Desi Arnaz and Lucille Ball introduced Cuban culture to the USA in the 1950s

I remember watching reruns of the I Love Lucy show when I was a young boy in the late 1960s.  Every afternoon when I got home this classic show would be on television and I got hooked. Seeing a Cuban character on American television was certainly a pleasant surprise for me and my family. We had just recently arrived to the United States and my parents were learning English. I was in third grade and I already had a good command of English so I understood what was being said on the show.

I loved Ricky Ricardo’s accent because it may him that more authentic Cuban. And when he would play the bongos along with his orchestra it transferred me back to a time in Cuba where nightclubs featured that type of entertainment. Obviously, I was too young to have experienced that in 1950s Cuba, but my imagination was running wild.

I clearly remember one episode where Lucy was using a pressure cooker to cook some Cuban white rice and the cooker exploded. There was rice everywhere in the kitchen and I was laughing. My parents and my maternal grandmother used to cook with one of those pressure cookers and I was afraid that it would explode on them just like it did on Lucy.

Every time that I hear one of his songs it makes me proud to be a Cuban-American.

Here is a classic video of Arnaz as Ricky Ricardo.

 

 

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