Booze, Broads, & Babalu – The Marriage of Lucille Ball & Desi Arnaz

Desi & Lucy
The marriages between the Ricardos of early television and the real life Arnazs were truly trail blazing by virtue of both partnerships breaking the firmly established racial barriers of 1950’s America.

Let’s face it, racism has always been a thorn in America’s side. But back in 1950, the influence racism had over this country could be equivocated to an entire rose bush’s worth of the prickly things piercing the whole of American society. With Jim Crow Laws still in effect and the Civil Rights Movement not taking national prominence for at least another decade, it was generally assumed in 1950’s America that a person should never rock the societal status quo.

Enter societal status quo rockers, Lucille Ball, Leo, and her spouse, Piscean, Desiderio “Desi” Arnaz.

Back in 1950, a white person being married to a Latino bore the same interracial stigma as a black and white marriage. Despite her Hollywood clout, Lucille Ball was informed by TV executives they liked everything behind the idea of taking her hit radio show, “My Favorite Husband”, and transitioning it to the new medium of television,

….everything, that is, with the exception of her Latino husband.

Ball wouldn’t budge nor would the Leonine actress discuss an alternative option of any kind. If she was to be the leading lady, her real life husband would be her leading man – period. Upon being dealt such racist rejection, the Fire signed comedienne did the best possible thing a person born beneath her element could do– the Leo went into action.

Taking her radio program’s story lines and infusing them with visual slapstick and Vaudevillian comic timing, Lucy and Desi took their show on the road and theater audiences throughout the country couldn’t get enough of this most unobvious of odd couple’s comic stage antics.

The live audience response was so overwhelmingly positive, CBS executives relented and on October 15th, 1951, the “I Love Lucy” Show made its American television debut.

The TV show which focused on a zany, but hopelessly untalented housewife and her English mangling, Rumba bandleader of a Cuban husband was truly groundbreaking, but in the most unobvious of ways.

“I Love Lucy” was a TV show of many “firsts” – including the first television program to be shot in 35 MM in front of a live studio audience, the first to incorporate a “3 camera technique” of live filming, along with being one of the first television shows to be Hollywood based, eventually causing a mass exodus of television production from New York to Los Angeles.

Besides being a show whose standard of comic performance is timeless and still considered to be hysterical, right through to the present day, “I Love Lucy” was a pioneering vanguard of Television History by virtue of its leading couple breaking the racial barriers that were ever present in early 1950’s America. Unfortunately, the Ricardos proved to be as Neptunian as the medium of make believe, itself, since real Life for the Leo Pisces couple of the Arnazes was not a series of laughs with problems that could be fixed in under a half hour. Hardly anyone realizes that “I Love Lucy” was Lucille Ball’s last attempt to salvage her marriage, which by the time her show premiered, was close to being thoroughly disintegrated.

Booze, Broads, & Babalu

“She told me that by 1956 it wasn’t even a marriage anymore. They were just going through a routine for the children. She told me that for the last five years of their marriage, it was “just booze and broads.” That was in her divorce papers, as a matter of fact.” – Bart Andrews, Author of three books about Lucille Ball

It’s hard to comprehend the words “Booze” and “Broads” were what actually ended the real life marriage of TV’s First Couple, given the censored fact Lucy and Ricky Ricardo slept in separate beds and weren’t allowed to even utter the word “pregnant” while on the air, but unbeknownst to their devoted fans while their history making television show was being made, Lucille Ball was married to a severe alcoholic with an even more severe sex addiction.

Born a Pisces in Santiago, Cuba on March 2nd, 1917, Desi Arnaz’s actions displayed the most evolved and unevolved qualities associated with his Water based Sun sign by being both intuitively effective and addictively destructive.

With their emotional radar always being on, the world can be a harsh place for those born beneath the sign of the Cosmic Fish and Desi Arnaz was no exception to this astrological rule. Despite being born into a family of extreme wealth and high societal status as well as the heir to the Bacardi Rum fortune, teenage Desi and his family lost everything after Cuba’s political upheavals in 1933 resulting in the Arnaz clan being forced to flee their country for their lives.

Landing in Miami as political refugees, young Desi found the perfect outlet to support both himself and his impoverished family – Music. The Piscean tapped into his naturally Neptunian gifts of rhythm and harmony and by the age of 18, Desi Arnaz was a bandleader whose orchestra found steady work in Miami’s lucrative Latin nightclub scene.

Desi Arnaz Orchestra
The Desi Arnaz Orchestra circa 1941 with a very young 24 year old Desi Arnaz as band leader in the center. (tropicananightclub.tripod.com)

Those born beneath the element of Water are naturally intuitive, and if a Water signed person hones their intuition by allowing it to unfold, they eventually discover preternatural capabilities they weren’t even aware of possessing. Desi Arnaz discovered early on in his music career he had a particular knack of having his “intuitive finger on the pulse of the public“.

Arnaz first gained awareness of this specialized gift of intuition when he was forced to face his first major failure as an adult.

The young musician’s first contracted gig as bandleader was a 12 week engagement at an up and coming Miami night club in the late 1930’s. A club where after the first performance, the teenaged entertainer and his band were told to not come back and that the remainder of their scheduled shows wouldn’t be honored due to mass cancellation. Desi begged the club owner to reconsider, stating in the most Neptunian of terms (a convincing form of extemporaneous lying) that just the other day he had recently revamped the band’s entire format, complete with an audience participation segment of this new and musically overhauled show.

EVERYBODY CONGA!

Given a second chance, but with barely a chance second to spare, Arnaz intuitively tapped into the pulse of the American public of 1939. The orchestra leader not only changed nearly the entire format of his band’s show, the Pisces also added an extra selection to the evening’s revamped program, which was something altogether new, different, and incredibly risky.

Desi Arnaz in a Conga Line
Desi Arnaz leads the conga line with Errol Flynn 4th in row at NYC’s Club Conga in August of 1939

During the final portion of his band’s show, Desi would abruptly stop the music. With everyone caught off guard, the risk taking bandleader would then proceed to invite (more like command), the silently confused audience to actively participate in the most recent of Latin dance crazes that was sweeping America at that time in the late 1930’s. With great aplomb and vocal conviction, Arnaz ordered the audience to get up from their chairs, form a connected line and begin dancing the Conga throughout the entire nightclub. The Conga portion of Arnaz’s show became so wildly popular, the club which nearly axed Desi’s promising music career soon changed its name to Club Conga, in honor of the Piscean’s innovative act.

Comedy needs heart and warmth, even a tear or two, not just a lot of slapstick laughs. – Desi Arnaz, Water sign

A few decades and a meteoric climb as a celebrity musician later, the Piscean would take his Water signed finger and place it on the pulse of the newly emerging TV watching public by intuitively gambling on the new medium’s potential of future growth. When Arnaz officially signed on to the cast of “I Love Lucy”, the Latin entrepeneur displayed both his business savvy and powers of prophetic intuition by arranging an unprecedented special deal with CBS, where he would get only 50% of the show’s profits in order to have 100% ownership of their episodes.

Let’s let Wikipedia explain what happened next:

Arnaz’s unprecedented arrangement is widely considered to be one of the shrewdest deals in television history. As a result of his foresight, Desilu (Arnaz’s production company) reaped the profits from all reruns of the series.

The key word to note from the previous statement above is “foresight”, a futuristic function of  human intuition. Lucy’s Fixed sign tenacity may have assured the birth of “I Love Lucy”, but it was Desi’s Water signed intuition which guaranteed the show’s future, since its re-runs play to this very present day.

Lucy with Desi behind the camera
Many don’t realize that not only was Desi Arnaz a member of the cast of “I Love Lucy”, he was also the show’s executive producer who had the final say with any/all comedic content.  Pictured above, Desi gets behind the camera to perfect Lucy’s timeless “Vita-Meata-Vegemin” scene. (golucilleball.blogspot.com)

Even with all the aforementioned abundance and excess profits, as the Piscean’s finances exponentially expanded by virtue of his powers of intuition being allowed to naturally unfold, so too did the Pisces’ Neptunian need to escape from the everyday world. Desi Arnaz did this by actively pursuing outlets of escape which were thoroughly of an unevolved nature.

The Arnaz divorce papers literally stipulate the words “Booze” and “Broads”, but from an unevolved perspective, the situation was far more disconcerting. Desi Arnaz was a severe alcoholic with a daily drinking habit, whose extreme sexual compulsions gave him a near daily penchant for prostitutes.

Desi’s attitude was, “What the hell’s the matter? I love her. When I go out with women, they’re usually hookers. Those don’t count. – Bob Weiskopf, one of Ball and Arnaz’s main writers

The truly terrifying thing about Pisces’ planetary ruler, Neptune, is its insidious ability to blend, blur, and wash away.

When the Neptunian personality actively pursues an unevolved path:

– Integrity is blended with deception among those around them during their dark times.

– Truth is blurred, as to include every shade of discoloration which has tainted that virtue’s purity. In other words, the unevolved Piscean will convince themselves their lies are variations of the Truth (case in point, hookers technically not “counting” as infidelities).

– Responsibility is avoided and diffused. The more unevolved the Piscean’s actions become, the less likely they’re able to take accountable responsibility for their lives, and the more likely to blame external sources for their problems.

Despite Lucy’s numerous attempts to salvage her marriage, even the most tenacious of Fixed signs can’t endure Neptune’s forces of delusional deception when they consistently flow and are relentlessly extreme.

The source of Lucille Ball’s and Desi Arnaz’s fame finally came to an end that was long overdue when the Leo and Pisces’ 20 year marriage was brought to an official close in 1960. For the remainder of their lives, TV’s first couple always spoke very highly of each other, with one carrying a special reserve of loyal devotion for the other that was utterly unique and lasted to the very end.

To quote Mr. Arnaz during the final months of his life:
‘I Love Lucy’ was never just a title.

Lucy and Desi 1986Following their divorce, Lucille Ball and Desi Arnaz spoke on the phone to each other nearly every day for the rest of their lives.  According to their daughter, Lucie Arnaz, Lucy was the last person Desi Arnaz ever spoke to when the former couple conversed by phone while he laid on his death bed.  Pictured above, the formerly married Ricardos/Arnazes give each other a love peck just a few months before Desi’s death in 1986.

 

*Brad Kronen’s book “Love in the Stars” published by Llewellyn Worldwide, Inc.  is available for purchase at your local book seller or online at amazon.com at the link listed below.

Brad Kronen’s guide on Astrology and Relationships “Love in the Stars” for purchase on amazon.com

 

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