Martin, I’m Home!!! (The Desi Arnaz Episode with Martin Urbano)

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On this episode, we are joined by comedian, actor and writer Martin Urbano! And today, I’m going to tell him the story of one of the most legendary people in TV history: Desi Arnaz – the FIRST! Hispanic man to play a lead role in a network television sitcom.

Next time on FIRST! – make sure to catch me and Yamaneika Saunders as we talk about Condoleezza Rice and how she became the FIRST! Black woman to serve as Secretary of State.



Kareem Rahma, Martin Urbano

Martin Urbano  00:36

Oh, wet tapes. That’s a good name for our album.

Kareem Rahma  00:42

So you’re into being a band?

Martin Urbano  00:45

Yeah, what do you play?

Kareem Rahma  00:48

I don’t play anything.

Martin Urbano  00:49

Me either. Perfect.

Kareem Rahma  00:50

Well, it looks like I made a new friend. We will just not do the podcast. So alright, guys have a good day.

Martin Urbano  01:08

What’s this photo?

Kareem Rahma  01:09

Okay, so I want to show you the photo of this guy. And you told me if you know who that is?

Martin Urbano  01:16

Matthew Broderick? Ricky Ricardo?

Kareem Rahma  01:24

Yeah, whoa, we got a mother effing winner. I’m so happy you got her right. But do you know his real name?

Martin Urbano  01:34

If it’s not Ricky Ricardo then no, Ricardo Ricardo?

Kareem Rahma  01:37

His real name is Desi Arnaz. The character he played is Ricky Ricardo. But I feel like the executives were like, what’s does like a Cuban name. They’re like, call him Ricky Ricardo. Like don’t worry about no one will know that’s two first name. Martin Martino.

Kareem Rahma  02:06

What’s up, y’all. I’m Kareem Rahma, and welcome to FIRST, a funny show about spectacular people who had a serious impact on society and culture because they were first. Today, I’m sitting with comedian actor and writer Martin Urbano, and I’m going to tell him the story of one of the most legendary people in TV history, Desi Arnaz, first Hispanic man to play a lead role in a network television sitcom. In case you aren’t familiar with him, let me give you some context for just how famous Desi was in the 50s and 60s. That era is widely considered the golden age of television and he was one of its biggest celebrities. Desi and Lucille Ball, his wife, created and starred in the iconic sitcom I Love Lucy, which premiered on CBS in 1951. The show quickly became the nation’s number one TV show by the spring of 1952. Of the 15 million homes who had a TV 11 million of them tuned into the show every single week. The only reason people watched the only show on TV, it’s still a feat, 11 out of 15 million.

Martin Urbano  03:22

Yeah, like 4 million TVs we’re just off.

Kareem Rahma  03:25

Yeah, 4 million are off not watching it. They’re probably watching the news. Damn, he’s playing mind games. I feel like I’m in an episode of Mindhunter

Martin Urbano  03:41

This is more like an episode of I Love Lucy if you ask me.

Kareem Rahma  03:44

Alright, let’s get into this. The story of Desi Arnaz has been told 1000 times but I promise you number 1001 is going to be a banger. Not only was Desi an actor, but he was also a prolific musician, producer, director, author and actor. That sounds like every person’s Instagram bio. It’s always an aspiring rapper. Like that’s definitely the hardest one.

Martin Urbano  04:15

That’s the dream. The rest just pay the bills

Kareem Rahma  04:17

Do you rap?

Martin Urbano  04:19

No, but I’m aspiring.

Kareem Rahma  04:20

You’re aspiring to begin.

Martin Urbano  04:22

Yeah, to start. I’m at the very bottom of not but I aspire to be great.

Kareem Rahma  04:26

Alright, we’re getting way off track. What’s this about? We’re getting back into the podcast. He’s probably best known as Ricky Ricardo, the charming and talented husband and one of the biggest TV shows ever. I Love Lucy. When CBS wanted to make I Love Lucy. They initially refused to cast as he because he was Cuban, saying that their marriage would be unrealistic to American audiences. They proved CBS wrong and made one of the most memorable TV relationships come to life. I Love Lucy is a pillar in American culture. So much so that even I know some of the shows most catch phrases, Lucy I am home.

Martin Urbano  05:04

That doesn’t sound right to me.

Kareem Rahma  05:06

Lucy, I am the captain now. I think he says Lucy you’ve got some explaining to do. But I was reading about that one and it sounds like there’s a bit of a disagreement about that.

Martin Urbano  05:19

It’s like a game of telephone like that’s a parody of.

Kareem Rahma  05:23

May not have said Lucy you’ve got some explaining to do.

Martin Urbano  05:25

Yes, the Mandela.

Kareem Rahma  05:30

I always thought it was the bearing staying with a G at the end bears and nobody else seems to think that.

Martin Urbano  05:38

That might be a different effect.

Kareem Rahma  05:51

I’m not smoking. I’m doing wait. Being on a podcast is fun because you can act with your nose. Hey, Martin, you want ahead of this?

Martin Urbano  06:02

Sure. Oh, nice. Yeah. Oh, that’s the stuff.

Kareem Rahma  06:06

Man. I’m smoking the joint and doing the coke at the same time.

Martin Urbano  06:09

Now I’m eating it.

Kareem Rahma  06:11

My mother will know, this is supposed to be like this. I’m biting it. Oh, no, no, no, no, this is chewy cocaine. Oh, Martin stopped biting my mouth. Now Martin’s tickling me like a best friend would. Oh my god, I love having a best friend. The story starts like this. I’m gonna butcher this name. […] Pretty good. Was born March 2 1917 in Santiago de Cuba, Cuba’s second largest city. And if you’re a studious on early 20th century Cuban history like me. Just kidding. I had to look this up. You know that this was an extremely volatile time for Cuba. Cuba had just declared independence in 1902. After being a Spanish colony since the early 1500s. The United States moved in pretty much immediately after establishing Cuba as a de facto protectorate. If you didn’t have money, times were tough. But if you did, life was actually pretty good.

Martin Urbano  07:22

As opposed to now supposed, everything is great. Now you could have lots of money and sucks.

Kareem Rahma  07:29

Okay, back to this. Yeah. So Desi came from one of those families that had money. They could trace nobility in their lineage all the way back to the 17th century, is a great grandfather was a government official in Santiago de Cuba. His father was the first mayor of Santiago de Cuba before becoming a member of their house of representatives. His uncle was also the chief of police in their town. But probably the coolest thing was that Desi’s grandfather was one of the three original founders of Bacardi, Cuba’s signature rum company. Needless to say, Desi grew up in a nice and comfy financial situation. His family had another mansion on a private island and Santiago Bay just for vacations. They owned like three ranches, yachts, sports cars, and everything else. He was expected to go to a top college like his father did. Maybe even step into politics.

Martin Urbano  08:24

I love an underdog story.

Kareem Rahma  08:26

It’s not his fault he’s rich.

Martin Urbano  08:33

It’s not his fault he’s rich.

Kareem Rahma  08:35

I always think that anyone who has really old money like that, like you probably were some sort of criminal.

Martin Urbano  08:45

The old fashioned way.

Kareem Rahma  08:46

Yeah. Not buying avocado toast at a restaurant but making avocado toast in your own home.

Martin Urbano  08:54

They just saved their money.

Kareem Rahma  08:55

They just saved. Excuse me sharks. Here’s my idea. So it’s a startup where we actually get land, we acquire it and then we bury it on your moral land. Mark Cuban and for that reason I’m in. Okay, so he was rich, had sports cars, and yachts. He was expected to go to a top college like his father did maybe even step into politics. But he never get that chance. Cuba’s President ran the economy into the ground and in 1933 a country wide revolt led by Fulgencio Batista gave way to a military coup. Mobs roamed the island, ransacking whatever they could. It was only a matter of time before they came for Desi’s family. He was just 16 years old when a mob stormed is over, destroying everything, even killing the livestock.

Martin Urbano  09:49

Oh, no, the livestock

Kareem Rahma  09:52

What are we gonna do with all these cows? Oh yeah, I got these cow deadstock 599, never eaten brand new in box. Sell on the That’s a great one man. You put that in your bid. Desi was led away tossed into a cart just barely escaping them out. As they drove away the families touted Viva la revolution, just so no one would shoot them.

Martin Urbano  10:26

Do they have their money saved somewhere? Like were they still fine? What happens?

Kareem Rahma  10:29

Let me tell you next, please. Let me tell you, that’s a great, great question. Desi and his family were part of huge wave of 500,000 Cuban refugees who fled from Miami after Batista’s revolution. Miami was ideal not only for how close it was to Cuba, but because many Cubans were already familiar with the area because it was a regular daytrips spot. But this experience was no vacation in Miami.

Martin Urbano  10:56

As they were fleeing from a revolution, that wasn’t a vacation.

Kareem Rahma  11:01

Because they went to Miami, usually for vacation.

Martin Urbano  11:04

But this time, it wasn’t a vacation, they were fleeing from a mob, let’s just say it was it a vacation.

Kareem Rahma  11:16

But this experience was no vacation in Miami, Desi and his family lived in a warehouse that was infested with rats and roaches, which he would chase around, and kill with a bat. They went from palace with servants to a straight up garage. Even though the family didn’t have any money. Parents still managed to enroll Desi in a private Catholic school. But he struggled with his limited English.

Martin Urbano  11:49

How did they do that?

Kareem Rahma  11:52

I think they were like kind of working odd jobs. But they were like education first. Sure which a very immigrant mentality. When he wasn’t at school he worked odd jobs to help pay for his tuition and his family’s rent. His first job was to clean Canary cages at the local grocery store.

Martin Urbano  12:07

Putting canaries into like a bag and putting them on the weight scale. How many fucking canaries? I was worried when he had generational wealth that this was going to be a bit of an underwhelming experience, but he’s really grinding.

Kareem Rahma  12:23

But now that it’s like Scarface, it’s like Desi Arnaz rise to glory, money, power and respect. And he’s a Cuban immigrant. Sure, in 1937, Desi graduated high school and was looking for a proper full time gig. He was well liked in school for singing, so he thought he could turn that skill into a buck. The Ronnie Plaza and upscale hotel on Miami Beach, was looking for a band. So does he borrowed a suit and auditioned. He planted a handful of his friends from school into the audience, and they totally lost their shit for him. The boss was like, Whoa, people really liked this dude. And they hired Desi and his band on the spot.

Martin Urbano  13:22

A bringer show, when you sometimes go up at a club they say to get stage time bring like five people. Right and when you have the people there then they really laugh at you, it’s basically appearance.

Kareem Rahma  13:33

Oh, I thought I always I didn’t realize that they do it so that you have people to laugh at you.

Martin Urbano  13:38

No, that’s not why they do it. They do it to make money. Those people have to buy tickets as to be like five paying audience members. So basically, you’re in a way it’s 100% a pyramid scheme.

Kareem Rahma  13:47

Oh, put it on the record. I’m never doing that, I’m out. I don’t care. I’d rather do a podcast. One day, Xavier […] a popular Cuban bandleader nicknamed the rumba King just happened upon one of Desi’s performances at the hotel. He was so impressed that after the show, he asked Desi to drop everything and tour with him. They played dope Latin music does he play the conga drum and they sang in Spanish. It was cool got banned, but onstage, it was Desi who stood out the most. He was young, sexy and had incredible dance moves. He really put on a show. And after a year, she felt he could go off on his own. So he quit the band. And that risk paid off almost immediately. Because he booked the headliner gig at a cool cafe back in Miami with his own test. He earned $750 a week. That’s $15,000 in today’s dollars, per week, and before long 1939, he and his band would tour on their own playing everywhere, most notably at one of the hottest clubs in New York called […] these shows would change his life.

Kareem Rahma  15:22

I’m gonna perform there, I’m gonna make it my life goal.

Kareem Rahma  15:26

Are you gonna do conga or stand up? Not a bad bit. Not a bad bit at all. I’m here with Martin Urbano the world’s first and only conga comedian. Oh, very cool stuff back to the podcast. So shit. Our man Desi is absolutely popping off, his riches to rags to riches against story is just beginning though. My man invented the conga in the United States. Do you know what a conga line is? Is that dance where everyone gets in line holding on to the person in front of them. And they take steps forward sneaking around the room and it goes like this. They say that success is a little bit of timing, a little bit of luck, and a little bit of hard work. Well, here’s where the luck kicks in. Legendary theater director by the name of George Abbott just happened to be getting a little lit at the Copa Cabana last night. Abbott was in the middle of cashing the Broadway musical comedy to many girls, and he thought Desi fit the bill perfectly. After the show he pulled me aside and asked him if he’d given Broadway a thought. Desi apparently told his big shot Broadway director, who the hell are you? He’d never seen a Broadway show before. But Desi ever the hustler was never shy about giving something new a try. And he jumped right in. They rewrote the first act finale to include Desi’s trademark conga line. After the show ran its course the rights the musical were purchased by RKO Pictures, a production company that made a name for itself for film adaptations of Broadway musicals. But Desi’s costar had to drop out of the film. They recast the role with an RKO contracted actress Lucille Ball.

Martin Urbano  19:40

This is like a Marvel movie now.

Kareem Rahma  19:45

The first time Desi met Lucy she was on set wearing makeup to make her look like she’d been beaten up. Well, if you would listen a little bit that was his first time on set and he didn’t realize it was makeup. It was his first time but he didn’t realize it was makeup.

Martin Urbano  20:07

What a stupid moron.

Kareem Rahma  20:12

But the second time he met her, he famously let out a loud what a woman. Lucy was already engaged and Desi had a girlfriend, but they dumped them both and started dating each other exclusively. Unfortunately, due to racism in the US, nobody in the industry really liked them together. studio executives and gossip columnist talked a lot of shit. But Desi and Lucy didn’t seem to mind. They continue seeing each other, even after Lucy left New York to go back to LA and they’ve never seen each other again. Just kidding. This was the beginning of a whirlwind romance, one that ended in murder. Just kidding again. So, back to the real story. In November 1940, Lucy came back to New York City on personal appearance towards a sign some autographs and whatnot. Arnaz was also performing there at the Roxy theater. And after the band’s last show, Desi and Lucy eloped. They drove all the way to Greenwich, Connecticut and took their vows. They decided to do the ceremony there because Connecticut had a shorter waiting period of the New York and Greenwich is the first time across the border. Lucy was a successful actress with a busy career in Hollywood. But Desi was having a hard time breaking further into business. Execs promised him that he was the next big Latin star. But he’d miss out on roles because they wanted him to lose his accent. In 1943, Desi was drafted into the army for World War Two. But he had bad news which disqualified him from seeing the frontlines, so instead, he was deployed to a hospital in the San Fernando Valley to aid other soldiers. Desi would use his Hollywood connections to invite famous actresses to volunteer to visit and strangely enough do things like poor injured soldiers classes of cold milk. Because this episode of FIRST is sponsored by the dairy industry. Big milk is good. Little milk is bad. Yeah, Martin, do you drink?

Martin Urbano  22:21

Only if it’s board by actress.

Kareem Rahma  22:24

Of one actress could pour you milk, who would you pick?

Martin Urbano  22:27

Lucille Ball? Is Lucille Ball dead?

Kareem Rahma  22:34

Yep, she died. Are you doing an impression? Lucy, wait, what’s the shining thing? The Shining when he’s like, I’m gonna get you.

Martin Urbano  22:54

Love the classic line in The Shining. I’m gonna get you.

Kareem Rahma  23:00

Alright, let me get back to the story. Without much prospects in Hollywood, Desi returned to his music career which also put Desi and Lucy on opposite schedules. He’d get home just as she was out the door and vice versa. This is on top of having spent two years away from each other while he was in the army. They recalled spending around $30,000 and telephone calls and telegraph to each other, or over $600,000 in today’s dollars. In 1944, things got particularly bad. Desi was still performing shows all over town with his orchestra and would often come home late at night drunk. Lucy was convinced he was cheating on her and filed for divorce. But they made up for the divorce was finalized. Around that time, Lucy had an extremely popular radio show called My favorite husband. It had been running for three years and in 1949, CBS approached her about adapting and for TV. She thought this could be the ticket to save their marriage and agreed on the condition the Desi be cast as her husband. But CBS didn’t like the idea at all. And they were pretty explicit about why, Desi was told his Cuban accent and Latin style wouldn’t go over well with American viewers. Does that Spanish for something? They thought audiences would be just as racist as they were and would reject. A white woman married to a Cuban man on TV. In his words, nobody wanted me to play Ricky the network. The sponsors nobody. They said who the hell is going to believe this […] blue fellow is going to be married to the typical American Girl. funniest part is that we’ve been married for 10 years by that.

Kareem Rahma  24:53

Just hitting the bong. That’s how you hit a bong. Desi really want to the gig but he had no idea how to convince CBS he was right for the role. But he came up with an idea. They put on a live show their own show, just to prove to the network that he and Lucy could be a hit together. He had the foresight to know that if you win over the people, you went over networks, because the network’s, works for the people, not the other way around.

Martin Urbano  25:26

We might need to take that one again.

Kareem Rahma  25:45

Tony, the show needed to be so big. I’m trying to be the sopranos, Italian American. The show needed to be so big, so he recruited one of the best performers he knew, dear friend Pepito the Spanish clown, who Desi called in his book, one of the world’s greatest clowns, but Pepito was the real deal. He had lined the Hippodrome in New York for years, he’d done performances for the Queen of England and the king of Spain, but Peto and Desi used to fish together all the time. And when they went fishing next, Desi told them about his plan. And Pepito said, yeah, that’s a good idea. I’ve got a few clown bits, which might help you with your act. And I’m sure Lucy would be great at doing them too. Now, all the pieces were set. Pepito spent two weeks working 10 hours a day with Lucy and Desi. Devising a vaudeville act but a woman trying to crash her bandleader husband show. One of the bits involved Lucy howling a prop cello mid show through the audience and Desi acting like it was this big interruption. It’s pretty good. This brand of slapstick humor would later become Desi and Lucy’s bread and butter, and a cornerstone of every episode of I Love Lucy. Lucy would later call the peep toe, the driving force in her development as a top comedian, and that he taught her how to pantomime. The relationship between Pepito and Desi reminds me of the relationship between me and you, I am Desi. Hands down and your Pepito. I like that they were fishing. Like two depress guys sitting on a dock. Drinking beers like he’s in the full clown makeup. It’s like, man, I don’t think I’m that funny.  I brought you out here because I’m feeling really sad because I’m trying to get on TV but people don’t think I’m funny enough. I have an accent. I think you can help me because you’re one of the world’s great. Okay, I’m gonna rip through.

Martin Urbano  28:08

Let’s do it.

Kareem Rahma  28:09

The head of CBS came out to see one of their performances and couldn’t deny how much the audience loved seeing them together. You had no choice but to admit that he was wrong and soon after CBS invited Desi to co-star alongside his wife in I Love Lucy. But, there’s always a but, there was a little secret they were hiding from the network. Lucy was pregnant. And back in those days, something like that could have gotten her kicked off the show. So Lucy and Desi kept it secret, and Lucy gave birth to the first child, their daughter Lucy Arnaz, without anyone knowing. And on October 15 1951, I Love Lucy premiered. This was in the cell was an instant classic. Not only was it a massive hit, but it marked a milestone in American television history. Desi Arnaz became the first Hispanic man to play a lead role in a network television sitcom. The show was witty, it was hilarious, and it provided some edgy social commentary. For the first time about the plight of the modern housewife. Desi and Lucy shared amazing chemistry on camera. They were happy and madly in love, and the audience loved them for it. The show would run for 181 episodes, spanning six years. But what truly made the show special was that it was shot in front of a live audience. I bet you didn’t know this part. Up until then. This was not a normal thing. In fact, it only happened once before on a game show. To do it on a scripted sitcom was unheard of. But it was Desi’s idea, and he pushed for a live audience because he knew Lucy lit up and was best in front of an audience. That’s a good guy.

Martin Urbano  30:01

I hope, you never know.

Kareem Rahma  30:03

Yeah, I guess we’re only oh, we’re only one page. There’s a lot of pages. How are you doing it? Do you need to take a picture of something?

Martin Urbano  30:12

Can we take it from the top

Kareem Rahma  30:19

I love being in the studio. I love being in the studio with my friend Martin. That’s my impression of Jesus Christ. Okay, let’s pick up where we left off. We’re talking about live audiences. This was a huge innovation and television production and it changed TV forever. And I Love Lucy became the nation’s number one television show by the spring of 1952. And as more people got TVs, more people started tuning in. Eventually 32 million people are watching the Ricardo’s every single week. That’s a lot of fucking people. For context, Game of Thrones was fill in the blank. I don’t remember how many people did watch.

Martin Urbano  33:08


Kareem Rahma  33:12

9 million, they did a lot more. Lucy I’ve got the throne. Their creative ideas definitely raise the production value but also the production costs. Desi and Lucy were so committed that they agreed to offset the cost by taking a pickup themselves. And as a result, CBS also gave them ownership of the episodes after the air. Back then, everything was shot in broadcast live and at the time, there was no such thing as a rerun. So CBS didn’t care about giving them the rights to the show. But this would later pay off huge for Desi and Lucy. So not only did they bring this interracial couple to TV, not only did they pioneer the live audience that come you know, I’m just trying to recap all of their accomplishments, lot a lot of accomplishments. Pretty good, pretty enterprising people here, in 1953. Lucy was again, pregnant. Executives this time loved idea of selling it on camera. They wrote it into the script. So Lucy Ricardo got pregnant too, which was big for television. Pregnant women usually went in seclusion and to see a pregnant woman on screen being active and hilarious, made the show even more popular. The birth was a national affair. The whole country was waiting for this baby.

Martin Urbano  34:31

Live on camera in front of a studio audience.

Kareem Rahma  34:36

God can you imagine?

Martin Urbano  34:42

How much more of the story?

Kareem Rahma  34:45

We’re getting close. They scripted for a baby boy and miraculously, that’s what Lucy had in real life. Lucille Jr. and Desi Jr. I mean, I’m definitely naming my kid Martin Jr. Your kid would get this ass beat.

Martin Urbano  35:07

Ball Urbano, you come in here right now.

Kareem Rahma  35:10

It has a nice ring to it. Because Lucy needed a break after giving birth to the network rebroadcast old favorite episodes, which unexpectedly killed it in the ratings. So by giving birth to a baby boy, she also gave birth to the profitable development of the rerun syndication market. Desi proved to be a formidable executive producer and he was keen to grow their production company. In 1957, Desi came up with this genius plan to sell the episode rights of I Love Lucy back to CBS to purchase RKO Pictures. And they did, they sold the rights for $5 million, which is just over 52 million in today’s money. They bought the studio for 6 million. They revived Desi productions and they pioneered the three cameras that come that allowed for to close up and a wide format used for filming sitcoms, to this day, they would produce some of the most popular shows ever, including Star Trek and Mission Impossible. Dramatic Music please. The stress of running a successful production company and performing started to take a bit of a toll on Desi he began using alcohol as a crutch like me got into gambling, like me, and even infidelity. I guess it’s kind of like just kdding everyone though they loved each other so much and built a television making empire together. Desi and Lucy couldn’t save their marriage. In 1960, they divorced but continue to work together on Desi Lu projects even after she remarried. In his words. I was happier cleaning birdcages and chasing rats. He must have been pretty unhappy that’s dark. He wasn’t seeing his kids and he was drinking a lot and has worked together. I guess if I had learned the meaning of moderation and had been able to practice it the Desi Lu monster we had created and our marriage might not have been so hard to cope with. And in 1962 Desi and Lucy would professionally divorce as well as he sold his share of Desi Lu back to Lucy to raise money for his own production company called Desi Arnaz productions. Desi remarried to in 1963. He married an old friend Edith Hirsch we had met when she was a cigarette girl at the Santa Anita racetrack. They both had a passion for horses and she divorced her husband a multimillionaire manufacturer of dog food to marry Desi.

Martin Urbano  37:52

It’s time to leave your dog food guy.

Kareem Rahma  38:04

Desi would see just a tiny bit of success with Desi Arnaz productions producing a sitcom called the mother in laws which ran for two seasons from 1967 to 1969. He made a handful of guest appearances on the show playing a Spanish Matador named Senor Delgado. He also produced another show called The Untouchables about the mafia which supposedly pissed the mafia off enough to plot does his murder. Does he claims this is not true, but okay, this part sad so don’t laugh. In the late 1960s Desi was seriously hurt when the floor collapsed beneath him in his home and he was impaled by a tree stump. Luckily, he had emergency surgery and that saved his life. But he never fully recovered. He suffered through chronic pain, intestinal issues and sometimes needed to be rushed to the hospital. He retired a few years later to a horse farm in Del Mar California. But he suffered through a lot of health conditions and in 1986 he died of lung cancer at his home in Del Mar. He was only 69 years old. While that’s the end of the story for Desi Arnaz his I Love Lucy character Ricky Ricardo lives on. Reruns for the show are syndicated on TV today. And that’s a common cultural reference for millions. Desi he reshaped the TV industry forever. His innovations of the TV sitcom format, the way it’s shot with multiple cameras in front of a live audience and his push to own the show and the creation of the syndication market remain hallmarks of smart Hollywood filmmaking. Most importantly, he opened the door for a generation of Hispanic and Latino men to jump into mainstream entertainment and the effects can still be seen today from Danny Trejo to John Leguizamo, Benicio Del Toro and more and together Desi and Lucy put an interracial marriage on TV and showed America that these relationships are just as American as apple pie. Of course that doesn’t mean the work is done. According to Nielsen’s latest diversity intelligence Sears report, latino representation as about 10% across streaming services and cable and broadcast networks, clearly there remains more progress to be made. Desi is one of the only people of showbusiness to have two Hollywood stars, one for contributions to motion pictures, and one for television. Though Lucy would receive Emmy nominations for her individual performances, Desi was instead nominated four times for best sitcom as an executive producer, winning twice, and in 1991, the Television Academy honored Desi Arnaz by inducting him into the Hall of Fame, solidifying his legacy as a television legend. There have been many movies about Desi and Lucy, most recently with Javier Bardem playing Desi and Nicole Kidman playing Lucille Ball. And let me tell you, I’ve never seen the movie, but I’m sure Javier Bardem played the shit out of that role. Here’s my final thoughts. One of the coolest things Desi ever did when he returned to New York was host SNL in 1976. He was 58 years old, passed […]. But he sang his heart out to some songs from his shows Cuban Pete and Buffalo. And he ended the show by leading the entire cast conga line throughout the studio. What a legend, that, my friends, is the story of Desi Arnaz the first Hispanic man to play a leading role on national television series in America. One adult to keep you here.

Martin Urbano  41:40

And he lived happily ever after. Is the end. What a podcast thanks so much for having me man. I appreciate

Kareem Rahma  41:50

What are you doing after this? You want to hang out?

Martin Urbano  41:52

I gotta catch a movie. They’re gonna go to the new Desi and Lucy movie.

Kareem Rahma  42:00

I don’t know about a Harvey Burnham plays the shit out. Okay, thanks. All right, y’all next time on first me and Yamaneika Saunders talk about Condoleezza Rice, the first Black woman to serve as Secretary of State.

CREDITS  42:19

FIRST is produced by some friends and salts. Ad sales and distribution by Lemonada Media. The show is created and hosted by Kareem Rahma. Executive producers for some friends are Kareem Rahma, Andrew […], researched by […], original audio production music and sound design by Salt. Executive producers for Salt are […] salts Head of Production […], Salt’s head of engineering, […], Salt’s head of post-production Robert Adler’s, Production Manager Alice […], post-production coordinator […], recording engineer Aaron Kennedy, edited and sound designed by […] Harris, dialogue supervision by Noah Kowalski. Additional sound design and music supervision by […], mixed by Ben O’Neil. Original music and composition by […] additional Music courtesy of extreme music recorded at Salt Studios in Los Angeles and the cutting room in New York City.

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