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Her Happy Husbands: The real story of Vivian Vance and Bill Frawley

I found a strange pictorial about Vivian Vance, Bill Frawley, and her real husband Phil Ober. It was published around 1957 -- at the end of I Love Lucy -- and talks about how she worked to keep "both" her marriages happy. It also paints her and Bill as friendly outside of work, with him regularly stopping by the Obers' house to socialize. And apparently Bill and Phil were friends, too.

I'd never seen this piece before. Did rumors about the animosity between Vance and Frawley leak or something? I thought she hated him. Was the studio behind this? Theories?

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by Anonymousreply 74December 3, 2021 6:54 PM


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by Anonymousreply 1November 9, 2021 4:46 PM


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by Anonymousreply 2November 9, 2021 4:46 PM

I remember reading that at one point Desilu wanted to spin the Mertz's off on to their own show once the weekly I Love Lucy ended. Eventually VV said no. I could imagine this story was when they were trying to get that idea rolling.

by Anonymousreply 3November 9, 2021 5:12 PM

That spin-off would have ended in tears.

by Anonymousreply 4November 9, 2021 5:14 PM

Maybe it was meant to distract from the unraveling Lucy-Desi marriage.

by Anonymousreply 5November 9, 2021 5:18 PM

My marriage ... s weren't a walk in the park, r5!

by Anonymousreply 6November 9, 2021 5:44 PM

Ahh..Loved me some Viv. Love a gal who gives me some great laughs.

by Anonymousreply 7November 9, 2021 6:29 PM


"Champagne for Everybody"

by Anonymousreply 8November 9, 2021 6:35 PM

[quote]Desilu wanted to spin the Mertz's off

Oh, dear.

by Anonymousreply 9November 9, 2021 6:36 PM

"HIs name was Bill Frawley and he spent his life carrying on a mad and passionate affair with showbusiness"

I didn't know that there were rent boys named "showbusiness."

by Anonymousreply 10November 9, 2021 6:40 PM

Gee, based on this article I guess "the nurse" living with Bill Frawley when he died was Viv and Bill's secret love child

by Anonymousreply 11November 9, 2021 6:42 PM

When Viv turned down the Mertzes spin-off, she was instead offered Guestward Ho! Phil demanded she convince Desi to cast him in the male lead, but no matter how much Viv pleaded, Desi refused. He knew the score.

by Anonymousreply 12November 9, 2021 6:49 PM

Ober is best known to me for playing Deborah Kerr's dickhead husband in FROM HERE TO ETERNITY. He's great in the role.

by Anonymousreply 13November 9, 2021 6:50 PM

lol good catch r10

by Anonymousreply 14November 9, 2021 6:55 PM

[quote]When Viv turned down the Mertzes spin-off, she was instead offered Guestward Ho! Phil demanded she convince Desi to cast him in the male lead, but no matter how much Viv pleaded, Desi refused. He knew the score.

"Guestward Ho!" was based on a Patrick Dennis ("Auntie Mame") book. Viv only did the pilot; when it went to series her role was played by Joanne Dru (birth name: Joanne Letitia LaCock; she was Peter Marshall's sister.)

by Anonymousreply 15November 9, 2021 7:05 PM

Was Frawley really gay, or is this just DL lore?

by Anonymousreply 16November 9, 2021 8:33 PM

Phil Ober also played 'Dory Sherry' in the ILL episode Don Juan Is Shelved. I think he also played another, earlier character where he was Lucy's 'First' husband where she could win 1,000.00 (she was on a radio program - Females are Fabulous) if she could carry off the ruse until midnight. There was a knock on the door and he was Lucy's 'Second' 'First' husband (a bum showed up first w/Lucy thinking it was her 'First' husband). Anyway, he apparently had numerous rolls throughout the ILL run although I can only recall the two above.

by Anonymousreply 17November 9, 2021 8:50 PM

Those were the only two roles they gave him, r17 -- and the Dore Schary part wasn't really planned. They knew he was abusing Vivian and weren't very willing to do him many favors.

by Anonymousreply 18November 9, 2021 8:58 PM

Vance was very anti Frawley from the beginning. She didn't want them to hire him to play her husband because he was 22 years older than her and thought it would look ridiculous. From everything I've read their relationship went downhill from there.

And of course there's the old report that upon learning Frawley had died she said "CHAMPAGNE FOR EVERYONE!!".

by Anonymousreply 19November 9, 2021 9:09 PM

[quote]Anyway, he apparently had numerous rolls

And here we thought that Viv was the one with the weight problem.

by Anonymousreply 20November 9, 2021 9:22 PM

Guestward Ho!

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by Anonymousreply 21November 9, 2021 9:34 PM

It bombed because they didn't cast me r21

by Anonymousreply 22November 9, 2021 9:38 PM

r20, you truly deserve your W&W

by Anonymousreply 23November 9, 2021 10:04 PM

[quote]And of course there's the old report that upon learning Frawley had died she said "CHAMPAGNE FOR EVERYONE!!".

Is this DL lore as well?

by Anonymousreply 24November 9, 2021 10:50 PM

Fawley was a twink.

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by Anonymousreply 25November 9, 2021 11:42 PM

r25 That is most definitely NOT William Frawley.

by Anonymousreply 26November 9, 2021 11:58 PM

OP, this is a "movie magazine" article, total bullshit.

by Anonymousreply 27November 10, 2021 12:04 AM

R25 - that's hilarious that anyone could think that picture was taken in 1902.

by Anonymousreply 28November 10, 2021 12:07 AM

Dory Sherry

by Anonymousreply 29November 10, 2021 12:13 AM

I get Phil Ober and Fred Clark mixed up

by Anonymousreply 30November 10, 2021 12:14 AM

Well I never in all my life r27!!

by Anonymousreply 31November 10, 2021 12:31 AM

I just think the idea that Fawley was a twink is hilarious.

by Anonymousreply 32November 10, 2021 12:57 AM

William Fawley was a twink should become a DL meme.

by Anonymousreply 33November 10, 2021 12:58 AM

The sad truth:

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by Anonymousreply 34November 10, 2021 1:00 AM

This purports to be a photo of the young Frawley.

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by Anonymousreply 35November 10, 2021 1:05 AM

I agree, r33. We need a new meme around here

by Anonymousreply 36November 10, 2021 1:12 AM

r35 That is a photo of Chester Morris of Red Headed Woman (w/Jean Harlow), and the Boston Blackie series.

by Anonymousreply 37November 10, 2021 1:15 AM

If anything screams 1902 it's R25's photo.

by Anonymousreply 38November 10, 2021 1:24 AM

Phil Ober was the guy who got KNIFED at the UN in North by Northwest.

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by Anonymousreply 39November 10, 2021 1:44 AM

(And I threw the knife.)

by Anonymousreply 40November 10, 2021 8:58 AM

[quote] OP, this is a "movie magazine" article, total bullshit.

What?! Oh, you have no idea what you’re talking about. Those magazines are always truthful.

by Anonymousreply 41November 10, 2021 11:10 AM

I think Frawley was born looking old

by Anonymousreply 42November 10, 2021 11:40 AM

Bill's youth occupied the time before photography had been invented.

by Anonymousreply 43November 10, 2021 12:47 PM

The funny thing is, I don't think Bill or Phil were particularly happy

by Anonymousreply 44November 10, 2021 4:35 PM

^ I hear Viv abused both men, hence their unhappiness

I read it in a Movie magazine

by Anonymousreply 45November 10, 2021 4:49 PM

I read it in the encyclopedia Britannica.

by Anonymousreply 46November 10, 2021 5:08 PM

I read it in a magazine.

by Anonymousreply 47November 10, 2021 6:26 PM

I read it on a gum wrapper.

by Anonymousreply 48November 10, 2021 7:12 PM

Bette Midler and Peter Boyle were supposed to do “Here Comes The Mertzes” after Everybody Loves Raymond ended.

by Anonymousreply 49November 10, 2021 7:18 PM

Someone -- maybe Jess Oppenheimer? -- claimed the Vance-Frawley feud has been overblown.

by Anonymousreply 50November 10, 2021 8:46 PM

r45 did you read it in MRA Magazine?

by Anonymousreply 51November 11, 2021 12:20 AM

Guestward Ho is going to be my new drag name.

by Anonymousreply 52November 11, 2021 12:38 AM

I wonder if the book on which Guestward, Ho! is based is any good.

by Anonymousreply 53November 11, 2021 1:09 PM

^^^ apparently it was co-written with Patrick Dennis

by Anonymousreply 54November 11, 2021 1:33 PM

Phil Ober was the murderer on The Ghost and Mr. Chicken.

by Anonymousreply 55November 11, 2021 1:53 PM

What was the premise of Guestward Ho?

And who played the Ho?

by Anonymousreply 56November 11, 2021 2:04 PM


[quote]Babs Hooten, husband Bill and son Brook escape the frantic pace of NYC, buying dude ranch Guestward Ho in New Mexico. Their neighbor is Hawkeye who gives them bad advice he wants the Indians to reclaim the land if the Hootens fail.

In the pilot with Vance, I think the couple was childless.

by Anonymousreply 57November 11, 2021 2:08 PM

So, basically a fish out of the water premise?

by Anonymousreply 58November 11, 2021 2:36 PM

Yes, r58

It would have been fun to see Vance in her own show, but it never would have worked.

by Anonymousreply 59November 11, 2021 2:42 PM

Green Acres did the same premise years later with great success

by Anonymousreply 60November 11, 2021 3:05 PM

Viv was no Eva Gabor, r60

by Anonymousreply 61November 11, 2021 3:06 PM

What, no poll on this?

by Anonymousreply 62November 11, 2021 3:08 PM

Poll on what, r62? Who hated whom more?

by Anonymousreply 63November 11, 2021 3:09 PM


by Anonymousreply 64November 11, 2021 3:19 PM

The Dore Schary episode was written to include a cameo with Schary playing himself. At the very last minute he had to drop out. Ober was there, not busy, knew everybody including cast crew, writers and directors. That's probably why he was asked to fill in. There was not even a delay. Dore was short for Isadore.

by Anonymousreply 65November 12, 2021 8:31 PM

[quote]Ober was there, not busy, knew everybody including cast crew, writers and directors. That's probably why he was asked to fill in ...

... begrudgingly, I'm sure. No one like him at Desilu.

by Anonymousreply 66November 12, 2021 9:33 PM

How many zillions of baby boomers grew up knowing the name Dore Schary only because of ILL?

by Anonymousreply 67November 12, 2021 11:12 PM

TCM had a middle-of-the-road short subject featured of MGM's 25th anniversary, featuring Lionel Barrymore and Dore Schary. It was quite interesting to watch--90% of the new movies they were promoting for the upcoming year are probably all but forgotten today.

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by Anonymousreply 68November 12, 2021 11:21 PM

I meant middle-of-the NIGHT, not -road.

by Anonymousreply 69November 12, 2021 11:22 PM

Very interesting, r68. Thanks

by Anonymousreply 70November 14, 2021 4:07 PM

I feel like Lucy broke character a bit during the Dore Schary episode ... like her annoyance with "Schary" was really annoyance with Ober that she didn't bother to conceal

by Anonymousreply 71November 14, 2021 10:17 PM

Bill Frawley was closeted, right?

Wasn't he married earlier in life?

by Anonymousreply 72November 27, 2021 1:22 PM

This is a real picture of Frawley earlier in life

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by Anonymousreply 73December 3, 2021 6:52 PM

Like Ellen Corby, William Frawley always looked old.

by Anonymousreply 74December 3, 2021 6:54 PM
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