Jerry Hauser; who played the recurring character Jerry the Agent on I Love Lucy; did not enjoy working on that show; he said in an interview recently . Jerry Hausner doesn't remember his days working on "I Love Lucy" as happy ones, but then, he didn't expect them to be.
"You don't think in terms of whether you're happy or not when you're doing it," Hausner says. "You're making a living."Hausner played Ricky Ricardo's agent, Jerry, on many episodes of the champion warhorse and on the "I Love Lucy" pilot film - made in March, 1951, long thought lost, and recently aired for the first time ever by CBS.
Hausner is believed to be the only surviving cast member from that pilot.
"In the series, I was going to be Desi's best friend and manager and all that stuff," says Hausner, 81, who lives in Encino, Calif., and whose voice sounds nearly as young and punchy as it did 40 years ago. "The Mertzes were never even thought of at that time."
Unfortunately for him, after the pilot was made, it was decided that the show needed additional foils for Lucy, and so landlords Fred and Ethel Mertz, forever dropping by from their apartment downstairs, were created. The series began the following fall.
Hausner did not become a regular, but Jerry the agent was a recurring character. And because Hausner had done the voice of Baby Snooks's little brother on Fannie Brice's radio show, he got an additional, off-camera assignment. He supplied the voice of Little Ricky as an infant. If you hear Little Ricky googling and gurgling, that's Jerry Hausner.
Hausner's memories of Lucille Ball and Desi Arnaz, the costars and owners of the show, are not very fond.
"Lucy was always wrapped up in whatever she was doing, and as many times as I was on the show, if anybody had asked her my name, she wouldn't have known it," Hausner says. "A lot of stars are like that.
"But I have great respect for her talent. She was hard-working and tireless. She worked 16, 18 hours a day. Even when she was pregnant, she was like a locomotive. And she expected everybody else to be."
For Arnaz, the executive producer, Hausner has fewer kind words. He remembers him as a boozer with an abusive temper. One night, during filming, an on-stage telephone hookup between the two men failed, just as Hausner had warned Arnaz it would.
"He became enraged," Hausner recalls. "He screamed at me and called me names in front of the audience. He was drunk a lot of the time, and he could be . . . ornery . . . . I went to one of the producers and said, 'Write me out of this thing."'
Before leaving, he returned some of Arnaz's insults.
"I said to him, 'All your talent is in your wife's name! I'll be on this show when you're off it!' And a funny thing - six years later, after the divorce, Lucy was doing a different series and had me on. And she said to me, 'Well, you were right. You're here, and he's not."'
Hausner, whose last sitcom appearance on TV was in the short-lived CBS series "Coming of Age" in 1988, claims he had never seen an episode of "I Love Lucy" until a few years ago. This gives him a distinction relatively rare among living Americans.
"I never watched it back then, no. We were so busy working, we never watched TV. And I lived in Europe for several years. I've been living my life and not worrying about television.
"But recently, I have seen some of the shows. Since my wife passed away, I've been making my own breakfast, and I watch it in the mornings in the kitchen. And I've been very excited about how good I was."
All over the world, "I Love Lucy" reruns keep playing. You might assume Hausner and other actors who appeared on the series get regular residual payments. Don't.
"I never got a nickel in my life," says Hausner. "There was no such thing as residuals at that time." Perhaps he sounds a little bitter. But he does know he's part of television history. And he bears no grudges against Lucy or Desi.
"Everybody wants to think movie and TV stars are wonderful people," Hausner says. "They are - in their own way. They're powerhouses. They're like machines. They can't get along with anybody for very long." See more