He’s still remembered fondly by millions of TV viewers worldwide as Ricky Ricardo. But Desi Arnaz and “I Love Lucy” producer Jess Oppenheimer ushered in the age of the sitcom, with several of their innovations still TV staples to this day. Los Angeles-based Arnaz and Lucille Ball refused to shoot their new show in New York. Since the technology wasn’t in place to produce a live show from L.A., they filmed it Arnaz brought in d.p. Karl Freund, who used multiple cameras and lighting above the stage, elements that would become de rigueur for comedy shows.
Then there was syndication. Because the show was filmed, “Lucy” could be repeated. Arnaz held on to ownership rights, making a fortune allowing he and Ball to launch Desilu.