I DIG ‘CUBAN PETE’

Not only was Desi Arnaz seriously underrated as the mind behind the building of Desilu Studios (see last weeks posts) but he was criminally underrated as a performer. In this 1951 clip from ‘I Love Lucy’ he and Lucille Ball perform a specialty number called ‘Cuban Pete’. It’s a frigging delight. Not only is Desi slick and charming and confident, but Lucy is…I guess you could say smoking hot. These aren’t words usually applied to Lucy Ricardo but the evidence is there. Also, interestingly, this appearance by Lucy Ricardo is a successful one–she pulls this number off whearas other attempts Lucy makes at performing usually range from mediocre to disastrous. Finally there is the ‘meta’ of it all. Picture Desi and Lucy rehearsing the number–she was a famous stickler for intensive rehearsal while he was notably more relaxed and loose (witness his many flubbed lines in the show). Were the rehearsals fun? Did they intensify tensions in the Arnaz household? Or were the two of them as delighted with each other as they appear to be in this wonderful clip of a moment from the distant past. It’s almost ten years before they divorced. I wonder how this looked to the two of them thirty years later…

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