and advised Lucy and me to make a pilot film. This we did — and that onefilm proved that we had a chance. We talked the whole thing over and, as Lucy said, "We'll rise or sink together anyway." I then got the studio, the crew, the cast, and Desilu Productions' "I
Love Lucy" went to work.
After all the many shows and the many problems, we are finally settled, Lucy and I, as a family. And our child, Lucie Desiree, has beautifully completed the picture. No wonder we are so happy
about our TV efforts.
But to take up the subject of Lucy herself — and she's quite a subject.
Frankly, I'm like a mother hen with my Lucy. Or so she calls me. I worry about her a lot, mainly about her getting
too tired from overwork. From all she has told me I was an A-l worrier when I heard she was going to have a baby.
You know the gags they have about new fathers. Well, I guess I was really one of those characters. Anyway, the news certainly made me excited enough.
Actually, I don't know why I should worry because Lucy always seems to get along all right. This is probably because
it's so easy for her to have fun, to get a laugh out of anything.
Working with her on the set is a three ring circus. All day long she's kidding actors, writers, men on the crew, anyone and everyone. And she always comes up with a gag. Our writers love to hang around her because they get ideas for the show from listening to her. She has one gag that's always a stopper — and she pulls it rather often. A group of people will be standing around talking when a guy comes on the set. Supposing his name is Joe. Lucy spots him and says in a loud voice to the fellow doing the talking at the time, "Here comes Joe now. Why don't you tell it to his face?"
Nothing can match the confusion that crosses that fellow's face when he tries to figure out just how to explain he wasn't
talking about Joe at all.
I come in for her share of gags too. She never teases anybody — I want to make that clear. She hates teasing, but she likes gentle ribbing. Lucy is constantly imitating my accent, even on the
show — especially the way I say "dun't" for "don't." But I'm getting used to her ribbing now — and I'd feel kind of lone-
some without it.
You never know when Lucy is going to pull an ad lib in a scene. On one program, part of the dialogue had to do with
the former schools those in the cast attended. The writers saw a chance to get it! their schools' names and the producer,
Jess Oppenheimer, wanted the name of his Alma Mater in the script. I wanted to use the school I had gone to in Miami.
But when the show was being filmed, Lucy tossed out all the names in the final script and said, much to all our surprise,
"I went to Celeron High School," which was her real Alma Mater.
Lucy, away from the set, is quite a personality too. But she has one peculiar habit that I can't break her of. She insists on having the windows wide open at night — no matter how cold it may be out-
side. I constantly feel as though I've been sleeping in a meat freezer.
The routine we go through about this window business is really funny — in a way. And we've been doing it for ten
years. Yet, each time it's as though it was something we hadn't thought of before. I get in bed, usually forgetting to notice if the windows are up or down, and soon I'll hear the wind rustling the curtains. I get up and quietly close the windows. I go back to bed, Lucy gets up and without saying a word she opens them. This goes on for a while with neither of us uttering a and then finally I give up. Lucy gets her way. We've thought of making a compromise but how do you do that with an open window?
It's either open or closed. Lucy claims it's healthy to have fresh air while you sleep — and she'll have me healthy even if it gives me pneumonia.
This has led to some differences of opinion— to put it subtly. Like all married couples we have our disagreements,but fortunately they don't last long.
Most of the time they're about some silly little thing.
There's one peculiar thing about this disagreement business. Almost always when we reach a certain corner on the way to the studio one of us will say something that will start a "discussion." It's as though that corner were a jinx. One
morning I started it by saying my eggs were cold for breakfast and that I didn't like cold eggs. Lucy made a natural and wifely response, I answered, and then, as usual, we stopped speaking to each other.
Suddenly, I began to think about how silly it all was. Eggs! I started to laugh.
"What are you laughing at?" Lucy asked.
"Eggs," I said to her. "So I don't like eggs cold — and I don't — but it's so silly."
This got Lucy laughing and by the time we reached the studio we were practically in hysterics.
Neither Lucy nor I can stay annoyed for more than a few minutes. We can usually find a laugh in almost any situation.
Lucy and I have found happiness for many reasons — one of them being that we treat each other as individuals.
We're together constantly — day and night. This, in some ways, is great for a married couple and in other respects it can be a trying situation. But it hasn't made us possessive of each other. For example, every weekend I try to go down to our boat and go fishing — either alone or with some guys I know. Lucy hardly ever goes along. Before you get the idea this is being inconsiderate on my part, I want to make it clear that my weekend vacations are Lucy's idea. She says she worries about my working so hard during the week and she wants me to get away and relax. This is a great wife — in any husband's language.
At home we live simply — and we're rather domestic. Oh, I don't mean Lucy goes in for all the domestic chores. She'd like to but she hasn't the time. She can cook, however, and her fried chicken is a real feast. However, she lets me do most of the cooking but only because I like it. I make all kinds of Cuban dishes and I'll fix anything that involves the barbecue. I'm the fancy cook. Lucy is the meat and potatoes girl.
Lucy's main interest, naturally, is our baby. She's a wonderful mother — and I like to think I do all right as a father.
We spend a lot of time wheeling our daughter around the ranch. Since it has five acres that means a lot of wheeling.
But Lucy and I aren't the types of parents to spoil a baby. We are good disciplinarians — and for a reason. As Lucy
has said, "I want to raise her so other
people will like her too." And my background would also tend to make me careful about raising a baby, even though
Lucy claims I'm making her the villainbecause I'm inclined to be soft with Lucie. I don't think I am soft, though.
My parents had a lot of money and I could have had anything, but I got nothing unless I worked for it. Lucy has certainly had to work hard for anything she got, so with this in mind I think we'll manage nicely with Lucie Desiree.
Lucy and I are home folks — and welove to have people over. We're always having home games — things like "Indications" or charades as some call it. But whenever we have parties, no matter how small, we have to have a motif and that means the guests have to wear costumes. This was originally Lucy's idea, but it was so much fun I took it up quikly.
For all of our crazier traits, Lucy and
I are both sentimental. The way we exchange gifts is only one indication. I get sentimental easily. Christmas is the time
when I really get soft and mellow. Lucy is as bad. But we don't have to wait for such an important occasion as Christmas
to give each other something. We make up our own holidays. We even pick on such days as the Fourth of July to present gifts. Lucy loves things with gold in them. She doesn't care at all for the diamond business, so I've loaded her with all kinds of gold trinkets. Me — any little remembrance makes me happy.
I could go on and on about Lucy.
There's so much to say about her. But
I can sum it all up by saying I owe her
everything. We have had ten wonderful
years without a dull moment. We have
had great comradeship. We can sit alone
and talk to each other for hours. We're
never bored with one another — and we've
learned to take a smile along with a problem. I couldn't imagine a life without her.
Do you blame me for loving my Lucy?