Saturday, June 23, 2007
Pepito’s World’s Smallest Bicycle, six inches wide by ten inches high, manufactured by Anderson, Melbourne, Australia, 1928, was at one time entered into “Ripley’s Believe It or Not.” Pepito and Joanne were in Australia in 1928 for an extended vaudeville tour, and he must have ordered this bicycle at that time. This is the same bicycle that appears in his act in the I Love Lucy Lost Pilot (1951) and I Love Lucy Episode 52 (1952). And where is the tiny bicycle today …. appropriately, in a display case at the Lucy-Desi Center in Jamestown, New York.
The EverythingLucy blog reported in 2007 that “The Rapaports have added another treasure to the Lucy-Desi Archives. The world’s smallest bicycle as seen on “I Love Lucy” is now on display at Desilu Playhouse in Lucy’s hometown.
“In March of 1951, Pepito Perez rode the world’s smallest bicycle in the pilot of what was to become the most widely viewed series ever on television. As ‘Pepito the Spanish Clown’, he again rode this tiny two-wheeler in episode 52 of ‘I Love Lucy,’ ‘Lucy’s Showbiz Swan Song,’ that first aired on December 22, 1952.
“Thanks to the continuing generosity of Lucille Ball-Desi Arnaz Center benefactors Bill and Mary Rapaport of East Amherst, New York, this historic prop is now one of the artifacts in the Lucy-Desi Museum’s collection. A special case has been constructed to exhibit it, and visitors to the Desilu Playhouse can now see it in all its tiny glory! The Desilu Playhouse is the ‘I Love Lucy’ museum in the Rapaport Center in Jamestown, New York, Lucille Ball’s hometown.
“A long-time friend of Lucille Ball and Desi Arnaz, Pepito Perez was responsible for helping develop Lucy and Desi’s 1950 vaudeville act that toured the country to prove to CBS Television that the American public would accept the redhead and the band leader as a comedy team.
“This bicycle is the most recent gem from the estate of Pepito Perez that the Rapaports have contributed to the Lucy-Desi Center. Others are two costumes that Pepito wore in ‘I Love Lucy’ — a 13-piece clown outfit and a lion tamer ensemble complete with safari hat and bullwhip — and the frog costume William Frawley wore in ‘Little Ricky’s School Pageant’, episode 163, that aired for the first time on December 17, 1956. The Rapaports also donated Lucille Ball’s first Hollywood contract to the Center.
“In expressing the Lucy-Desi Center’s appreciation, Executive Director Ric Wyman noted, ‘We were overwhelmed with Bill and Mary’s generosity in initially making the Desilu Playhouse possible. Their continuing support means that the thousands of fans who’ve already visited Jamestown’s two museums will be able to enjoy wonderful new treasures when they return. The Rapaports have more than earned the enormous gratitude of all of us at the Center and fans everywhere.’”
EverythingLucy, Bicycle from I Love Lucy Pilot Show on Display