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The show “I Love Lucy” is truly iconic. And while it’s natural to focus on Lucy, we shouldn’t overlook her partner on the show and in business – Desi Arnaz. Taking top billing in the name of their company, Desilu Productions, Desi Arnaz is recognized as one of the most innovative TV producers, and the first Hispanic to star on prime-time TV. And what better time to celebrate these remarkable achievements than during Hispanic Heritage Month?

I Love Lucy. For many of us, myself included, those three words bring back memories of favorite episodes of the “I Love Lucy” show. And, although I would be hard-pressed to pick my favorites, some may reminisce that the show, which ran from 1951 – 1957, was from a simpler time and is dated. I would argue that the comic timing, the gags, and the chemistry of the characters have stood the test of time.

Maybe it is because they took frustrating situations in everyday life and then pushed them to the extreme – and made them hilarious along the way. For example, your young child wants a superhero at their birthday party. Reasonable. But for Lucy, after unsuccessfully trying to book Superman (Chris Reeves), she dons the costume in “ Lucy and Superman.” A classic.

I will not get into the scientific reasoning why people love watching reruns, but they do. And, it may explain why “I Love Lucy” has been on air for 70 years. (Note: I watched them as reruns, not when originally released.) However, the concept of reruns was, to a great extent, invented by "I Love Lucy" (technically, Lucille Ball and Desi Arnaz) when they negotiated with CBS for the right to own their filmed episodes. (Back then, networks would air shows only once, and when they took breaks from filming, would air a different show – not reruns.) It was a brilliant business decision because it was not long before the real Lucy (Lucille Ball) became pregnant and wanted to ease her production schedule, so the network reran shows, paying the couple (via their production company, Desilu Studios) for the rebroadcast rights. And, they created a second-run syndication market along the way.

Even her pregnancy was groundbreaking, as Lucille Ball was the first woman to appear pregnant on one of the three major television networks (although the show never used the deemed-vulgar word “pregnant,” she was “expecting” or Ricky’s version, “spectin”). “I Love Lucy” was also a first in portraying mixed couples when Lucille Ball, already a star at the time, wanted her real-life husband, a Cuban bandleader, to play her on-screen spouse. Oh my, an all-American redhead married to a Latino man! But, America loved them. And, it seemed that Lucille Ball and her character were interchangeable.

But were they? Lucy Ricardo was constantly trying to break out of the role of a wife who stayed in the kitchen. And dreamed and schemed to break into show business. Often convincing her best friend, Ethel Mertz (I always thought it interesting that Fred and Ethel never had children, and accepted it although I did wonder “why”), to be her partner-in-crime. I felt they were always trying, using comedy as their messaging medium, to say there was more to being a woman than the traditional roles of wife and mother.

Clearly, Lucille Ball was much more than an actress and comedian; she was a trailblazing producer and very shrewd in business. She became one of the first women to own her own TV production company when she bought out Desi’s share of Desilu Studios several years after their divorce. And, besides producing TV classics such as "The Untouchables" and "Mission: Impossible," she was brilliant (and brave) enough to get behind the original Star Trek TV series,

I love Lucy, and the years of laughter and enjoyment. But, I admire Lucille Ball, a true badass back when the censors would never have allowed that word on air.
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As soon as Black wrote it, it became one of Red’s favorite posts, and now it’s a Red & Black Thanksgiving tradition. After all, what could be a better Turkey Day tradition than memories of a perfect turkey?

And it’s the perfect way to wish you a very Happy Thanksgiving that, as Black says below, is … filled with memories that will last a lifetime.

Today is Thanksgiving, and I cannot help but wonder why we are online. However, everyone has their own way of celebrating. I know that Red is in the kitchen cooking – and watching a marathon of "The Godfather" movies. Which is perfect as turkeys take such a long time to cook and patience is important when you want it perfectly browned. So inviting, so appetizing, so … naked?

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Photo courtesy of Black

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I’m curious, since you were recently at the Make-A-Wish conference at Disney World in Orlando, did you take your Minnie Mouse ears or oversized Mickey Mouse hands with you?

Black's HeadBlack

No, but I told a few people how I wore them on “Dress as your favorite character day” when we were teaching at KIPP Houston High School.

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That was one of the funniest Red & Black classes. Ever.

Black's HeadBlack

The funny thing is that other than wearing the ears and oversized hands, everything else was impromptu.
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Before Red’s daughter, Natasha, discovered a love of bats (and later, Natasha and Black getting matching bat tattoos), if you asked Red what comes to mind when you say, “Bats,” she would’ve replied, “Batman” – the cartoon strip, the 1950’s TV series or any of the many Hollywood movies. (Don’t get Black started on the business aspects of the franchise.) Black, on the other hand, would mention how many people associate them with Dracula and vampire bats, which may explain why many people are spooked by these nocturnal mammals, thinking they are sinister creatures of the night. But Black knows bats are good … for the environment and the economy. So, it’s the perfect time to give some respect to these misunderstood creatures (not to mention, being able to sleep upside down is impressive) because not only are they a symbol of Halloween but October’s Bat Appreciation Month.

Red's Head

Thanks for sending me Natasha's Austin-inspired business plan. But while I know that's her future, I can't help but think about the first time I took her to Austin.

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All I remember is that it was love at first sight.

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It was on our way home from taking Sawyer to camp, and I told her we were making a slight "detour". She was so excited when I pulled up to the hotel as she's always loved hotels. But that night, as we walked onto Congress Avenue Bridge and saw the thousands and thousands of bats fly out into the sunset, she was mesmerized and "in love".
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