THE RICARDO’S IN WESTPORT, CT.

After his star turn in MGM’s ‘Don Juan’ (1956), Ricky and Lucy Ricardo left Hollywood and returned back east. Ricky now was able to open his own club (the ‘Club Babalu’) and, being good mid-century citizens, they decided to flee the city and move to suburban Westport, Connecticut. A wonderful YouTube artist named Marina Coates has taken the extraordinary step of creating a video tour of the Ricardo’s house, showing every inch and every detail of the charming early-American country house where Little Ricky was raised.

Now, a couple of things. The reason this is extraordinary is because A) The Ricardo’s don’t really exits. 2)Which means they didn’t really move to Westport. 3) Which leads us to the fact that the house never really existed as anything but a set on the Desilu lot in Hollywood. 4) And finally, there is no MGM movie musical called ‘Don Juan’ which would have earned the fake Ricky Ricardo the fake money to open his fake club and buy his fake house. Nevertheless that house can now be toured and it’s a real pleasure to do so (you even get to see the separate guest house the Mertz’s–the Ricardo’s friends/stooges–moved into. Apropos of ‘Don Juan’, why did Ricky leave Hollywood instead of staying and starring in more movies? I don’t think it’s because the movie bombed. Rather, the end was coming to the era of the MGM musical (the Freed Unit would be closed by 1959) and it’s likely that the savvy Cuban saw the writing on the wall. He was a nightclub entertainer at heart anyway and later played Vegas, the town which he and Lucy eventually retired to when Westport Connecticut became too cold for their aging bones and the country house too expensive to heat.

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