On This Day: ‘Long-Lost’ Pilot of ‘I Love Lucy’ Aired in 1990

by Evan Reier
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Before I Love Lucy became one of the most iconic shows in the history of television, it actually had to take a couple of shots at success.

Granted, that second shot ended up sparking the incredible legacy of the show. But the first took on its own mystique, affectionately referred to as “The Lost Pilot” of I Love Lucy.

The premise of the episode was that Lucy wanted to audition for a TV show. Ricky Ricardo, obviously played by Desi Arnaz, attempts to stop her, but fails.

The pilot wasn’t picked up, mostly because the show was still sorting out many details. For example, William Frawley and Vivian Vance, the two actors behind Fred and Ethel Mertz, had yet to be cast.

The episode was considered to be lost for decades. However, the widow of guest actor Pepito Perez, Joanne, revealed to CBS that she still possessed a copy. According to Papermoon Loves Lucy, the fervor around a search for the episode is what prompted Joanne Perez to look for it.

Pepito Perez was given the tape as a show of gratitude from Desi Arnaz. Joanne then found the tape years later in 1989. In 1990, as part of a tribute to Ball, the pilot aired and attracted tens of millions of viewers.

Daughter of I Love Lucy Star Lucille Ball Speaks Out on Upcoming Film

There is a ton of excitement and anticipation for the upcoming film Being the Ricardos. The film is being spearheaded by director Aaron Sorkin, and features Nicole Kidman as Lucille Ball and Javier Bardem as Desi Arnaz.

While Sorkin has expressed the same sentiment, Lucie Arnaz felt compelled to remind folks recently of what the film will focus on. Rather than telling the life story of Ball, her daughter explained that it’s focused on just one week.

“This is not going to be a full biography- just a snippet of time during a crucial and interesting period in their true life story.” Arnaz wrote.

On top of that, Lucie Arnaz addressed the casting of Nicole Kidman. Some fans have recently expressed their dislike of Kidman as Ball. For Arnaz, the choice was the right one.

“We agreed to the inspired casting choice of Nicole Kidman,” Arnaz also added. “Because she is smart, a first class, award winning actress who can play comedy or drama and become anyone she puts her mind to and box office gold (important to big studios these days). She was cast to portray Lucille Ball. Not her fictional TV character, ‘Lucy Ricardo’ and, take my word for it, Lucille Ball and ‘Lucy Ricardo’ were quite different people.”

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