Desi Arnaz Bet $50,000 This Lucille Ball Film Would Break a Box Office Record

Lucille Ball about to kiss Desi ArnazLucille Ball about to kiss Desi Arnaz
Lucille Ball and Desi Arnaz | FilmPublicityArchive/United Archives via Getty Images

What happened when Desi Arnaz lost the rights to a book

I Love Lucy was a tremendous success on television so it only made sense that the Arnazes would try to make the transition to film. According to

Lucille Ball and Desi Arnaz are primarily remembered as television stars but they also made some good movies as a couple. Ball and Arnaz once starred together in an MGM movie — but not before Arnaz made a bold bet. He bet their movie could make more money than every previous MGM comedy. Here’s the story of a movie MGM was hesitant to make.

Lucille Ball and Desi Arnaz | FilmPublicityArchive/United Archives via Getty ImagesWhat happened when Desi Arnaz lost the rights to a book

I Love Lucy was a tremendous success on television so it only made sense that the Arnazes would try to make the transition to film. According to TCM, Arnaz tried to purchase the rights to a book called The Long, Long Trailer, which is about a couple who travel across America in a motor home. MGM producer Pandro Berman beat him to the punch.

However, that wasn’t the end of Anraz’s connection to The Long Long, Trailer. Berman brought back the team behind the successful comedy Father of the Bride — director Vincente Minelli and screenwriters Albert Hackett and Frances Goodrich –to craft a film adaptation of The Long, Long Trailer. Ball and Arnaz had the opportunity to star in the film even though Arnaz lost the rights to the book.

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A poster for The Long, Long Trailer | LMPC via Getty Images

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Ball was initially neutral about the prospect of starring in a film after finding success with I Love Lucy. However, she joked she might want to make a movie simply because she wanted to know what she looked like in Technicolor, as I Love Lucy was filmed in black-and-white. 

Why MGM thought a film starring Lucille Ball and Desi Arnaz was a bad idea

According to AFI, MGM was initially unenthusiastic about The Long, Long Trailer. Minelli recalled “[MGM] subscribed to the theory that the audience wouldn’t pay to see actors they could get at home for free. But I insisted these were different parts, and Lucille Ball and Desi Arnaz could make the picture hilarious.” Ultimately, Ball and Arnaz starred in the film — but not without making an expensive bet first. 

The trailer for The Long, Long Trailer

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Arnaz and Martin Leeds

Source:: Showbiz Cheat Sheet

      

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