“I Love Lucy: The Lost Pilot” (1951)

Friday, March 2, 1951

Pepito played a large supporting role as himself, Pepito the Spanish Clown, in the pilot for the “I Love Lucy” show.  

Five months pregnant, Lucy stepped before the live TV cameras at Studio A at CBS headquarters on Sunset Boulevard and Gower Street on March 2, 1951, to do the “audition film.” 

A 16mm print of the proceedings (known as a kinescope) was made to show to advertising agencies in New York in hopes of finding a sponsor willing to underwrite the cost of producing “I Love Lucy.”  

This pilot resurfaced in 1990 in the possession of Pepito the Spanish Clown’s widow, Joanne Perez, and was made into a television special.  Lucille Ball biographer Bart Andrews labeled it one of the biggest archival finds in television history.

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