Jump to content
Sign in to follow this  
Annaleigh

Best and worst Lucy book

Recommended Posts

Now let's put Love, Lucy, A Book, Desilu, and Lucille Ball FAQ (sorry Jim!) aside, since they are the best Lucy related books out there.

 

Which ones are the best to read, with true facts? Also which ones are the ones to skip out on? (Ignore Stern's book in this category ;))

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

I enjoy Stefan Kanfer's Ball of Fire, even if he does get some incidental facts wrong and his summaries for some episodes seem to be hazily recalled (it was written before the complete DVD library was available). It's a bit bitter in the sense that he pretty much feels I Love Lucy was the ONLY really good thing she did (which, in essence, it was). He's rather dismissive and critical of her other works, but he does have an engaging writing style that makes it a strong read. It's not just facts strung together, he has a cohesive narrative and it really flies by.

 

I'm not familiar with Kathleen Brady's book at all. I understand it's the first resource that really dug up facts about her childhood?

 

I also love The Lucy Book because I adore comprehensive episode guides. Fidelman corrects a number of erroneous errors that became public knowledge due to Bart Andrews' I Love Lucy Book. His opinions may have divided fans but there's no denying the book's exhausive list of credentials and information.

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

Best Books

 

Lucille- After Desilu this was the second book I read on Lucy.  It really digs deep in her childhood.  The only other account that I’ve seen that goes this deep is the Home Movies.  Overall I think this is a good book.  As for the infamous picture, I think that is the most controversial part of this book.  Kathleen was on an author panel once in Jamestown and I really wanted to ask her about this photo in the Q and A and chickened out.  Nobody else asked either.  I frequently refer to this book to look up stories or compare to other books.  I know there was some talk of not everything being accurate in it.  Anyone else have thoughts on that?

 

I Love Lucy Scrapbook-Really neat concept and a lot of fun to go through. 

 

Lucy Desi Scrapbook-Same concept as the ILL one and this one came out first.  It’s a little like the CD ROM with having the pieces viewable.  I like how you can pull out copies of actual documents, cards, letters, etc.   This one doesn’t get talked about much, but it’s a great book for the die hard who wants to know everything.

 

50th ILL book-Nice big pictures and it goes through every episode.

 

60th ILL book-I thought how are they going to do another ILL book, since the 50th covered it pretty well, but there are new photos and a whole new take on the topic.

 

Lucy at the Movies-Excellent resource on Lucy’s movie career.  I frequently consult this book.  The author really did a great deal of research and the pictures are amazing.  A must get.

 

Other Side of Ethel- A must have for fans.  Great research and a wonderful, informative read.  I learned so much from this book.

 

The Lucy Book-My copy is well worn as I consult this frequently.  I like having the synopsis of things so handy and love the background knowledge.  I don’t always agree with the author and his take on a particular piece.  Also it is not 100% complete with every Lucy TV appearance, but I think it is close.  I bet it would have to be another 50 pages to account for everything.

 

Worst Books

 

Lucy Desi Legendary Love Story: Harris- I don’t own this one but got it once or twice from the library years ago.  What I remember about it was it took some stories and really fictionalized them.  The general facts may have been right, I don’t remember but it really dramatized things to the point I felt like, how would you know if this really happened and also it felt like it was boarding on fiction with creating situations.

 

Ball of Fire- I never got this one or read it.  I felt that from what I read about it, it did not present any new information other than what the author may think.  I had read so many books and other material to this point that I felt that it was just presenting all this compiled information in a new way.

 

Any biographies that came out in the 70s- I think many of these were just trying to cash in on the fame and turn a quick buck.  Not well researched and just didn’t like the vibe from the ones I skimmed over the years in library visits.

 

My thoughts on other books I’ve read/own

 

Life After Lucy: Keith’s book- Only have been through this once, but it’s a quick, nice read to get some more behind the ILL scenes stories.

 

Laughing With Lucy (Madelyn’s Book)- Very good read and I do like that she took the classy approach and did not include an gossip type stories.  I really enjoyed not only the Lucy stories but how she got into the business when there were not woman writers and also her post Lucy work on Alice.

McClay ILL book- I read this one cover to cover in the bookstore one day and eventually picked up a second hand copy of it.  I got this before the 50th Anniversary book and other than good pictures it doesn’t offer a ton of new information.  It’s similar to the 50th ILL book I think.

 

Andrews ILL book-I own the revised yellow cover one and back in the mid 90’s learned a ton about ILL from this book.  I know the original had a lot of errors this one sought to correct, but if memory serves me there are still errors.  Worth a read as it was the first book on the series. 

 

Wyman Collectable Book-Regardless on my feelings about the author I really like this book.  I think the price guide segment is a little out of line, but it gives a great history of what all you can collect about Lucy.  I prefer the vintage collectables over the new stuff and this was my education into what might be out there.  I think Ebay was just starting when I got this so most Lucy stuff I was finding was at antique places and flea markets.

 

Laughs, Luck, Lucy (Jess’s book)-Another good look at the behind the scenes of ILL and early TV and radio as well.  Worth a read

 

Lucille Ball Treasures-No new information in this one but I do really enjoy the pictures.

 

Meet The Mertz’s-After the “Other Side” book I don’t think I really learned anything new about Viv but it is the only book that you will get a good bio of Bill from.

 

I Loved Lucy-I’ve read this numerous times.  I enjoy it for the fact that it gives a look at a time in Lucy’s life that is not really talked about.  What I don’t like is the tone that it paints her as this depressed old woman who’s better days were in the past.  I truly don’t think she was as unhappy as this book makes her out to be. 

 

Lucy: Life in Pictures- I got it cheap somewhere and pull it out on occasion to look at the nice big pictures and just skip the text.  The first edition of this had a huge number of errors they later corrected.

Lucy (Yapp book)-I have never read the text in this book as I’ve heard it’s filled with errors.  What this book does have going for it is a huge collection of really rare, beautiful photos of Lucy.  Get it for that reason alone.

 

Lucy in the Afternoon-One I do not own but have read twice a long time ago.  The stories are good but it really seems like he had the idea of doing a book all along and kept notes after hanging out with Lucy to be able to remember these stories.  Long passages of quotes.  And it came out so quickly after she died.

 

Loving Lucy (Tom’s book)- Done back in the 70’s when the focus seemed to be a lot on ILL.  This was an early book I picked up and it was a treasure trove of rare pictures and information about Lucy’s movie career and post ILL work.  I still flip through it on occasion.

 

I need to pick up the Paper Doll book when I find one cheap as I’ve seen pages and it looks great.  I sort of passed this one by when it first came out.

 

I don’t have Lucy A to Z.- Is this worthy to get this?

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

I was just going to post something like this. 

I got "Love Lucy" in 2005 and I much prefer an autobiography than a biography from someone who could make stuff up. I've had "Ball of Fire" since 2007 and I wonder how much of that stuff is actually true, like at the beginning of ILL, Lucy went over to Viv and ripped off Viv's false eyelashes and said "Nobody wears false eyelashes on this show but ME." Viv then told the makeup guy "If this show goes anywhere and becomes a hit, I'm gonna learn to love that bitch." However, in her book, Ball herself said they were compatible from day one, unless she meant as soon as the show got going after half a season. 

 

One thing that amused me in Ball of Fire was how Bill told Desi he could prove all the people wrong who said he was an old drunk. He was all "those bastards, those sonsabitches, who do they think they are?" I wish Vivian/Bill got along better because underneath his gruff exterior, Bill was a teddy bear inside from what I've heard, and even choked back tears during the series finale of LDCH. And also when he saw how skinny Lucy got during Wildcat. Lucy even said he was upset because of how much she and Desi were fighting during their final days. 

 

And was Lucy really that hard to work with during the President special? Her mother had just passed away, and Viv found out she had cancer. 

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

I was just going to post something like this. 

I got "Love Lucy" in 2005 and I much prefer an autobiography than a biography from someone who could make stuff up. I've had "Ball of Fire" since 2007 and I wonder how much of that stuff is actually true, like at the beginning of ILL, Lucy went over to Viv and ripped off Viv's false eyelashes and said "Nobody wears false eyelashes on this show but ME." Viv then told the makeup guy "If this show goes anywhere and becomes a hit, I'm gonna learn to love that bitch." However, in her book, Ball herself said they were compatible from day one, unless she meant as soon as the show got going after half a season. 

 

 

Because no star would make up anything in their autobiography? :lucyhehe:

  • Like 2

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

 

I need to pick up the Paper Doll book when I find one cheap as I’ve seen pages and it looks great.  I sort of passed this one by when it first came out.

 

 well, they are on Ebay now and then. While collectible, it can be found.  Not sure why you passed this one by back then, but then I'm a LITTLE biased.  :(:marionstrong:

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

I'm not wild about autobiographies and memoirs. I enjoy them for the star's own take on his/her life, but if I want hard facts I tend to go elsewhere. Other writers don't have issues about pulling punches and holding back the way the person in question might.

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

Now let's put Love, Lucy, A Book, Desilu, and Lucille Ball FAQ (sorry Jim!) aside, since they are the best Lucy related books out there.

 

Which ones are the best to read, with true facts? Also which ones are the ones to skip out on? (Ignore Stern's book in this category ;))

 

With all due respect to its authors, I am a bit curious as to why the Desilu book is held in such high regard. I must admit I am enjoying reading it, but I'm not exactly learning things I haven't already read about elsewhere. Maybe it has to do with being the first book to present a lot of information that has since become commonplace? Is that the light I should read it in?

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

I was just going to post something like this. 

I got "Love Lucy" in 2005 and I much prefer an autobiography than a biography from someone who could make stuff up. I've had "Ball of Fire" since 2007 and I wonder how much of that stuff is actually true, like at the beginning of ILL, Lucy went over to Viv and ripped off Viv's false eyelashes and said "Nobody wears false eyelashes on this show but ME." Viv then told the makeup guy "If this show goes anywhere and becomes a hit, I'm gonna learn to love that bitch." However, in her book, Ball herself said they were compatible from day one, unless she meant as soon as the show got going after half a season. 

 

One thing that amused me in Ball of Fire was how Bill told Desi he could prove all the people wrong who said he was an old drunk. He was all "those bastards, those sonsabitches, who do they think they are?" I wish Vivian/Bill got along better because underneath his gruff exterior, Bill was a teddy bear inside from what I've heard, and even choked back tears during the series finale of LDCH. And also when he saw how skinny Lucy got during Wildcat. Lucy even said he was upset because of how much she and Desi were fighting during their final days. 

 

And was Lucy really that hard to work with during the President special? Her mother had just passed away, and Viv found out she had cancer. 

 

Those quotes you refer to have been referenced elsewhere besides Ball of Fire.

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

With all due respect to its authors, I am a bit curious as to why the Desilu book is held in such high regard. I must admit I am enjoying reading it, but I'm not exactly learning things I haven't already read about elsewhere. Maybe it has to do with being the first book to present a lot of information that has since become commonplace? Is that the light I should read it in?

 

I personally like Desilu because it doesn't pretend Lucy and Desi's lives all but ended in March of 1960.

  • Like 1

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

I LOVED Desilu but hated the way it attacked Lucy more than Desi, must be because the author is friends with Lucie.  LOL!  Still, it's a great book and made a terrific Bravo special.  Love both Lucy and Desi's books.  The I Love Lucy book, both the Andrews and the OTHER one, all Lucy fans say negative things about the show and it's star, I don't know why I always pick on it's writer when I do it too.  Yes, that's definitely the drawback in reading most Lucy books, it's always the same information repeated all the time.  Loved Tannen's and Brochu's books because we finally got to hear what she did AFTER Lucy, although it could be quite disappointing that her life was so miserable.  I like it when they are thorough like FAQ and finally tell us more than we know.  And I LOVED the anniversary ones and the scrapbooks and even the Paper Dolls one as they show us things we always loved in a new way.  

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

You may not agree with all the opinions he voices, but you can't deny the man did some great research and conducted some wonderful interviews. It's very comprehensive.

 

Yeah, it's a well-researched book and does have some great interviews, but I still think he's a douche.  LOL

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

Like everybody always says, easy to criticize, not so easy to create something that will outlive you.  And the negative comments help sell the book.  That's what book publishers crave.  If I wrote one, I guess I would focus on the salacious also. 

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

Of the Ones I read

Best

 

The Other Side of Ethel Mertz:  I love VIv and love reading about her life.  She comes alive and is such a wonderful person who survived up and downs.

 

I Love Lucy Collectible GUide - The price guide is outdated now but the pictures and collectibles are a rare find and a must for anyone to see

 

Loving Lucy - This gives us rare pictures, reviews, and synposis of all of Lucy from the movies to Lucy Moves to NBC.  A great book that gives a balanced, complete picture of all of Lucy's career

 

THe Lucille Ball Story by James Gregory - 1974 - This had great stories in a short but sweet paperback I got many years ago

 

Middle

 

I Loved Lucy - Love hearing about Lucy's later years but it can be a little self centered. 

 

Lucy in the Afternoon - Great to hear of Lucy's  later years and the books is a little more positive than I Loved Lucy but Jim seemed to rush to get it published so I doubt his motives somewhat.

 

Lucille - I like the beginning about Lucy's childhood, found the rest of the book with the average stories but I despise the end.  it paints very negatively Mame and Stone Pillow which were well received by some at  least and paints Lucy's later years as less important. 

 

THe Lucy BOok - Learned a lot about Lucy's career but some appearances are missing and the opinions of the author sometimes are annoying.  DOes have great pics.

 

The Other Side of Mertzes - Great since only book on Bill but Other Side of Ethel Mertz gives Vivian life so well her personality comes alive and here it doesn't.

 

I LOve Lucy Story - Great for its time and my 1st book so I learned a lot but I wish he would have focused more on post I Love Lucy years. 

 

Worst

Ball of Fire - unneeded didn't bother with it.  It has the same old stories.

 

Lucy the Life Of Lucille Ball - Charles Higman 1986 Filled with many errors

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

Of the Ones I read

Best

 

The Other Side of Ethel Mertz: I love VIv and love reading about her life. She comes alive and is such a wonderful person who survived up and downs.

 

I Love Lucy Collectible GUide - The price guide is outdated now but the pictures and collectibles are a rare find and a must for anyone to see

 

Loving Lucy - This gives us rare pictures, reviews, and synposis of all of Lucy from the movies to Lucy Moves to NBC. A great book that gives a balanced, complete picture of all of Lucy's career

 

THe Lucille Ball Story by James Gregory - 1974 - This had great stories in a short but sweet paperback I got many years ago

 

Middle

 

I Loved Lucy - Love hearing about Lucy's later years but it can be a little self centered.

 

Lucy in the Afternoon - Great to hear of Lucy's later years and the books is a little more positive than I Loved Lucy but Jim seemed to rush to get it published so I doubt his motives somewhat.

 

Lucille - I like the beginning about Lucy's childhood, found the rest of the book with the average stories but I despise the end. it paints very negatively Mame and Stone Pillow which were well received by some at least and paints Lucy's later years as less important.

 

THe Lucy BOok - Learned a lot about Lucy's career but some appearances are missing and the opinions of the author sometimes are annoying. DOes have great pics.

 

The Other Side of Mertzes - Great since only book on Bill but Other Side of Ethel Mertz gives Vivian life so well her personality comes alive and here it doesn't.

 

I LOve Lucy Story - Great for its time and my 1st book so I learned a lot but I wish he would have focused more on post I Love Lucy years.

 

Worst

Ball of Fire - unneeded didn't bother with it. It has the same old stories.

 

Lucy the Life Of Lucille Ball - Charles Higman 1986 Filled with many errors

I enjoyed Ball of Fire because it was the first biography I read about her. And I loved Kanfer's writing style. I have no doubt that those who read earlier books found it superfluous but for me it was a great intro.

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

Well, I know its probably cheating, but somebody went and uploaded all the images online! So I went and saved them onto my device, printed them out, and laminated the dolls. Yeah, it isn't the real book, but still........cheaper, anyways! ;)

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

Join the conversation

You can post now and register later. If you have an account, sign in now to post with your account.

Guest
Reply to this topic...

×   Pasted as rich text.   Paste as plain text instead

  Only 75 emoji are allowed.

×   Your link has been automatically embedded.   Display as a link instead

×   Your previous content has been restored.   Clear editor

×   You cannot paste images directly. Upload or insert images from URL.

Loading...
Sign in to follow this  

×
×
  • Create New...