Sunday, November 18, 2012

November 18: Desi Arnaz

On this date in History .... 1939:

The play “Too Many Girls” opened on Broadway. The cast included a little known Cuban named Desi Arnaz. Arnaz was born in Cuba into a very wealthy family. His father was the youngest mayor of Santiago and his grandfather was one of the 3 founders of Bacardi Rum.  The family, stripped from office and of all of their properties, fled to the U.S. after the Cuban Revolution in 1933. 

Desi worked for a short time for Xavier Cugat before forming his own band and introducing the conga line to American audiences.  After filming “Too Many Girls”, he made three more films before joining the army.  He became a U.S. citizen while serving in the United States Army where he entertained the troops. After his tour of duty, he formed a new orchestra and served as the band leader on Bob Hope’s radio show from 1946 to 1947.

Growing up, he was friends with Albert “Sonny” Capone, the son of Al Capone. In 1949 he began focusing on the development of the “I Love Lucy Show”. Desi argued with producers to use film on the “I Love Lucy” show and he owned the film rights, which made him the creator of the rerun and the inventor of several techniques that are taken for granted in sitcoms.

Click here to see video of Desi Arnaz

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