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The information in the Madeleinne Kahn book was discussed in another post.

In "Collision" (haven't read it yet so don't know what title refers to),     started his career in the theater as an usher for "Wildcat".   He had to go backstage and ran into Lucy waiting for her HLMOver entrance.  "How's the house?" she asked.  "Three empty rows in back of orchestra."

The next day he was told by the house manager. "You are never, never to speak to Miss Ball again."

He writes:

"I Love Lucy" fans filled the balcony, but the sophisticates for the more expensive seats just weren't buying, and this, just a few days into the run.  Obviously her handlers were not telling her all."

End of quote.

 

This contradicts everything I've read about Wildcat weekly grosses.  In an email exchange with him, he claims this was the case for the entire run.  However, the Alvin's weekly capacity was $65,000 and rarely did Wildcat gross less than $60K, which is 93%.  The average of the grosses I've accumulated is probably between  $62K-$63K. (95% to 97%)   The lowest weekly gross I found was $55K (or 85%) but I think that was the week Lucy missed a couple of days because of the fainting.   When Wildcat returned from its vacation, the grosses were over $65K, which means SRO.

 

He ran into Lucy years later when he was a production person on the Gene Kelly "american in Pasadena". 

"We never spoke about my Wildcat connection.  You don't remind a star about their flops."

He said of Kelly: "I took him his dinner and Kelly opened the door, puffy faced and with his toupee askew."

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Does this guy have any other nice things to say about people he's worked with?

You don't tell a star who's about to go on-stage anything negative.  Isn't "practically full" a better way of putting it and the same as some empty seats in the very back of the orchestra section?

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Not a new book but I picked up a copy of "The Best of 60s TV" which completely leaves out the third highest rated show of the decade The Lucy Show.

I tallied up ratings averages for the seasons between 1960 and 1970.

Bonanza was first with a 3.8 average.

Gomer Pyle had a 4 average.  It came as a surprise to me that Gomer was the decade's highest rated sitcom.  For 4 of its 5 seasons, it's ranking was no lower than #3.  In the 66-67 the series was moved from its Friday night time to Wednesdays at 9:30 and it dipped to #10.  Back on Friday its next year it bounced back to #3.  It ended its run in 68-69 at #2 when Jim Nabors wanted to change to a variety show format, which also did very well but was dumped in 1971 as part of CBS's rural purge. 

The Andy Griffith Show and The Lucy Show tied for third place with a 4.5.  In all the documentaries about Lucy's career, The Lucy Show gets treated like a minor coda to I Love Lucy, yet it was the 2nd highest rated sitcom of the decade, outranking Dick Van Dyke and Beverly Hillbillies.

My most well-thumbed reference book is "Complete Guide to Network TV Shows".  This book has a list where the authors ranked all the series to come up with a Top 50.  The criteria they use is the ratings and how long it ran.  They treat The Lucy Show and Here's Lucy as one series and it actually OUTRANKS I Love Lucy.  I think the lower ranking of ILL has to do with its 6 year network run as opposed to LS/HL's 12. As of the publication year (2007), TLS/HL was #10.  ILL was #24.    TLS/HL is the third highest comedy of all time outranked only by All in the Family: #6 and Friends: #9.

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Not a new book but I picked up a copy of "The Best of 60s TV" which completely leaves out the third highest rated show of the decade The Lucy Show.

I tallied up ratings averages for the seasons between 1960 and 1970.

Bonanza was first with a 3.8 average.

Gomer Pyle had a 4 average.  It came as a surprise to me that Gomer was the decade's highest rated sitcom.  For 4 of its 5 seasons, it's ranking was no lower than #3.  In the 66-67 the series was moved from its Friday night time to Wednesdays at 9:30 and it dipped to #10.  Back on Friday its next year it bounced back to #3.  It ended its run in 68-69 at #2 when Jim Nabors wanted to change to a variety show format, which also did very well but was dumped in 1971 as part of CBS's rural purge. 

The Andy Griffith Show and The Lucy Show tied for third place with a 4.5.  In all the documentaries about Lucy's career, The Lucy Show gets treated like a minor coda to I Love Lucy, yet it was the 2nd highest rated sitcom of the decade, outranking Dick Van Dyke and Beverly Hillbillies.

My most well-thumbed reference book is "Complete Guide to Network TV Shows".  This book has a list where the authors ranked all the series to come up with a Top 50.  The criteria they use is the ratings and how long it ran.  They treat The Lucy Show and Here's Lucy as one series and it actually OUTRANKS I Love Lucy.  I think the lower ranking of ILL has to do with its 6 year network run as opposed to LS/HL's 12. As of the publication year (2007), TLS/HL was #10.  ILL was #24.    TLS/HL is the third highest comedy of all time outranked only by All in the Family: #6 and Friends: #9.

I share your frustration Neil, I've NEVER understood how/why they lumped together TLS and HL nor how somehow inexplicably so many reference books put the locale of the 2nd half of TLS as San Francisco!!?? WTF??

 

How the hell would she have met all those stars e.g. Eddie Feldman/Dean Martin, John Wayne et. al. if she weren't gallivanting all over HOLLYWOOD??! Unreal.  Sigh. Okay.....rant over! ;):blink:

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Not a new book but for my birthday someone gave me the paperback version of "Ball of Fire" by Stefan Kankor.  Not only is it filled with easily verifiable inaccuracy, it , like every book from "Desilu" on down, is so NEGATIVE about her later career....and Lucy personally.   If one didn't know, one would assume that after I Love Lucy it was all downhill and there were no highlights.  Kanfor states that with the exception of Yours Mine and Ours, Lucy's post ILL career was nothing.  He quotes all the negative reviews of "Wildcat" and the ONE quasi-negative review of Lucy personally, the confusinglly-worded one by  Walter Kerr ("She seems to be performing by proxy").  All the others had wonderful things to say about Lucy and not all were totally down on the show.  One Broadway reference bible uses its own assessment to categorize the reviews of the 7 NYC newspapers into one of 5 categories:  raves, favorable, neutral, unfavorable, pan.  Wildcat rated 3 favorable and 4 unfavorable.  Not bad for a show that continues to be labeled a "flop".

Kanfer like the rest, always takes the other person's side when recounting interactions with Lucy:

Take the oft-told Burton tale.  All accounts (including Burton's) depict Lucy as obnoxious and nervy.  In actuality, she knew what Burton did not appreciate.  They had a very limited amount of time to pull their show together and if Lucy thought something wasn't working, right or wrong, she had no time to spare anybody's feelings.

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It's just that her curt behavior was perceived as "bitchy" and I'm sure since it was a stark contrast to her TV personna... they just wanted to nail her to the cross.

 

Even if she stayed in the Roxbury house after TLDCH wrapped and played backgammon with Willie Mae till the day she dropped dead, she STILL would have been as big a star as she had been.

 

So I can understand people saying her post ILL career was nothing.... WE know different because we LOVE the woman and others feel the way they do because they loved the LUCY CHARACTER.

 

I imagine she felt it was a double edged sword at times...and that could account for her later depression....

 

That book Ball of Fire may paint her in darker colors but it sure acknowledges her eternal legacy.

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I just read "the Star Shiner" by the "never saw an I Love Lucy" author Evan Richardson, who was very anxious to meet her because he "adored her at MGM". I'm guessing he was born in the early 40s so I don't know how he could have seen any of her MGM movies since he claimed never to have watched television. He's not wild about many of the stars he made up. Lucy comes off better than most. He doesn't have as much of a problem with Lucy's behavior in their interaction as he does with others......like Elizabeth Taylor. He criticizes Lucy's application of her own make up, saying it looked like it was put on by a gorilla with a trowel. He made her up for her YMO appearance on Ed Sullivan and the Mike Douglas Show with Viv. I remember both of these and didn't think she looked her best at either.....so maybe Lucy knows more than he does. He also says her face drooped so, that without the Irma apparatus, she resembled a 'bulldog'. Cruel words and I don't think very accurate. She was only 56 and he makes it sound like she looks like Thurston Hall*. Lucy was impressed enough with his work that she wanted to hire him for "her new TV series Here's Lucy". He admitted he asked for a lot of money to pull up stakes and move to California. She "had had a disagreement with her long time make up man, who she had intended to marry." Who else could this be but Hal King? Later in the book, he surmises that Lucy made up with Hal, but there are several references to Lucy when he talks of promises unkept, made to him by other show biz-zers: "like the time when Lucille Ball promised me the moon and it came to nothing"---which doesn't accurately convey his own description of the events.

The book wasn't quite the self-ego-pumping as it could have been, though there's plenty. The book ends with him a bit humbled, broke and on food stamps, which I assume he still is: I don't think this type of book is going to make him financially self-sufficient.

Three other things:

Gary shows him his arm with 7 expensive watches and asks him to pick the most expensive one. He couldn't pick. Neither could Gary who bragged that he bought them all.

He stood backstage at the Mike Douglas taping and didn't recognize the person standing next to him vivian Vance---because of course he had yet to see an I Love Lucy. He says of Viv: "she had just had a facelift to prepare for the new series" ,referencing HL and implying that she was to be a regular on the show.

You have to feel sorry for the stars that have to subject themselves to the extremely close scrutiny of a make up man/woman, realizing that some day he may write about their flaws--not exactly something they want written about.

And one more thing: he enters Lucy's penthouse as she is observing the traffic snarl below caused by the St. Patrick's Day parade and turns to him dead-pan and says "I hate Pat O'Brien".....Now who says this woman was never witty??

* "Mr. Schuyler" on "Topper"

 

I was randomly Friended by this dude on Facebook today. :blink: Wonder if he has some hot new yarns to spin.

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I subscribe e-mail from a delightful site:  Delancyplace.com which comes daily.  Imagine my surprise when first up on screen this a.m. is what follows:

 

 

Today's selection -- from Television: A Biography by David Thomson. Her movie career fading, Lucille Ball took the risk of crossing over to television, a medium shunned by established movie stars. She succeeded beyond her dreams and anyone's expectations, and she did it by reversing the paradigm so often present on radio sitcoms and so apparent in her own marriage to the philandering Desi Arnaz. Instead of a stable, reasonable wife bringing order to her husband's bumbling chaos, Ball presents a series about a crazy wife with the husband trying to provide sanity and order:

*******************

 

 
 
Television: A Biography
Author: David Thomson
Publisher Thames & Hudson
Copyright 2016 by David Thomson

Pages 64-67  [Amazon-available]

****

 

About Us

Delanceyplace.com is a brief daily email with an excerpt or quote we view as interesting or noteworthy, offered with commentary to provide context. There is no theme, except that most excerpts will come from a non-fiction work, mainly works of history, are occasionally controversial, and we hope will have a more universal relevance than simply the subject of the book from which they came.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

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A new book seems to have been released last month without any fanfare: The Great Desilu Series of the 1960s. It looks interesting!

 

https://www.amazon.com/Great-Desilu-1960s-Jon-Abbott/dp/1535104309/ref=zg_bsnr_4569_69?_encoding=UTF8&psc=1&refRID=JK55AM5KYDQ347KMJNA1

 

How did this one slip under our bent radar??

 

I wonder if it's about strictly Desilu produced series (ones that they owned) or everything done there.

I've always read that Our Miss Brooks was a Desilu production but the end credits say "Filmed by Desilu" and "OMB is a CBS Television Network Presentation". 

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How did this one slip under our bent radar??

 

I wonder if it's about strictly Desilu produced series (ones that they owned) or everything done there.

I've always read that Our Miss Brooks was a Desilu production but the end credits say "Filmed by Desilu" and "OMB is a CBS Television Network Presentation". 

Great catch Neil! Can't wait to read it. :D

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From Amazon sounds it focus on Mission Impossible, Untouchable, Star Trek and The Lucy Show.  Odd they mention Desi barely noticing Star Trek when he was gone by then.  Don't know about this.

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"The great Desilu Series of the 60s" arrived yesterday.

The author gives a pretty good, even-handed history of "The Lucy Show" and then lists each episode with plot lines, some with his own personal comments, again mostly even-handed and very brief.  

He does point out that the celebrity episodes date some of the later shows since they're unknown to anyone under 60 today, particularly the one episode honored with a script nomination: "Jack Benny's Account" with all those references to Jack's radio show. 

He doesn't go into much detail but here's one stand-out that he labels "absolutely dreadful" and "unwatchable", the third season "Lucy, the Stockholder", one of the few 3rd season shows I like.

He's no fan of Hans Corned or Carol Burnett, calling the former "the always unfunny" and the latter "an acquired taste". 

He's obviously a much bigger fan of Star Trek, spending too much Lucy Show page-space pointing out which supporting player appeared in which "Star Trek" episode.

He describes all 156 Lucy Show episodes in 47 pages, whereas "Star Trek"'s 79 episodes get 148 pages. 

 

I had to chuckle when he described "Star Maker" and Frankie Avalon's character wanting a show biz career.  "Cheever and Mooney want him to do no such thing and think he should take up a position at the bank (as do I)." 

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"The great Desilu Series of the 60s" arrived yesterday.

The author gives a pretty good, even-handed history of "The Lucy Show" and then lists each episode with plot lines, some with his own personal comments, again mostly even-handed and very brief.  

He does point out that the celebrity episodes date some of the later shows since they're unknown to anyone under 60 today, particularly the one episode honored with a script nomination: "Jack Benny's Account" with all those references to Jack's radio show. 

He doesn't go into much detail but here's one stand-out that he labels "absolutely dreadful" and "unwatchable", the third season "Lucy, the Stockholder", one of the few 3rd season shows I like.

He's no fan of Hans Corned or Carol Burnett, calling the former "the always unfunny" and the latter "an acquired taste". 

He's obviously a much bigger fan of Star Trek, spending too much Lucy Show page-space pointing out which supporting player appeared in which "Star Trek" episode.

He describes all 156 Lucy Show episodes in 47 pages, whereas "Star Trek"'s 79 episodes get 148 pages. 

 

I had to chuckle when he described "Star Maker" and Frankie Avalon's character wanting a show biz career.  "Cheever and Mooney want him to do no such thing and think he should take up a position at the bank (as do I)."

 

Huh, interesting. I'll admit Stockholder is pretty silly but I like it as a final showcase for Lucy, Viv and Mooney. I'd never consider it unwatchable, but to each his own. The Hans Conreid criticism seems unfair, though.

 

What other episodes did he hate?

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Huh, interesting. I'll admit Stockholder is pretty silly but I like it as a final showcase for Lucy, Viv and Mooney. I'd never consider it unwatchable, but to each his own. The Hans Conreid criticism seems unfair, though.

 

What other episodes did he hate?

 

He goes pretty easy on most of them.  Some he rates as classics "Kangaroo" "Electric Mattress" and even "Meets the Berles", though he says the "first scene is embarrassing".  I don't remember what the first scene was or why it might be embarrassing. 

He bemoans the lack of continuity. As in Lucy had ALREADY met Milton Berle in an episode he agrees is terrible (4th season "Lucy Saves Milton Berle").

and this statement: "Vivian Vance was a trouper but she just couldn't SING" included in a paragraph about "Ethel Merman Boy Scout Show".  Didn't he watch "Steamboat Bessie"??

He thought the script to "Lucy and Joan" was "awful".  Really?  It's an episode I like.  Even the supermarket scene, while just filler, is amusing.  Probably the first time Lucy destroyed a product pyramid display (I wish she hadn't done it EVERY TIME she went to the market). 

 

He posits that Viv leaving the show was more about a fight with Lucy than the usual given reason.  (don't know where he got this info). 

While he admits that seeing an older man paired off with a younger woman is so commonplace, that why should we dwell on the opposite?  Then he never passes up an opportunity to point out the age difference between Lucy and her various suitors.   Clint Walker, he says, is AT LEAST 20 YEARS HER JUNIOR. He's 15 years younger.   And this age-difference practice continued even though "Lucy was well into her 60s".   Lucy was 62 when Here's Lucy ENDED and I'd hardly call that 'well into her 60s' especially when he's talking about The Lucy Show, where she went from 50 (just shy of her 51st) to 56, hardly senior citizen material. 

In the aforementioned "Lucy and Joan", he once again cites the age difference between Lucy and her suitor of the week, Keith Andes.  which is getting ridiculous because they are certainly less than a decade apart.  But, he adds, "in the interim (I'm assuming he means since their last appearance together), Lucy had aged considerably".  Again, I say "Really?".  Well, if so, it went unnoticed by me.  In fact, during the 4th season I think Lucy looks her absolute best, better than any other season; on her show and others ("Steve Lawrence", "Dean Martin", "What's My Line?").

Lucy and Keith worked so well together that I wish he had been a series semi-regular as an on-again, off-again boyfriend.

 

He notes that Lucy pushed and prodded actors tactlessly,  but admits that she was doing it because she wanted things to look good.  However this statement is lost when he dwells on examples of  Lucy's 'tough as nails' personality.  She was the head of the studio, ferChristsake!  

He profiles "Lucy in London" but doesn't like it. "Debacle".

Thinks Dick Shawn in drag is a scream in "Pool Hustler".   Says of "Mainstreet": " Lucy and Torme put Disney and Capra in the shade with this outrageous over-the-top homage to movieland America. If you're in the mood for a little song and dance, you'll love it.  If not, you'll be grinding your teeth."  Well, I can't argue with that one. 

 

Maybe one of you authors out there can answer this question: why do books published such blurry-mooshy grainy pictures?  Do they take a picture of a copyrighted picture? (if so, they need a better camera).   In doing that, is this a way of  avoiding to pay a royalty or getting permission?

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Another nugget from "The Great Desilu Series of the 60s":

He feels "Ceramic Cat" is the "go-to episode for ("Lucy Show") newbies".

I'll have to watch it again.  It's not bad but is it the best The Lucy Show had to offer?  I could list 50 or more that I think were better.

And while I guess they don't qualify as great because they were both gone by the end of the 63-64 season, but you'd think in a book about Desilu in the 60s, "Glynis" and "Greatest Show on Earth" would at least get a MENTION.  If the index is accurate, they don't. 

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Well, Ceramic Cat was on the very first tape released by Columbia House, so he's not alone.

 

(Unless he is a former Columbia House employee who made that call)

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Well, Ceramic Cat was on the very first tape released by Columbia House, so he's not alone.

 

(Unless he is a former Columbia House employee who made that call)

I've always wondered who got that job of sitting in a room coming up with those 'themes' and deciding which episodes made the cut! :blink:

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