When I Love Lucy appeared in 1951, mainstream America knew very little about Latino culture.
Ricky Ricardo changed all that: His heavily accented English — and his rapid-fire Spanish — were as new to some parts of the country as TV itself.
And then there was the music. Ricky Ricardo may have been a fictional character, but he played very real music.
I've been playing congas for 35 years, and I can't tell you the number of times people have come up to my drums, unable to resist trying out a drumroll and crooning the opening phrase of Ricky's signature "Babalu."
Of course like everything else about him, Ricky Ricardo's version of "Babalu" was a mix of fact and fiction.
Read more from this special tribute to Desi Arnaz as Ricky Ricardo.