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teenageluminary last won the day on November 6 2021

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  1. I agree. I do wonder, though, how much of that was Lucy's fault, and how much of the blame goes to Bob and Madelyn. In Fidelman's book, for example, Steve Allen notes that Bob and Madelyn had a lot more backstory and character exposition in the original script for Lucy Calls the President, but that Lucy had those parts cut out because she felt the focus needed to be on her. Perhaps something similar happened during the production of Life with Lucy. After Betty White's passing, I re-watched Jenny Lewis' (Becky McGibbon's) appearance on The Golden Girls, where she played an unscrupulous Sunshine Cadet who takes Betty White's character's stuffed animal. Lewis is hilarious! With better writing, she could have been an asset on Life with Lucy. Also: Somewhat off-topic, but I was listening to some of Jenny Lewis' music recently, and I was curious as to what she had said about working with Lucy. Here's what she said:
  2. The reviews (such as this one from The Hollywood Reporter,) have been really positive. In her interview with Variety to promote the film, Poehler comes across as a huge Lucy fan, so I'm looking forward to this. (This quite a contrast from Aaron Sorkin, who was open about the fact that he was not a huge Lucy fan.)
  3. As you noted, shows today often have multiple executive producers - particularly since the stars often take "vanity" executive producer credits. (My understanding is that at the recent Friends reunion, for example, all 6 stars received EP credits as a courtesy, even though they weren't all involved on the creative side of things.) There is still usually once "main" executive producer, though, and that person is the showrunner. The showrunner selects the writing staff, reads over each script to make sure it comes from one "voice," and is in charge of planning that season's story arcs. The showrunner often has creative approval over the final cut of each episode before it is delivered to the network. Since, according to the Desilu book, Jess did all of the things a showrunner today typically does, he likely deserved executive producer credit. I'm not clear on why he and Desi *both* couldn't get EP credit, but I guess that wasn't done in the '50s. (As an aside, if the show were produced today, I have no doubt that Lucy would have gotten a producer credit as well. While Lucy wasn't as involved on the creative side as she would be in later years, Jess and Desi often deferred to Lucy when they had creative disagreements, and Lucy certainly wasn't shy about sharing her thoughts re: the scripts or how each scene should be played.)
  4. I agree with the posters upthread that it's odd that The Operetta isn't on there, since she later told Lee Tannen that this was one of her favorite episodes. It's also weird to see Lucy and Orson Welles on that list, since Lucille Ball later described Welles as being pompous and overbearing (if Jim Brochu's book is to be believed.) At one point, Lucille Ball also apparently referred to this as "the episode where I got a broomstick up my ass" (referring to the finale.)
  5. I think that like, Jess Oppenheimer, Desi had a really strong knack for planning and character development, and he was able to coax Bob and Madelyn into doing better rewrites and delivering their best work. And as the Desilu authors note - by this point in Season 2, certain CBS network executives and critics had pointed out that it looked like the show was coasting, and that the overall consistency wasn't as good as it had been during the first season. (In hindsight, this might also been the catalyst for Lucille Ball's famous "what are you doing, trying to ruin my career?" comment to Bob and Madelyn at the end of the season.) I think if Desi had spoken to Bob and Madelyn directly, however, he would have been more tactful than he was in this memo. In The Lucy Book, Schiller and Weiskopf said that when they wrote scripts with Bob and Madelyn, they all typically sat down in a room together and came up with the basic plotline. Schiller and Weiskopf would then do the first draft, and then Bob and Madelyn would make edits, check for consistency, firm up the dialogue, and make each script sound like it came from one "voice." I would imagine that Bob and Madelyn followed a similar process with the other writers they worked with (i.e. Fred Fox and Iz Elinson.) While the scripts Fox and Elinson submitted on their own during the third season (i.e. Lucy Becomes A Father) are decent, the dialogue and plotting seem "off," and aren't the same as the episodes they did with Bob and Madelyn, so I agree that B & M were likely the driving force behind the episodes in Season 2.
  6. This is how I feel too. It's interesting that Gary Morton is quoted in the Desilu book as saying that Bob and Madelyn "didn't do much" during the first two seasons of The Lucy Show, and that Schiller and Weiskopf were really doing most of the writing and plotting. I think the third season shows that Bob and Madelyn played a big role in terms of the overall tone of the show. While the Schiller/Weiskopf episodes in Season 3 (i.e. "Lucy's Contact Lenses" and "Lucy And The Bank Robbery") are good, the dialogue just doesn't seem to flow as well as it did in the scripts they did with Bob and Madelyn.
  7. Somewhat off-topic, but this book has a summary of an unproduced 2nd season episode of The Lucy Show, entitled "Lucy Flies A Helicopter." In the Desilu book, the authors mention that even after Desi Arnaz left the studio in 1962, Lucy would often send him scripts to review. At one point, Desi apparently reviewed this script and wrote a memo to the production staff where he had some pretty harsh things to say about it, so it's not surprising that it was shelved. Based on this book's summary of the script, it sounds like "Lucy Flies A Helicopter" was Bob and Madelyn's attempt to rehash some of the elements of the "Lucy Flies To Alaska" and "Lucy Wants A Career" episodes of The Lucy-Desi Comedy Hour. The plotline would have had Lucy and Viv both apply to be a TV show host's Girl Friday. The TV host have to do a segment on board a helicopter, and Lucy and Viv would have accidentally knocked out the pilot and been forced to pilot the plane instead. The basic plotline doesn't sound too bad, at least compared to some of the awful scripts that Milt Josefsberg and his staff came up with in the later episodes. But I do think Desi Arnaz was correct in his assessment that several of the 2nd season episodes of The Lucy Show were not as grounded in reality as they could have been, and that the writers could have broadened their horizons by doing more episodes about home improvements and the Lucy character's experience as a single mother (as they had in the 1st season.) By the end of the 2nd season, virtually every episode seemed to revolve around Lucy's attempts to get Mr. Mooney to give her more money.
  8. To be honest, I'm not sure. I think folks on here initially mentioned that many of his quotes/tidbits were inaccurate, so now I just take everything in the book with a grain of salt. Off the top of my head, I *do* know that he is incorrect when he says that "Meanwhile Back At The Office" was the final episode of Here's Lucy filmed, since posters here have since pointed out that "Lucy Fights The System" was.
  9. Geoffrey Mark Fidelman says in his book that Viv was approached about returning to "Here's Lucy" in 1972, but that Viv turned it down because she was diagnosed with breast cancer. But there a number of inaccuracies in Fidelman's book, so I'm not sure if that's true. For her part, Lucie Arnaz has said in interviews that part of the reason why Viv didn't work with Lucy for several years after "With Viv As A Friend, Who Needs An Enemy?" aired in 1972 is because Viv had health issues.
  10. I re-watched "Lucy, the Shopping Expert" this afternoon. I know other people, i.e. Geoffrey Mark Fidelman, really like this one, but I'm not a huge fan. Milt Josefsberg tended to write the Lucy character as being dumb and tacky (as opposed to sly, manipulative, and cunning,) and this episode is no exception. The scenes with Lucy messing up the melon display, eating vegetables without paying for them, and dropping things on the ground are annoying, rather than amusing. Like many of the first season episodes, this show feels more like a collection of scenes - as opposed to one unified episode. Individual parts of the episode (i.e. Gale Gordon's "birds and the bees" bit) are funny, but they didn't seem to come together as a whole for me.
  11. Lucy's work ethic during this period must have been incredible. She was running a studio, starring in a hit TV show, doing specials and guest appearances, writing an autobiography, doing a radio show, *and* raising two teenagers at the same time. Looking forward to listening to these episodes! I've heard clips from some of Lucy's interviews with Mary Tyler Moore and Doris Day on YouTube, and they were great. At this point in her life/career, Lucy's voice hadn't turned to bass yet, so her voice is very pleasant to listen to.
  12. I listened to/"watched" this animated version of "Liz Cooks Dinner For 12," from 1950. I really enjoyed this episode! It sounds like Richard Crenna played the delivery boy, just a year before he played Arthur in "The Young Fans" episode of I Love Lucy. And hearing Eleanor Audley (who voiced Lady Tremaine in Disney's Cinderella and Maleficent in Sleeping Beauty) as Liz's mother-in-law, was a treat. I really liked the finale, where George tells Liz that the dinner is canceled, just as their friends have sent over fully catered dinners because they know Liz botched hers. While watching/listening to this episode, it was interesting to see how much of a creative role Lucy and Desi played in shaping the "I Love Lucy" and making it different from My Favorite Husband. In Lucille Ball's autobiography, she notes that Desi never wanted people to make fun of his or Lucy's in-laws on the show, so the scenes in this episode where Liz bickers with George's mother would have never happened on I Love Lucy. And Lucy Ricardo, unlike Liz Cooper, was a fine cook who would have had no problem reading a recipe. While watching/listening to the scenes with Bea Benaderet, I kept thinking of what I Love Lucy would have been like if Bea had played the part of Ethel (as Lucy had originally envisioned.) Granted, Bea was a character actress and might have adjusted her performance if chosen to play Ethel, but there was nothing about her voice/intonation in this episode that felt "right" for the Ethel character. I think Vivian Vance brought a sense of sarcasm/dry humor to her line readings that really made that character pop.
  13. I recently saw Mame again as well, and I agree with you. The film itself is entertaining, and Lucy's acting is fine. The soft-focus lighting was very noticeable, but I didn't have a problem with it. I know Bea Arthur did several interviews after the fact where she stated that she didn't want to do the film (and that she only did it as a favor to her husband because he was directing,) but I thought she gave one of the best performances in the movie. Although this sounds obvious, I think the biggest problem with Mame is that it's a musical, and Lucy was simply not a singer. She was also not very good at "speak-singing," either. This time around, I actually fast-forwarded through some of Lucy's solos because her singing voice, at times, was incredibly grating to listen to. (And I say this as someone who *loves* Lucy.) To be honest, I wouldn't have minded if someone like Carole Cook or Lisa Kirk had dubbed Lucy's vocals for this film - I think it would have made the overall experience more enjoyable.
  14. Always nice to meet a fellow Bewitched fan! Since the pandemic, I've been watching a lot of episodes at home. The first few seasons were so good, particularly when Dick York was on the show. William Asher (who also worked on I Love Lucy,) produced Bewitched, and there were a couple of episodes that "borrowed" from I Love Lucy. There was one episode where Samantha's cousin Serena and her Uncle Arthur lost their powers and ended up making banana splits at the local ice cream parlor. The whole scene was a homage to the candy factory episode from ILL, and it was hilarious! In real life, Agnes Moorehead (who played Endora) and Lucille Ball were friends, dating back to when they did The Big Street together in 1942, and Agnes invited Lucy to the lavish Christmas parties she threw at her house every year. The entire Bewitched cast would attend those as well. Kasey Rogers, who played Louise Tate on Bewitched, said she first met Lucy at one of Agnes' Christmas parties. Later on, Kasey ended up guest starring in an episode of The Lucy Show, where she played Phil Harris' love interest. In the interview I read, Kasey had nothing but the nicest things to say about working with Lucy.
  15. I'm sure ageism was a big part of it. To be fair, Lucille Ball was also phoning it in quite a bit by the time Here's Lucy came around - obviously looking at cue cards, hamming it up for the audience, doing broad takes, etc. There wasn't the same level of nuance and subtlety that she had during I Love Lucy or the first few seasons of The Lucy Show. To be honest, if it were up to me, I probably wouldn't have given Lucille Ball the Outstanding Continuing Performance Emmy in 1968, either - I think it should have gone to Elizabeth Montgomery in Bewitched, which was still in its prime (creatively) at that point. But I'm sure others will disagree. All that being said, I definitely think Lucille Ball deserved an award for What Now, Catherine Curtis? I think she was great in that.
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