Take a look back at one of America’s favorite comedic couples in this article with Lucy’s byline from April 1950. It was written while she was making a radio show called “My Favorite Husband” — which eventually evolved into I Love Lucy. The focus of her story? Her favorite husband at the time: Desi Arnaz.
Of course, being Hollywood stars, it seemed almost inevitable that he wouldn’t be her favorite forever.
Though they welcomed two children in the early 1950s, the couple divorced in 1961. Both Lucy and Desi remarried, and that time, it was ’til death did they part. However, in non-celebrity twist, the former Mr and Mrs remained good friends for the rest of their lives.
Lucille Ball magazine article: Desi Arnaz, My Favorite Husband
It’s easy to see why Desi gets that special rating. But, says, Lucille, there is even more to him than meets the eye. Let her tell you what she means.
by Lucille Ball
A character analyst watching my husband, Desi Arnaz, during one of his nightclub engagements or theater performances, would probably conclude that he was — this dynamic, volatile, dark-eyed Latin — the life of the party.
It would be normal for the observer to assume that Desi’s idea of the perfect existence would include a continual round of parties, dancing until dawn, polishing the morning star, and living on a diet of neon, tinsel, and maracas.
Observer, you couldn’t be more mistaken!
Desi Arnaz thinks home is best
Desi is the original homebody. The most important thing in the world, in his opinion, is the atmosphere of a busy household. Whenever I join him in a hotel or flat, during one of his away-from-Hollywood engagements, my first duty is to set up housekeeping.
My routine runs like this: I hop off the plane or train at an hour when Desi can meet me; he takes me “home” and on the way to our temporary abode he briefs me on where, in the immediate vicinity, I can find a hardware store, as well as a grocery or delicatessen.
When I reach our quarters, I send out my traveling clothes to the valet service, hop into the shower, and then don simple, housewifely clothing and sally forth to shop.
I buy an electric grill and an electric roaster, a coffee maker, a toaster, and an egg poacher. I buy such staples as bread, butter, cream, salt, pepper, sugar, spices, cereals, cheese, crackers, jam, eggs, canned ham, and coffee.
The advent of frozen foods has been a boon beyond description. Nowadays, I can buy rolls ready to be baked in my trick electric oven; I can get all of Desi’s favorite vegetables; I can get a chicken, or merely the pieces we like. It’s wonderful.
The instant I return, Desi presents himself in the kitchen, wearing the famished expression of a small boy threatened with starvation. He needs a prompt cheese sandwich and a giant cup of coffee.
How Desi is generous with the kitchen equipment
Recently I was discussing my country-wide housekeeping with a friend who asked, “But why do you buy new equipment each time?”
This was a sensible question which deserves a sensible answer — which I can’t give. My realistic approach to this situation is stymied by my open- handed husband. Desi always knows someone who needs precisely the things we have purchased.
Desi will say, with logic on his side, “By the time we have shipped those things home, the charges will probably exceed the value of the equipment. Besides, there is a fellow down at the theater…”
This fellow will have been the victim of excessive bad luck and will need precisely the things we have for the care of his sick wife. Or sometimes Desi will not give it away, exactly. He will say to the “fellow,” “Lucy and I have decided that there is no sense in storing this; you use it until we come back.”
When we come back, naturally, the “fellow” has just left for his big break — in Rio de Janiero.
“It isn’t important,” Desi always says. “We have such a nice, well-equipped home in California.”
Lucy & Desi’s California ranch
Our California ranch home pleases us so much that we dislike leaving it. We now have a complete recreation room in a building at some distance from the main house. This game room is large enough to accommodate about fifty people. It’s equipped with a kitchen — in which Desi officiates — a snack bar, two huge window-seat alcoves, a television set, a piano, a phonograph, and a projection room.
Our friends gave us so many copper utensils for Christmas that Desi now has a skillet which will fry a dozen eggs; he owns a vat which will develop arroz con pollo for fifty guests. He has an electric spit on which he can barbecue six chickens at once, and a coffee pot with enough capacity to satisfy the Turkish Army on maneuvers. And how he loves to be rushed to death by guests!
Besides liking a generous man, almost every woman in the world yearns to be married to a sentimental man. I’m the woman whose dream came true. Desi is intensely responsive. He knows when I am worried or blue, and does his best — without being obvious — to cheer me up and reassure me.
He is considerate, and — even after nine years of marriage — romantic. Let me show you what I mean. When we became engaged, Desi selected a beautiful aquamarine stone set in platinum and diamonds. On our ninth anniversary, Desi gave me an aquamarine brooch, to match my engagement ring.
Desi is sentimental about his Cuban boyhood and heritage. While prowling through a New York shop several years ago, he found a lithograph of the Cuban Revolution. Now it is beginning to look like a refugee from an 1890 calendar, but to Desi, it is a work of art far more precious than the paintings in our living room.
Desi’s also sentimental about families. His idea of the perfect housing arrangement would be to have our patio serve as a plaza around which were grouped the homes of his mother, my mother, my brother and family.
Desi loves animals almost as much as he admires humankind. At the present moment, there are four dogs, two kittens, and a roster of uncounted birds in residence. Really, that’s not many — at one time we had twenty cats showing up regularly for three meals per diem. I’m forever checking our friends in an effort to place the orphaned felines in creamy situations.
Personally, I like snow. At least once each year, I begin to think longingly of the huddled silhouettes of evergreen trees and of glistening, white-clad mountains.
So we hurry to Big Bear, a resort nearly a mile high where the temperature skids to ten below. As the highway and the snowdrifts creep upward, Desi’s spirits go down. His dark eyes hold the expression of chocolate left too long in the refrigerator.
After two days, he begins to describe Palm Springs in such ecstatic terms that I agree to leave the snow and frost.
Even when we are at home during January and February, Desi and I conflict over the thermostat. The last thing he does at night is to flick the gauge up to the 76 marker. As soon as he goes to sleep, I cut it down about 12 degrees. If Desi awakens in the night, the gauge mysteriously moves back to the 76 level.
But who am I to quibble over such very minor defects? My considered opinion is this: I may be prejudiced, but I think that Desi Arnaz is one of the most civilized, gracious and considerate human beings I have ever known! Generous, blithe and talented, he is a delight to have around the house.
I love to be seen out with him; I love to stay at home with him. He’s my favorite husband.