Posted by Larry Gleeson
As America’s funniest and most beloved TV couple, Lucy and Ricky Ricardo have been a constant presence on television around the world since the characters first appeared in the iconic sitcom “I Love Lucy,” which premiered on CBS in 1951.
As the quintessential dizzy redhead and the charismatic Cuban bandleader she married, Lucille Ball and Desi Arnaz were among the brightest stars in the growing television universe, delighting their record-breaking audiences each week with Lucy’s hare-brained schemes and hilarious antics. But as America enjoyed the sitcom world of Lucy and Ricky, Ball and Arnaz were actually facing problems that could have brought an end to their newfound success and their marriage.
Despite her gift for scene-stealing physical comedy as Lucy Ricardo, Lucille Ball was a demanding and hard-nosed perfectionist behind the scenes. Desi Arnaz, in addition to being a multi-talented showman like his television character, was also a shrewd and innovative businessman who built a powerful and prolific Hollywood studio.
In addition, the Ricardos’ neighbors and landlords, Fred and Ethel Mertz were crucial to the show’s success. The constantly squabbling former vaudevillians appear in virtually every episode of the show and the actors who played them, William Frawley and Vivian Vance, became close friends of Ball and Arnaz.
Frawley, a heavy-drinking veteran of Hollywood and vaudeville, is played by J.K. Simmons, winner of the Best Supporting Actor Oscar for his role in Whiplash. Sorkin wrote the role of the cantankerous but loyal Frawley with Simmons in mind. Tony-winning actress Nina Arianda was chosen to portray Vance. Arianda says she grew up watching “I Love Lucy” and was intimidated by the idea of playing an iconic television star.
After sifting through the historical documents, writer Aaron Sorkin proposed going back in time some 70 years to chronicle one one production week of “I Love Lucy” — from Monday table read through Friday audience taping — Lucille Ball and Desi Arnaz face a series of personal and professional crises that threaten their show, their careers, and their marriage. Oscar® winners Nicole Kidman and Javier Bardem star as the power couple behind the beloved 1950s television sitcom “I Love Lucy” in Oscar-winning writer and director Aaron Sorkin’s behind-the-scenes drama, Being the Ricardos.
I’ve always been a fan of I Love Lucy having watched it with growing up, and I can honestly say I had never laughed as hard as I did as I watched The Long, Long Trailer (1953) starring Lucille and Dezi Arnaz. So, with bated breath, I wait until December 21 to see Aaron Sorkin’s Being the Ricardos.
Until then, I’ll see you at the movies!