Wednesday, December 28, 2016
Cesar Hooks Up with the Entire Male Cast of "I Love Lucy"
I'm not exactly friends with Cesar Romero, the 85-year old Latin hearthrob who played The Cisco Kid in the 1940s and the Joker on Batman in the 1960s. In West Hollywood, your friends were generally your ex-boyfriends and their current boyfriends, and Cesar and I have never dated, never even tricked (although I've watched him and Lane go at it).
But after my Biblical Hebrew class at UCLA, I like going over to visit him in his modern glass-and-leather apartment in Brentwood, to drink lemonade, get flirted with, and hear stories about hookups with the stars of Golden Age Hollywood. Today he promised to tell me about the time he hooked up with the entire male cast of I Love Lucy (1951-57).
The vintage sitcom was before my time, but I've seen lots of episodes in syndication. I love "Job Switching," where Lucy and Ethel (Lucille Ball, Vivian Vance) get jobs on an assembly line at a candy factory, with disastrous results. And "Lucy Does a TV Commercial," where Lucy gradually gets drunk while selling the vitamin tonic Vitameatavegimen.
But Desi was impossibly cute, and I recalled a scattering of other hot actors. I wonder which Cesar has been with.
"Where to begin..." Cesar says. "I've gone down on so many of the cast members. Not the women, of course. But..."
"Begin with Desi," I tell him. "He was the hottest."
"And the biggest," Cesar adds with a wink.
Cesar Romero was 33 years old, and already an established actor. Never a contract player, he worked for various studios, playing heavies, gangsters, handsome leading men, and sundry adventurers, most recently the sardonic cowboy hero The Cisco Kid.
But what made him the most well-known face in Hollywood was his social life. He was out every night, to movie premieres, gallery openings, charity events, nightclubs. He practically lived at the Coconut Grove. He was always seen on the arm of an attractive lady, usually an up-and-coming starlet; but he was a complete gentleman, seeing the lady to her front door with nothing more intimate than a kiss on the cheek. There was no hint of scandal about him.
Last fall he dated Lucille Ball, the glamorous contract player for RKO. When she asked, "Why don't you ever make a pass at me?", he replied, "Nothing personal. It's just that I'm queer."
She was the first person he ever told. After that they became close friends and confidants, sharing notes on eligible and not-so eligible men.
It was Lucy who told him about Desi Arnaz, a 23-year old singer and dancer who had come to Hollywood to play Manuelito in Too Many Girls.
"Are you sure he's that way?" Cesar asked.
"Sure as shooting, Jackson! He didn't even try to make love to me. [Make love is the old term for flirting.] If that's not proof, I don't know what is!"
So Cesar took the charismatic young dancer to the Coconut Grove. Where he couldn't stop talking about Lucy.
Ok, normal [the 1940s term for "straight"]. Just shy.
Still, they became friends. When Desi started seeing Lucy, they often double-dated with Cesar and whatever beard the studio provided.
It didn't take long for Desi to figure "it" out:
"Mira!" he said one night, while the girls were powdering their noses. "You don't have to hide. I know you're a maricon!"
Cesar started to protest. "Did Lucy say..."
"She said nothing. I know from how you look at me. I've seen that look before."
Me resbala, acero! [No problem, buddy.], I know you can't help it. But you should know, I like girls, not boys. I can't be your chaval."
After that Cesar became more open, telling Desi about his trysts with this or that guy, Hollywood stars and others, about the parties he went to at the USO.
They went back to Cesar's house in Beverly Hills, went into the bedroom, and Desi unzipped.
"How big was he?" I asked.
"One of the biggest. A footlong! I could barely get my mouth around the head. And he was quick, too. A few thrusts, and he was spurting down my throat. Huge load!"
One time turned out to be a regular thing. Once a week or so, they would go out to dinner, then back to Cesar's house. No reciprocation, no kissing, just a blow job, a friendly gesture between friends.
In November 1940, Lucy and Desi married.
Cesar heard all about their tumultuous relationship. Desi liked women -- and men -- too much. He was devoted to Lucy, yet he always seemed to have one or two affairs going on the side, plus innumerable hookups.
Eventually, in one of his many failed attempts to stay faithful, Desi put an end to the "friendly gestures."
Brentwood, California, April 1991
I'm a bit disappointed. I've already heard a lot about Desi Arnaz's bisexuality, and a "double date" doesn't really count as "hooking up with the entire cast of I Love Lucy."
"What about the other male stars?" I ask. "William Frawley, who played Fred Mertz?"
"No," Cesar admits. "Even when I first met him, back in 1936, he was bald. Ugh!"
I can't think of anyone else offhand, but I came prepared. I pull out my Complete Guide to Prime Time TV Shows, and ask Cesar about his hookups with the rest of the actors, directors, and miscellaneous cast members.
Director William Asher? No.
Head writer Bob Carroll, Jr? No.
Ok, there are lots more in the cast list. I go through them, one by one.
Cesar has gone down on Bennett Green, who played various bit parts in 21 episodes, and Marco Rizo, the music director. And that's it.
"Three isn't bad," Cesar says. "Besides, Desi and I were close friends for fifty years, And in the end, isn't friendship more important than any number of cocks?"
Of course, but I came here to learn about cocks.. "Ok, let's go on to your hookup with Desi's son, Desi Arnaz Jr."
See also: Lane's Date with Batman, Robin, and the Joker; I Love Lucy; Cesar's Three Way with the Sons of Desi Arnaz and Dean Martin