And 100 years to the day of Lucille Ball's birth - which makes our beloved redhead officially 100 years old!
IT'S FINALLY HERE!
Lucy is 100!
Actually, I've been blogging for Lucy for five days now (today is day sixth!), all in celebration of her big 100.
Here's a quick review of what I've already blogged about Lucy for her birthday....
I discussed Lucy tributes on TV, on the web, in press releases.... etc. Btw, since that post (which I wrote on Monday), the coverage on Lucy's 100th has doubled. Among many, you can check out LIFE.com for a gallery of "Lucy's many faces," "I Love Lucy," and my personal favorite, unpublished photos of Lucy taken by LIFE. Also, Access Hollywood honored Lucy on their Friday, August 5th show with loving words about her from Mary Tyler Moore and Carol Burnett, who are just a few of the many television actresses, and actresses in general, who benefited from what Lucy has given us, as well as their five favorite "Lucy" moments. It's on their website, so check it out. That's not all - just Google "Lucille Ball," and you'll be hit with articles from top news services everywhere.
I showed you my Lucille Ball book collection and reviewed every book.
I Blogged about Lucy's numerous appearances on the game shows "What's My Line?", "I've Got a Secret," and "Password."
I shared with you "Finding Lucy," one of my very favorite documentaries about the Queen of Comedy.
And yesterday, I shared some old articles about everyone's favorite redhead from my "Lucy Desi" scrapbook.
So, I thought long and hard about how to make this post on her actual birthday a really awesome tribute to the funniest lady that ever lived. I'm going to be sharing a couple things with you (And I'm really sorry if this gets a little long.... you're welcome to stop and turn away at any time, because I'm not that interesting. Well, actually, this is about Lucy. Well, Lucy and me. But anyway, it's just - I really wanted to make it an awesome post so everything will come spilling out sort of).... about why I love Lucy, what "I Love Lucy" and Lucille Ball/Lucy Ricardo means to me, and, of course, a tribute video from Frankly My Dear TV. (You expected, that right?)
(from LIFE magazine)
How Lucille Ball Became My Favorite Actress of all Time,
And how "I Love Lucy" Became my Favorite TV Show, and all of That Jazz
The first time I ever actually watched an episode of "I Love Lucy," (and not just in passing), was when I was nine years old. That was the same year I fell in love with classic movies - but that's another story, for another day.
The thing is, even though it wasn't until then that I'd actually watched an episode, I'd always heard of "I Love Lucy" - even before I loved classic film and all things Golden Age. It was a show that my mother loved and I think, really, even if you don't watch the show, is simply the show that comes to everyone's mind when you think of "classic television." There are other shows, other shows that are wonderful -- but "I Love Lucy," holds a place in our hearts, minds, memories, etc. that other shows are forced to compete with.
The episode was "Return Home from Europe." I did not know much more than Lucy and Ricky were married - I didn't even know who Fred and Ethel were! How embarrassing is that? But it was just after dinner, and I sat down to watch it. I didn't understand where they'd been (Europe) or where they were going (New York) but I decided to watch. needless to say, I'm very thankful for watching!
That's the episode where Lucy wants to bring a heavy, Italian cheese home to her mother, who, with Mrs. Trumbell, has been watching Little Ricky back in New York. However, Ricky's not about to pay for the pricey cheese's airfare, so Lucy disguises it as a baby, thinking it will fly for free in her arms. Needless to say, the results are priceless - especially when Lucy is seated next to a fellow "mother", played by the woman who would later become Betty Ramsey in the Connecticut episodes (Mary Jane Croft, I believe).
From the opening credits of the satin heart, to the moment where Ricky finds melted cheese in an instrument in the band, I could not stop laughing. I just couldn't get over how plain funny it was. It wasn't like anything I'd ever seen before. Up until that point, I'd seen Disney Channel and was used to sarcastic humor that you could only chuckle at - but Lucy was different. The laughter I got from her was the type that makes you clutch your stomach, with tears running out of your eyes. I loved laughing like that.
That was really all it took. After that, every day after school I'd settle in for two episodes of "I Love Lucy", to make myself laugh like mad. (Those were the days when homework was just a "worksheet".) No episode failed me. I was religious. I was quickly drawn into the show and the characters in ways I'd never felt with another show (I still stand on that, by the way) - why can't Fred buy Ethel a new dress??? Why can't Ricky just let Lucy be in the show???
By November of that year, they began to air the pregnancy episodes. I was so excited and happy for Lucy and Ricky. I didn't even know anything about Lucy and Desi's real marriage, and the reason that they began to tear up in the end of "Lucy is Enciente." Even though I already knew that the baby would be a boy and his name would be Little Ricky, I was excited and almost on the edge of my seat in the "Lucy Goes to the Hospital" episode... I acted as if this was a new show, airing for the first time.
I loved seeing Lucy Ricardo, the mother. As a young kid I often paralleled TV characters with my own life, and for me to like them, or love them in this case, they needed to be likable characters... characters I could relate to. In the episodes with Lucy and Little Ricky, I was happy about the way Lucy cared for Little Ricky. Take the episode "Lucy and Superman," for example. Lucy is willing to climb out onto the ledge with all of New York City below her (and in a helmet and cape, mind you!) just to keep a promise to Little Ricky. With this episode, i could feel her love for Little Ricky in the ways my own mother loves me, and keeps her promises.
Of course, as a nine year old, I was not analyzing this as I watched. It was somewhere in the back of my brain, someplace I couldn't understand yet - but it was there. And I knew I loved Lucy because I loved to laugh, but also because I loved to smile. It's impossible to watch an episode without smiling. All of these episodes were new to me when I first watched them, despite being so old, and I anxiously awaited to see what Lucy, Ricky, and the Mertzes would be up to next... I knew "I Love Lucy," was classic. But it hadn't really yet registered in my brain how important it was in history, and all of that... I just knew I liked it.
Then there was Lucille Ball, the actress who played Lucy Ricardo. I wasn't a great researcher, as most nine years old aren't, and I didn't know much about her... it took a while for that to come. But I loved her show, and so it was as simple as that: Lucille Ball was my new favorite actress.
Over the years came the books, the TV specials, the documentaries, and the Googling... but then it was very simple. I just loved Lucy.
It's still that way. It's always going to be that way. I just can't imaging not loving Lucy, and not needing to watch the show. Because sometimes I need to - sometimes I think we all need to. Whenever I'm feeling stressed or just need cheering up, a single episode of "I Love Lucy" does the trick.
I guess I'm not a Lucy expert, but I'm pretty close! I've read books, watched documentaries and interviews... I know a lot. So I thought it would be appropriate to give you a brief biography of her, and some of my favorite trivia (like I did on Natalie Wood's birthday).
Lucille Desiree Ball was born on August 6th, 1911 in Jamestown, New York. Her parents were Desiree "DeDe" and Henry Durrell Ball. DeDe was a beautiful pianist and was working to that profession when she met Henry. She was seventeen when she married him (it was common of those days to be married so young), and became pregnant with their first child - Lucille. Not long after she was born, Lucille and DeDe traveled to Detroit, where her father was holding down a job. There the family was united, but soon after they traveled to Michigan for a softer change of scenery. It was here where Henry worked as a telephone linesman. He worked through a rough winter storm and caught the grippe - not much longer after, he died. DeDe was about nineteen, pregnant with their second and, obviously, last child. Lucille was not yet four. They went back to New York to live with DeDe's parents, Fred and Florabelle, who raised Lucille when DeDe was gone, holding down jobs wherever she could get them. Fred, Lucille's brother, was born soon after. Lucy's childhood was tough, often parceled off from relative to relative. They were also quite poor. But she maintained a strength that she would carry with her for the rest of her life, and developed a love of acting, putting on "plays" in her front yard with friends. When she was fifteen, DeDe sent her rebellious daughter to acting school in New York. However, everyone there was too enchanted by the star pupil, Bette Davis, and did not think Lucille had any talent - she was sent home. Lucille was not discouraged, and it was not long after when she was on her way to Hollywood as one of Samuel Goldwyn's "Goldwyn Girls." She made a home there, and after she had enough money, sent for her family. She did her best to climb up the Hollywood chain. Eventually she was getting lead roles in B movies; the public dubbed "RKO's Queen of the B's." It was in 1940 when she met a Cuban drummer named Desi Arnaz on the set of one of these B movies, "Too Many Girls." They fell in love and six months later they were married. Their union proved to be a tumultuous one. They were often separated, which resulted in nasty fights. They wanted children; but Lucille suffered many miscarriages. Desi called her "Lucy," and the name stuck. Lucy continued to be the Queen of B movies, her career stuck. It was not until the late 1940's, when her radio show "My Favorite Husband" was turned into a TV show - it was called "I Love Lucy." (We don't really need to get into that, do we?) It was an amazing success. In 1960, the Arnazes ended the show and divorced. Lucy got custody of the two kids they eventually were able to have - Lucie and Desi, Jr. She did two more television shows, "The Lucy Show" and "Here's Lucy" - successful and popular in their own right, but not with the same impact of "I Love Lucy." She also made a few movies. She continued to be insanely popular with the public. She died on April 26th, 1989, at the age of 77 from a ruptured aorta.
Once again, that's just a brief little biography... there are lots of books about Lucy's life, most notably her autobiography, "Love, Lucy." So you should be sure and check that out to learn more.
- Carole Lombard was her favorite actress - Carole and husband Clark Gable would often come over to Lucy and Desi's ranch in the years before Carole's death, and vice versa.
- She made over 100 movies, most of them B movies before "I Love Lucy" turned her into a sensation. Her own personal favorite was "The Big Street," where she played a beautiful yet cold hearted chanteuse... her co-star was Henry Fonda.
- TV Guide says her face has been seen by more people than any human being who ever lived. (How awesome is that????!!!)
- "I Love Lucy" went on air in 1951, and thanks to reruns, has never been off since. It plays on television someplace in the world, every day, and every day, someone's watching it. It is dubbed in twenty-two different languages.
- There is a Lucille Ball Diabetes Research Library, named after her when she was honored by the Variety Club ("All Star Party for Lucille Ball.")
- Her favorite song was "Make Someone Happy."
- She loved the show "Three's Company," and even made a guest appearance.
- Whoismorefamous.com (a little lame sounding - but they have a substantial list of "the most famous people of all time") lists Lucille Ball as the 103rd most famous person of all time.
- After Desi Arnaz gave up his position as president of Desilu Studios, Lucy ran the company - she was the first woman to do so.
- Her favorite episode of "I Love Lucy" is the one in which she dresses up as Queen of the Gypsies.. "The Operetta."
- When Americans were polled a few years ago, they named Lucille Ball the most missed deceased celebrity.
Okay, so this is the first of my two special tributes for Lucy.... since she is turned one hundred, I thought I'd share with you my top 100 favorite TV episodes and movies starring Lucy. I promise not to go into detail. I'll just list them. Because if I did go into detail, you'd be here forever... and I've already blabbed for too long! (But it's Lucy blabbing... so... I think that makes it better. I hope!)
Oh, and by the way - after the first few, it's kind of in no particular order. I mean... these are my one hundred favorite, just I didn't want to get into the technicalities after about the first ten.
MY TOP 100 LUCILLE BALL APPEARANCES
(in films and movies)
- "Lucy is Enciente" - I Love Lucy
- "The Handcuffs" - I Love Lucy
- "First Stop" - I Love Lucy
- "The Girls Want to Go to a Nightclub" - I Love Lucy
- "Lucy Goes to the Hospital" - I Love Lucy
- "Lucy Does a TV Commercial" - I Love Lucy
- "Return Home from Europe" - I Love Lucy
- "Stage Door" - movie
- "Yours, Mine and Ours" - movie
- "Lucy Fakes Illness" - I Love Lucy
- "Lucy Thinks Ricky is Trying to Murder Her" - I Love Lucy
- "The Quiz Show" - I Love Lucy
- "Lucy is Jealous of Girl Singer" - I Love Lucy
- "Breaking the Lease" - I Love Lucy
- "The Ballet" - I Love Lucy
- "Young Fans" - I Love Lucy
- "Fred and Ethel Fight" - I Love Lucy
- "The Gossip" - I Love Lucy
- "Pioneer Woman" - I Love Lucy
- "The Marriage License" - I Love Lucy
- "The Publicity Agent" - I Love Lucy
- "Lucy's Schedule" - I Love Lucy
- "Job Switching" - I Love Lucy
- "The Anniversary Present" - I Love Lucy
- "The Courtroom" - I Love Lucy
- "Pregnant Woman are Unpredictable" - I Love Lucy
- "Lucy Hires an English Tutor" - I Love Lucy
- "Sales Resistance" - I Love Lucy
- "Inferiority Complex" - I Love Lucy
- "The Black Eye" - I Love Lucy
- "No Children Allowed" - I Love Lucy
- "Ricky and Fred are TV Fans" - I Love Lucy
- "Never Do Business with Friends" - I Love Lucy
- "Lucy and Ethel Buy the Same Dress" - I Love Lucy
- "Sentimental Anniversary" - I Love Lucy
- "Fan Magazine Interview" - I Love Lucy
- "Ricky Loses his Temper" - I Love Lucy
- "Home Movies" - I Love Lucy
- "Lucy Writes a Novel" - I Love Lucy
- "The Black Wig" - I Love Lucy
- "Tennessee Ernie Visits" - I Love Lucy
- "Tennessee Ernie Hangs On" - I Love Lucy
- "The Golf Game" - I Love Lucy
- "The Sublease" - I Love Lucy
- "Lucy's Mother-in-Law" - I Love Lucy
- "Ethel's Birthday" - I Love Lucy
- "Getting Ready" - I Love Lucy
- "Lucy Learns to Drive" - I Love Lucy
- "California, Here we Come!" - I Love Lucy
- "Ethel's Hometown" - I Love Lucy
- "L.A At Last" - I Love Lucy
- "Lucy Gets in Pictures" - I Love Lucy
- "The Fashion Show" - I Love Lucy
- "The Hedda Hopper Story" - I Love Lucy
- "Hollywood Anniversary" - I Love Lucy
- "The Star Upstairs" - I Love Lucy
- "Lucy in Palm Springs" - I Love Lucy
- "Dancing Star" - I Love Lucy
- "Harpo Marx" - I Love Lucy
- "Ricky Needs an Agent" - I Love Lucy
- "Lucy Visits Grauman's" - I Love Lucy
- "Lucy and John Wayne" - I Love Lucy
- "Ricky Sells the Car" - I Love Lucy
- "The Great Train Robbery" - I Love Lucy
- "Nursery School" - I Love Lucy
- "The Passports" - I Love Lucy
- "Staten Island Ferry" - I Love Lucy
- "Bon Voyage" - I Love Lucy
- "Second Honeymoon" - I Love Lucy
- "Lucy Meets the Queen" - I Love Lucy
- "Paris at Last" - I Love Lucy
- "Lucy Gets a Paris Grown" - I Love Lucy
- "Lucy in the Swiss Alps" - I Love Lucy
- "Lucy Gets Homesick in Italy" - I Love Lucy
- "Lucy Goes to Monte Carlo" - I Love Lucy
- "Little Ricky Learns to Play the Drum" - I Love Lucy
- "Visitor From Italy" - I Love Lucy
- "Off to Florida" - I Love Lucy
- "Lucy and Superman" - I Love Lucy
- "Lucy Hates to Leave" - I Love Lucy
- "Lucy Misses the Mertzes" - I Love Lucy
- "Lucy Does the Tango" - I Love Lucy
- "The Celebrity Next Door" - The Lucy-Desi Comedy Hour
- "Lucy's Summer Vacation" - The Lucy-Desi Comedy Hour
- "Too Many Girls" - movie
- "The Facts of Life" - movie
- "Lucy and Viv Put in a Shower" - The Lucy Show
- "Lucy Gets Trapped" - The Lucy Show
- "Lucy and Joan" - The Lucy Show
- "Lucy Gets the Burtons' Ring Stuck on her Finger" - Here's Lucy
- "The Long, Long Trailer" - movie
- "Forever Darling" - movie
- "Lucy's Italian Movie" - I Love Lucy
- "The Big Street" - movie
- "Best Foot Forward" - movie
- "Easy to Wed" - movie
- "Dance, Girl, Dance" - movie
- "Sorrowful Jones" - movie
- "Lured" - movie
- "Mame" - movie
If you're wondering why there is a lack of "The Lucy Show" and "Here's Lucy" episodes, it's because i haven't seen that actual many. I can't find it on TV and not all the seasons our on DVD yet, so whatever I watch is usually whatever I can find on YouTube. Also, some of these movies, like "The Big Street" and "Mame" aren't actually good movies... but I enjoyed Lucy's performances in them.
(from LIFE magazine)
Finally, I of course made a special tribute for her on Youtube... I'm still getting used to this tribute thing. I have this really old, unfortunate version of Windows Movie Maker that for some reason sticks at the beginning of clips, which really annoys me - but there's nothing I can do about it. * sigh *...and the ending is choppy, too. I really wanted this to be good and perfect, because it's Lucy's birthday, and it's her 100th!!! So I worked on it for several days... and yep. I used clips from several "I Love Lucy" episodes, and the movies "The Big Street," "Dance, Girl, Dance," "Too Many Girls," "Du Barry was a Lady" and "Beauty for the Asking".... as well as a few clips from "Lucy and Desi: A Home Movie."
I decided to use the song "Isn't She Lovely" by Stevie Wonder. Okay, so, I know the song is about a baby girl being born - you can tell from the lyrics... Just one minute old! - BUT I just liked the feel of it.... and maybe since it's a birthday tribute, it's somewhat appropriate. I know at times the lyrics don't work, but I really wanted to use this. I decided to use Lucy's "pretty" moments from her movies and television shows, and "Isn't She Lovely" just went very well. Besides. She was lovely..
So.... yep. I really hope you enjoy it and I hope it captures... I don't know the word. "Birthday spirit"? Lol.
Soo, there it is. I hope I was able to give Lucy a little bit of the 100th birthday tribute she deserves!!!!
Lucille Ball was - and is - truly amazing. She's inspirational, too. She had a spirit in her that never gave up. And she inspires me to do the same... She was just a girl growing up in a small town in New York, struggling a little, and she was able to make herself famous around the whole world! Chances are, I'm not likely to become an actress like she. But I love to write. And Lucy proves to me that with handwork and determination, anything is possible - and if I want to write, I'll write.
Thanks a billion, Lucy. And happy birthday. <3
One of my favorite photos of Lucy
I can hardly wait to see other blogger's tributes, and I hope you've enjoyed mine. I'll be watching Lucy all day long, and I've got a feeling I won't be the only one.
Happy, happy, happy birthday Lucy.