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Neil

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Neil last won the day on March 25

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  1. I haven't watched any of these in a while. Is "Part-Time Wife", the one where Lucy pretends she's pregnant to scare off Harry's old girlfriend? That one might have been funnier with an Iris Adrian as Gertie. I don't know where they came up with the actress that played her. She wasn't bad. She just wasn't IRIS. I liked "Secretary" better than the other Carol Burnett HL episodes. (problem with other two: Lucy is dubbed which diminishes my enjoyment of musical episodes). As I recall, "Laundress" has Lucy doing "Asian" at chinese laundry? With lots of l's substituting for r's---standard sitcom stuff since radio---which they were STILL doing for "Moves to NBC" with "Chu-Chu" saying Ludin instead of Rudin. (I can only assume for LAUGHS). Is "Laundress" the one where Vanda says "I gave you my tick-ee. Where is my wash-ee?" Sometimes I can't tell whether the portrayal of a minority is insensitive or not. I defer to the opinions of those who might be offended. Since Ricky is Cuban maybe he can get away with it, but isn't his "Lucy Has the Baby" act him doing BLACKFACE?? I didn't see All in Family episode but read somewhere that Family pretty much copied that part of the plot when Gloria had her baby.
  2. All I can say for "Astronauts", that AT LEAST Here's Lucy was trying to be topical. Quarantining astronauts who returned from the moon was a thing. So the set-up holds promise. But then what? Nothing as I recall. All I can remember is the group singing "Silvery Moon" a couple of times for no real reason. I do not remember Lucy being horny for them! But maybe it was subtext that went over my head. Women hogging the bathroom was a standard sitcom joke. Missed opportunity: "his" fellow stuntmen wondering why Ironman Carmichael spent so much time in the bathroom. The writers of "Astronauts" were Larry Rhine and Lou Derman who wrote 9 HLs and not a good one in the bunch, all varying degrees of dreadful.....They're responsible for "Lucy in the Jungle" (the house exchange, not the Gorboona), "Mountain Climber" with Tony Randall (and THAT BEAR), but worst of all "Ma Parker". I don't know if it was Milt's input but HL seemed to think the name Irving was funny. I'm not sure I have enough beer in the house to sit through "Astronauts" again. I have never seen a Big Bang Theory episode. I thought it was considered good in general.
  3. The reason I know you're all right about the harshness of the latter-day Ricardos is that several years ago a friend of mine was trying to keep his dying mother entertained so I put together a "best of" DVD of episodes in random order and she pointed out how different Ricky was in, say 1952 to the way Ricky was in "Danny", particularly his yelling "LUCY!!" when she walked across the room after exiting Danny's bedroom. "He's "different", she said. I hadn't thought about it before. I notice it more in Ricky than in Lucy. This is not a tone 1952 Ricky would have ever used. It's hard to separate the Ricardos from the Arnazes. The change happened in such a very brief period of time. However, it does not diminish my love for "Lucy Makes Room".
  4. "Lucy Makes Room for Danny" My mother lives in an assisted living facility. The social director arranges all sorts of group activities posted on a weekly calendar. I noticed "I Love Lucy" and asked her what she was running. She has one DVD set: season 1. She says the people love it. Well with the virus, group activities are on hiatus including "TV/Movie Night". But they have a channel this is piped to each room. I put together a "Lucy Makes Room for Danny" DVD for them that residents could see in their rooms. Masked and sanitized, I'm allowed in so was able to walk the halls when the show was running, and able to see it via the hall TV. Virtually all the units are 1-person occupied. The residents' doors were closed, but the laughter echoed through the hallways. Extended laughter during the bedroom scene and Lucy's court pantomime. (among Gale Gordon's best performances, ya think?) But also a spike in laughter after these lines: Fred's "Well, ya got ME!", Gale Gordon's "oh you ARE a miserable tightwad" and Ethel's "We raise chickens". Isn't it wonderful that Lucy can STILL provide enjoyment in these troubling times? I've probably seen this episode 50 times and never tire of it and never will. This episode deserves a colorized network airing, but probably won't because Danny Thomas is not well-remembered by the general public. Many people pick Talullah as their favorite LDCH, but after this, my umpteenth viewing, I go with Danny. I'd forgotten that "Danny" was so late in the run: December of 1958. Sadly, in a little more than a year, it would all be over. A mere 2 years later Lucy would be preparing for her "Wildcat" opening. "Danny" is probably the best hour of comedy ever produced for television. It holds up as well today as when it was first aired (says I). Ignored by the Emmys (something that still festers in my craw), it did get some industry recognition. TV Guide printed a list of highlights of the past 58-59 season which included mostly prestigious specials. The only other regular-characters comedy listed was an episode of "Father Knows Best" from that season. As you all know, CBS ran these in the summer through 1967. Sometimes, but not always, the first of the comedy hours overlapped with the last of the Lucy Show reruns before it too was replaced for the summer. Imagine in June of 1967, viewing "Mooney the Monkey" on Monday and "Danny" on Thursday. It's night and day. Mind-bobbling that these two episodes were only 8 years apart! A couple of things about the episode: the whole 'sneaking into Danny's bedroom' is expertly set up. INCLUDING a previous reference to Lucy's concern about her wilting houseplants. At their best, these little set-up lines go unnoticed, not telegraphing what might happen; but because of those touches, the payoff is so much more satisfying The dragging-Lucy-into-bed bit was pretty risqué for 1958. Both Danny and Marjorie Lord are having a tough time keeping a straight face--which just adds to the fun. Evidently Lucy saved her full-out performance for the cameras. The whole business of Danny having to sign the check is a bit dated. Why couldn't Kathy sign it herself? And perhaps lost on the current generation is Danny's reference to just how HUGE a Sunday newspaper used to be. The script is great and all the actors rose to the occasion. You'd think after 186 episodes as the characters that they would slack off a bit, depending more on familiarity than sticking true to the characters, no longer having to work so hard for hilarity. But, no. Everyone is as sharp as if the future of their careers depended on this installment. It was years before I saw an episode of "The Danny Thomas Show" and assumed, based on this, that his show was better than it was (granted, only a sampling of a couple). Lucy's well-thought-out defense for taking the check ("it belongs to us already and isn't worth anything anyway") is pure brilliance both in the writing and the execution. Was there EVER in the now 70 year history of TV sitcoms a female lead who was as devious and underhanded as Lucy, while still remaining lovable? I can't think of one. And Lucy Ricardo did some pretty ROTTEN things to people.
  5. The communist party in the 30s was legitimate and accepted political party that focused on workers' rights. It was a fringe party and no one affiliated ever got elected (that I know of). The equivalent today is probably along the lines of the "green party", socialism and libertarians. The party was not demonized until after WW2. Lucy's "Meet the People" would not have been made 5 years later. Anything critical of any aspect of the considerable downside of capitalism was considered suspect. In the 50s, communism became synonomous with dictatorships and fascism, "un-American" and pure EVIL. I do believe the grandpa thing. His heart was certainly in the right place. Lots of people were not political and I think Lucy was one of them. No one who registered communist in the 30s thought it would have the stigma it would have in the 50s. As always, follow the money. Communism doesn't work in practice because of greed and corruption at the top. But isn't that true of just about everything? And a nod to the topic: I disagree with the negative assessments of Will & Grace. I do agree that introducing the baby thing this late in the game wasn't necessary. Is Debra pregnant in real life?
  6. This doesn't show up on my March 26th Guide. No W&G scheduled for that night. "Superstore" instead. I flipped ahead a week. W&G scheduled for 9 but no plot description on the guide. With the departure of W&G and Modern Family and this being the last season of "Better Call Saul", I'm going to have to find some new friends. There are shows I catch a glimpse of that look good like "Goldbergs" "The Middle", etc. From the outside, they have a certain sameness about them. Any recommendations? It's 1998 all over again!! When in one short period I lost "Seinfeld" "The Larry Sanders Show" "Ellen" and "Roseanne". I was able to make new friends then and I'm sure I can do it again. Have to admit I didn't watch Roseanne during that last Dan-less lottery-winning season, and though I loved "Ellen"'s coming-out episodes (the main one, to her parents and to her boss), I found the subsequent "out" season a little dull. My memory anyway. W&G: you left me once. But against my better judgement, I let you back in and now you're doing it to me AGAIN!! Does anyone know why it's going off? It seems they're on a story line roll that they can't possibly wrap up in the few remaining episodes. I'm amazed that the years between the W&Gs didn't change anything. Especially how the cast looks. Are the ratings bad? I don't know how they can possibly tabulate ratings these days--what with DVR, streaming, etc. Someone (Bob Hope, I think) once joked that Lucy reruns were everywhere to such an extent that he got them on his toaster. Today that's really not far off, is it? I liked the new Murphy Brown better than the original and was sorry to see it go. "The Conners" carries on quite nicely without Rosanne. "Roseanne" without Rosanne is the strangest thing since "Valerie" without Harper. I knew nothing of the real Roseanne's personal politics so I could separate the two. I wish they hadn't killed her off. You'd think Roseanne would have some ownership in "The Conners". Amazing the number of celebs booted out of show business in the last few years. In 1953, had Lucy not been the huge star that she was, the whole Communistic thing would have killed the show. People were blacklisted for a lot less, their careers ruined. So ingrained was Lucy Ricardo in the public's eyes, she was able to hide behind that and the whole "grandpa forced us" story. As one right-wing columnist put it: "This Ball woman knew what she was doing. In 1936 at age 24, she was hardly a "kid"." The power-that-be sure cast a wide net with their inclusion of liberal minded causes being labeled subversive and "un-American", when the blacklisters themselves were the ones who were being un-American. History tends to repeat itself.....There I go again: veering off topic. Sorry!
  7. Her parts are only bit but "Stage Door" and "Having a Wonderful Time"! She's wasted in the Marx Brothers "Room Service".
  8. You've hit on the two that were closest. The others that come to mind would be her surprise 1968 hit "Yours Mine and Ours"' and "Miss Grant Takes Richmond" "Forever Darling" and "Easy to Wed". People generally don't think "Forever" compares with "Long Trailer" but I think it does. I would include "Mame" but I can no longer be objective about the movie. The opinions seem to be extreme on both ends of the hate/love spectrum. But it does have a few great Lucy-esque scenes: mounting the moon, the fox hunt and roller skating through Macy's. And she's excellent in the big Mame number. She's very good in "Facts of Life" and "Critic's Choice" but these are departures from her Lucy character and they're essentially Bob Hope movies WITH Lucille Ball. Lucy is truly wonderful in "Choice". Beautifully made up, coiffed and wonderfully outfitted by Edith Head in regal color (as "Facts of Life" SHOULD have been), she never looked better on screen. She's the only reason to watch it. But there's too much Bob and not enough Lucy. This was probably Bob's last movie for sophisticated audiences (his slapstick scenes, not ever his forte, bring the movie down a few notches on the sophisticated scale----and just NOT funny). "Choice" had been a Broadway play about putting on a Broadway play and was too in-jokey for mass appeal. I assume SOMEONE was going to Bob's later 60s movies because he kept cranking them out, even though they were horrible and Bob just walked through them, showing less and less of the spark that made him a movie star in the 40s. My guess is this was part of an NBC contract that stipulated that these movies be made regardless of the outcome. (my GUESS...) His TV specials were still very highly rated well into the 70s. It's surprising that he was never an official guest star on TLS or HL. He ruins the Lucille Ball Comedy Hour with his cue card reading. Since it was filmed without an audience, there's no excuse for that. Lucy movies: don't bother with "Magic Carpet" (1951) except for the pure camp quality * and some reference for the wonderful Columbia/Harry Cohn story. Another nertz goes to "Two Smart People" notable only for Lucy's line "that's the best canard sauvage I've ever tasted." She has great bits in several other movies "Dubarry Was a Lady", "Fancy Pants", but again that too is Bob's movie. I've never seen "Sorrowful Jones" but people say she's good in that. "Without Love" is worth a look. *Magic Carpet" nadir: kissing corpulent villain Raymond Burr.
  9. This is an ACTUAL TV Guide I Love Lucy plot summary from December of 1958 when reruns still aired in prime time, Thursday at 7:30 (6:30 central time) "Lucy decides that she too should have a part in Ricky's movie. Ricky gets her a bit part, but Lucy, hearing that only her feel will be visible, hatches a plan." Re: Fred, the orange rancher. It's a great little touch, especially naive New Yorker Fred thinking the whole farming business is easy "The oranges know what to do." Not unlike the plot of WC Field's great 1934 movie "It's a Gift", the title by the way having absolutely nothing to do with the plot that unfolds. As his strumpet of a wife, Kathleen Howard steals the movie away from WC. Howard was a more strident version of Barbara Morrison.
  10. Later Lucy interviews: although this one is kinder than most, there's always THAT TONE. Lucy was in better shape than the average 68 year old woman, but it's like the writers were expecting Lucy of 1955 or even 1965 and had to point out the fact that she aged as if to say "you're not fooling ME...or my readers." Strange, I think. Must have been hard for Lucy to read.
  11. "Lucy is Her Own Aunt" When Phil Stanley moves out to marry "BB", Lucy insists on singing at the wedding. Her "I Love You Truly" vocals send groom Phil on another bender. Back at home, Lucy's Glenhall apartment seems so empty. So she signs up with the "Big Sister" organization, a group that takes in wayward teenager girls abandoned by their families.....and ends up with her own daughter Chris, whom she doesn't recognize "You remind me of someone I used to know" Lucy must hide "Candy" (as she calls her) from downstairs crank Mrs. Golddapper because children are a violation of her lease and Candy is 'spectin' with the child of another Danfield-to-LA transplanted youth gone bad. All of this related in a postcard to her son Jimmy which is returned "not known in this platoon"....with postage due. Guest stars: Candy Moore, Phil Harris, Kasey Rogers. "Itchy" Mooney: Michael J. Pollard. Big Sister supervisor: Elvia Allman. Mrs. Golddapper: Bella Bruck.
  12. When the idea of Wildcat was first announced, Lucy was excited because the score was going to be written by "Cahn & Van Heusen" (Sammy&Jimmy) who had written a number of popular songs. C&VH dropped out, mercifully, but 5 years later wrote the songs for "Skyscraper" with Julie Harris, possibly the worst score ever produced on Broadway IMO. Had the Skyscraper project gotten off the ground a few years earlier, Lucy might have easily been cast since it's the musical version of her "Dream Girl" done on tour in the late 40s to great acclaim. Skyscraper might have had a better book than Wildcat but I'm sure glad she didn't do it. With those composers anyway. It starred another non-singer Julie Harris, whose unsure vocals make Lucy in Wildcat sound like Mary Martin. Julie's male lead was (our own?) Peter Marshall, who aims for a Dean Martin-style, and misses. His vocals sound lounge-singer smarmy to me. Peter would bring up his Broadway show accomplishment on Hollywood Squares at any conceivable opportunity. Julie and Peter's "You're a Liar" equivalent (when the couple who are obviously going to fall in love claim to hate each other) is called "Opposites". Peter wants to take Julie to DINNER. Julie says NO, not "even if you... 1) happen to a Pulitzer prize WINNER 2) promise to bring along Yul BRYNNER 3) are as charming as Cornelia Otis SKINNER 4)make a bishop seem a SINNER....on and on, then on to the Opposites song, the most inanely witless "list song" I've ever heard. "You and I are as opposite as ...." wet/dry, December/July, low/high, window/door, ceiling/floor, charming/bore, sugar/salt, virtue/fault and many more. You get the idea. "Skyscraper" did better than "Wildcat", even got a Tony nomination as Best Musical and ran a year. Had Lucy not exited Wildcat abruptly after 6 months, who knows how long she could have kept it running?
  13. I haven't seen this one in a while. Isn't this the episode where Ricky says he's 5'11 1/2" tall? Do we know how tall Desi actually was? Lucy was tall for a woman at 5/6 1/2" (though seemed taller). With heels, they seemed almost the same height. I don't think Lucy was wearing 5" heels! And isn't there some mention of how gooey the chocolates are before they go on the air? When the writers put in one little reference as a set-up, it really makes the ensuing bit play much better. Those little touches. Though there are always great scenes in the episodes, I'm not as comfortable with plots that center around the Ricardos and Mertzes in an all-out war. Like "The Courtroom": Yes, Ricky ruined their TV but the generous Ricardos just GAVE it to them. (probably spent $2000 in 2020 dollars) Fred kicking in the Ricardo's screen seems a little severe. I wonder if TVs were really that touchy back then. I'm talking about the adjustment of the picture. I'm sure they rarely exploded.
  14. Well, but if you knew you had to wait 20 years to get the series on these new-fangled DVDs, wouldn't you have still bought the VHSs? MONDAY MAY 6, 1963. I was involved in a playground accident. My face took the brunt of the injuries (no cracks....), all bloody and swollen. Nothing broken. My family was not about to waste 15 cents on a TV Guide, though I loved it. Still do (from that era). My mother, feeling sorry for me, bought one. I was rattled and lying on the couch. I asked her to read what that night's Lucy Show plot was going to be. She started reading "In the first in a series of RERUNS....." I wailed.. OH COULD THIS DAY GET ANY WORSE??? Though the show that aired "Lucy and the Electric Mattress" lifted my spirits. That's my memory. Someone else will have to verify this information because it's a bit odd that The Lucy Show would start their reruns with Episode #12 instead of one of the earlier ones. It would be interesting to find out which episodes they picked to repeat every season before Vacation Playhouse or Glynis (that one summer) took over. In 1963, they repeated probably no more than 8 or 9 of the 30. The other 21-22 were not seen again until CBS ran them in the morning in 1969.
  15. And don't forget her 2 hour gossip phone calls, like the one that complicated the Hal March "Matchmaker" episode. Today's version: Ethel "Sylvia tried your land line. She tried your cell. She messaged you on facebook." Lucy: "The baby was napping so I turned off notification sounds.
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