Monday, October 15, 2007

Babulu and Cuban Pete - Desi Arnaz and Lucille Ball

"Ricky Ricardo" and his signature song, the paean to the Santeria deity, Babalu Aye. Arnaz began his career as a professional musician in 1936 and for a time was in Xavier Cugat's popular Afro-Cuban band of the 1940s. Arnaz would describe Cugat - who would be better known in later years for his May-December marriage to coochie-coochie girl Charo - as a "world-class cheapskate." Arnaz would go on to form his own musical group in Miami, where he would introduce the Conga dance craze and the Conga Line to America.

My other favorite song of Arnaz's is Cuban Pete, which he originally performed in the 1946 movie of the same name, and which he and Lucille Ball (her in the role of "Sally Sweet") would use to great effect in the road tour they created to convince studio execs that their I Love Lucy concept was worth backing. Jim Carrey's campy version of what was already a tongue-in-cheek novelty number was showcased in 1994's The Mask.

No comments: