How Desi Invented Television

Planet Money


Does he says was born in santiago cuba rich powerful family. He loves to joke about it on old talk shows here. He is on the tonight show with johnny carson. My father was the mayor of my hometown. My uncle was chief of police. We had that town prewar really. My great grandfather was appointed mayor of my hometown by queen. Isabella way gone. I'm sure is that always makes you laugh. But there was a revolution not the castro one the one before that and the arneses fled to miami. Miami in the thirties is growing hugely and a young desi tries his hand at theatre and music and movies. Eventually he becomes a popular bandleader as well. This is the preview of a new ban. And we're confident that in a very short time you'll be hearing a lot more about desi arnez and his orchestra not just hearing about them dancing to them. Desi arnez started the craze of the congo line. Boop boop boop of robert. This is a scene from the movie called. Too many girls in the ad for it literally goes to many girls film on the arcadio sound lot in nineteen forty and in this same a young gorgeous desi arnez is leading a line of dancers to the congo. Now robert i do not wanna overestimate how crazy nuts. This scene is. It looks like i dunno. Imagine a halftime super bowl. Dance number with congas fire jugglers trapeze artists studying. There's no such thing as too many congolese. now now. this is just the movie version. In our memoir. He talks about how he would be playing a gig and how a conga line with breakout out and go through eight or nine different clubs in south beach with a line stretching for blocks and blocks the movie too. Many girls is notable for another fact. A co starred this up and coming red-headed comedian lucille ball. Desi by the way didn't get the girl in the picture he's as the eye candy. Lucy ends up with somebody else but on the set of the movie but two of them hooked up fell in love and would eventually marry. They set their sights on a way to spend more time together. That's two people in love. Did they wanted to do. And this was pretty new at the time a television show. Now i wanna take a moment to tell you what. Tv was like before. I love lucy. It was pretty close to people being just a cardboard box with a cutout they do little plays facing one camera and at the time most television shows were live and broadcasts from new york so tv was sort of like radio but with pictures and just as ephemeral they had this technology called kinase co which was a way of sort of recording a video screen and it looked terrible. Grainy and most importantly it didn't last they used to record the shows alive in new york and then replay them via kim scope three hours later in california could barely see it on tiny. Tv sets and then it would disappear but doesn't really wanted to capture the magic from the movies they had done. They wanted to make tv shows as good as a hollywood movie and they didn't wanna move to new york but i they had to convince the t. v. executives. This is not going to surprise you but there were no interracial couples on tv. In the nineteen fifties. Lucille ball had a popular radio. Show with a white actor playing her husband and as deputy tells it the tv execs. Were like wait. A minute why you do a tv show with lucy and that guy. The husband and the radio show was richer then was a tall blonde brew. I vice president of a bank or sometimes you'll be able to get away with that part you know. Say who the hell is going to believe this Baba loo pharaohs. yeah cheap. it american girl you know. Yeah he ain't. Bob lou fellow and she certainly is not a typical american girl so dizzying lucy decide. Hey let's go out and prove it. So they went on tour across the united states remembered as e is a bandleader. And so at the end of the shows lucy would come out and do little skits dot com now in this famous scene. Lucie is dressed as a showgirl and she's singing so every time she goes boom sticky. Boom she swivels her hips and every time she does disease hat falls off. I laugh every single time and across the country people love the real crazy chemistry between two of them proves to the television executives and the network sponsors that yes

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