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Neil

Lucy's Musical Moments

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I'm going through my Lucy memorabilia boxes from my attic, sorting out the few things I want to keep and it's a laborious process.  I can't believe the stuff I saved (and DIDN'T save).  One blast from the past:  The log I printed up for a rare Lucy tape I gave away.  Backstory: As a kid, I had my reel tape recorder set up by TV to catch anything Lucy.  I caught most of Lucy's variety show appearances from about 1968 on.  I compiled them into one cassette and put an ad in Tom's Lucy Fan Magazine, probably about 1984 or 1985.  For $3 (which just covered the postage and blank cassette, mind you), I offered to send one to anyone interested.  The response was overwhelming!   You youngsters have to remember that at this time VHS was only about 5 years old.  I don't know that Columbia House had started their 3-episode I Love Lucy VHS subscription yet.  DVDs: that was way into the future.  

These variety show guest spots were only aired once (in all but one case) so the recordings were rare indeed, not something we EVER thought we'd see again.  Since then, most of the clips have come out as DVD extras (TLS,HL producers: THANK YOU!) or are available on youtube.   As far as I'm aware only 2 of the selections have never come out are:  Lucy and Carol singing "I Remember it Well" from the 1968 Emmys (with intro sung by Frank Sinatra).  Lyrics were tailored to the commemoration of "20 years of television".  Carol "I remember the 12 inch screen".  Lucy: "we were so impressed" Carol: "Bishop Fulton Sheen" Lucy "you mean Father Knows Best?"...you get the idea. 

The other is the audio from a Mike Douglas Show in 1968, in which Lucy was a surprised guest...AND a little later Vivian was too.  A pictorial of this was featured in TV Guide. I almost didn't tape it.  TV Guide listed Lucy as guest but when the opening credits listed that day's roster of guests, there was no mention of her because of the surprise element.  A sister act had just finished their number and Mike, reading from cue cards, introduced an older sister and much to his surprise out pops Lucy!  Ozzie & Harriet were Mike's co-hosts for that week.  My recording catches the interview in progress with Lucy saying, in answer to a question from Mike,  "I think there were 5 years of I Love Lucy.  But I could be wrong, there may have been 10."  And "next year I'm having another change of format: my kids are grown and I'm putting them on."  looking to audience "I hope they approve".  The audience dutifully applauds.  During the course of the interview, the camera shows a series of stills from her shows with Lucy doing commentary. Very entertaining   The last still was Lucy on stilts.  Mike, again reading from cue cards, says "we have a lady backstage who is a champion stilt walker.  Would you like to meet her?".  Lucy responds with an enthusiastic "Indeed I would!!" (Would you... really???)   The curtain parts and we see Viv from the rear (in her knit suit?) trying to mount stilts.

 It's a great show.  As far as I know, the video of this Douglas show has not been found.   I think Mike's show originated from Philadelphia so copping both Lucy and Viv as surprise guests must have been quite the undertaking.  The girls do "Friendship".  Lucy has to be cajoled to do it "I can't sing!!" and proves it by hitting a few clinkers!  Lucy is very relaxed in her interview and is obviously thrilled to see Viv.  There is one (of many) VERY interesting moment.  Mike asks the panel  "I was asked by a college student about where we are going with this medium and I couldn't answer.  I'm sure you four can (L&V, O&H)."  There's an awkward pause.  Everyone stammers until Viv jokes "Personally? ... I went to Santa Fe with it".... but then Lucy pipes in with a very authoritarian opinion, which in retrospect actually makes little sense including "If they want to say it's for education, that's fine with me.  Unfortunately they put the education shows on Sunday afternoons when you should be out with the dogs and the kids"  (in that order?). 

For the record, the other selections on the tape: 3 Carol Burnett numbers (Boys in Backroom, Good Man is Hard to Find & Rock Sisters), Dinah Shore's Like Hep, "Man Around the House/Cleo" from Jack Benny special, Shirley's Bouncing Back for More, Autograph Ann (Margaret) and Celebrity Lu, Lucy's military-themed song and dance from Pearl Bailey's short-lived variety show and Lucy winning her 1967 (my version has presenters Carl Reiner and Barbara Eden reading list of 4 nominees).    It was a LONG time before we got to see these again---probably 2 decades.   Naive dolt that I am, I didn't realize I should have saved these to use later as barter for trading rarities with other collectors.  By the time I figured out we were not all one big happy family who practiced "sharezees", I had already given my unique recordings away. 

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Thank you so much for your trip down memory lane. 

And thank you for recapping those 2 unseen ones as I knew very little about them, especially how the Vivian on Douglas unfolded. 

Someday I really hope we'll see Metv, Mike and Dinah show up on streaming. DVD seems too hopeful. 

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