The Lost Pilot Episode

23 Feb

The pilot of ILL was filmed on March 2nd, 1951 but wasn’t aired until April 30th, 1990. It wasn’t meant to be in the regular broadcast rotation and it got “lost.” Pepito the clown’s wife notified CBS that she had a copy that was given to the now late performer by Desi Arnaz and Lucille Ball. The copy’s original titles and first few seconds were either damaged or missing but were reconstructed and the original announcer, Bob LeMond re-recorded his narration after 50 years.

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The pilot is really just the rough draft of episode 6- The Audion. There’s a lot of overlap so I wont go over the plot much but I will look at the major differences. This pilot episode opens, like mentioned, with narration unlike any other episode. It introduces who Ricky and Lucy are and pans over their apartment building. Then we see this giant hand open the window so it was really like a dollhouse but people live inside. Kinda funny, kinda strange.

Their bedroom set (which is common for pilots) is totally different from the rest of the show. And Lucy is wearing a size 5XL in pajamas it looks like. In reality, Lucille Ball was pregnant with Lucie while shooting the pilot.

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The conversation about Lucy asking for a part in his TV audition is almost word for word as in episode 6. Lucy even puts on another lampshade, although this one is huge and upside down.

Jerry comes over to talk to Ricky about the show. The pilot originally had side characters as Jerry and  Pepito who later were replaced by Fred and Ethel. I’m SO glad they brought in a friend for Lucy. She needs someone to bounce her crazy schemes and play off of. Other than Ricky, she only interacts with Pepito and it’s not enough!

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Also I’m so glad they nixed Pepito. His act is… not good. That baby cry thing? Ooof it’s awful! He is the weirdest clown ever. And when he crashes his bike, it looks like he jumps off the back and the bike just splits suddenly into two pieces and then he slowly lays down.

I would never go see Pepito’s act but I’m starting to get the appeal of Desi Arnaz. He plays the congo so passionately, it’s like when someone is so passionate about something they get you to like it. Does that make sense? Watch when they first show Ricky in the club. He doesn’t like playing with his wedding ring on and he forgot to take it off before they started filming. He quickly slips the ring off and puts it in his pocket without missing a beat.

Skipping around, I have always liked the Cuban Cabby song. Does he sing that again later in the series?

Back at the Ricardo’s apartment, Pepito is resting and somehow the bike is back together. He sees if he can ride it around the apartment and Lucy moves a piece of furniture right in his path which is enough to completely lose his balance and go flying through wall. So Lucy takes his spot in the audition.

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Pay attention to Ricky when he asks Lucy if she can play that “thin.”  He tries so hard not to laugh at her response of “What thin?” and even breaks a little and stumbles over his next line.

And the episode finishes with the same great pie line!

 

 

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