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Neil

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Neil last won the day on June 20

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  1. Love the "Lucy in London" pic. I love all pics from LIL. She seems so "vibrant". I had recently watched the fascinating "Making of LIL" documentary. Lucy had such incredible energy. It was a hard shoot and they had very little time. Apparently to shoot at Madame Tussaud's they had to wait until it closed and worked the entire night so they all (including Lucy, we assume) had a sleepless night. If Lucy was suffering from fatigue, it did not show on-screen. Too bad the 'punting on the Thames' scene didn't work out better. I've never heard an explanation of why it's so clumsily edited. (and why a shot of Lucy swimming in the Thames, which I saw as stills, wasn't included). I attended the premiere in LA with Steve Binder, but didn't know how to ask that question without it seeming insulting. You'd think that Lucy and CBS would have been happy with the high rating LIL got (#3 for the week? citation needed: Harry?) but the lukewarm critical response meant the end of the "Lucy In______" ideas. For her second special she was contracted for that season, she just reran "The Lucille Ball Comedy Hour" from 1964, rather than produce something new. Other than the Thames scene and perhaps an overlong (to me) Newley concert at the end, it's wonderful. And we all owe a HUGE thank you to Tom Watson and crew for not only giving us a long-awaited pristine copy of LIL, but going above and beyond with the "making of" documentary. When we got season 4 of The Lucy Show DVD release, I wasn't confident they would go ahead with Season 5, since practically all of those episodes were in public domain and the poor-quality 16mm prints were sold over the years, packaged in so many different (and usually deceptive) ways. Including "Lucy's LOST Episodes" with a pic of Lucy Ricardo as the cover art. (Now THAT'S shameless). The fact that Lucy trusted these LIL production people, not her usual Desilu crew, and went out on a limb is even more amazing when you consider how relatively safe and often mundane the episodes of "The Lucy Show" had become. (If she liked these writers so much, why didn't she hire them for TLS or HL?)
  2. Yours, Mine & Ours

    From Yours Mine and Ours wikipedia page: "Later, she had a falling-out with Madelyn Pugh (then known as Madelyn Pugh Martin) and Bob Carroll, precisely because their script overly resembled an I Love Lucy television episode, and commissioned another writer (Leonard Spigelgass) to rewrite the script.[citation needed] Mr. Spigelgass does not seem to have succeeded in breaking free of Lucy's television work, so producer Robert Blumofe hired yet two more writers (Mickey Rudin and Bernie Weitzman) to make an attempt.[citation needed] When this failed, Blumofe hired Melville Shavelson" Wasn't Mickey Rudin her attorney? I did not know that Bernie was ever a writer. It does say "citation needed" after. YMO is good as produced (with a couple of minor complaints) but It would be interesting to see what Bob and Madelyn touches were left out of subsequent scripts. Enough of their original script was retained that they got "story by" credit. Though the drunk scene is not based on any true life event, I'm glad they left it in because it's one of the high points of the movie. Although the idea the she gets so drunk on that lethal mix of alcohol, gets sick and immediate sobers up---let alone having any appetite for the dinner they held up for her, is---I was to find out much later---NOT the way it happens. Speaking of Mickey, it's hard to believe that as late as 1980's "Lucy Moves to NBC", they were still trying to get laughs with Asians pronouncing "R"'s as "L"'s (Choo-Choo: "Mickey Ludin") Also I don't think B&M's YMO script was the cause of any "falling out" (unless Helen entered a pie baking contest in their script).
  3. "WUNNERFUL"!!! But MORE, plz . I love what comes out of your crazy down-under idea-bubbling head!!
  4. OK, well how about this one? (Remember the premise is the Mary Jane sublet Lucy's house. Lucy is traveling as 'secretary to the stars'. Kim has moved in with her Uncle Harry. The Hinkleys: Lucy's mother Dede and brother Herb have moved in with Mary Jane but want the house) “MARY JANE MEETS HER MATCH” The conniving Hinkleys overhear Mary Jane reciting her “I am beautiful….. because I have an inner glow” mantra and perceive (not without cause) this as an onset of senility. They figure this is just what they need to gain conservatorship over Mary Jane and ownership of the house and alert the authorities. Sensing a possible negative outcome for Mary Jane, Harry and Kim see a picture in the paper of visiting socialite Cynthia Harcourt, notice the distinct resemblance and hatch a plan. Meanwhile the Harcourts, eager to take in LA nightlife, visit the Royal Club featuring headliner “Miss Pat, the Hip Hypnotist”. Reluctant Cynthia becomes part of the act. Miss Pat plants the suggestion in her head that when she hears a chipmunk voice, she’ll go from sophisticated to daffy. (insert “uh-oh” laugh) The next day, to gain access to the Harcourt’s Beverly Palms suite, Harry and his “spoiled daughter” Kim represent themselves as West Palm Beach yacht owners wishing to sell, and schedule the Harcourts to come over to the Valley Lawn Drive house to seal the deal during the time set for Mary Jane’s court-ordered psychological evaluation (sending Mary Jane out on a wild goose chase errand) in the hopes that the mental competency assessors will evaluate Cynthia instead of Miss Lewis. All goes as planned until Mary Jane unexpectedly returns early from her errand and squeaks out: “Harry, I couldn’t find any wild geese on Echo Park Lake”. Insert “boing” sound-effect as Cynthia goes so wild-eyed that she and Mary Jane become indistinguishable, eventually harmonizing a pitch-challenged version of “Organically Yours” together, leaving all confused and Mr. Harcourt not sure of which one to take home. FADE OUT. TAG SCENE: New neighbors, New England transplants, the Foster twins, Audrey and Betty (now Simmons and Ramsey) arrive to invite the Valley Lawn household to a get-acquainted dinner party---prompting the assessors and the Hinkleys to scream and scurry out the door in horror! Harcourt hastily picks a “Cynthia” at random and leaves, hoping for the best. Harcourt: Hy Averback. Competency assessors: Barbara Morrison, Florence Bates.
  5. Some dollar amounts in Lucy's career don't sound like very much, until you calculate for inflation. All that follows is in 2018 dollars (unless noted): Lucy's initial 1933 Goldwyn Girl salary was $2,900 a week. (if she was paid 52 weeks of the year that's an annual take of $151,000!) Her initial Columbia salary was $935 a week. (annualized: $48,600, a comedown from Goldwyn but still: ain't hay! especially for the depression. ) By the end of Lucy's RKO contract, she was making $54,000 a week ($2.8mil a year, again assuming she got paid for all 52 weeks). I think her MGM contract paid the same. ($3,500/wk in 1942 dollars). She was at one time making $1,500 a week at RKO and that's still an impressive $27,000 a WEEK today. ($1.4million for 52 weeks). Desi bought the Chatsworth house for $322,000 in 1941. Her 3 picture deal at Columbia called for $884,000 for "Miss Grant", "Fuller Brush Girl" and her budget-busting salary for her "Magic Carpet" SUPPORTING role. Lucy sold Desilu in 1967 for $128million "Wildcat" was backed with a budget of $3,000,000. In the end, they (Desilu, the backer) had to refund $1,400,000 on advance sales when Lucy closed the show. Top ticket price for Wildcat was $80 (Saturday night; orchestra seating) The weekly budget for "The Lucy Show" in 1966 was $696,000. The longer a show ran, it got a boost in budget every year so I don't know what CBS was paying for Here's Lucy by 1974. That's one of the reasons still highly-rated, but older-audience-skewing series like "Red Skelton" and "Jackie Gleason" were cancelled. Lucy and Desi's combined salary for "Long Long Trailer" was $2,300,000, 16% of its budget of $14,000,000; grossed $47,000,000. "Yours Mine and Ours" had a budget of $19,000,000 and grossed $195,000,000 (LLT and YMO movie budgets and grosses based on wikipedia information. A direct comparison between the grosses then and the grosses today is not fair because I think movie ticket prices have outstripped inflation) A Don Loper original would be $4,700 today. No wonder Ricky through a fit! ("Does Loper know any numbers besides 4-7-0-0 ??") The amount Lucy and Ethel would have to raise to fund their portion of the Europe trip: $28,000!
  6. Another ratings nerd! I didn't know there was another one---besides Harry Carter and me. We've been compiling what we can find and I'll post now that I know there's interest. I'm not as interested in more recent ratings----once there were all these fledgling networks and other methods of viewing. I don't see how ratings today can be anywhere close to accurate. That was indeed a fun fact. Would Here's Lucy's 73-74 #29 ranking, and a rating of 20.0 be #1 today? Ratings through a lot of the 60s were based on a two-week average (so "the Lucy Show" AND "Lucy in London" made the same top 10), so here's a couple of ratings fun facts from our research: The first run of The Lucy Desi Comedy Hour as a 13-week series was in the summer of 1962, the first of 5 summers CBS ran it. It's first outing scored a #6 for the week. Episodes: "Lucy Makes Room for Danny" and "Havana". This was the 4th or 5th time many of these episodes had been shown. TLDH has the distinction of having the most prime time runs of any show: 7 to 10 airings by the time CBS retired it in 1967. Another distinction: the last b/w series any network aired in primetime. Pretty impressive. "The Lucy Show"'s premiere on Oct. 1, 1962 was a runaway hit at #1. It was to be overtaken as "show of the year" by Beverly Hillbillies but finished the season at #4. "Lucy's Roommate Carol Burnett" from the 5th season was #1 for the week. Though TLS ratings were always stellar, I'm not sure it was #1 for the week between these 2 episodes.
  7. Ann-Margaret and Craig could do a variation of the "Rock Sisters" segment that Lucy did on Carol Burnett's show. When Justin Bieber's opening act, "The Six Bare Feet" cancels at the last minute because their podiatrist schedules emergency hammer-toe surgery (they never fully recovered from that saxophone mishap), Justin's producer has to come up with a new act on the spot. Viewing a tape of Ann-Margaret and Craig doing "Country Magic" and no time to audition, he hires them sight unseen, not realizing the clip is almost 50 years old. Imagine his chagrin (and the Bieber audience reaction) when 78 year old Ann and 65 year old Craig show up in those same costumes ready to "frug" their way through the number once again!
  8. New Lucy Books

    I'll buy it!!! I got out my book "Lucy: The Bitterweet Life of Lucille Ball", the first serious biography of Lucy (not counting that 50s paperback). It's interesting because of when it was published: 1973, but obviously written in 1972, so mid-way through HL's 5th season after the broken leg HL episodes but before "Mame" and the end of "Here's Lucy". To put into context, Desi Jr. was not quite TWENTY and is currently going with Liza. Lucie is not yet divorced but her marriage is "on the rocks". Here are some passages: parenthetical interjections are MINE. On Lucie's 1971 wedding: "Desi Jr. without trying stole the show, incredibly handsome in his tux and those on the scene recall he was a meticulous host. Women at the party were "swooning" over him and everyone gossiped about he 18-year-old's current romance, a rumored on-again, off-again affair with the estranged wife of a "major major" figure in show business." (Obviously Dean Martin. It certainly wasn't Jack Benny or Richard Carlson!) "Lucie could have a big career if she wanted one. But unlike her brother, a career on her own wouldn't come easily. In the opinion of a top producer "Lucie is personable and has a certain sparkle, but nobody's going to beat down doors for her services. It's Desi who has so much style and charisma that even if he didn't want a career in show business, it would be inevitable." (Interesting because at the time, Desi Jr. WAS hot. His performance in "Red Sky in the Morning" was praised. But he had been brought up privileged and didn't want or need to work hard. And of course, he descended into the Studio 54-like party scene...and Liza. In spite of how it looked in 1972, Lucie indeed became the star and Desi wasted his good years and eventually went to seed.) "About Here's Lucy", a top writers says "The Lucy character is really an ingenue, and Lucille is getting away with it. As you know it is completely acting. The Lucy she plays in the Lucy show has nothing to do with Lucille Ball. In most cases television is an Xray and you can't exist very long unless you're playing yourself. She's done it." "Gary described her ordeal in the hospital (after broken leg) "It was like a scene from MASH. That place was really very nice. Next year we'll go back so Lucy can break the other leg" LUCY FORCED A SMILE. " -----(my caps: that's what I call REAL ACTING) "A famous actress who has work with Lucy claims that "Lucy has had her face lifted, but everybody should look that good after one. I've seen a lot of those women who've had their faces lifted, but their bodies look like they have to be carried in and out of the car. Lucy's got a good body. She's always tuned up. I've never seen her get sloppy fat. She's always kept herself in good shape. " ---(so DID SHE? or DIDN'T SHE?---have that face life?) "It's clear that "Here's Lucy" will continue as long as Lucy wants it to, which appears to be indefinitely " "Lucille Ball, at sixty-one, is still a striking-looking woman on the television screen. But there are virtually no close-ups on her show." "Will Lucille make any more films? She is scheduled to begin Mame in January 1973. She's certainly perfect for the role and despite the problems of make-up, lighting and now her broken leg, she is definitely going ahead with it." The book ends with: "Will Lucille Ball ever retire? She's answered that question herself: "Yes. When I drop in my tracks."
  9. If they can do "Valerie" without Valerie Harper, "Rosanne" without Rosanne Barr, why not.... "Here's Lucy" without Lucy, the sequel series entitled "Lucy's Family" Lucy Carter gets her dream job of secretary to the stars. Since the new job involves a lot of travel, she sublets her Valley Lawn Drive house to Mary Jane. After MJ divulges what really took place with her boss on that Santa Barbara trip, he is fired from the firm and disbarred, leaving Mary Jane jobless. Desperate for a quick replacement, Harry hires her--and soon regrets it. Once Lucy's relatives hear that she has vacated her house, both Lucy's mother Dede Hinkley (Elvia Allman) and brother Herb move in, despite Mary Jane's reservations. With too many Hinkleys underfoot, Kim moves in with Uncle Harry. Meanwhile, newlyweds Sam and Vanda buy the house next door to Lucy's. Stories involve Harry adjusting to his new secretary, even daffier than the one she replaced; veil-taking confirmed-bachelor Harry's sudden father-figure role with Kim at home; and Mary Jane's constant battles with the freeloading Hinkleys aided by neighbors Sam and Vanda. (Despite Mary Jane Croft being elevated to a starring part in this series, she's still listed under "with" in the closing credits.) A "Lucille Ball Production" (LBP, Inc.) I expect "MOT" to flesh this out!!
  10. "Roseanne" - 2018 Revival on ABC

    Still chuckling about the Sandy Duncan idea....Good one! If "Valerie" can survive without Valerie, "Roseanne" should be able to give it a go without Roseanne. The supporting cast is so much stronger than those on the the trifle "Valerie". With the addition of Darlene's kids and DJ with his child and so-far-unseen wife (is her name IRMA?), there's a host of storyline possibilities. I don't remember what the dispute was with Valerie Harper and "Valerie"--most likely $$$, but never again would a star think themselves invinsible even if the series title is THEIR NAME. Valerie Harper was a major talent and a sitcom natural who should have had a hit show post-Rhoda but once Justin Bateman became popular, didn't the "Valerie" storyline focus shift to him? Does anyone remember how they explained Valerie's absence? In a fiendishly show of revenge, the producers eventually had Valerie killed off. To add insult to injury, the ratings for the "Valerie's Family" incarnation sans Valerie went UP without her. And to add even further insult, Valerie's next series attempt 4 years later, CBS's "City" (a good show as I recall), debuted mid-season opposite NBC's "Hogan Family" and lasted only 2 months, even though "Hogans" was cancelled by NBC at the end of that season (89-90) only to be picked up by CBS for one more season: a respectable 5 year run for a forgotten (except for behind-the-scenes shenanigans) series. MaryTMoore, Valerie, Dick Van Dyke, Danny Thomas, Sid Caesar, Bob Newhart, Betty White, Milton Berle,George Burns, Phil Silvers, Carol Burnett, Raymond Burr, Andy Griffith, Jason-Michael-Julia of Seinfeld, even Sandy Duncan!: They ALL had their humbling "Life with Lucy" experiences and some had more than one. Very few did not. In fact I can't think of any. "There's (INDEED) no business like show business like no business ......"
  11. 2017-18 TOTAL VIEWERS 1. Big Bang (CBS); 2. Our Miss Brooks (Decades)*; 3. Rosanne (ABC); 4. This Is Us(NBC); 5. NCIS(CBS) 2017-18 ages 18-49 1. NBC Sunday Football; 2. This is Us; 3. Rosanne; 4. CBS Thursday Football; 5. Big Bang How is it possible there are 208 shows listed in the top to bottom ratings?? And this is not counting in HBO or SHOWTIME series. *Just kidding!!! #2 is NBC Sunday Night Football. (Did I fool anyone for just a second?) I'm so out of it I didn't realize there was that much prime time football, taking up 4 slots in the top 10 of total viewers. Nor do I understand the appeal: after all, it's the SAME PLOT over and over again.
  12. Was only a casual viewer of "Murphy". Not that I was avoiding it, but I never saw an episode of "Mad About You". Also never saw a Cosby show, but by choice. I had a bad feeling about him even back then. But I just thought "a-hole", not sexual predator. Roseanne's ratings history is impressive indeed: It spent its first 5 seasons and #1, 2 or #3. 6th: #4, 7th: #9, 8th: #16 and even that last lottery-winning season came in at #35, better than I thought. Wikipedia places Roseanne's 2018 current status (labeled its 10th season) at #3 for the year. I thought it was #1. What are #1 and #2?
  13. "Roseanne" - 2018 Revival on ABC

    HAHAHA!! (Sandy Duncan)....If Barbara Pepper was around, I would suggest her as a Rosanne replacement. Or our own Jody Gilbert. I don't know current entertainers! The rest of the cast is so strong I think they might possibly be able to do it without Rosanne. Darlene could carry the sarcastic wisecrack load. There are so many ways they could get rid of Rosanne: "Rosanne overstays her time at a tanning salon right before a "Make America Great Again" rally, is mistaken for a "woman of color", gets roughed-up by Trump's fans and, along with a busload of "dreamers", is deported to Honduras"
  14. MAJOR MISPRINT (I ASSUME.....!!!) in the great book "The Carol Burnett Show Companion" by Wesley Hyatt. I like that at the end of each season, he does a season recap, complete with ratings for that year and what awards it was up for. At the end of the 69-70 season (The CB Show's highest ranking by far: #13), he writes that the Golden Globes seemed to have great affection for the CBS comedy "The Governor and JJ" which bested The CB Show as best comedy. Julie Sommers won over Carol for Best Television Actress, Musical or Comedy. He goes on to write "Clearly the Globes had an inexplicable fondness for "Governor and JJ" despite the cancellation after less than a year and a half on the air, as its male lead, Dan Daily, won for Best Television ACTRESS, Musical or Comedy as well" !!! Apparently Lucy Carter's post-cancellation poison pen letter had some effect. For the record (for us ratings buffs), Carol's 11 seasons had the following rankings in the Nielsens: Mondays at 10...Season 1(67-68): #27; 2(68-69): #24; 3(69-70):#13 (CBS's entire Monday night line-up made the top 13!); 4(70-71):#25 Wednesdays at 8: 5(71-72):#23; 6(72-73):#22 (moved to Saturday at 10 in December, where it would spend the next 5 seasons) Saturdays at 10: 7(73-74): #27 (and may I point out this is only 2 rankings higher than the--supposedly-- cancelled "Here's Lucy" ending its run that season at #29); 8(74-75):#29 (ahem); 9(75-76):#29(ahem, again); 10(76-77):#44(double ahem & cough); 11(77-78):#64 This last year CB had 3 separate time slots. It was kicked off Saturday nights by the escapes-me popularity of ABC's Love Boat, moving to Sunday at 10, with its final 2-hr. retrospect airing Wednesday 8-10, then after a 2 1/2 month break, reruns were shown Wednesday at 8. While the ratings of that last season tanked, the last show expanded to 2-hours ended up #14 in that week's ratings. Carol, in her tearful good-by, said that ending the series was her idea and had NOTHING to do with the ratings, though with only 71 total series in 77-78, her #64 showing placed The Carol Burnett Show in the BOTTOM TEN shows for the season. The Carol Burnett Show was no ratings bonanza, but despite having 3 separate time slots (not counting last season), 8 of its 11 seasons were very steady in the 20s in addition to its third season at #13. Its fall out of the 20s in the 76-77 season was the result of a sudden shift in audience's tastes. Gone from the top 10 were Phyllis, Rhoda, Maude and All in the Family (though Family bounced back) replaced by Happy Days, Three's Company and Laverne and Shirley. The high-touted, Emmy-showered Mary Tyler Moore ended its 7 year run at #35!! In the 75-76 season while Rhoda(#7) and Phyllis(#6) were in the top 10, MTM had dropped to #19. (NOTE: I can NEVER stay on topic!)
  15. It’s Today...

    I love the captions, especially her last note pronounced "JOAN!!" Here's Leslie's explanation. It makes as much sense as anything. But if the cue card guy fell over (Tommy Tucker??) where is he in the shot as the camera pulls back?
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