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LUCILLE BALL: Lucy's "Radio-Active Teeth"

The following was e-mailed on 1/17/02:

From Fred Wrixon:

Researching World War II espionage history for a developing text, I happened to notice a 1995 Life magazine article commemorating World War II and varied stars' activities.

On page 67 of that Life issue, was an astounding article that led off with an account about Lucy! It described (alas, too briefly) her driving in Coldwater Canyon and noticing a buzzing in her teeth. After other such incidents, she reported this to the F.B.I. Amazingly, the buzzing turned out to be Morse Code signals and a spy for Japan was captured!

I had never heard this story and certainly wish to verify it (nothing yet from the F.B.I.'s FOIA Dept. but they're obviously very busy now, nor no report from Life). What do you know about this incident?

* * * * *

The story about Lucy's teeth has been told numerous times -- I remember Lucy herself recounting it on at least one of the TV talk shows of the 1970s. Unfortunately, I have never seen any official documentation regarding the case.

In Warren G. Harris' 1991 book, "Lucy & Desi: The Legendary Love Story of Television's Most Famous Couple," the author states:

"...Lucy's greatest, if most unusual, contribution to World War II happened by accident. While driving home from the dentist after having several teeth filled, she suddenly heard noises coming from her mouth that sounded like Morse code.

As soon as she got back to Desilu, Lucy reported the incident to the police, who referred her to the FBI. An agent said that ner new dental fillings might have acted as a receiver. Could she please take him to the exact location where she heard the noises?

The FBI started an immediate search of the area surrounding the spot that Lucy pointed to in Coldwater Canyon. Several hours later, investigators found a transmitter hidden in a tool shed. It turned out it belonged to a Japanese gardener who was part of a spy ring operating up and down the Pacific Coast."*

(Note: When Harris mentions "Desilu" in this story, he is referring to the Arnazes' San Fernando Valley ranch, not the studio/production company -- which was not founded until 1950.)

*"Lucy & Desi: The Legendary Love Story of Television's
Most Famous Couple," by Warren G. Harris, published 1991
by Simon & Schuster, New York. © 1991 by Warren G. Harris.
All rights reserved.

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