Jump to content


  • Content count

  • Joined

  • Last visited

  • Days Won


Everything posted by Neil

  1. AFTER it failed, the LWL 20-20 hindsight naysayers were saying one of the reason was Lucy's type of comedy was old-hat in the modern world of 1986. I said OH POOH! It's just that TV swallows up material so fast, there was nothing new left to do. I saw a couple Perfect Strangers and at least they were TRYING. And fairly successfully.
  2. yes, today is the birthday of that bigamist Thelma Green, Mrs. Valence, Cynthia Duncan, Betty Jo Hansen, Effie Higgins, Sheila Kasten, Lillian Ryander, and of course, the one and only...................MA PARKER! (I'm sure I'm leaving someone out.....and I HOPE someone will correct me.) Some fans of Carole's have set up a facebook page....why don't we all sign it? (or whatever you do with a facebook page)
  3. They'd probably pick Tango/Eggs. Yes, Lucy's reaction is hilarious but is the entire episode that good? And think about those poor techs in INDIA having to draw little lines around each of those 500 chicks! (technique and country where it's done depicted in "Redhead Tales"). I'd pick "Lucy Wants to Move" "Misses the Mertzes" "Chummy with Neighbors" "Barbecue" "Country Club Dance" or my favorite "Housewarming" (both Vivian and Lucy are STELLAR in this one, even more than usual). The Connecticut series is marred by a few duffers "Ragtime Band" "Dedicate a Statue" and "Night in Town" (people seem to like this last one more than I do). I watched "Chummy with Neighbors" (Betty Ramsey helps Lucy redecorate) and what I was struck with was how great a comedic actor Desi had become since the show began a mere 6 years previous. The Mertzes are missed but they're finally brought into the plot with that great phone call scene: Lucy's emergency plea to Ethel. Ethel to Fred "It's Lucy. She's in trouble". Fred: "Quick! Hang up the phone!" and then Fred going comatose at the thought of ANYONE spending $3,500 on furniture. (2019 equivalent: $32,000!). Very well written episode. Nice touch: Lucy (distracting Betty) trying keep a running tally of the money she's spending on furniture, then discovering she's mistaken the stock numbers for the prices.
  4. New Lucy Books

    Seems to me this book was mentioned in a thread but I can't find it. Tom Shales book "Legends: Remembering American's Greatest Stars". It's an affectionate look at stars of the past with a chapter about Lucy AND a separate one about Desi. Lucy's in entitled "Wildcat" although there's no mention of the show per se. I know the name Tom Shales. I think he was one of the TV columnists that was particularly cruel in his review of "Life with Lucy". He devotes most of his chapter to I Love Lucy. And he's so very right about one thing. It wasn't the SLAPSTICK that made the series popular, it was the HEART. (If you think about it, what percentage of episodes were built around a big slapstick, physical comedy scene?) . This was written in 1989 so he can be excused for repeating the Viv 20 pounds overweight contract story but why do people like this one so much??. He lumps all her post ILL TV work into one statement: "the chemistry just wasn't there". HOWEVER, that part that galled me.....he interviewed Lucy during LWL time and has this to say (CAPS ARE MINE) : "She had eyebrow pencil where there were no eyebrows and pink lipstick where there were NO LIPS. She looked even OLDER THAN HER 75 YEARS". First off, why write this at all? what's the point? Secondly how much older than 75 years can any old person look?, I gotta ask. There's just something about Lucy aging that seems to make writers MAD.
  5. Complete "Lucy Show" DVD $26.00

    That's 16 2/3 cents per episode
  6. Exactly. Welles' War was a mere 17 years previous (I think). From Cynthia to Evelyn to Betty Ramsey to Audrey Simmons to TLS Mary Jane to HL Mary Jane (especially those later shows), Mary Jane Croft seemed to progress in daffiness with each role. The only further progression she could have made would have been an animated character in a Hanna-Barbera cartoon. They made cartoon versions of several series (didn't Laverne and Shirley have one?), why not a Here's Lucy cartoon with the characters as animals: Harry as a walrus, Lucy and Mary Jane as ostriches. I like "Envious" . Who else could have done that scene with Cynthia and then the Martian schtick in the same episode? Pre-Hollywood, I would guess Jess was frustrated that they were running out of self-contained episode plots. On paper, this would seem too outlandish to work. The $500 they earned is $4,700 today. I would have kept the money and avoided Cynthia Harcourt in the future. Imagine if Fred had found out Ethel gave away $4700!
  7. Lucy on the Big Screen on Her Birthday!

    Who's Scott Mantz? My theater was a virtual sell out. No technical glitches. I ordered tickets some time ago and could only get the 2nd row so everyone was HUGE! As Ric Carl was talking about his house furnishings, I wanted to stand up and address those around me "I've actually BEEN to that house", but I was afraid some smart-ass would say "I can't wait to tell Lana at dinner tonight".
  8. I'd be too squeamish to watch this one. But I love the others!
  9. Margo may have gotten suspicious when at the mention of Hal King, it's TED who squeals and jumps up and down on the couch.
  10. As much as I enjoyed seeing Gale, and the fact that he, at 80, was more than up to the task, casting him may have been a bad idea. By 1986, I Love Lucy was still revered. The Lucy Show, less so. It was still being syndicated but usually not in prime hours. Here's Lucy, even less. HL's syndication life was pretty short considering. The Lucy-Gale relationship was not what the general public thought of as classic "Lucy". Gale was always the utmost professional. When he had a good script, he could shine brightly. The only truly great Lucy-Gale year was 2nd season TLS. With B&M at the helm, the relationship between Lucy and Gale was well-defined. His frustration with fellow Danfield-ite Lucy was motivated. Even if Gale did not have a great script, he could still shine. With a bad script, he did what he could, never giving less than 100%. But when an actor gives 100% to a bad script, it can make him/her look bad, unfair as that is. If they were going to stick with the LWL family premise, I think having a Curtis McGibbon was a good idea. If not Gale, what do you think about Jackie Coogan for the role? Someone who worked on the show (Stu Shostak maybe?) told me the network hated the hardware store story lines. It did seem to figure in less and less. More casting suggestions: Ted & Margo played by RG Brown and Ruth Buzzi and NO kids. The running gag could be someone asking Ruth if they have children and Ruth answering "No......but we're TRYING" followed by a close-up of RG with a 'please God, help me' look directly into the camera. This may have been a little too risqué for Lucy, but I would have lol'd every time!
  11. In "Housewarming", probably the best of the Connecticut episodes, when it's obvious there's no surprise party, Ricky tells Lucy she must have been mistaken. Lucy: "Yes there is, honey. That Ethel. She's a sly one. She might just make us wait the whole evening...." and then that split-second transition to the cry. NO ONE NO ONE NO ONE else could have done this. (and I'm not quoting Lucy's full line correctly). It's a marvelous moment.
  12. Vanda can't understand why husband Sid is not more excited being cast as Sam Barker. Sid "I happen to know that Sam DIES before the pilot even starts". You're right that Geoffrey "GodBlessIm4WritingItAnyway" Fidelman does seem obsessed with the bags under Lucy's eyes---also her WEIGHT, two things I had never noticed and don't care about. I too am dying to hear the Lucie Arnaz theme (written with Cy Coleman?). There's nothing particularly wrong with "Every Day....". But there's nothing right about it either. It has virtually nothing to do with the series. I wonder if Lucie's was more Lucy-centric as it should have been. I thought the first Ellen Burstyn Show was good. The pilot was shot on film. Then when the series was picked up the subsequent episodes were shot on videotape which gave it an artificial feel. I'd almost forgotten that Elaine Stritch was Ellen's mother. What a great addition Elaine would have made to Life with Lucy. When something fails, everyone is there with "I told you so"'s. I wish LWL's premise had centered on Lucy and a group of her contemporaries (Elaine as one of them) , rather than the home life with Ted, Margo and the kids. Think of all the still-capable 1986 actresses that could have played Lucy's friends! Poor Larry and Ann: stuck with the Mo-In-Law Susie/Jerry roles. No discernible characters as written. Most of the then-current young actors didn't have the comedic background to insert characterization and laughs where none existed on the page. People like Verna Felton, Elvia Allman, Doris PackerJay Novello were just inherently FUNNY (...I can't think of any actors Ted/Margo/Susie/Jerry's ages that were this skilled, but there must have been SOME). These pros could make straight lines or exposition lines seem funny. (Good example: veteran Ruth Kobart in the hardware store scene) In the premiere ep, it looks like Larry is TRYING but his character gets blander in subsequent episodes. I watched the first episode again recently and it was much better than I remember. Some pretty good lines. The ending with the suds almost worked and might have succeeded--without that one shot that shows the suds coming from an additional source, spoiling the bit by reminding us "oh, this is all fake". LWL presented such Catch-22s. People expected Lucy-type of comedy from a Lucy project but then were critical when that's what it was. One more thing: Lucy's dancing to "Top Jimmy and the Rhythm Pigs" (was this a REAL group?): her movements are so fluid and limber unlike any 75 year old I've ever known. Older people on TV were (and are) rarely treated as anything other than the butt of old people jokes. For those of us who lived through it, Life with Lucy was a remarkable experience. Hopeful with anticipation but ultimately bittersweet for sure. I'll never forget the day a friend called me in May of 1986 and said "You'll NEVER guess what I just read in USA Today"...He made me try. I didn't guess.
  13. "The Lucy Show, Ball was the scatter-brained-but-lovable banking secretary-widow Lucy Carmichael to the cantankerous, penny-pinching Theodore Mooney For some reason, this is the Lucy Show format most people remember. This article does single out the first season as almost being a continuation of I Love Lucy, (I disagree) and ignores season 2 and 3 and the first 7 episodes of season 4, whereupon Lucy starts working PART-TIME for Mooney. There were many many 4th season episodes, post-hiring, where the bank was not the springboard for the plot ("Dean Martin", "Hollywood Premiere" "Bags a Bargain", to name just a few). Even counting every episode from "Danny Thomas" on (in which she's first hired), Westland Bank secretary Lucy constituted less than 40% of the show's 156 episodes. Many more episodes were non bank-secretary-Lucy related than were. Even after she was hired full time ("Carol as Roommate" "Lucy and Carol in Palm Springs" "Meets the Law" "Meets the Berles" "Stewardess 2-parter" "Lost Star Joan Crawford" just to pick some at random). When Gale Gordon died, NickAtNite picked TLS's "Danny Thomas" to run as a tribute, probably having read the synopsis that stated that Lucy was hired as his secretary--but not knowing in the CBSmorning edited version, Gale/Mooney's opening scene is cut from the episode and he doesn't even appear! Side note on Gale: though loved, he is probably UNDER-rated because unlike Barndahl, he had to work overtime to make skimpy scripts come alive. TLS 2nd season Mr. Mooney is the closest we got to the character created for him. He was parsimonious as a banker would be, but would later be subjected to Milt's truckload of Jack Benny miser jokes. He blustered and yelled when the script called for it, but that wasn't when his character was allowed to shine. What is YOUR nominee for the best Gale episode of each season? I'll have to think about mine. "In HL, Ball portrayed the also-widowed and slightly-ditzy secretary Lucy Carter" SLIGHTLY??
  14. So true....When they put out season 4 of The Lucy Show, I didn't think they'd move on to season 5 because of public domain saturation. Not only did they do it, they included the beautifully restored "Lucy in London" PLUS an original "making of" documentary! Who could ask for more?
  15. Now is NO time to get shy about your stellar work....If I buy them and your art work is NOT the cover, I'm going to screen-grab yours and replace it. I could not find a place to pre-order. Will someone let us know when you can?
  16. The Best Lucy Books

    The thing that bugs me is: (other than the CLEVER and WITTILY written FAQ) These books all treat Lucy in later years (from the time she took over Desilu to the end) with a grumbling disdain that intensifies as she ages, relying on malcontents whose anecdotes are presented as representative of the norm. Would anyone be listening to "good friend to all old lady stars" Big Mouth Kenwith if it wasn't for his association with Lucy? (some of her poorest HL episodes, I might add). And they don't give enough respect to much of her post half-hour I Love Lucy product; at least as much as a lot of it deserves.
  18. I looked it up and "Lucy Calls the President" aired on Monday night November 21, 1977. Does anyone know what time? I'm not sure but am thinking 10pm, pre-empting the short-lived show "Rafferty". For the first time in a long time, CBS's Monday night was in a shambles. "Young Dan'l Boone" at 8. From 9 to 10 was "The Betty White Show" (half a season) and "Maude" in its final very low rated year---which makes "President"'s #12 more impressive. In fact, 90% of the entire 77-78 schedule on all 3 networks was dreadful. With an exception or two, there are no shows I would have watched.
  19. Love this thread! Harry will probably know but I don't think an 18.1 rating is a time slot winner. (Considering Here's Lucy ended its run at #29 with a 20.0 rating). Too bad because "Gets Lucky" is my favorite of all Lucy's "experiments" of the 70s. I STILL say a conservatively administered laugh track would have helped the show.
  20. As a English-2nd-language guy once said to me "That's HIGHLY ARIOUS!" Other cute things he said: He forgot some detail on a project and said "Sorry. That fell through my crack." Meant to call someone a habitual liar but said "he's an obituary liar"; also said this guy was "BOlivious" when he meant oblivious. I've repeated bolivious so much that to this day I have to stop before I say oblivious to make sure I'm pronouncing it correctly.
  21. Decades Lucy Shows this morning "Choirmaster" and "Discovers Wayne Newton". There's something different about 4th season Lucy Carmichael. For one thing: IMO she looks better than in any other TLS season and her voice still has that ingenue-lilt. There's a sweetness and vulnerability about her that's absent from much of the 3rd season. Those inexperienced Lucy writers tended to mine the bossy side of her character for comedy--not realizing that for Lucy to be lovable, her character has to be balanced with heart. There were some writer hold-overs from 3rd season but the new 4th season crop brought a fresh angle to Lucy's character. (And yes, I'm fully aware of the handful of 4th season duffers). She's particularly appealing in "Choirmaster", a little sad being alone at Christmas ---even though Jimmy/Jerry makes an unexpected, unexplained appearance. "This year I'm only buying presents for the children" (Chris: "That's us...."). Under the category of "it's the little things she does", two moments stand out. After the boys flub the lyrics, she apologizes to the audience and poses to start conducting, but then turns to the audience one more time to apologize again. ("Do forgive us...."). Then earlier when they're rehearsing, she's making sure they're all there and says with seriousness "Will any boy who is not here please raise his hand?" and she's got her finger up ready to count them. Again, little moments but they go a long way adding appeal to the character of Lucy. (something later shows didn't always project). 1965-66 would have been the height of her Desilu presidential duties, but she knows the scripts---no cue card eye-darting that I could see. Amazing that in 3 short years, The Lucy Show went from a cast of seven (if you count Barnsdahl and Harry) to a cast of TWO (if you don't count Mary Jane's sporadic appearances).
  22. "Lucy in Paris" "Lucy Gets Paris Gown"---March 12&19, 1956 Burns&Allen "Back from Paris--May 15, 1956. Gracie is enamored with the dresses by a French designer. Separately George and Gracie buy the same "original" painting from a sidewalk artist and later reveal them to each other at the same time. Coincidence? probably.