Monday, September 15, 2014

Lost is Found

The very first episode of I Love Lucy was originally produced just to sell CBS on the show and wasn't ever meant to be aired. As a result, the normally careful Desi Arnaz (who was the first person in television to record his show on film, thus inventing the possibility of 'reruns') lost track of this treasure and it remained lost, presumably forever.

That is, it remained lost for 38 years until 1989. The Paley Center had been looking for a copy of the episode since the 1970's, but neither Lucille Ball nor Desi Arnaz had one. CBS had even lost track of it. In 1989, after hearing about the lost video, the widow of Pepito Perez remembered that he had been given a copy of the episode as a gift for appearing in it. She searched her house and found the copy under the bed, where it had presumably been for decades. CBS bought the copy, restored it and aired it the following year to a record audience. If Mr. Perez (shown below with Lucy in a scene from the episode) hadn't thought to save the film, it might have been lost forever.