Fab Five: Curator’s Picks
Curator Raymond White picks his favorite items from the “I Love Lucy” exhibition
1 - “I Love Lucy” Theme Song
The song was composed by Eliot Daniel as a personal favor to producer Jess Oppenheimer, with lyrics by Harold Adamson. The music was played at the beginning and end of every episode, but the lyrics were sung on the show only once, in Episode No. 60, “Lucy’s Last Birthday.”
“Most people don’t know that the theme song actually had words,” White says.
2 - Desi Arnaz Orchestra Charts
The Lucille Ball and Desi Arnaz Collection includes scores and parts for some 250 numbers performed by the Desi Arnaz Orchestra from the 1940s until the early 1960s. Included in the exhibit is one of the orchestra’s signature pieces, “Babalu.” Written at the bottom of the page: “Play conga til exhausted (plus 4 bars).”
“The arrangements are quite wonderful,” White says. “The charts demonstrate how a working orchestra worked.” In fact, the real-life musicians in the orchestra were featured in scenes from the show.
3 - Photos of Lucy and Desi Arnaz
“They were enormously photogenic,”
White says. Featured on a page of
one scrapbook are several publicity
shots, showcasing a more glamorous
Lucy and Desi. According to White,
the initial plan for the show was
to keep to a limited wardrobe for
the cast, so they didn’t appear too affluent. However, plots did build in opportunities for them to dress up.
“The glamour shots are an intriguing reminder of how Hollywood was in the 1940s,” White says. “However, what’s memorable are the photos of them doing something more ridiculous and less glamorous.”
4 - Original Plot Scenario for “I Love Lucy”
Included in the exhibition is the original plot scenario for the sitcom, which lays out the premise and point of departure for the show.
“Lucy doesn’t try to get into showbiz every episode, but the fact that she’s smitten with it informs everything they do,” White says. “Especially in hindsight of watching episodes and looking back at that original statement, it’s remarkable that they did what they said they were going to do, and stuck with it.”
5 - Episode Clips
Thirteen video clips highlight some of the sitcom’s most memorable episodes, including “Lucy Does a Television Commercial” (in which she promotes the “Vitameatavegamin” tonic); “Job Switching” (Lucy and Ethel get jobs working in a candy factory); and “Lucy is ‘Enceinte’ “ (Lucy and Ricky learn they’re having a baby).
Curator Carroll Johnson says some of the show’s most notable music also is highlighted, including “Babalu” and “Cuban Pete.” “The ‘Cuban Pete’ performance is actually the same performance from Lucy’s and Desi’s vaudeville act,” Johnson says. “Same costumes and everything.”
“‘I Love Lucy’ truly set the standard for today’s family oriented television shows,” Johnson says.