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Life Without George


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I finally a copy of "Life without George" by Irene Kampen the book "The Lucy Shows" plot is based on.

This is a first edition hardcover. I'm surprised that it was first published in 1961. I know I read in one of the books that Desi optioned the book as a solo vehicle for Lucy as early as 1959 as the pressures of Desilu gave him less time to perform.

 

I've only skimmed it, but it's actually pretty funny. Irene and Evelyn are two divorced woman. The daughter is named Chris. And there IS the pilot next door character of Harry Conners.

 

You have to admit it was a nice (but sneaky) try for Desi to claim the premise was based on the book as a way to renege on his contract with Jess. Does anyone know what year Jess sued? Or what the settlement terms were?

I thought it was during the Here's Lucy years, his suit covering both characters. I wonder why he waited so long and what prompted it?

 

I'm 50/50 on Jess's claim, myself.

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I thought it was during the Here's Lucy years, his suit covering both characters. I wonder why he waited so long and what prompted it?

 

I believe it was during the Here's Lucy years and Lucille Ball Productions was a party in the suit. I don't know why he waited so long. Perhaps that's when he got a look at Bob's (Schiller or Weiskopf?) contract that the character of Lucy Carmichael would be based on Lucy Ricardo.

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Great buy, Neil! I've always wanted to find a copy of Life without George. I'd also love to snag a copy of Mr. and Mrs. Cugat: The Record of a Happy Marriage.

 

I managed to get the Mr and Mrs Cugat book but havent had chance to read it. But would love to get Life Without George.... great find

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Well, I've now read "Life Without George" and while there are SOME "similarities", The Lucy Show should really have been based on the book "Rights Without Jess"!

 

Irene and her friend Evelyn are two divorcees who share a country house in a small CONNECTICUT town along with Irene's daughter Chris and Evelyn's son Eric. (No Jerry equivalent). The most striking similarity is that of the Harry Connor's character, very similar to his Lucy Show counterpart except that he's more disagreeable and does not live next door.

Irene has a job in NYC with a publishing house, but there is little about that. I & E do have their share of problems, but no shower installations, bank held trust funds or volunteer firewomen.

The ONLY similar happenings:

1. Evelyn has tried numerous door-to-door selling jobs INCLUDING vacuum cleaners (no mention of stamp).

2. The gals are involved with the local theater group and their production of "Rain" is a disaster, though not for the same reasons as "Cleopatra". Irene has the lead and stumbles trying to remember her next line in the climactic scene ("Mame"'s ILL FATED!) Meanwhile Evelyn is in charge of sound effects and breaks the record of a thunderstorm so she substitutes another record which turns out to be Laurence Olivier doing readings.

3. Evelyn tries for a typist job but her keys pound out "Jacquew sniled sniggly but pleasany" instead of "Jacques smiled stiffly but pleasantly." ala Lucy is "Serves a Summons".

4. Irene buys Eric a clubhouse for Christmas only to discover at the last minute that it must be assembled. The girls try their best but the whole thing crashes to the floor when Eric touches it. A Lucy Show-esque moment.

 

But..Irene is a good witty writer, her wry observations of 1961 single women in suburban life are funny but not too deep. Her ex-husband gets scant mention. There is no beginning-to-end story. Just miscellaneous mishaps. A 6X8 inch book with 192 pages and 10 or so full page illustrations. The style reminds me a lot of Madelyn. I'm surprised she never tried her hand at this kind of writing. From what I know, she never ventured beyond TV scripts except for one play she and Bob wrote about Dorothy Parker that did not get produced. I don't know who at Desilu discovered this book, but it seems like something Madelyn would have liked.

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Well, I've now read "Life Without George" and while there are SOME "similarities", The Lucy Show should really have been based on the book "Rights Without Jess"!

 

Irene and her friend Evelyn are two divorcees who share a country house in a small CONNECTICUT town along with Irene's daughter Chris and Evelyn's son Eric. (No Jerry equivalent). The most striking similarity is that of the Harry Connor's character, very similar to his Lucy Show counterpart except that he's more disagreeable and does not live next door.

Irene has a job in NYC with a publishing house, but there is little about that. I & E do have their share of problems, but no shower installations, bank held trust funds or volunteer firewomen.

The ONLY similar happenings:

1. Evelyn has tried numerous door-to-door selling jobs INCLUDING vacuum cleaners (no mention of stamp).

2. The gals are involved with the local theater group and their production of "Rain" is a disaster, though not for the same reasons as "Cleopatra"

3. Evelyn tries for a typist job but her keys pound out "Jacquew sniled sniggly but pleasany" instead of "Jacques smiled stiffly but pleasantly." ala Lucy is "Serves a Summons".

4. Irene buys Eric a clubhouse for Christmas only to discover at the last minute that it must be assembled. The girls try their best but the whole thing crashes to the floor when Eric touches it. A Lucy Show-esque moment.

 

But..Irene is a good witty writer, her wry observations of 1961 single women in suburban life are funny but not too deep. Her ex-husband gets scant mention. There is no beginning-to-end story. Just miscellaneous mishaps. A 6X8 inch book with 192 pages and 10 or so full page illustrations. The style reminds me a lot of Madelyn. I'm surprised she never tried her hand at this kind of writing. From what I know, she never ventured beyond TV scripts except for one play she and Bob wrote about Dorothy Parker that did not get produced. I don't know who at Desilu discovered this book, but it seems like something Madelyn would have liked.

Maybe Madelyn GHOST wrote it for Irene? You are one helluva Lucy knowledge master my boy! I no longer HAVE to read that book now.

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