Desi Arnaz and Lucille Ball portrayed Ricky and Lucy Ricardo on I Love Lucy from 1951 to 1957. In season two, Ball was expecting their second child and the couple lobbied to write the pregnancy into the show. Lucy delivered a baby boy on the sitcom, and Arnaz was hoping life would imitate art.
‘Lucy Goes to the Hospital’ scene brought Desi Arnaz to tears
Episode 16 of season two featured Lucy and Ricky welcoming their son, Little Ricky. “Lucy Goes to the Hospital” broke records by bringing in over 44 million viewers. Arnaz recalled getting a bit of a souvenir from his performance of Ricky seeing his son for the first time.
“In the hospital scene when Ricky was shown the baby and was told, ‘It’s a boy,’ he fainted beautifully,” Arnaz wrote in his memoir, A Book. “I hope Ricky appreciates that I got a hell of a bump on my head doing that full-figure backward fall to portray his faint.”
Fans are sure to remember Ricky being in an elaborate costume and makeup for his upcoming show while waiting for his child to be born. Arnaz revealed that though the emotion from Ricky upon seeing the baby may not have been visible, it was genuine.
“You probably couldn’t see my tears through that crazy makeup and headdress of a tribal Indian chief I that I had on, but my eyes were full,” the I Love Lucy start admitted. “I was thinking that in 10 or 12 weeks I would be in a real maternity ward waiting to hear our baby had been born and was healthy.”
By scheduling repeats in the weeks leading up to Ball’s due date, the timing worked out perfectly. Arnaz gave props to all parties involved that aided in the record-breaking feat. Despite I Love Lucy’s high ratings, Arnaz holds one memory higher than any other.
“I heard a loud baby cry and a happy choir of voices sing out, ‘It’s a boy!’” Arnaz recalled. “I wish I had a recording of it, but I really don’t need it – I can hear it today.”
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