The incomparable Lucille Ball.
Cast of I LOVE LUCY
Today is the birth date of an American institution, actress and comedienne Lucille Ball. (1911 - 1989). Though she had a varied film career, for me, she will always be Lucy Ricardo, wife of Ricky Ricardo (played by then real life hubby, Desi Arnaz) in the 1950's weekly CBS comedy, I LOVE LUCY. As Lucy Ricardo, she was also best friends with Ethel Mertz (played by the wonderful Vivian Vance) and her former vaudevillian hubby, Fred (played by the ever grumpy-growly William Frawley). Ethel and Fred owned the Manhattan brownstone both couples lived in. Their apartment was upstairs from Lucy and Ricky's.
That was one of the main things I loved about the shows: this comfy cozy living up and down from one another. I always thought that would be the niftiest thing, to live close by your best friends and have them always available for getting into trouble with.
When anyone asks if it's possible for a woman to be funny and still keep her femininity, I point to Lucy. When anyone asks if it's possible for a woman to do slapstick and still keep her femininity, I point to Lucy. When anyone asks if it's possible for a woman to be funny, period, I point to Lucy. She was the best. There was never anyone like her before and there never will be again.
As a kid the weekly ritual of watching the I LOVE LUCY SHOW was never ignored. It was only surpassed later by the ritual of watching the reruns which seem to be on television in perpetuity. Even now you can find the episodes if you look around.
If you'd like to read about Lucy's movie career, please check out this excellent post re: the Lucille Ball and Bob Hope movies, written by Caftan Woman at her blog.
Also check out Dorian's post on one of Lucille Ball's dramatic performances in the noir film, THE DARK CORNER at Tales of the Easily Distracted.
The Loving Lucy Blogathon is going on right this minute, even as we speak, over at True Classics blog. Check in and see what many Lucy Loving bloggers are posting about their favorite redhead.
I love this photo of Lucy and Ethel.
Note: Turner Classic Movies channel (TCM) is having an all Lucille Ball movie day today in celebration of the 100th. birthday.
Yvette, this morning I decided to do a Post on Lucy, Great minds think alike. This was great.ReplyDelete
Yvonne: Thanks! Great minds, indeed. I'm heading over to check out your Lucy post. :)ReplyDelete
This is a great tribute to the hilarious Lucille Ball. She was amazing.ReplyDelete
When I was a kid also, we'd look forward all week to watching her show. It was sacrosanct.
I do remember also loving the fantastic Imogene Coca with Sid Caesar on The Show of Shows. She was a bit quieter than Lucy, but hilarious, too.
Later on, Carol Burnett, I think followed in Lucy's footsteps. She could do shtick and physical comedy quite well. And she points to Lucy as her example.
Kathy: Yes, I agree. This is why I don't understand why people say women can't do comedy or women can't be funny. I mean - huh?ReplyDelete
Yes, Lucille Ball is really regarded as a fantastic comedian by many comedians today.ReplyDelete
Sid Caesar's show wouldn't have been what it was without Imogene Coca.
And Carol Burnett was the star of her show, even though she had hilarious guys like Harvey Korman and Tim Conway on it.
There are a number of women comedians and comedy writers today. And many are well-liked and well-respected. They have to be or they couldn't earn a living at it.
I like that photo of Lucy and Ethel, too. There's a blog that uses that picture as its banner--The Stupendously Cool World of Old TV.ReplyDelete
It never occurred to me until much later how much you could learn from Lucy in I love Lucy--even though she was technically a housewife, she was always trying to break out of that. You should check out the tribute on Studio 360. Some very interesting insights into people's views on the show.ReplyDelete
Yvette: I enjoyed the photos. They bring back many good memories. Lucy had such wonderful timing.ReplyDelete
It's true about Lucy, particularly "I Love Lucy" still being everywhere. Locally it runs on The Accessible Channel which has described video. "Lucy pulls a face."ReplyDelete
Thanks for the acknowledgement, Yvette. I hope to stir memories for old fans and create new ones.
Kathy: Many comediennes owe a lot to Lucille Ball. I'm not sure who came first, Coca or Ball, but Coca was very much the foil of Caesar and the rest of those loony toons.ReplyDelete
Lucy was very much the woman in charge. Without her there was no I LOVE LUCY.
I wish YOUR SHOW OF SHOWS had been filmed as well. Can you imagine watching that gang in perpetuity?
Ivan: It's definitely a great picture. I can see how it would make a great banner. :)ReplyDelete
Thanks for dropping by, Ivan.
Lisa: Yes, Lucy was no shrinking violent, that's for sure. Although sometimes I wanted to whack Ricky about the head, she never took his attempts to keep her down to heart. In her own way she was always her own woman. :)ReplyDelete
Bill: Thanks, Bill. It was a pleasure to put the post together. This is why I enjoy blogging so much. :)ReplyDelete
You're welcome, C.W. I enjoyed reading your post. I'd forgotten some of those films. Shame on me.ReplyDelete
Here is a link to a hilarious skit by Sid Caesar and Imogene Coca and two others from The Show of Shows.ReplyDelete
Her expression is priceless.
There are some dvd's up at amazon of the loony-toon genuises from The Show of Shows.
My very brief Lucy post is up ... after watching bits from the TCM marathon I was inspired to do a movie tie-in with Lucille Ball.
Yvette, I love Lucy just like you. Whenever an episode is on TV, no matter what I was GOING to do, I can never stop watching. All I have to do is hear or see a syllable or two or one catch of the eye, and I'm hooked.ReplyDelete
My favorite part of your article (besides the fantastic pictures!) is your description of Lucy as a completely feminine woman who could do comedy, slapstick, anything, and still be a total woman. Very insightful remarks. This is a great part of the Lucy Blogathon, Yvette. Kudos!
How apropro that I'm reading your tribute tonight while watching Lucy on television in the grape stomping in Italy episode! I never tire of watching I Love Lucy, and trust me, I watched them hundreds of times in my lifetime! Great tribute post for a very worthy star.ReplyDelete
One of my favorite things Lucille Ball did was "The Red Headed Woman" for Suspense Radio in 1949. It's one of my favorite episodes.ReplyDelete
Here is a link if you are interested:
Kathy: Thanks for the link. I always loved YOUR SHOW OF SHOWS!ReplyDelete
Saturday night ritual at my house growing up. :)
Iluvcinema: I'll be over there in a few minutes. Thanks for joining in. I joined at the last minute also. :)ReplyDelete
Becky: Thanks so much! I'm glad you enjoyed reading my last minute effort. I didn't even know there was a Lucy Blogathon going on. I have to learn to pay more attention!ReplyDelete
As always, you're a dear, Becky.
When my best friend and I traveled to England many years ago, we termed ourselves: Lucy and Ethel do England. Ha!
Joanne: Thanks for dropping by in the middle of watching Lucy's purple feet episode. :)ReplyDelete
Those old episodes are just so much fun. Remember the one where she tries to teach Charles Boyer to be a 'lover'? Too funny.
Ryan: Thanks for the link. I've never heard of this. I'll take a look at it today and let you know what I think. :)ReplyDelete
Yvette, Sorry.. it has taken me so long to leave a comment.. I had a little trouble with my computer. But.. I did want to stop by and read your wonderful a tribute to the talented Lucille Ball.ReplyDelete
The tv show of my childhood. I've seen most episodes more times than I can count. My favorite scene? When Ricky is singing 'We're having a baby, my baby and me' as he walks around wondering who in the audience it is. And then Lucy nods. It makes me ache with joy. As a little girl, I thought, ah, this is what love and marriage and family are all about. (and I may still think so!)ReplyDelete
Dawn: Thanks so much for dropping by whenever. :) It's all appreciated. Glad you enjoyed my post.ReplyDelete
Nan: I remember that scene! So touching. So sweet. You can see the love between them in that moment. It's too bad they couldn't stay together in real life. :)ReplyDelete
One of the keystone shows of my childhood also.
Your blog is beautiful and so cozy! Thanks for participating in the blogathon. There's something so universal about Lucy, and you really captured that. And I love all the pictures!ReplyDelete
Carrie, True Classics
Carrie: Thanks so much! I'm glad you could drop by. :)ReplyDelete
Yes, Lucy was universal. No question.
The things that you've listed that you admire about Lucy are the same things that have always drawn me to her as well. She is truly one of a kind. Let me echo Carrie in thanking you for joining us for the blogathon!ReplyDelete
Yes. We watched YOUR SHOW OF SHOWS. If I was at a neighbor's nouse, I'd run upstairs to see it when it came on.ReplyDelete
I just saw that skit of "The Clock," as referenced above and laughed so hard.
I spent part of Lucy's birthday watching her movies on TCM, although I tuned in a bit late. She was funny, and even when she's playing a dramatic role, it's when her comedic skills are needed that she shines. A true comedienne.
I have never seen any of her shows but my mom loves Lucy. She still fondly recalls her childhood memories of watching her antics on TV. It still makes her laugh.ReplyDelete
An article appeared in the Sunday NYT art section about Madelyn Pugh Davis, the screen writer (and general do anything person)for the show.ReplyDelete
If I need to find the link, I will.
Brandie: You're welcome, really. It was a total pleasure to write up this post about Lucy. I have such fond memories of watching the show for many years. :)ReplyDelete
Kathy: A great way to spend the day. Lucy was unique. I could watch Lucy and Ethel's mishaps forever. :)ReplyDelete
Remember when she was smuggling steaks under her coat and wheeled a shopping cart into the butchers and tried to outsell his prices?
(They'd bought half a cow and ran out of freezing space. What lunatics!)
wutheringwillow: Oh you definitely should watch a couple of shows. Lucy was wonderful. Your mom is right. I grew up during those times too. :)ReplyDelete
borquine: Thanks, I'll look for it.ReplyDelete
I don't remember the selling steaks episode, but I have to get dvd's of Lucy and Ethel's antics.ReplyDelete
I recently saw a segment with them in a shower with water nearly up to the top and Lucy is trying to climb out.
She was a comedic genius.
I think Desi had an eye for the ladies, and Lucy had enough of that. But they remained friends.
Let us know if you see The Clock skit from Your Show of Shows. All I have to do is see one minute of a skit of those loony-toons and I'm almost on the floor. All Sid Caesar has to do is lift an eyebrow or utter one word of doubletalk and I'm gone.
Now this post sent me to look up Judy Holliday, whose movies I saw as a child and my family liked her.ReplyDelete
She starred in so many comedies and was superb: Born Yesterday, Adam's Rib, Pffft!, Bells are Ringing and more.
I remember her so fondly, and remember being so sad that her talented life was cut short.
Kathy: I think at some point I'm going to do a post on YOUR SHOW OF SHOWS. Thanks for the push!ReplyDelete