‘I Love Lucy’: Watch Lucille Ball Get Surprised by Son Desi Arnaz Jr on ‘The Tonight Show with Johnny Carson’ in 1974

by Will Shepard

Lucille Ball was one of the most famous women in Hollywood in the mid-1900s. In 1951, with the help of CBS, she released a show called I Love Lucy, which quickly became a generational pillar.

During her heyday, she was producing things like crazy, with little spare time. But, she always seemed to make time for her family. She was even creating shows like Here’s Lucy for her children to star in. Her son, Desi Arnaz Jr., and daughter, Lucie Arnaz, were the most important things to her. It was quite evident how much she cared about them.

So, one time while she was on a talk show, Johnny Carson decided to let the audience know how much she cared about her son. During The Tonight Show with Johnny Carson in 1974, Johnny Carson gave the I Love Lucy star a surprise. At that time, Desi was busy filming Billy Two Hats with Gregory Peck. So, he hadn’t seen his parents for a handful of weeks.

“I Love Lucy” Star Is Paid a Surprise Visit by Her Son, Desi Arnaz Jr.

In the lead up to the moment where the I Love Lucy star gets to see her son, Ball and Carson partake in some hilarious banter.

“We are going to show a film clip now.” To which Lucille Ball asks, “of what? Is it a porno film?” Johnny Carson laughs and reassures her that, “no, this is of your picture.” She is hardly phased by the fact that it isn’t an x-rated film, but rather a picture that you can take the family to. “[One] you can take mom and dad and gramps to see, and the children.”

This finally gets her to crack, and she laughs and tells him not to rub it in. She then hits Carson, and he says, “You’re bananas. you’ve been on the road too long.”

“Do you know what the sequence we are showing Fred?” At this point, the star of I Love Lucy chimes in and explains the clips that they are going to watch. After rolling the clip from the film, Johnny Carson sets up the surprise for the actress.

The I Love Lucy star’s son Desi Arnaz Jr. walks out onto the set to greet his mother. After Carson sees him walk up to the set, he announces to Ball that her son is here. The two embrace as she says, “That was too cute!”

Desi Arnaz Jr. tells his mom that she’s not going to get away with knocking over his cane. He sits down on the couch to thunderous applause.

Once he sits down, Carson begins to interview both of them, first starting with Desi. But, the I Love Lucy star and her son get right to the point about why he doesn’t see her more often. The two have certainly had a great relationship and thoroughly entertain the audience.