| Season 1, Episode N/A (Unaired Pilot) |
#1 in 1 pilot in Series
|Air date:|| Unaired, filmed March 2, 1951 |
Aired as part of CBS-TV special
on April 30, 1990
|Written by:|| Bob Carroll Jr.|
|Directed by:||Ralph Levy|
|Production code:||1-00 / 000|
|IMDB||"The Lost Pilot" (Unaired Pilot)|
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|N/A||The Girls Want to Go to a Nightclub|
"The Lost Pilot" was the very first episode of I Love Lucy which was shot, the unaired pilot episode for I Love Lucy. Directed by Ralph Levy, it was shot before a live audience at CBS Columbia Square in Hollywood, California, on March 2, 1951, and sold to CBS-TV in the summer of 1951.
The roles of Fred and Ethel Mertz, who were yet to be introduced, were not cast yet as the producers were still searching for the right actors, which eventually turned out to be veteran film actor William Frawley, and, after a long search, Vivian Vance, a well-known stage actress. Bea Benedaret, a veteran stage/film actress who would go on to star another CBS-TV sitcom in the 1960's, Petticoat Junction, who was also a close friend of Lucille Ball, was considered for the role of Ethel.
Desi Arnaz, a well known singer/bandleader, who would later serve as the show's co-star and co-executive producer, as well as Lucille Ball's husband, was almost beat out for the chance to play Lucille's husband on the series; Gale Gordon, who had performed with Lucille on numerous radio projects in the 1940's, and who would later co-star with Lucille (also with Vivian Vance} on CBS-TV's The Lucy Show in the 1960's, as well as the CBS's Here's Lucy afterwards, was almost cast until the fellow producers persuaded Desi to take the role of Lucy's on-screen husband at the last minute. However, Gale Gordon would appear on the series in the guest role Mr. Alvin Littlefield.
Finding/Restoring and releasing "The Lost Episode"Edit
This unaired pilot was considered lost until the widow of actor/comedian Pepito Pérez, who guest appeared twice on the series, notified CBS that she owned the sole copy. It had been given to Pepito by Desi Arnaz and Lucille Ball as a show of gratitude for his friendship. The opening and first few seconds of the pilot were damaged beyond repair. This scene was reconstructed for DVD in 2002 with a re-recorded narration by Bob LeMond, 50 years after his original performance; this episode was aired in a CBS special, tribute to Lucille Ball on April 30, 1990, hosted by Lucy's daughter, actress/entertainer Lucie Arnaz. It was released on DVD in 2002.
Ricky tries to keep Lucy away from auditioning for a TV show, but when a clown becomes unavailable, Lucy takes his place.
- Lucille Ball was six months pregnant with Lucie Arnaz at the time of the pilot's filming.
- After the pilot, the characters' original last name, Lopez, was changed to Ricardo to avoid confusion with band leader Vincent Lopez.
- Bob LeMond was also the narrator of Lucille Ball's radio show "My Favorite Husband" on which this series was based.
- Credited cast