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Irene Kampen Tripp

Her Voice

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I'm sure I get lots of things wrong, Claude :lucythrill:  .  I believe you that the Wildcat show was created for her. That also ties in to what I mentioned in my number 2 point about Mame -- that it was her acting ability & enormous popularity that garnered her these roles, not her singing voice. I've seen short clips of her singing the "Hey, Look Me Over " song & you're right -- she lights up & really enjoys herself, which is very entertaining. She did the same in Mame -- acted out the songs as well as sang them. But as to whether the caliber of her voice was up to Broadway standards ... we'll just have to agree to disagree on that. :)

 

Cute eyeball story :lucy1: !

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There were many actresses on Broadway during that era who did not have the voices of professional singers, two time Tony Award winner for Best Actress in a Musical Lauren Bacall is the most notable example. Lucy probably had a better voice than quite a few of them. 

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There were many actresses on Broadway during that era who did not have the voices of professional singers, two time Tony Award winner for Best Actress in a Musical Lauren Bacall is the most notable example. Lucy probably had a better voice than quite a few of them. 

True, and many others who TALKED SANG all their songs like Burton and Rex Harrison and many others.  Bacall's a great example of someone having a deep down voice a la Lucy though.

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I'm sure I get lots of things wrong, Claude :lucythrill:  .  I believe you that the Wildcat show was created for her. That also ties in to what I mentioned in my number 2 point about Mame -- that it was her acting ability & enormous popularity that garnered her these roles, not her singing voice. I've seen short clips of her singing the "Hey, Look Me Over " song & you're right -- she lights up & really enjoys herself, which is very entertaining. She did the same in Mame -- acted out the songs as well as sang them. But as to whether the caliber of her voice was up to Broadway standards ... we'll just have to agree to disagree on that. :)

 

Cute eyeball story :lucy1: !

Sorry sweetie, I just leap to her defense whenever Mame comes up, I certainly never expected someone to start on Wildcat now, LOL!  Let's not forget that the songs in MAME were not written for her though so for her to tackle songs that were either too high or too low HAD to be a problem.  Then again Bea Arthur was no Julie Andrews either.  Always loved Lucy's own reply to people who criticized her singing in Mame, saying Mame was up all night partying and drinking, so she couldn't sound like Julie Andrews, could she?  LOL! 

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I know I've told this story as often as Carol Burnett's told her famous Lucy story but if it's good enough for HER, then . . . When I first heard one of Lily Tomlin's albums, where she had a character who worshipped Lucy, even playing the I Love Lucy theme at her dad's funeral, she played some of Lucy's dialogue as she was supposedly watching the show in the background.  Well, I heard all that and did not even recognize Lucy's voice.  I thought the story especially appropriate for this thread.  You see, there were no tapes of her shows back then, and I had not seen them on tv in years.  So, I forgot how high her voice was.  And I was hearing the low voiced Lucy on tv in interviews and on specials so it was so different that I never even recognized her.  THAT'S HOW DIFFERENT HER VOICE WAS from real life.  By the way, I think the show they were playing was the one where Lucy stages the show as Ricky has laryngitis as the dialogue went something like this . . . YOU MAY AUDITION FOR ME IN THE MORNING . . . she's telling Fred and Ethel.  It's playing today on Comedy Gold so i'll get to hear it again.

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I love this. I never gave it much thought in the 80's just always seemed low.

 

On one of the public domain tapes there is a promo that Lucy and Desi do for Life of a Model. Lucy comes out and starts speaking in her "Lucy" voice. Then she transitions out of character to regular Lucille voice and it's amazing to hear the difference put that close together. The real voice is lower, her speaking is more direct and it has a bit of that breathyness to it. She then transitions back to "Lucy" again for a few words at the end.

Even when you watch ILL and then watch the commercials they use to do, huge difference. Especially since we didn't get a lot of just Lucille Ball in the 1950s. It just feels different in that era.

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The only time you hear a lower voice for the Lucy Ricardo character was when Lucy and Ricky were getting romantic. Her voice would lower. Especially in Pregnant Women are Unpredictable.

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Claudie, I'm sorry about dissing Lucy's singing voice on both Mame & Wildcat in the same post. I promise not to do it again :marionstrong: .

Years ago I saw "Cats" on Broadway & the actress who sang "Memories" at the end did such an incredible job that I think I hold every other Broadway singer up to that standard. 

 

Love this Lucy reply: (it makes perfect sense to me! :))

 

Always loved Lucy's own reply to people who criticized her singing in Mame, saying Mame was up all night partying and drinking, so she couldn't sound like Julie Andrews, could she?  LOL! 

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Claudie, I'm sorry about dissing Lucy's singing voice on both Mame & Wildcat in the same post. I promise not to do it again :marionstrong: .

 

Love this Lucy reply: (it makes perfect sense to me! :))

I was more offended by you saying her voice in Wildcat wasn't perfect, her voice was fine way back then, for Mame you have a point, the musical was NOT written for her and her singing voice was not able to show off the musical's best songs the way she would have decades earlier.  But NOBODY will ever get me to say her singing wasn't fine when you consider her own quote about it all, LOL!

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 .

Years ago I saw "Cats" on Broadway & the actress who sang "Memories" at the end did such an incredible job that I think I hold every other Broadway singer up to that standard. 

 

Funny you should mention CATS.  When I saw it with the British actress, forget her name, but she was no Betty Buckley, and although she was fine I so would have preferred seeing Betty instead, especially hitting that long high note that is the highlight of the song.

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Awe, Claude put down one of my favs Elaine Paige.

Elaine was terrific but she's still not Buckley who originated the role and is the only person to hit that note perfectly.  Her TOUCH ME was the very best TOUCH ME.  I even saw her when she introduced the song to us the very first time when she did it at The Kennedy Center honors one year.  Touch me and you'll understand what a penis is . . . although i'm not positive of those lyrics . . could be  . . . touch me and you'll understand what happiness is . . .  

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Elaine was terrific but she's still not Buckley who originated the role and is the only person to hit that note perfectly.  Her TOUCH ME was the very best TOUCH ME.  I even saw her when she introduced the song to us the very first time when she did it at The Kennedy Center honors one year.  Touch me and you'll understand what a penis is . . . although i'm not positive of those lyrics . . could be  . . . touch me and you'll understand what happiness is . . .  

He said "touch me"!  :lucyhehe:

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Sorry to bump this thread back up - I only recently joined the forum - but I've really been enjoying this discussion. I remember back in the '90's, Nick at Nite did a "Lucy" marathon and aired "I Love Lucy" and "Life With Lucy" back to back, and I was shocked at how deep and hoarse her voice had gotten. As a kid, it terrified me!

 

Did Lucy ever acknowledge the change in her voice? I know in Lee Tannen's book, he mentions that Gary made jokes about it when she sang ("We even sing in the same octave!") But I always wondered if she ever saw a voice teacher or made an attempt to fix the problem.

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Good question. I don't think I ever read what she thought of it. Maybe she didn't know as you always sound different to yourself. I mean the jokes are one thing but did anyone really have a conversation with her about it?

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Lucy talked her about her voice during a 1980s interview on The John Davidson Show. She was asked what physical thing about herself she would change and she said her voice. 

 

The only time I can think of Lucy's voice being part of a scripted joke was on The Carol Burnett Show. They did a gender reversed takeoff on Some Like It Hot with Lucy and Carol disguising themselves as men. In the sketch, Carol, in drag, said to Lucy, "I wish i had your voice." 

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Sorry to bump this thread back up - I only recently joined the forum - but I've really been enjoying this discussion. I remember back in the '90's, Nick at Nite did a "Lucy" marathon and aired "I Love Lucy" and "Life With Lucy" back to back, and I was shocked at how deep and hoarse her voice had gotten. As a kid, it terrified me!

 

Did Lucy ever acknowledge the change in her voice? I know in Lee Tannen's book, he mentions that Gary made jokes about it when she sang ("We even sing in the same octave!") But I always wondered if she ever saw a voice teacher or made an attempt to fix the problem.

Kinda hard to "fix a problem" due primarily to 50+ years of abuse by booze and especially cigarettes --and unfiltered yet!  Makes me madder the older I get seeing all these great shots of her taken of her over the years and 9 times out of ten shes got a goddamned cigarette in her hand! Ugh! :blink:

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But .. didn't the Wildcat experience put a lot of strain on her voice? Rehearsal and performance as Mrs Ricardo.and then Wildcat Jackson along with 3 packs a day of Chesterfield cigarettes and scotch liquid refreshments took their toll.

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Kinda hard to "fix a problem" due primarily to 50+ years of abuse by booze and especially cigarettes --and unfiltered yet!  Makes me madder the older I get seeing all these great shots of her taken of her over the years and 9 times out of ten shes got a goddamned cigarette in her hand! Ugh! :blink:

 

Joey I haven't heard of her abusing booze before. Desi most certainly but never Lucy. Other than the 'slushies' that Lee mentioned, what else did she drink? The voice was broke the Lucy character illusion for me. I think it really added to Lucy Ricardo that she sounded quite childish and the deeper voice didn't work so well for me in the later characters. 

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She wasn't an alcoholic by any means.  Most people like to drink now and then at social gatherings, etc., doesn't make them alcoholics.

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