Jump to content

Lucille Ball 25 Years Later


Brock
 Share

Recommended Posts

I found this great article in a shop during my lunch hour today. It's a very candid interview with Lucy in the lead up to CBS Salutes Lucy and she lets 'er rip... and makes things up too. LOL

 

And awayyyy we go:

 

Chalk up another television first for CBS. A really unique one at that. What other network could be in the position of putting on The Lucille Ball 25th Anniversary Special?

 

Give them credit -- the prospects, at the outset, looked rather dim. How can you cope with a lady who's a Legend -- a word she can't stand? Undaunted, they carry on, determined, to pay fitting tribute to Lucy, who has filled all our living rooms with laughs (not to mention CBS coffers with gold). The result, scheduled to be aired on November 28 as a kind of Thanksgiving dessert, is as delicious and surprising as any plum pudding could be, loaded with such goodies as recollections from many show biz greats, her TV sidekicks, Vivian Vance and Gale Gordon, and (surprise!) her ex-costar and ex-husband, Desi Arnaz. (Of course, their children, Lucy and Desi, Jr., are in there too.)

 

But what makes it all so extraordinary is Lucy's incredible record, as the only woman in TV who has a record of twenty-five years at the top -- and that, after doing very well in a lot of movies.

 

Four years ago, Lucy quit doing a regular weekly TV series, for the first time in many years. Most people don't even realise it has been that long, because they still see her all the time in reruns and on an occasional TV special or guest shot. They don't realize, either, that she went through exactly the same crisis as any hardworking person who stops working, for whatever reason -- even though she didn't have to worry about paying the rent or providing for her children.

 

In this exclusive interview with CELEBRITY, Lucy talks about how she adjusted, her life today, what she's learned from the past -- and it all adds up to a lot of reasons why she deserves that 25th anniversary special tribute. She's a very special lady!

 

 

 

What have you been doing since you aren't working on a weekly series?

 

Well, I stay home a lot. I've really gotten into the house and the house plants and taking care of my kids' houses, inside and outside -- things I wanted to do for some time but didn't have time to do. My mother has been ill for over a year and I don't go far away. But I have done a lot of redecorating, and I'm back with ancient history, and I'm studying interior decorating again and doing things I have always had my hand in but didn't have enough time for. I even went to lunch the other day with some of the girls -- unbelievable!

 

Then, after all these hectic years you don't get bored in any way?

 

I did at first. I cried a lot. I was very...very at loose ends. It took a lot to get me together. I missed Gale and I missed my arena and I loathed giving up my people who had been with me for so long. I was very unhappy about that. Very. And I still am. But the worst is over...the shock. But since I broke my leg four years ago, things have been more difficult to write for me. At any rate, I don't want to think about it. What can I tell you -- except right now I'm keeping very busy. I'm okay. But it was a big trauma.

 

But how did you get over the trauma? So many people have been unravelling lately because of sudden changes in lifestyle. Perhaps this could be of help to them.

 

At the beginning I was feeling very murky in the mornings and very sorry for myself. Then I got up and started my exercises and I did everything I could think of to keep going. I made appointments i had to keep and commitments with different people for different things. I forced myself to go.

 

 

 

 

To be continued...

Link to comment
Share on other sites

MORE:

 

You never really were depressed?

 

Oh, I got depressed. They even talked me into going to a shrink. And I said to him, "I'm wasting your time. I know what's wrong with me. I'm just miserable because I'm not working." And he said, "Go back to work." And I replied, "I can't go back to work doing that, and I don't feel like sitting here telling you my life story becauuse there's nothing wrong with me. I'm just disappointed. it's like a death." They [psychiatrists] can't do you any good when you know what is wrong with you. But I had enough of that mood after three, four months...I told myself, "This is damn ridiculous. I'm a drag on my husband, who doesn't deserve it, and my children don't deserve it. Now the hell with it!"

 

Then you don't believe in any of these consciousness -- raising things like est or TM or all those other initials that are sweeping the country?

 

Oh, that "est"! I can't stand it! I couldn't take "est" at all! I don't want anyone screaming at me all day long for no reason. No, I don't need that! I certainly know some wonderful people who swear by it. Merv Griffin said to me the other day, "Lucy, I don't care, even if you feel you are doing fine, you can do better." Maybe I'll go to that man once -- but I'd rather take speed reading, if you really want to know.

 

Going back to the children, what would you like to see them doing?

 

They're doing it! They are still interested in what they started out -- and thank God, they got started out in the right direction. Lucie's forte is the stage -- she loves musical comedies -- and she's learning. Desi's been getting some great parts -- his pictures haven't been big successes yet -- but he's been all right. He'll get a good picture some day -- but right now he's very happy. They're both good kids, thank God.

 

Lucy, when you made a guest appearance on The Tonight Show, oh, some three years ago, Johnny began talking about Last Tango In Paris -- and your only comment, which we'll never forget, was the disdainful, hilarious, "Oleo would have been cheaper!" How do you feel about the more recent movies?

 

Oh, I was so disgusted with [Tango] and I was so disgusted with Marlon for making it. And then to think that it would get to be called an art form! I couldn't believe that Pauline Kael said Last Tango was a great Art Form and MAME was obscene -- and I just gave up right there. I really gave up. How the hell could they call Mame OBSCENE?! Mame?! For God's Sake! We just don't got to movies anymore. We don't even run them in our home anymore. We can't find any that are worth running. We haven't seen a movie here for months except John Wayne's. He sent The Shootist over the other night, and it was the first movie we've seen in moths -- and I must say, people came from miles around. Incidently, we look at old pictures if we can get them, and I was just thinking last night of some old ones I'd like to show.

 

To be continued...

Link to comment
Share on other sites

Then you don't believe in any of these consciousness -- raising things like est or TM or all those other initials that are sweeping the country?

 

Oh, that "est"! I can't stand it! I couldn't take "est" at all! I don't want anyone screaming at me all day long for no reason. No, I don't need that! I certainly know some wonderful people who swear by it. Merv Griffin said to me the other day, "Lucy, I don't care, even if you feel you are doing fine, you can do better." Maybe I'll go to that man once -- but I'd rather take speed reading, if you really want to know.

 

What the heck are they talking about here? :unsure:

Link to comment
Share on other sites

Then you don't believe in any of these consciousness -- raising things like est or TM or all those other initials that are sweeping the country?

 

Oh, that "est"! I can't stand it! I couldn't take "est" at all! I don't want anyone screaming at me all day long for no reason. No, I don't need that! I certainly know some wonderful people who swear by it. Merv Griffin said to me the other day, "Lucy, I don't care, even if you feel you are doing fine, you can do better." Maybe I'll go to that man once -- but I'd rather take speed reading, if you really want to know.

 

What the heck are they talking about here? :unsure:

 

I was wondering that too, but an interview with Cloris Leachman later in the magazine explains "est" as Erhard Seminar Training self awareness program. More on that here: http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Erhard_Seminars_Training I'm still not 100 per cent sure what the hell this "TM" they're discussing is, transcendental meditation maybe?

Link to comment
Share on other sites

And we're back. When we last checked in with our heroine, she was disussing Marlon Brando, butter, Mame, and Pauline Kael...

 

 

How about that Major publication which had a Bicentennial Special featuring the most outstanding women of the past 200 years? You not only made the cover (along with just three other ladies) but they gave you a double inside -- and in colour too!

 

That was the biggest surprise of my life. It was a tremendous thrill. I grabbed the book at an airport by accident, carried it around for two days and was reading a lot of other things -- broad it home, finally looked at it and said: "Oh, my God! I don't believe it!" I had bever even seen that photgraph before. That was taken in my dressing room at MGM -- with my silly old-style $25 raincoat hanging there. I remember grabbing that coat that morning. It was chilly and rainy and I grabbed that old coat -- and it's so incongruous. But I'm really thrilled about it. No way did I know they were including me in that issue. They certainly didn't tell me in advance.

 

Lucy, although you're celebrating 25 years in TV, actually you have been in films as an actress ever since your first job as a showgirl in Eddie Cantor's Roman Scandals, and that was over 40 years ago...

 

Years, age doesn't bother me one way or another. It's other people who bring it up. I never even think about it until other people bring it up. I was a late starter. Stardom came late, my children came late. It's like the first 20 years (in Hollywood) didn't even exist. Besides, it's the way you feel. I know kids, 19, 20, 22, who are old, old, old -- satiated, washed up, and finished -- not even having gotten started.

 

Looking back, what would you say was your favorite pre-Lucy role?

 

The Big Sleep [sic], with Henry Fonda. :lucyshock: That was a sleeper! :lucythrill: There were a lot of problems, and they finally put it on the shelf for a long time. :lucysmirk: Finally, it came out on the bottom half of a double bill, and it was nominated for an Oscar! :lucyhehe:

 

Is there ANYTHING you haven't done that you would still like to do? Like a heavy dramatic role?

 

No, dramatic roles don't interest me that much. It's much harder to do comedy. I really wouldn't want to do screaming, far-out dramatic roles. I never aspired to do it, and I certainly don't want to do the old, horrible looking things they're coming up with these days for shock value. What I am looking for is an original new play -- for Downtown L.A., the Huntington Hartford out here, but nobody is writing like Neil Simon for a dame. I wish he'd write for me. But he doesn't write for women -- he writes for men. There are other writers, but I just love his stuff. I wish somebody would write something funny and new. I don't want to do revivals.

 

Well, revivals are the "past." Do you adhere to the current philosophy that one should "forget the past"?

 

Whether we want to or not, we do. If it's been too bad, it seems, to wash itself away. However, I learn from my mistakes. A lot of people don't. I didn't make the same mistake twice when I got married again. I didn't pick the same type of guy. A lot of people get married maybe four, five times to the same type of person. I learned by my mistakes. And I do remember the good about the past. I remember it vividly. But I never use the phrase, "Remember that," or "Don't you wish we were doing that again?" Except for my work -- that's all.

 

(Stay tuned for the exciting conclusion tomorrow!)

Link to comment
Share on other sites

What is that book/mag and picture she is talking about? Also I love how she thought Big Street was Oscar nominated.

 

Lucy was talking about this special edition of Life Magazine:

$(KGrHqRHJCkE63YKh+SjBO44cv3e+!~~60_57.JPG

 

I also love how she says The Big Street was nominated for an Oscar. I've seen her interviewed other times where she says she, Henry Fonda, and the film were "nominated." When asked "nominated for what?", she replied, "An award!" She leaves it at that. :lol:

 

Thanks for sharing this great interview with us, Brock!

Link to comment
Share on other sites

Lucy was talking about this special edition of Life Magazine:

$(KGrHqRHJCkE63YKh+SjBO44cv3e+!~~60_57.JPG

 

I also love how she says The Big Street was nominated for an Oscar. I've seen her interviewed other times where she says she, Henry Fonda, and the film were "nominated." When asked "nominated for what?", she replied, "An award!" She leaves it at that. :lol:

 

Thanks for sharing this great interview with us, Brock!

 

 

Is there a publication date on the Special Edition? You know why by now....Loving you, JK

Link to comment
Share on other sites

Final Segment:

 

It has been pointed out that you are the only comedienne who has lasted over the years. To what would you attribute that?

 

What do you mean by that? There are a lot who have lasted! Bea Lillie is still around, isn't she? And there's Carol Burnett and a lot of them right now -- but thank you, anyway.

 

We meant the long haul -- like Hope and Burns, Berle, and although they've retired, Durante and Marx among the men. You're the only woman who sustained.

 

That's not quite true -- but I'll buy it! If it's attributed to anything, let's just say LONGEVITY! It's just sticking around longer and keeping on working. Let's face it, when you've been your own boss for 25 years, it's not the same thing as hopping from studio to studio and being dependent on someone hiring me. It might have been entirely differen't, right?

 

Does it seem like 25 years to you?

 

No, of course not. The only way I know it is because everything dates from the birth of my daughter. I look at Lucie and I say, "Wow, are you really 25, honey?" That's when my life started.

 

(Interview by Beverly Linet)

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...