After working with her, Richard Burton hated Lucille Ball
From his soon-to-published diaries:
“She is a monster of staggering charmlessness and monumental lack of humour …. I am coldly sarcastic with her to the point of outright contempt but she hears only what she wants to hear ….
She is a tired old woman and lives entirely on that weekly show which she has been doing and successfully doing for 19 years. Nineteen solid years of double-takes and pratfalls and desperate upstaging and cutting out other people’s laughs if she can, nervously watching the ‘ratings’ as she does so …
I loathe her today but now I also pity her. I make a point of never seeing her again …. Milady Ball can thank her lucky stars that I am not drinking. There is a chance that if I had I might have killed her.
Jack Benny, the most amiable man in the world, and one of the truly great comedians of our time, says that in 4 days she reduced his life expectancy by 10 years.”
Liz Smith didn't like her, either:
Well, I do love one of Lucy and Desi’s children, the talented Lucie Arnaz, but I didn’t love Lucy either. In fact, she is one of the rare big stars I was sorry I ever met.
It’s always horrible when the stars disappoint and disillusion us.
I dreamed of tapping the ass of the yummy-licious Desi Arnaz Jr when I was a wee tyke.
I don't doubt Burton hated Ball, however, that only makes me admire even more thier professionalism from this episode of "Here's Lucy."
I first saw this when Taylor died. It's hilarious and I'm not even a Lucille Ball fan.
It's long but worth it.
Maybe Lucy didn't take any shit from men and they resented her for it. And she was as powerful as a lot of men back then, that couldn't of helped either.
How could she possibly have been so awful? I mean, think for a minute. This shakedown comes from a man who is known for being a petulant, bragging drunk who was married to a woman who like being physically abused and whom Judy Garland described as 'mean.' I tend to think Burton and Taylor themselves were probably asses and Lucy called them on it. Lucy is well known as being super professional and the Burtons probably expected to drink and mug their way through the show. Lucy probably wasn't having it and there ensued friction. That's my guess.
She rehearsed to perfection. He was a drunk who wanted to walk in, do one take and go out to a bar. She's still beloved all over the world, he's only know as being the biggest loser in Oscar history. She wins.
Oh yes perfection, high art, no mugging, that sure sounds like The Lucy Show circa 1970.
I love her, but off-camera she was a very cold, hard, unfunny woman. It's likely that Desi killed whatever vulnerability she had.
To her credit, she maintained friendships for decades.
It's not like this is new. Lucy was notoriously difficult and cold, as has often been recounted. It's not like Burton was the only one to spill on her.
He only 45 in that clip. Looks like shit. Nasty old drunk.
She may not ha been the greatest but I'm sure he was a narcissistic ashoke.
What an egotistical blowhard. How unfortunate that he can't blame drinking for that embarrassing tirade. He hisses and spits more than I do an that's really saying something.
None of this is new. At all. If you just extract the PERFORMANCES from the Burton/Ball vitriol, that was a damned funny episode. So, the talent from all involved ended up overshadowing any behind the scenes "hate." Lucy was known to be cold, hard, no nonsense. And, yes, Desi, himself said, and I quote, "She has been boiled hard from her hatred of me." His incessant cheating in the name of his Latin culture/heritage humiliated and hurt her. She put up with it for years because of the success of I Love Lucy. It was a terrible pyrrrhic victory for her. I always have a soft spot for Lucy because from all accounts she was deeply in love with Desi and he just shit all over her for years. I can see how it affected her. No excuse for her being, perhaps, rude or mean or cold to people but, wow, she really dealt with a lot of pain along with her great fame and adoration.
that gay guy who wrote "I Loved Lucy", the book about his long on-and-off relationship with Ball, said she was a bad mother who didn't even try to relate to her children. Lucy Arnaz wrote a glowing blurb for the book jacket. hmmmmmm
r5 and r13: Richard Burton was certainly no joy to work with himself. But the evidence is almost unanimous that Lucy during her later years of "The Lucy Show" and "Here's Lucy" was just a nasty, cold, controlling, shrewish bitch to everyone--even her daughter, who upholds her legacy, admits she was not a nice person then. And almost everyone who worked with her has agreed. It says something that she made even Joan Crawford cry and (notoriously) exclaim to her friends at the time, "And they say *I'm* a bitch!"
I know Lucille Ball worshippers like yourselves desperately wish she had been like Lucy Ricardo in person during her entire lifetime, but she just wasn't. That doesn't mean she was untalented, or that she wasn't nicer when she was younger--before the divorce, before the anxiety about running Desilu practically by herself, before she became so frantic about staying on top of the ratings for long past her expiration type.
But everything I've ever read agrees with Burton that during the latter years of her career (after the divorce from Desi, but particularly after Vivian Vance left her show) she was just a mean and nasty piece of work.
And, of course, the same nasty stories and accusations came out of the Tallulah Bankhead epsiode as well and that's the most brilliantly funny episode of all.
Art isn't easy.
Yet Carole Cook says some nice things about her and stayed friends until Lucy's death.
And they say I'm a bitch!
I don't believe any of this crap, Lucy was a very nice person.
I remember seeing that episode of "Here's Lucy" when I was four. (That was I think the height of her ratings success for her show.) I've always loved that episode because it gives Elizabeth Taylor the rare chance to show off her comedy gifts ("Does ze vord 'amputation' ring a bell?'). The whole bit with the hand wouldn't be half so funny if Taylor weren't so good at reacting to it.
Lucy was a bitch, yeah? So?
Burton and Taylor suffered from extreme sun exposure and brain-fry. Look it up, look at the picture! Add in alcoholism, tobacco poisoning, Seconal and Benzedrine saturation. Both, especially Burton, drama queens.
Funny to think that Liz and Lucy were at Metro together way back in 1944. Though the former was on her way up and the later was on her way out.
Surprised no one has mentioned Lucy's drinking during those years - not saying she ever came to a taping tipsy, but during the 'Here's Lucy' period, you can clearly see her reading the cue- cards , and looking a bit confused .Again, not saying it affected her 'professionalism' , but I've seen people who knew her comment on how she never would have done that during the "I'LL" or even "The Lucy Show" years.
I think R8's scenario is closer to the truth. Burton was a drunk with an inflated sense of his own importance. He probably thought he could breeze onto the set, do his lines and exit because he was "Richard Burton" and that would be it. Lucy was a professional and demanded rehearsal and blocking for everyone, no matter who they were, and that probably bruised Burton's enormous ego and pissed him off. I'm not denying Lucy could be a bitch - plenty of stories about that - I'm just saying she demanded Burton be a professional on her show and he hated her for it.
And yeah, it's hard to believe Burton was only 45 then. He looked 60. Too much booze just destroys your looks.
You do all realize what an enormous "get" Liz and Dick were for Lucy and her show?
Those two just didn't generally do TV, especially LIz.
John Charles Daly
R4, it is well documented that after she took over from Desi as the head of Desilu, Lucy was constantly verbally abusive to virtually everyone she worked with.
R8, Lucy relied on cue cards in her later years (as can be seen in many episodes) which spared her from having to "rehearse to perfection." She was too busy producing the show to have time to learn her lines. Most of her routines were far less brilliant and well executed then than they had been in her heyday.
So she was more like her character in "Ziegfeld Follies" (@3:40.)
Like many movie stars before them, Liz and Dick were shocked to learn that TV is a speedy affair. They were used to hiding in their dressing rooms on movie sets and not coming out for days at a time, if they liked. On TV, you can't do that.
And yes, Lucy ruled the set with an iron fist and suffered no fools. But if you could keep up with her, she'd respect you.
R16 Please. No one is saying that Lucy was wonderful, but Burton was hardly a delicate flower himself. The truth is always somewhere between the middle. Plus, Burton was a notorious boozehound who was most likely hammered during taping.
And while Liz was great, she was so far up Burton's asshole when they were together, it wasn't even funny. She went out of her way to defer to him on every occasion, for fear of upstaging him and making him angry.
He would have killed her and SHE'S the ass-hole?
[quote]Jack Benny, the most amiable man in the world, and one of the truly great comedians of our time, says that in 4 days she reduced his life expectancy by 10 years.”
That surprises me. For some reason I can't see Burton and Benny hitting it off.
Jack Benny was Lucille's next-door-neighbor, and they socialized regularly. Jack did at least 5 or 6 guest shots on The Lucy Show and Here's Lucy. He couldn't have hated it too much.
Whaaaaat? No mention of Mame yet? She got Madeline Kahn fired because she was too good in the role and thus upstaging her.
M. Kahn ran screaming from that production to do Blazing Saddles. Ball was difficult but the leaving was all Kahn's.
Well, R16 I used to wish that she was like Lucy Ricardo in real life but when I thought about it, the fact that she wasn't and was likely just the opposite, shows how truly talented she was. Her real life demeanor doesn't seem to be all that unusual for comedians. They tend to be quite serious if not downright miserable in real life. It's as if one has to experience tremendous sadness in order to truly understand humor. I think that may also be the reason that some oppressed minority groups ( like Jews, blacks, gays) are overrepresented as comedians and in entertainment. You have to laugh in order to keep from crying. But that's a whole other thread topic.
No - Ball had Kahn fired because Kahn wasn't "acting the part" enough for her at the table read. It wasn't Kahn's choice, and she talked about it in interviews. Ball asked her "Is THAT how you're going to do it?" and Kahn replied "My character will be developed as I rehearse"
Ball yelled "Get me that woman who did it at the Dorothy Chandler!"
(Meaning Jane Connell, who originated it)
He was a drunk and a jerk, so what's to argue about?
hell, if Lucy was a bitch and a shrew to the degree it is alleged, she woulda fit right in to the whole Data Lounge ethos. Except Lucy actually might have had some reasons for being bitchy, as opposed to that "pointless" descriptor of DL.
[quote] it is well documented that after she took over from Desi as the head of Desilu, Lucy was constantly verbally abusive to virtually everyone she worked with.
It may not be right, but a lot of powerful men engage in this behavior too, but women are demonized for doing the same thing. I just think Lucy was a tough, smart woman and she would stand up to people who tried to mess with her.
[quote]No one is saying that Lucy was wonderful,
Well, that's a flat-out lie right there. r20 wrote quite clearly, "Lucy was a very nice person" (another lie).
He may have been a drunk and a jerk, but he was one of the great actors of his era, and some of his performances ("Virginia Woolf," "Becket," and others) will be remembered and celebrated long after these few generations pass and the next ones watch Lucy and wonder what all the fuss was.
I don't doubt Lucille Ball had become hard boiled after suffering years of infidelity. But I will always love and respect her for giving the green light to produce Star Trek.
R37 is right. She also immediately got BLAZING SADDLES after the MAME debacle.
She pulled a similar stunt with ON THE TWENTIETH CENTURY.
R42, the longevity of ILL is unquestionable. Grandmothers and their grandchildren can reenact, frame for frame, when Lucy gets into her grape fight with Teresa. Burton was a great actor but there were lots of great actors. Lucy Ricardo will always be very much an icon.
It's funny how the Lucy defenders keep bringing up what a drunk he was. Especially given that she could probably have drunk him under the table. Her alcoholism was notorious.
She was not known for being a nice person in later years.Burton was certainly a drunk himself, but he was a professional on the set. Lucy was not. She couldn't function without cue cards, and she was an imperious bitch. Benny, who liked her personally, did indeed say that she was a nightmare to work with.
Part of it was her colossal insecurity. She struggled as an actress, a profession that did not come naturally to her. During her "I Love Lucy" days, it took her days to get her part down, and she was often horrible in early readings of the script.
Burton may have been a bitchy drunk, but he was a pro. Lucy was not.
It doesn't change the fact that Lucy brought people a lot of joy and happiness. But in her personal life she was really fucked up.
[quote]Grandmothers and their grandchildren can reenact, frame for frame, when Lucy gets into her grape fight with Teresa.
"Frame for frame"? That must take hours. And must be certainly hard on all those grandmothers!
If you know comics, you know that mostly they're isolated, depressed, insecure neurotic people who have somehow managed to wring five minutes of laughs out of their miserable lives. That's 95% of them. Seriously, think about some of our greatest comics and then think about their personal lives. You can start with Charlie Chaplin.
I read about Lucy near the end of her life when she agreed to present something at the Oscars. She didn't want to do it, but she put on the gown, did hair and makeup and had a lousy time.
After dinner at Spagos, her limo driver was having a hard time maneuvering her car around the tight turns and was late. She stood there waiting and the crowd of people on the other side of a barricade began chanting "Lucy! Lucy! Lucy!"
For the first time that night, her face brightened, she lifted up her gown and started doing a little soft-shoe step. The crowd roared and she danced a little more. Then the car pulled up, and she and Gary drove back to Beverly Hills.
And she fired the limo driver.
did anyone try turning her over their knee like Ricky would on 'I Love Lucy'?
Remember how Lucy went after Liza Minelli in the press when Liza set her sights on Desi Jr.? She went ballistic, charging Liza with child molestation and drug abuse, all true of course, but how shocking. Liza got out of there fast. Smart girl.
[quote]Lucy relied on cue cards in her later years (as can be seen in many episodes) which spared her from having to "rehearse to perfection."
I noticed you didn't provide even one link to a clip seeing how obvious she was reading cue cards.
Burton wasn't the only one who said Lucille Ball was a pill to work with, so I am inclined to believe him when he talks about what a horror she was.
I've read excerpts of his diary from a biography of him. He's very honest and interesting in his observations. He was quite smitten with Elizabeth Taylor for a while but his life with her was killing him. Leaving his wonderful wife Sybil for Taylor was probably the biggest mistake he ever made in his life; his life probably would have been much better if he had dodged that bullet.
Liz Taylor hated her too and called her a cunt behind her back
R52, Lucy used cue cards all throughout The Lucy Show and Here's Lucy. It's on record in interviews with the production staff of the shows. It's true.
She was pretty good at it, however. Until I knew she was reading cue cards, I'd never noticed it. Now when I watch, however, I'll see that in the middle of talking to someone, she'll look away briefly and then look back at the person, usually with very little or no break in speech. But she does this a lot. She passes it off as if her character is thinking of what to say, or composing what she'll say -- and again, if you don't know she's reading cue cards, it wouldn't necessarily stick out to you.
Barbra wanted Madeline Kahn axed from What's up Doc as well. Too threatening with all that talent.
Remember the feeble pet store owner in 'The Birds'? She guest starred on Lucy and Lucy stamped down very hard on her toe when she wandered from her mark breaking the elderly woman's toe. It was quite the scandal at the time.
....and Madeline Kahn was no walk in the park either.
The cast of The Sisters Rosensweig
Lucy is just another strong woman who got painted with the bitch brush. She wasn't doing anything that men with the same type of power and success weren't doing.
A friend of mine who sadly passed on to his reward twenty years ago, loved to recall how he went to see the great female impersonator Charles Pierce at a NY nightclub, and, while he was going to his table, a well-dressed woman walked by and fell flat on her face--and it was Lucy, one of his childhood idols. I think it was one of the highlights of his life!
Crushing an old woman's foot?
He was probably pissed she wouldn't blow him.
That clip at R3 was supposed to be funny? I couldn't get past the first two minutes. Zzzzzz...
Richard Burton was a drunken cunt.
Lol at r59.
Don't confuse me with facts, my mind is made up
I always loved Burton, the drunkenness and waste of talent never interfered. There was just something about him, the eyes, the voice, dunno.
[quote]After dinner at Spagos
Du liebe Gute!
Many people in the entertainment industry have stated that Lucille Ball, in real life, was humorless and cold, even her daughter has said this. This is not new info.
r51 that would be Patty Duke who Lucy was NOT fond of that she and her son were dating. Even though Liza is 1/2 year old than Patty, Lucy didn't mind Liza dating Desi Jr. I think that fact that Patty was pregnant and was hinting that Desi was the Father that made Lucy upset.
Bob Carroll and Madelyn Pugh Davis were the writers of the Burton episode. After years of success with Lucille Ball, they walked out on her when she threw a script at them and accused them of "trying to ruin her" with it.
She needed the seasoned writing team more than they needed her gratuitous abuse.
Lucy was extra nasty when she hit on the gin bottle
Lucy was so abusive to flight attendants, she was banned from at least two airlines.
Carol Burnett was a friend of Lucy's. Carol Burnett said Lucy referred to Ricky as "that Cuban" Whenever she spoke about him. Carol Burnett said Lucy told Carol she let Desi handle the production company, the business stuff ,and all of the technical things that had be done on their show and their production company. When Ricky divorced Lucy, he dropped everything on her and left. Lucy said I was so scarred because I was so clueless because I depended on Ricky who handled everything. Lucy said now she had a company to run ,and here she was under tremendous pressure and she had to learn everything about business affairs, running a production company, etc. very fast. Lucy said to Carol, they used to call me Lucille Balls because I became extremely vocal and tough as a result of the pressure and fear handling everything on my own.
So Carol Burnett said she got a bad reputation as a result of this situation Lucy had to deal with.
BTW, this is all in Carol Burnett's autobiography. Also Carol Burnett was interviewed about Lucy telling her about this.
Here is the link to the interview on Youtube. Click on 5:19 and this is when they Carol Burnett talks about Lucy.
[quote]that would be Patty Duke who Lucy was NOT fond of that she and her son were dating. Even though Liza is 1/2 year old than Patty, Lucy didn't mind Liza dating Desi Jr. I think that fact that Patty was pregnant and was hinting that Desi was the Father that made Lucy upset.
And this was during the time when no one knew or understood what Bi-Polar was and Patty was understandably very self destructive. Since then, she has saved thousands of lives of people who would have self medicated and destroyed themselves by advocating and educating about mental illness. Perhaps she and Lucy could have had a terrific relationship if Patty had been well.
R74 I doubt it--it doesn't sound as LB had much sympathy for or understanding of mental illness. I suspect things were pretty cut and dried for her, based on what biographers have said--either you are healthy or you're not, and, particularly if it's mental health, there are no excuses.
Agree with R75. Back in the day, and even now, a lot of people (particularly type "A's") have no patience or compassion about mental illness. They see it as personal weakness.
Judy Garland said Liz was mean? Details please.
"Milady Ball can thank her lucky stars that I am not drinking. There is a chance that if I had I might have killed her."
LOL! I can't wait to read these diaries.
She may have been a bitch, but she sure did make a hot son. I remember getting tingly in my swimsuit area watching Desi Jr when I was a kid.
Burton hated Ball.
Langella hated Burton. (read his new book)
Dewhurst hated Langella (until Scott talked her out of it).
(let's continue the thread.... although I challenge anyone to come up with someone who hated Colleen Dewhurst...)
r73, his name was DESI ARNAZ, not "Ricky," you clueless little thing. Ricky Ricardo was the character he played on I Love Lucy. Somehow I bet this is not the first time you have confused television characters with REAL PEOPLE. (eye roll)
Burton dissing Lucy? Pot, meet kettle.
He should have been grateful. It was the time of three networks. More people saw him on that half hour show than his last ten theatrical films combined. He was never box office and rode on her Elizabeth's coat tails for years.
A woman who met Lucille Ball when she was a child in the '70s wrote that Lucy smelled like cigarettes and nail polish and that her face in its natural state was so wrinkled it was scary.
r84, Lucy was hardly a child in the 70s. She was born in 1911.
All Lucy did in the 70s is play backgammon. Always at her place. Always on her terms. And she was addicted to the game. She would happily play perfect strangers. I knew someone who played backgammon with Lucy! Gary must have bored the shit out of Lucy.
Is it true that Lucy started off as a hooker?
Seems like her whole post-Desi life was getting back at him for screwing around on her and ending her perfect-perfect dream (losing that fine Cuban sausage must've hurt, too).
Lucie Arnaz has said that when her parents divorced, "... the laughter stopped" in her mother's house. Things got desperate and grim, as Lucy tried to equal the magic of "The Lucy Show"- and never did.
I'm certain her relationship with Gary Morton must have been passionate, he was much younger than she, and full of laughter, he was a standup comedian. I know it's popular myth to believe Desi was the beginning and the end of Lucy, but I just don't buy it.
Well if it's factual, as r87 states, that Lucie Arnaz said the laughter stopped in her mother's house after she divorced Desi, then that isn't a "myth." Lucy's daughter is certainly a better authority than you, r88.
"And this was during the time when no one knew or understood what Bi-Polar was "
Actually, it'd been known for decades, and the first treatment (lithium) became available in the 1940s. I don't know why Duke took so long to get diagnosed, did her evil managers keep her away from psychiatrists?
Duke so long to get diagnosed b/c she didnt want to get diagnosed. In her book she stated that there were several doctors who tried to treat her but she would stop going when they get too close.
sorry left out..It took
It probably never dawned on Lucie Arnaz that the laughter stopped after her parents divorced but that wasn't because Desi moved out, it was because her and her no talent brother learned to speak.
R90, mental illness was taboo until very recently. Not many people were treated correctly for bi-polar, though electro shock was popular.
Then - why did rich & famous people such as Phil Graham blow their bi-polar brains out? Why was he only treated with psychotherapy?
[R8] says that Lucy "rehearsed to perfection". Not true, at least not by the time "Here's Lucy" came around. There was an interview that Bea Arthur gave around the time she appeared with Ball in "Mame" about the two of them both having shows at CBS at the same time, Bea being in "Maude". Bea described the long rehearsal schedule for "Maude" over several days, and Lucy said, "Oh, we never do that much work. We read it through once and tape it" or something like that. Bea probably gave one of her famous withering looks as if to say "Yes, and it shows!"
Actually, Lucille also used to play backgammon at PIP's, a backgammon club in BH, my partner used to play backgammon with her there.
Yes the Burtons both had drinking and (her) drug problems. ET solved them and alcohol killed Burton. ET was his trigger basically.
But everyone loved them, particularly Elizabeth. She was beloved by grips, camera men- all who worked on sets- her co-stars, directors etc. Burton when sober was charming and down to earth, drunk, a mess of course. He was sober when he worked on this episode.
Sorry to say- Lucy was not popular- she was respected, but she was an angry woman. Think Lauren Bacall. Very Republican (at least Bacall is a Democrat), had a drinking problem in her older age- The most telling information on this little revelation is Liz Smith saying Lucy was one of the most disappointing great stars she ever met. Liz Smith rarely has a bad thing to say about anyone. SHE is one of the nicest (and smartest) people in the pressy and show Biz world- albeit she is quite old now.
Lucy was not nice- sorry.
Well, now that charlie's spoken, THREAD CLOSED.
charlie knew all of them. They once walked on East 45th and he met and befriended them.
No you're thinking of Garbo, the Newmans, Hepburn, Shirley McClain, the Josh Logans, Truman Capote, Hermione Gingold, and Rex Harrison. The ones I met and in one case got to know were the Logans (lived in my parents building) Hepburn, Capote (you could have met him too if you went to a nasty little bar called "Last Call" on 2nd and 49th) and Harrison (dated a woman I know).
All quite true! Bothers you, doesn't it R99. Wonder why?
I know you don't need me to defend you, Charlie. As I've posted here before, I'm always glad to read your posts.
I had no idea how tiny Elizabeth Taylor was until I saw her entrance in the "Here's Lucy" clip. When she gained weight, no wonder she looked like a bowling ball.
As for Burton, you can see from the clip how ruggedly attractive he was- no pretty-boy looks about him at all.
No wonder Taylor fell so hard for him.
R101- yes she is (was) tiny. I saw her once pretty up close in a restaurant- did not meet this one :) She was in one of her thin phases and yes she was amazing looking. And R101, forgot to mention in my previous (sarcastic) post- I watched the filming of two scenes in about '72 of the Way We Were in my then neighborhood- I was still living at home. Both scenes made it into the movie. Was loads of fun actually- all the extras the cameras and of course the stars. (Cannot help adding more because I know if bugs R99).
Lucy used to "scare" me as a kid when I would see her on talk shows- she was never remotely funny- obviously was a big smoker- reminded me of too many nasty older women I knew as a kid (I should say unhappy women.) I could not remotely reconcile her with the funny character she played in the 50s. And I thought her series after the original she did with Desi unfunny. Desi meanwhile continued to make very funny sit coms like the "Mothers in Law" which was hysterical. I think he was the creative force behind Lucy's early comic success on TV. She certainly was not remotely a comedienne in her movie career.
The Josh Logans, charlie? Wasn't Logan a big queen? His cinematic flourishes and hackery suggest as much.
Nothing your say bugs me or anyone else, charlie. You are an object of humor.
Gosh, I like Charlie. His posts always interest me, and I'm envious that he knows (knew) the people he does (did). I have no idea why anyone would call him an object of ridicule.
Charlie - what was your impression of Rex Harrison?
Charlie, may I ask in what neighborhood those scenes from The Way We Were were fimed?
He was perfectly nice and rather normal (considering I only knew him as Henry Higgins, or the King of Siam- not exactly normal) and obviously smitten with my friend Sassy.
I gather from what I have read he was not all that well liked by his peers however.
I have no idea of Josh Logan was gay or not. He just seemed like an excentric old man to me and his wife Nedda a very old fashioned kind of old world wealthy woman. Both were funny and nice. I went to their appartment one morning to sort mail for the building during a doorman strike in the early 70s. (My mom put me on mail duty.) So Nedda and I were on duty for that day. Very elegant building and their appartment was terrific. Big duplex penthouse, just like you would imagine a successful director etc. Her seamstress came over in the midst of our sorting the mail for the building on her living room floor. She was very nice to me. Offered me something to eat etc.
In her later years, Lucy was so hard-boiled and unpleasant you would've thought she douched with Listerine.
Oh, no, R109, not possible. R88 knows better: "I'm certain her relationship with Gary Morton must have been passionate, he was much younger than she, and full of laughter, he was a standup comedian."
Because there's no way an older-woman-younger-man relationship could have desperate, unhappy undertones, and no way that a pair of comedians could be miserable in real life.
Apologists like R88 sound like utter morons.
And stand-up comics are miserable self-haters, r88. Morton was popular with Lucy because he knew his place and was willing to play the role.
I wish some of you were around when David Ehrenstein was a regular here. You would have eaten up his BS. Wait a minute, YOU wish you were here, I don't.
charlie, did you lead a Mame-style life as a child?
Fabulous post. Who else knows someone called Sassy?
Here's Catherine O'Hara's great imitation of the terrifying elderly Lucille Ball for SCTV's "Count Flod's Have Yourself a Scary Little Christmas."
Interesting trivia note: the part where Count Floyd and his guests all have a roundtable discussion at 2:11 and following was the actual inspiration for Bill Maher's two TV shows--he aparently loved SCTV and always wanted to do an actual show like this skit, with bizarrely mismatched people having roundtable discussions.
No- conventional affluent NYCer upbringing in a stable family, if you call affluent conventional. I am nearly 60 years old and both my parents are still alive! I think a lot of people (on DL at least) are not aware of how much you can be exposed to growing up in this city- and in my case it was compounded by being gay and coming of age in an extraordinary time- my early adulthood was not nearly as conventional as my siblings. I have met a lot a very interesting people in my life. These days I am your run of the mill working professional (healthcare academia- very satisfying career). But I still get exposed to a lot of interesting stuff in part due to my past and in part because I am in NYC and pretty active in political and philanthropic stuff on a scale just big enough (not very big at all) to be able to meet really interesting people. Lucky! Never take it for granted, ever.
SHUT THE FUCK UP CHARLIE. And GET A BLOG.
This thread is NOT about you.
I like you, Charlie and appreciate your posts. Please continue!
[quote]Actually, it'd been known for decades, and the first treatment (lithium) became available in the 1940s.
And in the 70's there were still Insane Asylums full of Bi-Polar sufferers.
[quote]But everyone loved them, particularly Elizabeth. She was beloved by grips, camera men- all who worked on sets- her co-stars, directors etc
Well duh, she was the most beautiful woman in the world, a movie star and had huge tits to boot. Why wouldn't a room full of straight guys be smitten?
[quote]Sorry to say- Lucy was not popular- she was respected, but she was an angry woman. Think Lauren Bacall. Very Republican (at least Bacall is a Democrat)
Well duh, she was the boss and nobody likes the boss. And so what if she were a Republican? I will NEVER defend a Republican of today but it's a well known fact that Republicans of Lucy's days were not demons and it wasn't until Reagan fucked the Religious Right in the '80's did they become intolerable.
Now who is this Charlie? I've been here for years and am not familiar. Why doesn't he have his own thread? Seems interesting.
Mission: Impossible, Mannix, The Lucy Show and Star Trek
Shows Lucy OK'd and were produced by Desilu Productions when she was President and Chief Executive Officer.
"Lucy was so abusive to flight attendants, she was banned from at least two airlines."
Funny you mention that. I once heard (second hand) a so-strange-it-must-be-true story about a flight attendant who approached Lucy (in her later years) during a flight to ask her a question about what she wanted to eat, or something like that. Lucy didn't reply and instead pointed towards the woman who was seated next to her, sleeping. The flight attendant said she didn't understand, so Lucy nudged the sleeping woman awake. Turns out the woman was Lucy's assistant, and she said to the attendant something to the effect of, "I'm sorry, but Ms. Ball doesn't speak on airplanes." For the duration of the flight, the assistant did all of the talking for Ms. Ball. Wow!
[quote]Lucy was so abusive to flight attendants, she was banned from at least two airlines.
Lucy used to fly MGM Grand Air because of the banning. She was extremely high maintenance even there.
Have you queens ever heard the story about Sammy Davis Jr. guesting on her show? She was so mean to him she hit him with a door on the side of his face with the bad eye - of course he didn't see it coming. THAT'S how fucking mean she was...
Oh God, MGM Grand Air - haven't thought of that in years. The airline where you could fly , with other celebs & VIP's, without having to endure the rif- raff ....and all for only a wee bit higher than a first class ticket, on a 'regular' airline. Those were the days . Left out of the West Imperal Terminal, at LAX- across the airport from the main terminals, with all the rif- raff. Miss those days
Is charlie really Umpy? They both have terrible spelling.
MGM Grand Air tickets also included limo rides to and from your home!
Charlie, please post your own blog. I'd love to read your musings. Kinda like that old hollywood star that posted here a few years ago. Who was that? Sue or something. If she couldnt' post due to illness, her son or assistant would.
R107, first day shooting was at 52nd and First in the front window of Billy's, when Katie gives Hubel her keys- then a shot of her running into a flower shop. Next day over on Beekman place where they are strolling down the street eating hot dogs. Billys closed about 10 years ago- used to eat there all the time. The whole neighborhood was made up like it was WW2- old cars and extras all over the place.
Hello Charlie, do know if Barbra Streisand was a bitch in the filming of that movie? Have you heard in general if she is a bitch or is she a nice lady? Also, was Paul Newman bisexual?
Charlie, thank you so much for sharing your wonderful anecdotes on an various famous people. You are one of many who make threads likes this so fun and interesting!
Barbra strikes again!!
It's like the "Godwin's Law", except it's "Streisand's Law".
"As a Datalounge discussion grows longer, the probability of a Barbra Streisand reference approaches." In other words, given enough time, in any Datalounge discussion—regardless of topic or scope—someone inevitably will mention Barbra Streisand.
Lucy's work seemed to come first after the marriage to Desi Arnaz. Ok while she still had her weekly TV show, but a sad life after the show was finally cancelled. To be fair, she was still getting high rating until the last year or two that Here's Lucy was in CBS.
Lucy was a total bitch but Liz and Dick were even bigger bitches
And to be a bigger bitch than Lucille Ball took a LOT of work. But they managed it
I remember when Gary Morton's widow auctioned off objects Gary had that once belonged to his previous wife, Lucy. Lucy Jr. fought in court to get the items back. However, Lucy Jr. lost and Gary Morton's widow won. The items he had from Lucy looked like last minute leftovers from a final auction day,and Lucy Jr. was taking his widow to court over those items! Lucy Jr. seems greedy. There was stuff like a bottle of Head and Shoulders, Lucy's backgammon sets( those went through the roof) and other things here and there. I looked through the auction catalog, and I remember there was a picture of Lucy up for auction which she inscribed a message below to Gary that was so telling. She said, Gary, just remember I'll be watching you! WOW! I guess she hen pecked him!?
BTW, They auctioned off Lucy's art collection, and it was very tacky art. Her favorite art piece out of the collection was a late 60's Keane art work!YUCK! The highest price for her art on the auction block was $3,000. However, she had two two original oils that were very pretty which I liked. But everything else was very commercial and strangely average.Also, all her art work was around 1965 to the late 60's?
What did Gary Morton do for a living, if anything? I can totally believe Lucy henpecked him constantly. I cannot even imagine what it must have been like to live with Lucy, especially in her later years when she was so bitter and hard as nails.
Gary was a professional mooch. But so was Desi, Lucie, and Desi Jr. In fact everyone mooched off of Lucy except William Frawley and Vivian Vance.
Vance and Frawley were secret lovers and used to pretend they hated each other so Lucy wouldn't find out about it.
Lucy was set up on a blind date with Gary soon after she completed her work on the musical Wildcat. Her young Wildcat costar was Paula Stewart who married Borscht Belt comedian Jack Carter who was a pal of Borscht Belt (if lesser known) comedian Gary Morton.
When they married, Gary was really not so bad looking. This was before he resorted to the toupees.
Did outspoken Lucie Jr. ever speak about Gary, what she thought of him and his marriage to her Mom? Did she think he was good for her?
R130- From what I observed watching filming for 2 days on and off it was a very polite, even happy, professional looking set. I am a Barbra fan so my opinions on her are biased. But an old friend of mine- he is in his 70s now- Bob Schulemberg (sp?) who I have not spoken to in years (the 80s)- knew Barbra at her beginnings. Bob was a best friend of Barre Denen (sp?) who was very close to Barbra at the beginning of her career. Bob is an illustrator and he taught Barbra how to do her early Egyptian look that became so popular in the early 60s. He always said she was shy, very shy, and worked harder than anyone he knew. So I have gotten the feeling she may drive people nuts who don't work as hard as she does. I think her diva demand rap is bullshit- don't look at me etc. She has denied it on her web site as ridiculous. She has the same people working for her now as she did 40 years ago- so I doubt she is not a nice woman, if not a demanding workaholic.
Newman was bisexual according to my old friends from the 70s. But I do not know any more than that-
I wonder where R133 gets his information, or "opinion". According to everything I have read about ET, she was adored on the set and by everyone who she worked with- even given her chronic tardiness.
As I said before- Liz Smith kind of has the last word on Lucy in her piece. If you cannot get along with Liz- you are a turd basically (think Sinatra with whom she feuded for years). She is one of the nicest people in the world. I've met her a number of times- got to know her a bit when she was girlfriends with Iris Love and shopped at Andre Oliver in the early 80s. She always asked for my name (she had no reason to treat me special), used it when she spoke to me,looked me in the eye-lovely woman, and funny.
Give charlie a sycophant and of course he can't resist blathering on. "Blah blah blah... when my brother was at Harvard with Caroline Kennedy... blah blah blah..."
This thread is now dead to me.
In the book, Burton also trashes Olivier, Genevieve Bujold, Maria Callas, Joey Heatherton....
You would think actual non-riff-raff would know how to spell "riff-raff."
Which show had the Lucy doll? Maybe that's what spooked Burton.
I am the guy whose partner knew Lucille and Gary. His parents were good friends with them. They were an OLD Hollywood couple like many of them. They drank, they argued and fought, they were close, they were a real couple. They were married for a really long time. Most people aren't having sex much in their marriages after the first year or so and Lucille and Gary were old. They got VERY old and then they died. I think people are so blinded by stardom that can can't see the banality of celebrity marriages in 1960's Beverly Hills. Very few of them lived like "stars".
Screw Lucy...I wanna know what Burton thought of Joey!!!
I think they also spent a lot of time at Lucy's house in Palm Springs, that's where most of the tacky crap that Gary Morton's widow auctioned off came from. All of the nice stuff in the Beverly Hills house was taken by Lucie Jr, and she has everything to this day, even all of Lucy's show costumes, and her gowns from Mame, etc. Lucie hoards it all for whatever reason and has never shared it with fans, only a few of Lucy's old lady gowns from the 70's and 80's were ever sent to auction...
Gary also spent a lot of time on the golf course, and Lucy with her backgammon pals. I think they had a partnership more than a romantic marriage after the first few years... Lucy was the type of woman who needs a man there, she's too insecure without one. You know the types... someone to nag, love, talk with, fight with, etc...
I thought it had been proven decades ago that most all comedians were fucked up, nasty tempered assholes in private. Don't they all suffer from some sort of terrible emotional upheaval from early in their lives and are only able to keep from blowing their brains out by going on stage and pretending to be what they can't be in real life?
[quote]"And Larry, my dear, a lord yet.
And as for Laurence Olivier..."And Larry, my dear, a lord yet.
Well well well, he was an insecure jealous drunk too. Ha, No Oscar, no Lorship a bitter bitter man.
[quote]Lucie hoards it all for whatever reason and has never shared it with fans,
WTF? For whatever reason? It's her Mother's.
These comments come from Burton diary- I assume he did not think his diaries were going to be published nor that he had to temper his comments on anything is particular. That's part of the fun of them- they are honest.
And yeah, memoirs of Olivier's peers don't describe him as a particularly nice guy.
Why would they agree to do this shitty show?
"I am a Barbra fan so my opinions on her are biased."
Really? I wouldn't have guessed.
"I think her diva demand rap is bullshit- don't look at me etc. She has denied it on her web site as ridiculous"
LOL. What some people must believe about their idol. Baba is a micromanager and ADMITS IT.
[quote]I think her diva demand rap is bullshit- don't look at me etc. She has denied it on her web site as ridiculous
Did you hear that? Barbra has DENIED being a diva on her website. Thus, it must be true. Who is the better judge of how Barbra comes across than Barbra herself? Seeing how she's infallible and all.
btw, I think the poster brown-nosing charlie should punctuate his posts with the phrase "Mmmmm, yes, master..." more often.
"Streisand's Law" has struck again. Actually, I'm renaming it "Barbra's Law".
Delta Airlines. LAX to ATL.
Lucille Ball slings a cup of coffee at the flight attendant, growling: "Ya call this hot?"
Is it true her life began a steep decline (booze, etc.) after her last sitcom "Life With Lucy" tanked and she sank into a depression? She died just a couple years later.
I've mentioned this before on DL, but in the 70's saw Lucy, her assisstant, and her black chauffeur, at a Builders Emporium (not defunct-forunner to HD & Lowes) on Sepulveda, in West L.A. The pulled up in champagne colored Mercedes 280 SEL . Lucy's hair was a mess. She had those giant Jackie O sunglasses on, that were popular at the time. But what amazed me was she was looking over the cheapest, nastiest wallpaper - apparently for her kitchen. That vinyl, washable kind, with horrible pastel flowers on it. I watched, from a few feet away, as she would look them over (keeping the glasses on !) and would comment " how much for that one ?" and "thats too much. What else they got ? " . I was a kid, and it shattered all the preconceptions I had about her. She seemed irritable, short, with the salesperson, and generally bitchy. But I was also shocked at her even being there. Up till then, I thought big stars, like Lucy, who was still one of the biggest, had decorators come to their home, and elegantly present them choices . It was only later , when I worked in the entertainment business myself, that I began hearing the Lucy stories, of her bitchiness, control, and yes, her extreme cheapness - which I witnessed firsthand.
[quote]She died just a couple years later
Yes, It was booze and depression that killed the beast, not the fact she was almost eighty years old.
r158 you are confusing your experience shopping with Lucille Ball at the Sepulveda Builders Emporium with Lucy Ricardo shopping with Ethel Mertz at Don Loper's Rodeo Drive Salon.
It's a real shame that "Life With Lucy" never found an audience. At the time critics panned it because they wanted the "old' Lucy and weren't up for a more modern, with the times Lucy.
The critics and the public weren't prepared for how much Lucy had grown as a performer in the previous thirty years and wanted to compartmentalize her and keep her in a box.
"Life with Lucy" was not perfect, but what new show is? It definitely had moments of sheer brilliance and had it been given a chance by the network could've grown into a classic along the lines of the original ILL.
Well to be fair, ol' Burton should be alive to read what Frank Langella had to say about him in his new book.
Frankly, I've come to the conclusion that most of the really big name stars of yesteryear were even more fucked up then the current crop of misfits in that industry.
CHARLES LAUGHTON ATE SHIT SANDWICHES FOR CRYING OUT LOUD! It doesn't get much sicker than that.
On purpose, R162? WTH?
"Vance and Frawley were secret lovers and used to pretend they hated each other so Lucy wouldn't find out about it."
Unless Vance had a penis the rest of us didn't know about, I find your story highly suspect.
[quote]On purpose, [R162]? WTH?
Oh yes. In Scotty Bowers' book "Full Service", he wrote about setting one of his buddies up with Laughton for an afternoon of diddling. When they arrived Laughton was in the kitchen fixing himself a sandwich. Laughton told the boy Bowers brought with him to follow him into another room and they left Bowers in the kitchen. When they came back in Laughton had a bowl (of something) and he spread some of it on his sandwich. The boy looked at Bowers (who was puzzled why they left in the first place) and mouthed that Laughton had made him poop in the bowl and that was what he was using as a sandwich spread.
And if you doubt the story, you should know that all the big stars who know Bowers and knew all the stars of yesteryear say that everything Bowers says is very true.
[quote]"Life with Lucy" was not perfect, but what new show is? It definitely had moments of sheer brilliance....
So, how is the weather on Planet Lucy?
Vivian Vance hated William Frawley with a red hot passion and the feeling was mutual. He was old enough to be her father. Frawley was such a drunk that Lucy and Desi had to have a line put into his contract that said if he ever came to work drunk, he'd be fired on the spot. Although his contract did stipulate he got off every home game of the Dodgers.
[quote]Burton also trashes Olivier, Genevieve Bujold, Maria Callas, Joey Heatherton....
I just never imagined that Maria Callas would ever end up in the same discussion with Joey Heatherton. It's like comparing WWII naval battles in the South Pacific to a kid's plastic boat in a bathtub.
r161 must be a parody post. There were so many things wrong with that show; I'll first address the ages of the performers and their characters relationships: Even thought the actress who played her daughter was the same age as Lucy's real-life son, she seemed much younger and it just threw the show out of whack. It may may been more credible to have her play a grand-daughter instead.
But the main problem: Madelyn and Bob were just plain out of ideas after 35 years of writing for Lucy. The whole thing was a tired rehash and embarassing to watch.
Did anyone get the vibe that Lucie Jr. tried to act like Liza?
And if you doubt the story, you should know that all the big stars who know Bowers and knew all the stars of yesteryear say that everything Bowers says is very true.
R162, which big stars knows its true? Practically everyone is dead, which is how he conveniently decided when to publish his book.
Richard Burton was married to Elizabeth Taylor. How did he even know Lucille Ball? Please clarify.
'Life With Lucy' was painful to watch. It was not funny at all, and poor Lucy looked embalmed.
[quote]Although his contract did stipulate he got off every home game of the Dodgers.
The baseball schedule in the fifties consisted of 75-76 home games for every team, and most of those were played in the daytime. That is far too many games for a regular cast member on a series to demand off.
Frawley was a Yankees fan whose contract stipulated that he could have time off if his team was in the World Series. Although the Yankees played in the World Series for all but two seasons the show was on, Frawley only missed two episodes because of them.
R172, Burton and Taylor appeared in an episode of HERE'S LUCY that left him with a thoroughly negative impression of Lucy.
[quote]Richard Burton was married to Elizabeth Taylor. How did he even know Lucille Ball? Please clarify.
They were guest stars on the highest rated episode ever of "Here's Lucy." It was such a huge event, it pushed "Here's Lucy" up to #3 for the entire season.
Liz and Penis were so popular they demanded and got credit in the opening. Something that bitch Ball was loathe to do since it meant taking away her cigarette money to redo the opening.
And bitch Ball skimped the rest of the season by using racist scripts with gorillas in them.
That dancing Lucy puppet on the opening credits of Here's Lucy used to scare the shit out of me when I was a little kid.
I always laugh at the sheer number of people who feared and hated that puppet, R176. I adored it as a kid and thought it was the best part of the show. I would have rather watched the puppet than the real thing.
On a side note, The LUCY SHOW and The BEVERLY HILLBILLIES made a lot of kids think that bankers were all mean, crabby people who wouldn't let you spend your own money unless you gave them a good reason.
Well if that creepy little thing was running around your house you'd know it'd be up to no good. And able to hide just about anywhere.
Lez demanded they use her real ring for the episode and this enraged the cheap ass Ball as she had to pay for the insurance while it was on the set
Then Penis and Lez would throw parties and invite Desi but not bitch Ball and that mooch she got remarried to.
Lucy hated them.
Does anyone know what happened to the doll? It must be worth a lot of money. The, Here's Lucy Show was completely awful! It wasn't funny and the scripts seemed bad.I think a lot, not all, of things in the 60's went down the tubes.
I love how some of these posters act like they knew Lucille or Richard personally.
r167, it wasn't Desi and Lucy that wanted the rider in Frawley's contract about the right to fire him if he showed up intoxicated. It was CBS that insisted on the clause. They wanted to use Gale Gordon for the Fred Mertz character but Desi wanted Bill Frawley and the only way to get CBS to come on board with it was to create the clause that they could fire him without penalty if he showed up drunk.
At that point in her life, Lucy was leaving plenty of decisions to Desi and he was overseeing the original casting and hiring staff and negotiating with CBS.
Lucy was already by many people's standards a tough customer to deal with but she still deferred to Desi on almost everything. He hired Vivian Vance without Lucy really knowing who she was and he hired the DP to make her look good, etc.
If Richard Burton and Liz Taylor didn't like Lucille [and they didn't] and if she didn't like them either [she didn't] it was because they were polar opposites of each other in terms of the business.
In the film part of the business, star treatement, long days, delays and overages because of star behavior were commonplace. One of the ways you knew you were a star was the amount of money and time you could cost the studio and still have them kissing your ass.
Lucy had spent enough of her career in movies and around movie stars to know the score but she resented that kind of fame and priviledge probably in large part because she was never given it in movies but mostly because it was antithetical to her nature as a hard core control freak and perfectionist.
Lucy believed that comedy was very precise and that there were rules that had to be respected to get laughs, granted by the time that last series was on CBS Lucy had become a much less funny version of herself than she was on I Love Lucy, but Richard Burton didn't want to learn the lines and didn't care about getting the laughs.
With Lucy, if you looked like you didn't care or were fucking up, she took it as a personal attack. She interpreted it as disrespect and probably felt very defensive because even back then 100 television stars weren't as classy as one movie star of the Burton Taylor catagory.
Firing 1/4 of the main cast would've been a penalty itself. I don't know how they could've continued the show. Ethel just comes in and announces Fred died of a sudden heart attack? They didn't do real life on 50s sitcoms. Maybe they could've just switched him out with another fat old guy, but I don't think the audience would've stuck with it. The first Darin on Bewitched was carefully phased out before they introduced the new one.
But weren't Burton and Taylor more or less washed up as genuine movie stars by the time they appeared on the TV show?
What were the films they had starred in around the time of the TV apearance? I don't think they were in any profitable films at that time.
[quote]even back then 100 television stars weren't as classy as one movie star of the Burton Taylor catagory.
I'll take this as facetious... as there wasn't much that was classy about those two.
"Gary was a professional mooch. But so was Desi"
Like hell he was! Desi Arnaz was the driving force behind Desilu; he was an excellent businessman. He had his faults (drinking, gambling, other women) but he was a smart guy and his business acumen made both him and Lucy very rich. Gary Morton, on the other hand, was a big fat nothing whose career was being Lucille Ball's husband.
[quote]What were the films they had starred in around the time of the TV apearance? I don't think they were in any profitable films at that time.
They were ***theeee*** tabloid stars of their era par excellence. That's all it took.
[quote]even back then 100 television stars weren't as classy as one movie star of the Burton Taylor catagory.
Lucy was an exception in that she had owned an entire studio, and had achieved a level of wealth, power and fame that made her outrank most film stars.
Yes, Lucy was a more important and impressive person than most film stars, but not Taylor & Burton. But the Burtons fame was fading, which is why they were willing to do a TV sit com.
They would never have considing appearing with Lucy three or four years earlier. Time has been particularly unkind to Burton's legacy,
Taylor and Ball less so.
That clip of Here's Lucy with the Burtons is awful. How different from ILL even with the same stars and writers. Everyone stood in one place and YELLED their lines!
I read in a bio of Lucy that yes, Desi was the driving force on the shows and you can see the quality fall on the show after he left. The first season or two of the Lucy Show was funny but after Desi left it became more and more cartoony. People interviewed said that Lucy was not funny in real life and new nothing about what WAS funny. She would send Desi scripts after he left and he would ask her things like "WHY would the girls buy a helicopter..is it just to get them in a wacky situation..it wont work?" But Lucy had no idea.
Be afraid. Be very, very afraid.
Yeah, where is that dancing Lucy doll? It's creepy!!
Boy, a lot of misinformation on this thread. First, Desi Arnaz was a GENIUS, not a fucking "freeloader." He, by all accounts was the brains behind Desilu. He built the studio person by person, brick by brick (even finding the studio space), hired Karl Freund (the genius lighting designer who made middle-aged Lucy look decades younger), Jess Oppenheimer, and the Bob and Madelyn, the writers who wrote all those classic episodes. He is the one who offered to film the episodes (neither Lucy nor Desi wanted to move to New York, which is where TV shows were being kinescoped in those early days) and he offered to front the costs to film the series and own the prints. CBS agreed, thinking the whole thing would be a flop and Desi could have the mess on his hands. It was Desi would thought buying RKO would be a good idea. He was a workaholic, having everything to prove since he had been looked at as "that spic husband of Lucille Ball, B-list movie star." No one thought America would buy him as her husband. Too ethnic. It had never been done on a sitcom. So Desi had quite the Latin fire under his ass to prove them all wrong. Which he did. In spades, creating not only the arguably best sitcom of all time, but a studio that produced some other classic television programs such as Star Trek (greenlit by Lucy) and The Untouchables (greenlit by Desi). Desi Arnaz was one of the most charming, handsome, business savvy men ever to set foot in Hollywood. People adored him and loved working for him. Most of the time, that is. He also was plagued by demons. Gambling, alcoholism, womanizing. These eventually destroyed him. For every good story, there eventually was a bad one.
Lucy revealed years later that Desi had to tear down everything he built up, for whatever reasons. He ended up, with all his successes, ruining his marriage to Lucy and dismantling the Desilu empire. Lucy eventually bought him out and ran RKO herself for some time. But make no mistake, it was the business sense and ambition of Desi Arnaz that was the fuel behind the success of I Love Lucy. He loved his wife dearly (in spite of his demons) and wanted to create a showcase for her talents. He did. Comparing him to Gary Morton, who was and forever will be known as "Lucy's lump of a freeloader husband," true or not, is a total insult to his memory.
By the time the Burtons guested on Here's Lucy, Desi was years out of Lucy's life. I wonder if he was consulted about aspects of that episode, though, since it was one of the few genuinely funny ones of the entire run. People watched Lucy all those years for the nostalgia factor. They were willing to forgive the banal mediocrity and downright BAD shows because America had loved her so dearly for so long as Lucy Ricardo. There would have been NO Lucy Ricardo without the work of Desi Arnaz.
Desi was also really wonderful on ILL. When they got to "Lucy Desi Comedy Hours", he really started showing the sour exaggerated side of his performances.
Gary might have been a professional mooch, but he gave a fairly startling performance in "Lenny" as the Milton Berle icon.
And just to set the record straight about Bill Frawley, Desi sealed the deal with him about the drinking. "If you ever want to have a contest, amigo, I will drink you under the table. But if you ever come to work drunk or cannot do your job, you are through." Or something along those lines. Paraphrasing.
Desi had a great affection and fondness for the old curmedgeon. Frawley needed the work and promised Desi it would never be a problem. It never was. Not once. Ever. The only indication that William Frawley had any health or drinking issues of any kind during the entire run of I Love Lucy was that his hands would shake visibly during many episodes. That is why he frequently kept them in his pockets or jingled his keys, etc.
Frawley frequently had no idea what the episodes were about. He would only read his own lines and memorize them, tearing them out of the script. He would not know why or when the laughs were coming. For instance, one time he said "I just walk in and say 'Hi Ethel' and that is supposed to get a laugh? I don't see it." Wherein Desi had to explain "In this scene, Ethel is wearing the back end of a horse costume. You walk in and don't see her face, but the ass end of the horse costume. And you say 'Hi Ethel.'" And Frawley would say "Oh, that's funny!" Even though it is now legendary that Vivian and Bill "hated" each other, that is not exactly true. There was a total professionalism on that set that went on for nearly ten years. They might have been a bit frosty backstage but had total respect for the talents of each other. You think once America fell in love with them that each did not understand how good they were together and how well the comedy played? They sang in harmony in all those little cheesy vaudeville show episodes. They were a very believable couple, even though they were not good friends offset. There was no "hate."
Here's the "Here's Lucy" intro with the animated Lucy doll.
I used to love it as a small child too--I was so confused why the real Lucy didn't look like this sexy puppet and was instead this horrible old crone. (This was before I watched "I Love Lucy" and knew she could be so funny and attractive.)
Are people still fingering themselves to Stone Pillow?
Many of Lucy's 1970s/1980s talk show appearances are on Youtube - Johnny Carson, Merv, Donahue etc. If you watch them, you can see how hard-boiled and abrupt Lucy was in her later years. It's almost like you're watching a different person from the one in the sitcoms. There's nothing funny about her at all, and sometimes she just appears to be downright mean. And the whiskey and cigarette voice doesn't help either. Lucy's voice sounded like gravel on sandpaper by that time, because of all the years of drinking and smoking.
You can also check out Lucy in her Lucy Ricardo prime as the Mystery Guest on What's My Line?, once by herself using the "Martian" voice as her disguise, and once with Desi.
These were shot when she was riding the heights of the original series and she is much more like the Lucy Ricardo we expect....even if it was somewhat of an act.
There's also an episode with Desi on the WML panel, drooling and nearly falling over himself when gorgeous young curvaceous Kim Novak is revealed to be the Mystery Guest.
R193 is mostly right about Desi, but once the cameras were on it was Lucy that made people watch ILL...right up to today.
r200 you are quite right.
Though he may have been the genius behind the scenes, I can remember my parents always complaining whenever Desi brought out his conga and started singing and sweating.
He was just kind of tolerated by TV audiences back in the ILL days no matter what DL believes now.
[quote]It's almost like you're watching a different person from the one in the sitcoms.
She WAS a different person. Lucy Ricardo did not exist in real life. Do you not understand the concept of acting?
I wanted to watch the I Love Lucy marathon on the big color set in the living room, but my mean roommate was having a family squabble out there and insisted that I view it on the little black and white set in the kitchen, which surely reduced its impact.
As a kid in the 70s watching "Lucy Show" reruns, I was always freaked out by the portrait of her in the credits bumper that looked like her head was growing out of a high-heeled shoe.
"But the Burtons fame was fading, which is why they were willing to do a TV sit com"
Um, no. The Burtons were still riding high in '68; they didn't know it would be only a few years before they'd become completely passee.
David Frost, who Liz & Dick granted an exclusive interview in 1970. It was considered a world exclusive in 1970.
R198, Lucy doesn't appear mean in those videos to me; just very guarded.
[R204] Yes, that always bothered me too. Her head was coming out of a shoe, and the expression was hard and haughty. Not a nice person. Guess this reflected what she became and Vivian Vance finally quit, and she was on her own. Very unfunny show.
The saddest thing I ever saw on TV was Lucy and Viv pretending to be teenagers and hanging out at the hamburger joint to spy on the daughter. Whatever her name was.
If I rememeber the David Frost Liz and Dick interview, what was especially fabulous about it was that Frost was only going to interview Burton and that's what had been announced and planned.
But then after a while Burton was coaxed to bring out Taylor. She was clearly not prepared and so her part of the interview was quite spontaneous. And you have to understand that at that time audiences NEVER saw Taylor interviewed impromptu at any length.
She came off rather vulgar and crude but also very funny if a bit nervous.
Do any other eldergays out there remember this?
Did Lucy have meat curtains?
It just shows you what a powerful effect I Love Lucy had on the American public. People just loved the characters and they took on a strange, unreal life of themselves. In the case of Lucy, the character she played had no similarity in any way to her own personality, in fact it was almost the exact opposite of who she really was. After the show ended there were those Lucy-Desi Hours, then years and years of Lucy shows of one type or another. From 1960 on Lucille Ball wa writing the goodwill and love generated by the character she paid in the '50s. The schtick got harder and harder to put over, but Lucille kept putting on the 'show' as long as the networks would pay her to do so. For her it was about the money and the ego feed of continuing to be a big star, as she always was one.
As her original audience got older a new one discovered her old shows again through syndication - "I Love Lucy" was everywhere, 24/7. She was extremely popular and beloved again in the late 60's and 70's.
We all used to hear these horror stories about Lucille Ball - her conduct and how hard she was to deal with. She knew how horrible she looked in person without her make-up, wigs and temporary face-lifts. She knew what people though about her, she knew her reputation... she was mean, self-centered, hard and cold and she always had been and she got away with it.
Then it all fell apart - fast - with the last horrible series she did. What a fall...
Just my two cents and a fan myself
[quote]From 1960 on Lucille Ball wa writing the goodwill and love generated by the character she paid in the '50s.
Oh, dear, dear, dear.
riding I mean - I have this stupid auto-correct thing on...
Desi was a mooch, he may have had a few ideas but he didn't do anything on his own but mooch off Lucy. After Lucy dumped his Communist ass, he quickly sold her all his shares of DesiLu, then hung around the studio looking for work.
The writers made ILL. If you listen to the radio show My Favorite Husband, you will see the scripts and shows are just as funny. As they should be as most of the ILL shows were lifted line for line from the radio show.
Gale Gordon, Bea Benaderet and Richard Denning were just as funny, if not more, than Frawley, Vance and Desi
The writing made the show.
RE 18 - Carole Cook also said ( in the Lucie Arnaz film on her parents ) a couple of other telling things. One, confirming that Lucy bossed all the stars on her show around - or in her words, "you wanted to tell Lucy calm down
girl - you got the job". Also, that Lucy's real first love was not her children, but her career - but that Lucy loved to present that (false) warm, fuzzy side in interviews, for the public. A complex woman .
That Joan Rivers interview is interesting to me when Lucile misinterprets "hit on you" to mean critize.
She says, "Oh, yeah, they hit on me but not about my comedy."
Seems like she's acknowledging that a lot of people don't like her, but she doesn't give a crap because her work still stands.
When I was a kid in the early 90's, I recall watching the Johnny Carson show and he was interviewing Lucy. She said when they did the I Love Lucy show, the cast and crew buried a time capsule on the grounds of the studio. She said someone years later bought the studio and tore the studio down. But, the time capsule was never found. Know one knows what happened to it.
Lucie Arnaz said other than Vivan Vance (eventually, but not at first) only three people were ever able to stand up to Lucy.
Ann Sothern, Ethel Merman and Dean Martin. Lucy friends with Sothern and was in awe of Merman and Dean Martin.
I like Dean, but....DEAN MARTIN?! Did he remind her of Desi?!
R220, underneath the boozy charm Dean was a real tough guy-- Sinatra did not mess with Dean either. Maybe Lucy admired him for that. Dean Martin is also extremely underrated as an actor. He had fantastic timing.
What a bunch of drunks
Because of this thread, I watched the documentary Finding Lucy on youtube last night.
I think it was originally produced as part of the PBS American Masters series for PBS and it was just wonderful.
Very insightful and sympathetic to Lucy yet did not shy from being critical of her and Desi. Lots of great interviewees, including Bob Osborne, Madelyn Pugh and Bob Carroll, Doris (Carolyn Appleby) Singleton, Edie Adams, Carol Burnett and old friend comedian Dick Martin and her brother Fred. Though no Lucie or Desi Jr. except seen briefly in clips.
The parts towards the end transitioning out of the Lucy Ricardo persona into the Here's Lucy/Life with Lucy are fairly brutal and certainly honest. Lots of scenes of Lucy running the Desilu board meetings.
It's long, maybe even 2 hours, but well worth a look.
When I was young and non-discriminating I loved Lucy too. When I watched the show in my 40's I came to loathe Lucy. Why Ricky didn't beat the shit out of her at least once a day is beyond me. She was manipulative, selfish, conniving and a bully to Ethel and all of her friends. As a fiction character she is marginally tolerable. If she were real she would be the demon seed. Lucille Ball never had me fooled. Even as a child I thought she was a mean old bitch with very little talent. Her "Here's Lucy" shows look terribly amateurish.
[quote] Why Ricky didn't beat the shit out of her at least once a day is beyond me.
Then you're a sociopath.
224 you need to watch the shows again. Part of the fun of the show is that Lucy is indeed "human,"(for a 50s sitcom character) She wants to have fun, she wants to go places and do things she hasnt done, she wants people to adore her, she wants money and things, she hates doing housework, she wants to outdo her friends (usually that bitch Caroline Applebee) She gets jealous of her husband, but likes it when a guy comes on to her (usually planted by Ricky) etc. Plus, maybe cause they were married in real life, you can imagine (despite the twin beds) that Ricky and Lucy are into each other seuxually. Not only Lucy but the others, Ricky has a bad temper and a huge ego, Fred is a grumpy tightwad, Ethel is a whiney nag, etc. Watch any other 50s and 60s wife and mothers and see how bland they are in their perfection.
In a way ILL is a 50s version of Seinfeld, where selfish, but totally relatable people do things and then it blows up in their faces.
Desi really was the creative genius behind that first show. I think I mentioned in an earlier post that he was the producer and director of "Mothers in Law" with Kay Ballard and Eve Arden which I think is one of the 2 or three funniest sitcoms ever. Lucy and her work were never remotely as good as was her work with Desi- not close in my opinion. One of the reasons the Burton show was funny was that Lucy reverted to her physical humor- the hand behing he curtain. That is right out of her first show.
Lord, "Mothers In Law" is one of the most dreadful shows in shitcom history. Pugh and Carroll simply lost their touch. Their first few seasons of "The Lucy Show" are good, and some episodes rival ILL (like the shower episode or the antennae episode) but their output after was terrible. Plus, Kaye Ballard is very hard to take on the small screen.
Ricky treated Lucy like a she was a disobedient child. Very common in the 1950s, not acceptable today.
R224, you are an woman-hating asshole.
Actually R224 makes a point. Lucy was a self centered, selfish, brat who brought nothing to anyone's life but mayhem, trouble, and strife. She manipulated everyone around her. The saving grace was she usually got her ass kicked (metaphorically).
She was the Carrie Bradshaw of her time but witout the sex.
Not a woman hater
Actually, Dean Martin was probably not as boozed up as he appeared during his Vegas act or the Roasts. I thought i read he drank tea instead of booze.
He was very depressed in his life. Maybe more so after his son died but he was depressed most of his life. Probably a recluse in the later years.
Lucy was manipulative, but you have to remember Ricky was the boss. She'd actually call him sir, especially when he got angry. That reflected their real relationship too, Desi was domineering because he was raised in a very patriarchal culture. They had to call the show *I* Love Lucy, so the focus would be turned around to him. He spanked her in a few episodes, somewhat playfully, but still.
So Lucy had to scheme and carefully manipulate Ricky to get his permission to do what she wanted. That explains why she was manipulative with him anyway, but not why she was manipulative with others.
Martin probably watered down the scotch, r231. He drank and smoked A LOT. That's documented.
God, comedy television was really dominated by a bunch of tired, middle-aged, washed-out drunks in the late 60s. You can see how ripe it was for Norman Fell and Grant Tinker to waltz in and change everything in 1969-1970.
Sorry: I meant Norman LEAR, not Norman Fell!! LOL
"Probably a recluse in the later years"
Duh, r231. Do you live in a cave?
"Norman Fell" was actually quite a funny mistake, r234. I could almost picture it.
No R236 I don't live in a cave. What's your fucking point asshole?
Dean Martin spent his final years as a recluse, drinking and smoking all day and night until it finally killed him.
Martin must be a generational thing, because from the clips I've seen of him performing I just don't understand the appeal.
Like it or not, you have to put Lucy Ricardo and I Love Lucy within the context of its times and also how other marriages and families were being portrayed on American television.
Yes, there were more sympathetic and intelligent portrayals of Wife/Mother characters in the likes of Jane Wyatt, Donna Reed and Barbara Billingsley but they were no more realistic to 1950s women than Lucy.
And compared to her other sit-comedic contemporaries like Gale Storm, Ann Sothern, Joan Davis and Eve Arden....well, Lucy was simply just funnier.
You'll note that we're not still talking about any of those dear ladies any more.
Gracie Allen wasn't very smart...actually she was batshit crazy. George Burns just let her screw things up because you can't argue with a crazy person. He didn't act like her father or drill sergeant.
R238, this has been documented. If you had been born already or knew how to read or weren't living in a cave, you'd know it. Capishe? Get the point now dingy?
I don't give a flying fuck how horrid Lucy was off screen. The work in ILL is classic and timeless. That's all I care about.
I read that too. For some reason Lucille Ball loved Dean. She said that of all the show she ever did in her life, in any of her series, her favorite episode was on the Lucy Show, the episode that guest starred Dean Martin.
I thought it was a rather run of the mill episode. Anyone else remember it? It was pretty average, but it was Lucille Ball's favorite show she ever did.
I thought Dean Martin was seen in his later years having dinner every night at the same restaurant.
He might have been a lonely, retired drunkard, but I don't think he was a recluse as we traditionally think of it.
And who cares if the Lucy character is childish, selfish, and relentless. Many a great comic character in literature is built around someone deeply flawed who's keeps resorting to type by exhibiting antisocial behavior. And as for TV . . . Jackie Gleason, Carrol O'Connor, Larry David, Charlie Sheen, Jim Parsons . . . that's why people keep tuning in.
>>Gracie Allen wasn't very smart...actually she was batshit crazy. George Burns just let her screw things up because you can't argue with a crazy person.
This is so patently untrue. It was an act they had, scripted and honed from 1926 until her retirement in 1958. Try reading one of the many memoirs written by Burns or other bios. She didn't screw things up...she was following a written script.
>>He didn't act like her father or drill sergeant.
This is true. She was his bread and butter and why mess with it. Also, one of the nicest things about their act is that he never got impatient or exasperated with her character's quirkiness.
Gracie Allen was actually a highly intelligent woman. The 'Gracie' character from the Burns and Allen performances was just an act.
[quote]Also, one of the nicest things about their act is that he never got impatient or exasperated with her character's quirkiness.
It was a bit different on radio. George would call out Gracie
George) I'm gonna call you Vermont Grade A Maple Syrup
Gracie) Because I'm so sweet?
George) No, because you're a fine sap
Gracie) No George, a hero is a man, I'm a heroine
George) I should've known, heroin's a dope
And Gracie could be mean
George) Look at his radio scene magazine. We were supposed to be on the cover, but it's only you.
Gracie) Your arm's there
George) But they cut the rest of me out, what about my face?
Gracie) What about it? It looks like you fell on it.
Wow. I'm glad they dropped the Lockhorn's schtick for tv.
YES, r248, it was completely different on the Burns & Allen radio show. TV was much better and I like Harry Vonzel over Bill "playboy" Goodwin any day.
R247, you are soooooo brilliant. Thank you for teaching us the obvious.
R246, you are brilliant too. Like DUH.
yes, Gracie's routine was just an act. And over the years they learned audiences didn't like it if they were mean to each other, and especially when George was mean to Gracie for being such a dingaling, so they decided to have him always be nice to her when they did the television show, and that was one of the reasons for their success. She would be so exasperating if her dinginess actually irritated George, but by making it clear she never truly upset him it was endearing.
It was Harry Von Zell and Blanche and Harry Morton that George was mean to, not Gracie.
I loved the device of George watching what the other characters were doing on the TV set in his man cave over the garage.
[quote]I thought Dean Martin was seen in his later years having dinner every night at the same restaurant.
He provided inspiration for Anderson Cooper's daily stop to pick up a Boston Market meal.
here's a bunch of photos mostly from the last 10 years or so of Lucille's life. In every picture where she's not wearing a wig and has her natural hair, she wears huge tinted sunglasses to hide her eyes. When she's wearing a wig -- and therefore employing her lever-and-pulley facelift system -- she's without glasses.
I can't see a thing, R256, and I'm not even wearing huge, tinted sunglasses.
[quote]It was Harry Von Zell and Blanche and Harry Morton that George was mean to, not Gracie
The radio show was different. It evolved over something like 15 years. At the start, George and Gracie weren't married on the show. They were married in real life, but they played single people on the radio show.
Over the years the structure of the show changed, from variety to arguably the first sitcom show. At the peak of radio in the 40s George and Gracie along with Jack Benny were the highest paid performers, earning $10,000/week.
(Benny did better as he got the entire $10,000, while George and Gracie split their $10,000)
Jack Benny's wife was a real bitch and one of the few people Gracie Allen disliked in real life. But Jack and George were best friends. George wasn't fond of her either but he never said anything out right mean about, just that she wasn't his favorite person.
What was the deal with Mary Benny. Never heard a nice word about her. Only see her described with words like bitch, mean, greedy, horrible, depressing. How could Jack have been such a great guy, and his wife so hated?
I have heard that Mary Benny used to have parties ,and she was so rude asking her guests at her parties about their private lives. She loved gossip and she asked various people about dirt different people in Hollywood.
Just curious, has anyone ever seen any of the footage of the sequel to Stone Pillow that they were shooting at the time of Lucy's death?
[quote]How could Jack have been such a great guy, and his wife so hated?
Mary Livingstone Benny was probably frustrated and angry to be married to a homosexual. People say she was often openly hostile to Jack while he took it with quiet grace. Perhaps he felt guilty about using her for the sake of his image.
Gracie Allen had a heart condition that forced her into early retirement. She was given a big send-off in the form of a "Gracie Retires from Show Biz" TV special, with a big party and tons of newspaper coverage. All the hoopla was designed to cover up the sad fact that she needed to save her strength in the hopes of prolonging her life. She died only a few years later.
Well! Mary Benny was SO jealous that Gracie got all that special attention, she announced her own "retirement from show business" the following year. Because she was Jack Benny's wife, the network and the Benny and Burns & Allen teams had to go through the motions of giving her a grand tribute too, although no one really gave a damn whether she stayed or went.
These diary excerpts have made the cover of the National Examiner (or is it the Globe?)
Sorry, couldn't locate an image.
Lucille Ball was NEVER a nice person. If Desi drank and womanized, it was because he was married to her. She treated everyone on the set at underlings. She belittled Vivian Vance, knowing that Viv was so much prettier than her, she made her wear frumpy outfits so
Vivian wouldn't upstage her. When Edie Adams did a spot on the Lucy-Desi Comedy hour, she made sure Edie didn't look better than her. Lucy did not age well either. By the 1960's she looked like Baby Jane, scary looking. Her daughter isn't much nicer. At a autograph signing, Lucy Arnaz had that "don't you know who I am" attitude towards the staff.
Read Langella's chapter on Burton. Then consider the source. Then consider that many can't stand Langella. And consider that source.
Accordingly, don't put too much trust in any celebrities rant about another.
The real key character on I Love Lucy wasn't Lucy - it was Desi. His timing was flawless, that Cuban accent made everyone laugh. Lucy was okay with physical comedy, but she didn't have the natural ability to make people laugh like Desi - he knew how to make laugh at himself too, unlike her. She was not pretty either - and she knew it - so I think that bothered her. She had a nice figure, but she was actually ugly. I Love Lucy worked because of the chemistry between all the characters. Lucy gave herself too much credit
1950's black and white
I agree with R266, but I'm sorry, Langella's book is a gossiphound's delight. He's catty and petty, just the way I like it. Here's an excerpt about Burton from Langella's book:
"...Could anyone, I wondered, be so unaware of what a crashing bore he had become? There sat a man approximately fifty-two years of age, looking ten years older, dressed in black mink, with heavily applied pancake, under a tortured, balding helmet of jet-black dyed hair, grandly reciting poetry."
What Burton said about Lucy:
“She is a monster of staggering charmlessness and monumental lack of humour .... I am coldly sarcastic with her to the point of outright contempt but she hears only what she wants to hear .... She is a tired old woman and lives entirely on that weekly show which she has been doing and successfully doing for 19 years. Nineteen solid years of double-takes and pratfalls and desperate upstaging and cutting out other people’s laughs if she can, nervously watching the ‘ratings’ as she does so ... I loathe her today but now I also pity her. I make a point of never seeing her again .... Milady Ball can thank her lucky stars that I am not drinking. There is a chance that if I had I might have killed her. Jack Benny, the most amiable man in the world, and one of the truly great comedians of our time, says that in 4 days she reduced his life expectancy by 10 years.”
Sorry, didn't realize I was copying OP's quote.
Say what you want about Lucy's personality (or lack thereof), but ugly? YMMV, but I disagree.
A lot of parents copied Lucy and Ricky in the 50s. My brother was named "Ricky." My Dad was tall, dark and handsome, but looked more like Tony Curtis than Desi Arnaz. My mother was a little too pretentious to carry off Lucy's zany antics but she had dyed red hair just like Lucy, and together they looked the part. In our little microcosm, Dad, like Desi, was screwing everyone in town, and Mom was smoking more and more, while getting bitter at being the laughinstock of our neighbors. When they divorced, I thought she'd never get over it. He was the great love of her life. I can understand why the show was so popular.
R265/267, take a pill.
Wow r3, he does look like shit and he's BARELY acting- nor is Liz.
That's embarrassing. It's one thing to be on a show you might consider "beneath you" but if you're on it, be good at it or you look twice the fool.
In the context of her time, Lucy was considered a great beauty. Google pics of her Gerswhin Girl days. She still was during ILL, though by the end of that she was moving toward that Lucy Carter/Carmicheal look of a "used to be a beauty".
Lucille Ball was a beautiful young woman and certainly an attractive woman all her life, even though at times her looks were downplayed or seemed a thing of the past, as they are for most people later in life.
Not everyone can be Paul Newman, Charlotte Rampling or Julie Christie.
Did Lucy really work as a call girl?
[quote]couldn't of helped
She was probably the only female he worked with he did not want to bang ....
Some corrections: Jack Benny wasn't a "homosexual." it's assumed in fact that he had an affair with Ann Sheridan when they were making George Washington Lived Here. It seems everyone who ever worked with him loved him. I have no idea if Mary Livingston was a bitch, though by all accounts she could be difficult. Sometimes it's heard to be married to the nicest man in the world. Your role is pretty much cut out for you.
Lucille Ball was not only not "ugly," she was beautiful -- in her movies and on TV until age and smoking and sun and probably stress and worry and disappointment caught up with, as they do at some point with almost all of us. Desi Arnaz was a talented straight man, one of the best and for a long time overlooked, but was never the focus of the show. Lucille Ball was the focus, and on I Love Lucy at least was very, very funny. She was also funny in her pre-Lucy movies. See, for example, Stage Door and Without Love, which she steals from Tracy and Hepburn (though, admittedly, it's a pretty stinky picture to steal). I'm sure Ball could be demanding and even imperious, but both zdesi Arnaz and William Frawley adored her. Her relationship with Vivian Vance was fraught with minor jealousies, but all the books about them -- and there are more than you might think possible -- say that they were good friends who respected one another. It's true that L probably liked (and needed) V more than the reverse, but she was also more public and outspoken about V's talents. She was quoted repeatedly about them. You can see on YouTube L's reaction at one of the early Emmys; she obviously was crazy about her co-stars. Moreover, 20 years later, on a Merv Griffin show she chokes up when talking about Vivian Vance. You can tell she loved and valued her.
From everything I've read and heard, Lucie Arnaz is supposed to be nice and down-to-earth. I admire the fact that she's been candid about her mother but also loving and loyal. She displays the kind of perspective that most people in show business seem to lack. If her mother was increasingly controlling, tough, and self-protective, she says, those were comparatively minor flaws in a world full of really bad parents. She appears to be grateful for all she had and still has.
[quote]I thought Dean Martin was seen in his later years having dinner every night at the same restaurant.
Dan Tana's on Santa Monica Boulevard in West Hollywood (just past the Beverly Hills border).
After his son Dean Paul Martin died in the mid-1980s, Dean would go to Dan Tana's nearly every night and get shitfaced drunk, then have to be helped out to his car. He might have played with the drinking act earlier in his career, but by the end he was a sad alcoholic.
Why didn't Dean eat at Dino's Place? I mean, Alan Hale was always at the damned Lobster Barrel on La Cienega....as a host.
R280 I ate there once in the '70s and spotted Jim Nabors there. The owner was the inspiration for the name of Robert Urich's character in Vega$.
How could you not know Lucille was a bitch?
Which are the best movies of Lucille Ball except her (yawning) Lucy Show? Have she played in something really memorable except for silly comedies and which of her comedies is the best according to you?
I'm amazed that any DLers like this show - wasn't it all just slapstick, shouting and wailing?
The Big Street and Lured
Bitch all you want, but MAME has some fantastic moments, and I can actually rewatch it, which is more than I can say for a lot of movies.
She was pretty good in "Without Love," a lesser Tracy/Hepburn picture. And "Follow the Fleet," "Stage Door," "Miss Grant Takes Richmond," and "The Big Street."
A know a lot of people didn't like Lucy. But I'm guessing more people didn't like Dick.
Kim:Bitches, you sent 291 posts for Lucille and i only got 48. Are you in your right mind faggots? I made a statement that i got raped and you keep on talking about Lucille and Burton?
You know who i am? What happened to your minds?
Kim:I'm a better broad than Lucille. I'm more beautiful and i have played in better movies than her.
Thank heaven for you, R289! Despite its flaws, MAME truly had many stunning moments. The title song number is a masterpiece of musical filmmaking and Lucy's performance was inspired. The canard that Lucy demanded to sing her own songs also needs to be put to rest. Her voice was indeed dubbed and then Warner Bros. decided to release it with Lucy's somewhat challenged vocals. I am pleased to set the record straight.
[quote]Why didn't Dean eat at Dino's Place? I mean, Alan Hale was always at the damned Lobster Barrel on La Cienega....as a host.
I think Dino's was gone by then. I used to see Dean at the Hamburger Hamlet on Sunset Blvd heading towards Trousdale Estates. He was at the end. Everyone felt bad because of his son. It seemed to destroy him. I imagine it would.
I remember at the same restaurant seeing Barbara Streisand and Jon Peters have a big fight. He slammed on the brakes, left her sitting there in her Rolls convertible, she slid over, flipped him the bird, and drove off, but only after she realized he wasn't coming back.
I loved hearing that Johnny Carson called her Lucille Testicle behind her back!
R291 I think you're safe in saying that most of us LOVE dick.
r279, if well-known nice people like George Burns and Gracie Allen could barely stand her, then you know Mary Livingston (nee Sadie Marks) must have been hell-on-wheels.
When I worked at Hamburger Hamlet the National.Enquirer ran a cover photo
of Dean Martin losing his balance falling off a curb,in front of the restaurant.
He was always served as much as he wanted.He always had a big Bentley with
a chauffeur. He was quite frail,and seeing the photo while buying some vodka at the Mayfair market made me feel sad. This was in (spring? 1991).
Lucy was one of the few people who didn't consider herself beautiful. She always admired Maureen O'Hara's beauty.
[quote]Some corrections: Jack Benny wasn't a "homosexual." it's assumed in fact that he had an affair with Ann Sheridan
You're right. Jack Benny wasn't a "homosexual." He was a cock-sucking, ass-spreading,full-on flaming FAG.
And I'm the dame who can prove it.
[quoted]Despite its flaws, MAME truly had many stunning moments
I was certainly stunned the moment Lucy first opened her mouth to bellow out "Light the candles."
And no, Lisa Kirk - who was supposed to be Lucy's voice double, never got the chance to record. One of the stupidest mistakes they made (although not as stupid as hiring Lucy for the part to begin with).
She deserved the trashing she got. In fact, she deserved a lot worse than she got.
I'm not fond of Lucille Ball, not at all.
It's a shame they didn't show this in Liz & Dick. Amanda Bynes could've played Lucy.
read Mary Tyler Moore's autobiography. Lucy owned the Dick Van Dyke Show. She would visit the set. MTM ust raved about her.
I thought Ann Sheridan was a lesbian. Or at the least, seriously bi. Is that why Jack Benny choose her to have an "affair" with?
Carole Cook told a story that when Jack Benny was a guest star on The Lucy Show Jack was'nt moving fast enough and Lucy yells "for Christ sake Jack get over here". Jack leans over to Carole and says "will someone tell her she has the job".
Poor Jack did not escape her wrath.
Richard Burton hated Lucy because she was the original first choice to play George in WHO'S AFRAID OF VIRGINIA WOOLF?, but Gary Morton talked her out of doing it.
[quote]That's embarrassing. It's one thing to be on a show you might consider "beneath you" but if you're on it, be good at it or you look twice the fool.
He was completely drunk off his ass at that time. So was Liz. They were both messes.
[quote]Lucy owned the Dick Van Dyke Show.
No, she didn't. It may have been filmed at Desilu, but it wasn't produced by them.
I learned on the Bette Davis thread that after Davis walked off the picture, Lucy was wanted for her role in Wicked Stepmother but that was the week she had her heart attack. Gary Morton had nothing to do with this one!
[quote Lucy was one of the few people who didn't consider herself beautiful. She always admired Maureen O'Hara's beauty.]
Who exactly did consider Lucy beautiful?
Comedians and comic actors are not supposed to be beautiful, r313.
If Bette Davis had originally guest-starred on that Lucy/Desi Comedy Hour instead of substitute Tallulah Bankhead, do you think there would be many legendary stories about all the backstage antics?
Neither Lucy nor Bette tolerated any unprofessionalism so maybe they would have got along just fine. Did Bette ever guest star on Here's Lucy?
Ethel Mae Potter
That Americans find Lucille Ball funny is an indictment of Americans.
She's desperately, desperately, desperately unfunny.
Puerile, hammy, tired, strained.
As unfunny as the benchmark of unfunny: MASH.
Yes, THAT unfunny.
And the flyover fags who worship at her alter need to be profoundly bitchslapped.
Bette Davis and Lucille Ball never worked together, which is too bad. I recall that Lucy's big problem with Bankhead (and later Joan Crawford) was that both of them drank during rehearsal, which Lucy couldn't abide. Bette Davis never drank when she was working. She got tits-up shitfaced the minute the workday was over, but she was sober while working.
I don't believe Bette never drank when working.
I'm surprised Lucy wasn't wealthier when she died. I read her children received $1 million each. That's it. Not saying parents are obligated to leave anything but after all those movies in the 40s, buying RKO, the shows, I thought she and Desi would've been worth megamillions!!!
If Lucy was as nasty as I've read about I wonder about her poor husband Gary Morton. From airline attendents to actors, I've read Lucy was not a nice person. She and Desi did things to each other. A very volatile marriage.
Here's what Keith Thibideaux said:
Keith Thibodeaux: They had separate bedrooms in Beverly Hills at one point. Once, at their home in Palm Springs, she told her chauffeur to drive her down to the Indian Wells Country Club. She asked my father [a family friend] to go along with her. She went to the lounge to have a drink, and Desi walked in with a couple of women on his arm. When he saw Lucy at the bar, he turned around and took off.
[At their home] there was always tension. One time Desi Jr. and I were playing in the backyard, and they were in the guest house. We heard a lot of loud arguing and cursing and glass shattering and screaming, and we were scared. Desi Jr. turned to me and said, "There they go again." I was about 9,10 years old.
I no longer confuse actors with the characters they play. I learned a long time ago not to do that because you'll end up disappointed. Many people go into acting are disillusioned or become that way. They want fame while offering their children nannies then the fans get upset at the adult children for speaking ill of the true life they lived.
the burtons knew nothing about comedy. lucy would tell them that they needed to speak up and dont throw away the jokes. those two dopes thought thier you know what didnt stink.
i saw a special on that episode and the burtons were so full of themselves, they had to have thier own limos, god forbid that they would travel together and seperate hotel rooms and trailers. lucy knew how to do comedy, they didnt.
This is a woman who gave her first-born away, because the girl would interfere with her career.
Lucy was the hardest working woman in show biz.
"The Lucy Show" and "Here's Lucy" or whatever the fuck they were called, were just dreadful. Slapstick, corny, not funny.
It was all downhill after "I Love Lucy".
We won't even discuss the abortion of "Mame".
316, you sound like a nasty fag as well.
Liz and Dick needed the money. They wouldn't have done the show otherwise.
The cunt at R324 is posting all over without the requisite "R" in thread references, and considering every one of her posts is a slam against someone else it would be nice if she learned how to use the DL. Asshole.
Can you imagine Lucy and Desi doing "Who's Afraid of Virginia Woolf?"
[quote]Can you imagine Lucy and Desi doing "Who's Afraid of Virginia Woolf?
George: Choo're a monster - Choo are.
Martha: I'm loud and I'm vulgar, and I wear the hostess pants in the house because somebody's got to, but I am not a monster. I'm not. WAAAAAAA!
As a kid growing up in the 50s and 60s. I remember that TV was filled with performers who were supposed to be incredibly entertaining but it was impossible to see why. Lucy was one, along with Red Skelton, Jack Benny, Jimmy Durante. Having these people foisted on us created fertile ground for Lenny Bruce and, later, Saturday Night Live.
Also, I Love Lucy came to a dead halt whenever Desi performed. Just awful.
[quote] Can you imagine Lucy and Desi doing "Who's Afraid of Virginia Woolf?"
no. I don't think it was much of a stretch for Taylor and Burton. They were both crazy out of control drunks
No one was less entertaining than Bob Hope. How could I leave him off the list?
My friend was one of those flight attendants who would routinely get ignored by Miss Ball and could only speak to the assistant. She said the hardest thing was that people would ask her to get an autograph or if maybe they could get their photo taken with Miss Ball and of course the answer was no. In fact the flight attendants knew to not even to ask. People always thought she would be the same fun, zany gal on tv and would love to meet her fans. There was always someone on the flight who thought of themself as Lucy's biggest fan, and surely they could just say hello? My friend always wanted to tell these people how rude she was on the flight to employees, but of course, couldn't.
As to Dean Martin, Shirley MacLaine said in her autobiography that during the Rat Pack years the gang would all want to go out after the show, and Dean would always say he had a couple of girls in the room waiting for him, and they should go on without him. The reality was he just liked to sit in bed and watch tv, alone. Another one who was very different from his 'character'.
"If Lucy was as nasty as I've read about I wonder about her poor husband Gary Morton."
Give me a break. "Poor" Gary knew what he getting into and he was willing to go there. He was a very mediocre comic who became Mr. Lucille Ball and everything that went with it ($$$).
Don't believe it not one word!!
I was reading a review of Burton's diaries that point out he apparently had a major affair with Genvieve Boujold while making Anne of a Thousand Days, but in his "diaries" he writes very dismissively of her, thinks Elizabeth looks fresher and younger, doesn't admire her acting and thinks Elizabeth would have been better in the role. The review says he often wrote things in the diary he knew Elizabeth would read, because she read his journals.
Even when he's going on and on about their sex life and her beauty, it sounds like hell. It sounds like she had no boundaries, and she was the Queen of TMI about everything. I know it's too romantic to preserve "mystique" in a marriage but she went so far the other way. Burton writes like he's embracing it, and it's his dream, but it's kind of fishy how he goes into all the disgusting detail and is then - how I love her!
In the Plummer bio he writes of Rex Harrison training a telescope on Burton's yacht - Burton is on deck by himself and Harrison says this is how it is - he gets up and drinks and hours later she'll get up and she has to have on full make-up. It sounds like his peers felt horror and pity for Burton hitching himself to that relationship. Even if the yacht story itself is embellished or made up, it probably reflects what some other actors actually thought.
I think his diaries are partly his real feelings, and partly misdirection for Taylor, especially where other women/actresses are concerned.
She was "loved by the world" but in truth, she was a monster to most who knew her. When I met her a year before she passed, she had this young man who was with her all the time. He catered to her needs and she kicked him around like he was a bowling pin. Yes, he was assumed to be a star struck homosexual fan who adored her on I Love Lucy. However, in reality he was really just a plain "whipping boy" that she could boss around and verbally abuse (just like in the good old days when she was a TV star and studio head).
Before she was even cold in the grave her "loving husband" Gary came home from the memorial service and moved the TV, where he had always wanted it. I think that behavior says it all now that, in his words "the old witch was dead". Within a year he was seeing a young blond.
The man who was her 24 hour slave, wrote a book titled "I Loved Lucy", it's suppose to be a "love story" but in reality it is a story of an abusive old woman who selected a passive homosexual man who would take her non-stop crap.
I read "I Loved Lucy" and yes, I agree it was suppose to be love story between Lucy and her escort/friend Lee Tannen. Sadly although he loved her, in discussing all the experiences he had with her, Lucy does come across as a real mean old crab. It's frightening just how awful she appears to have been.
Even her daughter, Lucie Arnaz wrote that she was "impressed" with the book (on the back cover). I would assume if her own daughter agreed with Mr. Tanner there must be some truth to it. No one is perfect but she does come across at the very least as a unpleasant personality. Not mentioned in the Tanner book is her smoking (along with her non-stop smokers cough) and daily alcohol intake, which may account, in part for her abusive behaviors.
As for her two last shows; Here's Lucy and Life With Lucy, both were un-watchable. She just wasn't funny and slap-stick was no longer popular. Gale Gordon getting a pie in the face at the end of each show, could only be taken so far. I never thought he was funny either.
Lucille Ball.... tee heee
As my father used to say, "Who told Desi he could sing?"
The guy was so caustic makes you wonder if there was a little queen in there somewhere.
On JOHN HUSTON: "A simpleton really. Thinks he's a genius. Self aggrandizing liar and quite good at it."
On PAUL NEWMAN: "When I first met him, I thought he was wearing make-up. The man really has a peaches & cream complexion. Extraordinarily youthful looking. Too pretty, I'd hate to look like him."
On NATALIE WOOD: "The dear looks emaciated and looks to be riddled with TB. Pekinese eyes. Sad case.”
On GORE VIDAL: “So tall dark and handsome fellow. Too handsome, I would have thought, to be a good writer which he is.”
On EDDIE FISHER: “He really is beneath contempt—a gruesome little man and smug as a boot.”
On JULIE ANDREWS: "Rode the success of that gawdawful THE HORRIBLE SOUND MUSIC to an undeservedly long career."
On REX HARRISON & RACHEL ROBERTS: "Sexually morally physically and in every way by his wife, Rachel". Then continued about how while the two couples were on vacation “She lay on the floor and barked like dog,” he wrote; “At one time she started to masturbate her basset hound.”
I realize Ball was a major star with a top ranked show through most of the 60's after I Love Lucy made her. And that she had a super image then (none of this 'hard to work for' stuff was common knowledge in public)which seemed to give her carte blanc to do whatever she wanted on set. But, you really have to wonder what big, legit 'actor' like Burton (and others)were thinking to appear on her show. Maybe they were more for the exposure than working with her as a benefit. Jack Benny, past his prime, is a good example. Joan Crawford another. Vance, fighting for her own sanity, got wise and left the show, deciding she could only take Ball in small doses. Other, semi-regulars such as Ann Sothern, came and went on a regular basis. Only Gale Gordon, who was either stoned, played too much football without a helmet or just plain out of his mind stayed around for all but one of the Lucy shows seasons. Desi Arnaz once commented that Gordon had to do his parts totally straight, and that he had Ball's respect. He seemed to replace Vance as her center of gravity and Arnaz as her foil.