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Tuesday, October 4, 2011

Little Ricky was the cutest TV kid ever.

Hello friends,

Firstly: HAPPY FALL! I wore tights under my uniform today instead of socks, and I was so happy because I usually don't make that transition until next month. And the leaves are turning red and I've already broken in my fall jacket. I'll stop here because I already blog way too much about the weather on this blog, don't I? But... SO HAPPY. :) (You know, like that scene in "Roman Holiday" when Audrey is all sleepy from the injection Dr. Bonaporte gave her, and she's mumbling to Gregory Peck that she's so happy?)

In anticipation of the 60th anniversary of "I Love Lucy," I'm going to be trying to sprinkle a series of posts about the show in the days leading up to the 15th. Yes, I will be blogging about other things as well.... so it won't exactly be like last August when I blogged solely for Lucy for about a week. But I do have posts planned. ;)

Also, I am thrilled to pieces because the Library of Congress in Washington, D.C is holding an "I Love Lucy" expo for the 60th anniversary! Though the expo will be running into January, I can hardly wait to see it and want to as soon as I can. :)

This week I will also be participating in the Caroletenniel(+3) blogathon at Carole and Co. and I should have my post for the Bette Davis contest at Film Classics up here tomorrow. (I'm such a procrastinator - holding out until the last moment, and all!)


Today I'll be talking about an often neglected member of the "I Love Lucy" family:

Little Ricky!

I was surfing the IMdb "I Love Lucy" message boards a few weeks back, and I was surprised to find a whole thread condemning the "Little Ricky" character on the show. Though they brought a few valid points, I found the whole thing to be ridiculous. Nonsense about how Lucy was not a "good mother" (please, it wasn't the Dr. Spock Show!), how Mrs. Trumbell babysat him all the time, and how any of the episodes surrounding Little Ricky later into the series were "crap."

I would care to differ.

Let's be fair: Little Ricky was never exactly meant to be a part of the show. In reality, there would be no Little Ricky if Lucy (Ball) hadn't gotten pregnant. But I think Little Ricky added so much to the show (we'll get into how adorable he was in a little bit). For example, had there been no Little Ricky, we wouldn't have any of those precious pregnancy episodes.

It was because of Little Ricky the boundaries were broken about showing pregnant women on TV, if you want to look at it from a historical point of view. But back to what I was saying before: Little Ricky's birth provoked some of the most awesome, sweet moments in the whole show and some of my personal favorites. I know I've posted this clip before, but here we go again because it is one of my favorite moments on the show because I think it was the only time Lucy and Desi broke character. (The tears in this scene are unscripted and due to their real, raw emotions about being pregnant for the second time after suffering so many miscarriages).

And "Little Ricky" caused a lot of commotion. Already "I Love Lucy" had become America's favorite TV show, but I remember reading that people were taking bets on whether Little Ricky would be a boy or a girl and when Little Ricky was born it was announced on the radio in Japan. Random, but just goes to show you. Yeah, there were some people who nodded their disapproving heads at the "scandal" of showing a pregnancy on TV -- but they just added to the mayhem and excitement surrounding his birth.

And lest us not forget that "Lucy Goes to the Hospital" sparked some 70 percent of television viewers that night, when Ike Eisenhower's election only brought in 68% the next morning. Americans liked Ike - but they loved Lucy.

The first issue of TV Guide?

That is, of course, Desi., Jr and not an actor playing Little Ricky -- but this was all because of Little Ricky's television birth.

It is true that in often episodes Little Ricky was left with Mrs. Trumbell but you'd be a hypocrite to then argue that the episodes that did prominently featured Little Ricky were "stale".

"Little Ricky" was born in January 1953, but by the end of the series - 1957 - Little Ricky was getting to star in his own episodes and was shown to be a five or six year old boy (and then some). Television children can be as young or as old as you want them to for however long (though you'll get the message when enough is enough and your 17 year old actor can't fix into the sandbox!) and that became the case with Little Ricky as he sprouted a few years in age so episodes could be centered around him.

Why, Superman only got to appear on "I Love Lucy" because Little Ricky was having his fifth birthday party:

Another favorite episode of mine is a little earlier, when Little Ricky must get his tonsils out and Lucy sneaks into the hospital with his bear to be with him. So sweet!

Or what about when Little Ricky gets a drum and won't stop his noisy playing, which results in an all out war between the Ricardos and Mertzes?

Or "Little Ricky's School Pageant"? (Pictured below). 

But when it comes down to it: Little Ricky is never given much credit in the kingdom of TV children. He just wasn't given enough credit. He delivered some hilarious lines on the show- and he pulled them off just right, despite being a little kid. In the episode in which Lucy and Ricky are arguing over whether Little Ricky should be a drummer or a doctor, Little Ricky in a little doctor's outfit approaches Ricky and says, "Are you sick Daddy? Come to my office tomorrow!" He had some even cleverer lines but to me everything he just said seemed adorable without being sickeningly sweet like other TV kids.

That's another thing. Other shows put way too much emphasis on TV children just for the sake on getting viewers based on the cuteness factor. "I Love Lucy" did not do that, all while properly utilizing him.

Also: when it comes down to it. Little Ricky was just cute. He was tiny and adorable.

"Mommy, this will make a perfect bowl for my turtles!"

Carrying his dog, Fred, over the threshold. 
When Fred MERTZ objected to the dog back in the NY apartment, Little Ricky saves the day by saying:
"I named my dog Fred because I always name my pets after people I like!"

And, of course, some of my favorite moments in the show was when he played the drums.

Baby Babalu!

So next time you catch an episode of "I Love Lucy," be sure and appreciate a little Little Ricky in it. He, after all, (in my words): the cutest TV kid ever!

Anyone else have a favorite Little Ricky moment?


I'd like to leave you today with some Ingrid Bergman. A really short clip (about a minute, I think) from the 1958 movie "Indiscreet" which she did with Cary Grant. If you didn't already think Ingrid was awesome, well, then...

Till later!


Irene Palfy said...

Oh - marvellous post! Enjoyed every single word of it! Right now I want to stay on my couch and watch I LOVE LUCY till I drop..

Have a great day, Rianna!

Rianna said...

Hahaha, watching I Love Lucy till you drop sounds pretty great. You too! :)

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