April 29, 1990
In March of 1951, Lucille Ball and Desi Arnaz filmed an “audition” for a TV sitcom that premiered as a series on CBS the following October. Since then, the 179 half-hour episodes of I Love Lucy have been seen by millions around the world, but until tonight the March pilot, once believed lost, has never been telecast.
The format is essentially the same as the series, minus the characters of Fred and Ethel Mertz, who were added later. Desi plays a Cuban bandleader named Larry Lopez, and Lucy is his effervescent wife, whose shenanigans trying to break into show business with Larry’s band reflect the pilot’s roots in the Arnazes’ own vaudeville-style stage act.
The cast also features “The Spanish Clown” Pepito, whose widow [Joanne Perez] found this copy of the pilot film. To round out the hour, the Arnazes’ daughter Lucie is slated to chat with I Love Lucy writers Madelyn Pugh Davis and Bob Carroll Jr. (60 min.)
TV Guide, week of April 29, 1990.