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| original pilot|
I Love Lucy:
The Pilot Episode
|Trying Out for TV|
by Gregg Oppenheimer
TO THE NETWORK, IT SEEMED like a longshot -- taking Lucille Ball's tested, successful radio sitcom off the air and betting instead on an unknown (and unwritten) new TV show with an untested costar -- Desi Arnaz. But Lucy said it was either Desi or no show. So in December 1950, CBS finally gave in to Lucy and signed on to finance a pilot for a TV series, starring Lucille Ball and Desi Arnaz, to be produced in Hollywood by her radio producer-director-head writer, Jess Oppenheimer. Only one question remained -- what would the show be about?
| click||The Million Dollar Idea|
What do you do with a comedienne and a Cuban orchestra leader? Jess Oppenheimer thought he might have the answer.
| click||Who's On First?|
Everyone agreed that Lucille Ball would be the star of I Love Lucy, with top billing, of course. Everyone except Desi.
| click||Without a Song?|
They had everything -- stars, a script, even a shooting date. But wait! What about a theme song!?
| click||Sign Here, Please|
Everything was ready for the big moment -- except Lucy's and Desi's contract.
|Mr. & Mrs. Mertz|
The pilot was a success, but something was missing. Where were the Mertzes?
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