Timing, Talent, and Tenacity. We discussed on Tuesday just how important these traits are for anyone pursuing a dream or a goal. Today we want to show you. Here’s the story of two tenacious talents who understood good timing: Lucille Ball and Desi Arnaz.
Lucille Ball found success as the leading actress in several B-movies of the 1940s. In one of these movies, she worked with a contract actor who’d soon become her husband, the Cuban-born American bandleader Desi Arnaz. Desi and Lucy married and set up housekeeping at a California ranchito they called Desilu, but they weren’t able to spend much time together. By 1950, Lucy was spending most of her time in a sound booth, starring in the hit radio comedy My Favorite Husband. Desi was always on the road, performing at the best nightclubs. But Lucy had a plan, and she was tenacious enough to get her way.
CBS wanted to turn her popular radio show into a TV series. Television was still a relatively new medium, and Lucy doubted a weekly series could boost her career — but it could allow her more time with Desi! She agreed to do the show but with one stipulation: she demanded that Desi play her TV husband. This was anything but an easy sell: America’s favorite waspy redhead married to a hot-blooded Cuban?! On a national network show?! What would the peeps out in the wheat belt have to say?! Such a thing just wasn’t done! Period! But Lucy had talent AND tenacity enough to get her way. The CBS bosses relented, the peeps loved it, and the I Love Lucy show made television history — in more ways than one.
Turns out Desi was also a man of many talents, and just as tenacious. He wanted to film the show in Hollywood, so he and Lucy would be close to home. But again, it just wasn’t done! Comedies were produced in New York, where they were broadcast live. For the West Coast audience, a video recording was made by filming the “live feed” on a program monitor, and this slightly fuzzy video, known as a kinescope, was delayed broadcast. Definitely not the best quality, but this production method was cheaper than film, and that’s the way it had to be done. Period!
But Desi realized the timing was right. CBS really wanted the show. So Desi dug in his heels. He wanted the show FILMED in Hollywood using three cameras set up to capture different angles of the show as the cast performed before a live audience. The end result was more expensive, but the show looked gorgeous, and for once, the West Coast didn’t have to settle for poor kinescopes. Desi’s idea caught on, and soon all comedies were filmed in this manner. His talent, tenacity and ability to recognize the right timing, helped write television history.
Tune in Monday, when that talented Cuban impresario realizes the timing is right for yet another innovation, one that will net him a cool million dollars in 1957! And he won’t even have to work for it! We are now signing off the air!
“A man’s gift makes room for him And brings him before great men.” (Proverbs 18:16 NASB)