We here at Remezcla have always made an effort to recognize the unwritten Latino history of American film and television — and truth is, us Latinos have been there since the earliest days of the medium, be it as producers, stars, supporting actors, or nameless faces in the background. And now, thanks to a new initiative at The Paley Center for Media, we’re about to get the star-studded homage we’ve always deserved.
Formerly known as the Museum of Television & Radio, The Paley Center for Media holds the country’s most comprehensive archive of broadcast history, with artifacts, memorabilia, and screening rooms dedicated those small consumer appliances that revolutionized home entertainment in the 20th century. The upcoming Tribute to Hispanic Achievements in Television will bring together a laundry list of Latino A-listers to celebrate the brand-spanking-new Hispanic Collection at the Paley Center Archives.
In addition to well known faces like Luis Guzmán, Don Francisco, Edward James Olmos, America Ferrera, and Jimmy Smits, the gala will bring out Cuban-American showbiz royalty Lucie Arnaz as a featured presenter. Most of us will have no difficulty recognizing Ms. Arnaz’s lineage by her name, but for those of us who aren’t well versed in classic television, Lucie is the daughter of Latino television pioneer Desi Arnaz (aka “Ricky Ricardo”) and his wife and lifelong collaborator Lucille Ball. In addition to producing and starring in the groundbreaking sitcom I Love Lucy, Arnaz created the first Latino-owned independent production company and pioneered the multi-camera setup that has come to define American television. For these and many more contributions, Arnaz will be singled out for a special homage at the ceremony.
Meanwhile, the comprehensive archive will feature materials from over 70 countries and spanning a hundred years, which means a huge swath of Hispanic television history — both from aquí and allá — will be now available for study in one central location. Summarizing the importance of the initiative, Karen Keogh of presenting sponsor JP Morgan Chase & Co put it best when she said, “The Paley Center’s work highlights the remarkable achievements of Hispanics in television and inspires future generations of storytellers.” In other words: to know where we’re going, we have to know where we’ve been.
The star-studded tribute will take place on May 18th in New York City. If you don’t have tickets, you can always just dress up and watch old episodes of I Love Lucy.