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The Long, Long Trailer

The Long, Long Trailer(1954)

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According to a modern source, Desi Arnaz sought the film rights to the novel The Long, Long Trailer in May 1952, but was outbid by M-G-M. A January 22, 1953 item in Hollywood Reporter's "Rambling Reporter" column reported that M-G-M was talking with William Holden about a role in the film. Portions of the film were shot on location in Yosemite National Park, CA. The end credits include a statement thanking the Department of the Interior, National Park Service, for permission to photograph scenes there.
       At the time The Long, Long Trailer was made, the husband-and-wife team of Lucille Ball and Arnaz were the producers and stars of the country's most popular television comedy, I Love Lucy (CBS, 1951-57). In his memoir, director Vincente Minnelli quoted producer Pandro S. Berman as saying that the studio initially was unenthusiastic about signing the famous couple: "[M-G-M] subscribed to the theory that the audience wouldn't pay to see actors they could get at home for free. But I insisted these were different parts, and Lucille Ball and Desi Arnaz could make the picture hilarious." According to February 1954 news items, the couple received a $250,000 fee for appearing in the film.
       A modern biography of Ball stated that Arnaz and his production executive, Martin Leeds, bet Loews executive Benjamin Thau $50,000 that The Long, Long Trailer would outgross M-G-M's 1950 hit Father of the Bride (see AFI Catalog of Feature Films, 1941-50). According to the biography, Arnaz won the bet, and he and Ball ended up with a total salary of $300,000. Although some news items reported that this film would mark Ball and Arnaz's first screen appearance together, they both had appeared in the 1940 RKO film Too Many Girls (see AFI Catalog of Feature Films, 1931-40). Ball and Arnaz made one additional film together in 1956, M-G-M's Forever, Darling (see entry above). The couple married in 1940 and divorced in 1960.
       According to the Saturday Review (of Literature) review, M-G-M entered into cross-promotional arrangements with several of the manufacturers whose products were featured in the film, including the New Moon Trailer Company, the Mercury car company and Youngstown, which made kitchens for mobile homes. A July 16, 1953 "Rambling Reporter" column in Hollywood Reporter claimed that Ball and Arnaz requested that the film prominently display a package of Philip Morris cigarettes-their television sponsor-and chidingly referred to their production company, Desilu, as "Desiloot Productions."