Jump to content

A Night A Laugh Felt Good


Recommended Posts

I found this interesting review of Lucy Waits Up For Chris tonight -- interesting as it really puts the show in context of what was happening in the day with the Mississippi race riots the day before. It's a good read:

 

A Night A Laugh Felt Good

We Needed Lucy After Mississippi

 

By Fred Remington (The Pittsburgh Post Gazette, October 2, 1962)

 

A Welcome and wonderful thing happened to people who watched Lucille Ball’s new show last night. They laughed.

Yesterday seemed a day when laughter was hard come by.

The Mississippi spectacle had a nightmare quality to it. This was not the Congo, you kept thinking with a shock, nor Algeria nor any of the places so distant as to be almost fictional where passion and violence are a way of life. This was America. The Russians are 90 miles off our shores and we are shooting one another.

If you watched the NBC special about the Mississippi tragedy at 7:30, a stark, melancholy thing, it was the more remarkable to be laughing within the next hour.

Yet as Lucy bounced frantically on the trampoline, hurtling by the second floor window of the incredulous Vivian Vance, I found myself laughing aloud. This is comedy of high artistry.

The story wrapped around this brilliantly executed scene is of small consequence. We find Lucy a widowed mother of a teenage daughter and a small son. Vivian Vance, the tart Ethel in earlier Lucy shows, is some sort of boarder in this household.

The format matters little. Lucy can be the wife of a bongo drum player, or a mother, or for that matter a certified public accountant and generate laughter.

She can dash out to a parked car, suspecting her daughter of sentimentalities with the young man she’s dating, then return with that wonderful belligerent embarrassment of hers.

“Well, I don’t know where Chris is,” she tells Vivian, “but I sure know where Flo, the manicurist is.”

Or she can identify herself to a neighbour’s dog whom she frequently feeds as, “It’s me – you know: The horn of plent.”

Conditioned as we all are to the familiar Lucy situations, the absence of Desi in this series will take some getting used to, I found myself longing for his entrance with his marvelous mispronunciations and his reversions to his native Spanish in moments of high excitement.

But just as she is, Lucy will do fine. If we can count every week on a scene of all-out, unrestrained, superbly played comedy like the trampoline business, let us be grateful.

As I say, laughter last night was awfully welcome.

Link to comment
Share on other sites

Thanks for sharing this great review. Almost universally the critics welcomed Lucy back with open arms and gratitude. In retrospect it seems to us like a sure-fire hit, but Lucy took a big chance and success wasn't guaranteed. She was going up against ILL which was still running on CBS 5 days a week...and had really only been out of production for 5 years, as a half-hour show. They originally were going to schedule it after Ed Sullivan, Sunday at 9 opposite the ratings powerhouse of "Bonanza". I wonder how it would have fared there.

There are those that don't appreciate "The Lucy Show". One has to look at it in the context of the other TV comedies on at the time. During her absence, TV sitcoms had hit a low, dry spell. Only Dick Van Dyke and Andy Griffith had perked things up. Lucy's debut season also saw the premiere of "The Beverly Hillbillies", which was truly funny its first season thanks in no small part to Bea Benederet.

It didn't take long for people to cotton to the new Lucy format. Time magazine had a page listing the week's upcoming TV highlights with just a line or two. The first mention of TLS was the week of "Lucy Loses $2000" (or whatever the title was) and they said something like "this show gets along just fine without Desi".

Which is not to knock Desi. He brought a lot to ILL and there is that element missing from TLS. It would have been interesting to hear him pronounce "Dan-feel" or how he would have mangled "Barnsdahl".

The premiere of The Lucy Show was the #1 rated show of the week.

 

 

I found this interesting review of Lucy Waits Up For Chris tonight -- interesting as it really puts the show in context of what was happening in the day with the Mississippi race riots the day before. It's a good read:

 

A Night A Laugh Felt Good

We Needed Lucy After Mississippi

 

Link to comment
Share on other sites

That's a really nice review. Thanks for sharing, Brock. It's interesting to see that the audience was confused over who Vivian was supposed to be after just seeing the premiere. This isn't the first review I've seen that is trying to figure out if she's a border or a relative.

 

Nowadays they'd intimate that Viv and Lucy were lesbians or something. LOL

Link to comment
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...
 Share

×
×
  • Create New...