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Freddie2

The Best Lucy Books

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Since I'm not nearly as learned as a lot of you other Loungers, I'd like to know what you would consider to be the best books about Lucy and Lucy-related things. 

I already have a copy of Love, Lucy, and my dad's ragged old paperback of A Book, but other than that, I'm totally dry on any other biographies. I'd especially like to learn more about Viv and Bill. The first Lucy book I ever had was that big coffee table thing by Michael McClay. I flipped through it so much that some of the pages literally fell out. It was great to have in the days before I owned complete seasons of the show. All of the big, full-page pictures of episodes I'd never seen completely worked up my imagination. Nowadays, I really take for granted how much access I have to everything. Anyway, what are the must-read books for any Lucy fan? Can someone suggest a definitive Sid Gould biography (there are so many!)

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If you're interested in learning about Bill and Viv, there's a book called "Meet the Mertzes" which serves as a joint biography for both of them. As well, there's "The Other Side of Ethel Mertz" for Vivian. Neil is actually quoted in that one. 

For Lucy, I'm only familiar with "Ball of Fire" by Stefan Kanfer. He's clearly more a biographer than a fan, as he takes a rather negative tone on everything she did apart from I Love Lucy. Plus there are some minor but glaring goofs which could've easily been checked (he says "Ricky's Life Story" was shot the night of the red scare, when it was actually "The Girls Go Into Business"). Nevertheless, his writing style is good and it's an informative read, though you're likely to find most of the same info in earlier books. 

I've only read snippets of "Desilu," but it's a great look at the Ball/Arnaz business and personal relationship. 

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I get asked this a lot on my Instagram and after the autobiographies these are what I recommend.

Desilu-This is was the first book I ever read on Lucy and it is always my top recommendation for new fans. If you are looking for the early years of Lucy and Desi up until 1940 it’s better to find that in their own autobiographies. What this book does offer is a very candid look at both their lives from 1940 until each’s death. It is also one of the most thoroughly researched books on Lucy and Desi I’ve ever read and has the most interviews by family, friends and coworkers. It’s a very honest book, which can mean at times it can be pretty harsh, but I think it’s very honest in talking about these 2 complex individuals.

Lucille by Kathleen Brady. Other than Lucy’s own book this offers the most detailed information about her years growing up in Jamestown and leaving for NYC. It also has interviews with many people in Lucy’s life and does a good job covering the years from 1960 on that many books don’t do or just glance over.

Of course you don't want to miss this wonderful book written by our own lounge member Jimmy aka Harry Carter.

Lucille Ball FAQ- I love this book because it breaks down all the Lucy factual information into easy chapters, such as where are all the places she lived in her life, who she married, children she had, men she dated. As well as career information like all the studios she worked at, each TV series she made, radio shows she did, movie she made, unproduced projects, etc… There are really fun chapters like all the pop culture references explained in all her series, real life famous people mentioned on each series, inside names used who Lucy knew, all the times Lucy sang in movies and TV. Even for the person well versed in their Lucy knowledge there is still so much to learn in this book and it makes great reference material as well.

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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. 

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2 hours ago, Neil said:

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. 

I agree with you.   I cannot stand as they feel at 48 when I Love Lucy ended so did anything interesting in her life.   The public back then didn't think so with 2 more hit shows and Yours, Mine and Ours and much more as First Lady of TV.  I know Desilu did cover those later years highs and lows but of course covered a lot else

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Besides autobiographies and Desilu books I recommend the Other Side of Ethel Mertz.  I found Viv funny but afterwards admire her as a human

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