Lucy Goes to the Hospital

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"Lucy Goes to the Hospital"
I Love Lucy episode
Episode no. Season 2
Episode 16
Directed by William Asher
Written by Bob Carroll, Jr.
Madelyn Davis
Jess Oppenheimer
Produced by Desi Arnaz
Jess Oppenheimer
Featured music Eliot Daniel
Cinematography by Karl Struss
Original air date January 19, 1953 (1953-01-19)
Running time 30 minutes
Guest appearance(s)
Episode chronology
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List of I Love Lucy episodes

"Lucy Goes to the Hospital" is an episode of the 1950s American television show I Love Lucy in which the title character, Lucy Ricardo, gives birth to her son, "Little Ricky," after a "predictably chaotic" sequence of events. Twelve hours before the broadcast, the actress who played Lucy Ricardo, Lucille Ball, had given birth to Desi Arnaz, Jr. by cesarean section. The episode had actually been filmed on November 14, 1952.

The episode was the culmination of an unprecedented pairing of the fictional pregnancy of Lucy with the real-life pregnancy of Lucille Ball; "real-time pregnancy was fictively narrated for the first time on American television."[1]

When the episode premiered on January 19, 1953, 71.9% of all American homes with television sets tuned in, amounting to 44 million viewers watching the episode.[2] It received higher ratings than the inauguration of President Dwight D. Eisenhower, which received 29 million viewers, the day afterward.[3] According to the Indian newspaper The Telegraph, scripts for the episode were reviewed by a rabbi, a minister, and a priest in order to make sure it would not be offensive.

The cover story of Newsweek on January 19, 1953 was about the episode (which had not yet been aired when the issue went to press). The first issue of TV Guide, dated April 3, 1953, featured a cover photo of newborn Desi Arnaz, Jr., captioned as "Lucy's $50,000,000 Baby".[4]

Numerous stories were published about the sex of the baby, which was kept secret until the episode aired; when Ball actually had a boy as Lucy did in the script, headlines proclaimed "Lucy sticks to script: a boy it is!" (New York Daily Mirror), "TV was right: a boy for Lucille" (New York Daily News), and "What the Script Ordered" (Life Magazine).[2]


  1. ^ Berlant, Lauren (2002). The Queen of America Goes to Washington City. Duke University Press. p. 133. Retrieved August 25, 2011. 
  2. ^ a b Landay, Lori (2010). I Love Lucy. Wayne State University Press. p. 74. ISBN 978-0-8143-3261-0. Retrieved August 25, 2011. 
  3. ^ Sanders, Coyne Stephen & Gilbert, Tom (1993). Desilu: The Story of Lucile Ball and Desi Arnaz. Quill, an imprint of William Morrow and Company. p. 69. ISBN 0-688-13514-5. Retrieved August 25, 2011. 
  4. ^

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