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Tuesday, August 2, 2011

Day Two of Lucy's Birthday Bash: My Lucille Ball Book Collection

Hello everyone, and welcome to day two of blogging for the birthday girl: Lucille Ball!

Of course, our favorite redhead won't turn 100 until Saturday, but that's not going to stop me. We're already celebrating here at Frankly, My Dear. Yesterday, we discussed Lucy's 100th in the news and special televised tributes (click Here to view the post.)

Today, I thought I'd go over my extensive Lucille Ball book collection by showing you what I've got and reviewing them for you... Below is a short clip of my entire collection, with the exception of the "Lucille Ball Trivia Book" by Michael Karol, which i own but could not find for some reason. (If the music sounds familiar, it's me with that "Love Story" theme again - the same one I used for the intro of my "No Sad Songs For Me" video. :P)
video

Yeah, I know that's not exactly the work of Hitchcock there. But anyway, I hope you got the gist of it.

So, now, I'll review each of the books. I'm not going to make these reviews very detailed because my collection is somewhat large (though it can always get huger, and I have a feeling it will), and I know you don't have all day to read posts by little old me. :)

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"Love, Lucy" by Lucille Ball

So, if you're a classic movie fan (which you probably are if you're reading this), you ought to have known by now, either through the grapevine or other bloggers or book reviews, how wonderful Lucy's autobiography truly is! This book was published posthumously by Lucy's children when they found the manuscript among her papers in the late 90's. It was originally written at some point in the 1960's (circa "Yours, Mine and Ours" if I am to set a timeline for you), with the help of a ghost writer. Lucy never published it though, likely because she didn't want to hurt people that were still alive that she spoke of - mostly, Desi, who'd she just divorced. However, Lucy needn't have worried. She speaks with such class and talks of everyone fondly. Even when it comes time to write about the divorce with Desi, she doesn't dish the dirt... And I think that was very classy of her. It's the best celebrity autobiography I have ever read, and I don't care if it sounds biased. 5/5.


"Desilu: The Story of Lucille Ball and Desi Arnaz" by Coyne S. Sanders and Tim Gilbert

I'm not finished with this yet. So far it looks okay, but I'm seeing a lot of focus on "Desilu Studios" instead of Lucy and Desi. But I'm not even halfway through, so we'll see how it goes. And because of that, I can't give it a rating yet.


"Laughing with Lucy" by Madelyn Pugh Davis and Bob Carroll Jr.

Any good Lucy fan knows that Madelyn and Bob were the two consecutive writers of "I Love Lucy," as well as several episodes of Lucy's other shows and her 1968 box office hit "Yours, Mine and Ours." And though Bob gets credit for writing this, this is all Madelyn's book - written in first person - with little input from Bob. I have always had great interest in the brilliant writers, and this is a nice, short read featuring bits and pieces o Madelyn's and Bob's lives, and their relationship with Lucy - and Desi too. Madelyn clarifies all the stereotypes about the backstage atmosphere of the show... Lucy was the perfectionist, Desi was the charmer, etc. etc. Though most of the information isn't new, we do get to learn a few, rare and charming backstage stories - like the time Tallulah Bankhead visited the set as a guest star. According to Madelyn, Tallulah was always late, messing up her lines, and tipsy. It drove Lucy, who had a high standard, nuts. The cast decided to hold a private meeting about what to do about her. Just before they began, Tallulah wandered in and bellowed something about them forgetting to invite her. To try and break the awkwardness, Lucy complimented Tallulah on a sweater she was wearing - to which Tallulah replied, "You like, it dahhlling? You can have it," and pulled it off on the spot. Vivian cracked, "Good thing you didn't compliment her on her slacks," but then Tallulah said, "You want those too?" And the pants came down. 3.5/5


"Lucy A to Z: The Lucille Ball Encyclopedia" by Michael Karol

Any Lucy fan will really enjoy this. Michael Karol is the writer of several Lucy books and founder of www.sitcomboy.com. Though he misses a few entries that he could have added, for the most part, Karol gets it all. The newest edition also comes with photographs. Over all, very nicely comprised. The presentation could have been better - Karol self publishes, which ought to explain it - so with that in mind I give it 4/5.


"The Lucy Book of Lists: Celebrating Lucy's Centennial and the 60th Anniversary of I Love Lucy" by Michael Karol 

Once again, not too crazy about the presentation. ALSO, since this is supposed to be a celebration of Lucytenniel and ILL's 60th anniversary, we could have gone for something thicker... however, the written work is of great quality. Kaye Ballard also makes a "guest appearance," and my favorite segment is "Ethel Mertz A-Twitter."... (Yes, Ethel Mertz Twittering). So, still great fun. 4/5



"Lucy at the Movies" by Cindy de la Hoz

This was the first Lucy book I ever got. I found it in the bookstore on a routine shopping trip a few years ago... I was extremely excited but was disappointed to learn it was thirty-five dollars. I didn't get it, but read it everytime I visited and hid it behind other books to make sure no one would buy it. I was very excited when my friend bought it for me as a Christmas present that year, and thus my collection of Lucy books was started. This is a wonderful book, big with lots of glossy pictures and movie posters... Lucy made over 100 films and this documents each and everyone of them. It includes a mini-bio of Lucy, as well as summaries of her movies, cast and production information, and critic reviews. It also has a gorgeous photo of Lucy on the cover. An excellent job. 4.5/5


"The Lucille Ball Book of Treasures" by Cindy de la Hoz

I got this as a Bargain Book from Barnes & Noble about a year. I was sooo excited to find it and very pleased with the information. It is a biography of Lucy with a lot of pictures and pull out "treasures" - just so awesome. Just great, great memorabilia. Every Lucy fan needs to own it. 4.5/5


"Lucy & Desi: The Real Life Scrapbook of America's Favorite Television Couple" by Elisabeth Edwards

This is another excellent, excellent Lucy book. Taken straight out from the estates of Lucy and Desi, this features bits from both of their real life scrapbooks (they were avid keepers of them), as well as more "pull-outs," like the "telegram" sent to Lucy and Desi by Desi's father in Florida the day they eloped, the marriage certificate of the two (with both of them lying about their ages!), and a Valentine's Day card to Lucy written by Desi ("To my favorite wife...")... just to name a few. It is just the greatest, best thing any Lucy fan could every stumble across! 5/5


"The I Love Lucy Scrapbook" by Elisabeth Edwards

A follow up to the latter book, this is just as wonderful! This features more excerpts of their scrapbooks, except all of the written bits are about "I Love Lucy." Also, you get a chance to take a peek into "The Mockingbird Murder Mystery" (the notorious novel Lucy was reading when she thinks Ricky is going to murder her - second episode, season one), pull out Little Ricky's "birth certificate", and much, much more! It is also a little bit of an episode guide to the series. Just lovely! 5/5


"I Love Lucy: Celebrating 50 Years of Love and Laughter" by Elisabeth Edwards

If there ever was a collective episode guide to every since "Lucy" episode, this is it! Includes plot summary and lots of photos. 4/5


"Lucille Ball" by Nick Yapp

Found by me the same day I found "Lucille Ball Treasures." With a couple lengthy captions, this is a great picture book of Lucy - in black and white, sepia, color... a lot of wonderful photos. I believe I noticed some typos and misprints, but otherwise it was very well put together. Buy it for the photos alone, if not anything else... 4/5


"Lucy: A Life in Pictures" by Tim Frew

I got this for a very good price - a new copy for $6. Another picture book of Lucy... I would say the latter book has more pictures, of rarer quality, but this is a good book, too. 3.5/5


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So, there it is. That's my collection, and that's day two of partying for Lucy! The big day gets closer... and closer...!

Before signing off, I'd like to wish a quick happy birthday to Myrna Loy, who would have turned 106 if she were still alive today. I really enjoy Myrna's movies, and I think she doesn't get enough credit. In fact, one of the first classic movies I ever saw starred Myrna (and William Powell) - a slapstick comedy called "Love Crazy." It made me laugh my head off and contributed to my following obsession with old movies.


Happy birthday, Myrna!

Well, that's all for today. We'll back tomorrow with more Lucy related fun... have a great day!

Ciao!

PS: I believe you can buy all of the mentioned books at Amazon.com 


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