Lucille Ball was the face of I Love Lucy. Desi Arnaz, on the other hand, was the driving force behind the show. It was his strong will and vision that made the show more than just a sitcom.
For instance, most broadcast TV originated in New York. Arnaz didn’t want to move across the country. So, they shot their show in California. Also, Desi didn’t like the way TV shows looked. He wanted their show recorded on high-quality film. This decision made reruns possible. Desi did a few things that changed the course of television.
In short, the I Love Lucy star was a real game-changer. He was also a patriot. Desi Arnaz had the kind of patriotism that only an immigrant can have.
Desi Arnaz Jr. wrote about his father’s patriotism in the book My America: What My Country Means to Me, by 150 Americans from All Walks of Life. He said that Desi Arnaz lost everything in the Cuban Revolution of 1933. They burned his family’s home and exiled them. They came to the United States and worked hard to get where they were. A little over twenty years later, I Love Lucy was the biggest show on TV and Arnaz was eternally grateful.
Arnaz Jr. goes on to say that parents were on Ed Sullivan’s Toast of the Town promoting I Love Lucy. During that appearance, Desi Arnaz Sr. took moment to show his gratitude to the country that allowed him to succeed. He told Sullivan and everyone watching, “We came to this country and we didn’t have a cent in our pockets. From cleaning canary cages to this night, here in New York is a long way. I don’t think there’s any other country in the world that could give you that opportunity. I want to say thank you. Thank you, America, thank you.”
The I Love Lucy Scene That Desi Refused to Shoot
The original script for the I Love Lucy episode, “Lucy Tells the Truth,” contained a scene that Desi Arnaz was not comfortable with. The scene had Ricky cheating on his taxes. Desi refused to shoot the scene. To him, paying your fair share in taxes was part of what made the American Dream work. Furthermore, he didn’t want viewers to think that Ricky was the kind of guy who would try to cheat the government. In the end, the writers took the scene out of the script.
The rest of the episode focused on Lucy’s habit of telling little white lies. She gets caught in one too many. So, Ricky and the Mertzes bet that she cant’ go a whole day without telling a lie. Lucy accepts their challenge. In true I Love Lucy fashion, she spends the next twenty-four hours being brutally honest with everyone.
So, you could see where a scene that involves Ricky cheating on his taxes would fit into the episode. Hypocrisy like that would play right into the style of comedy that I Love Lucy is known for. However, Desi didn’t find it funny at all.