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Desi's Legacy


Brock
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My mind drifted during some long speeches I had to sit through this afternoon and I started thinking about Desi's legacy. Many people here saw Lucy live long enough to become a legend during her lifetime for obvious reasons. George Burns and Bob Hope became near dieties as they approached their centennials. The Queen has become almost an untouchable figure now that she's reached her Diamond Jubilee and Prince Philip, who was never the most popular public figure, has basically become the rascally, beloved grandfather of the Commonwealth as he entered his ninth and now tenth decade of life.

 

It seems many people -- fans and TV historians alike -- rarely find themselves preaching to the converted when they salute Desi's achievements as a television pioneer and innovator, and also his achievements of someone of a minority who hit the pinnacle of stardom. Do you think this had to do with his relative retreat from public life after A Book came out (aside from The Escape Artist), or did he simply die before he got his due?

 

By today's standards, Desi died astonishingly young. Had he, as the youngest member of the Fab Four, outlived the rest of his co-stars, do you think he would have achieved and been able to enjoy his recognition in life? Certainly, if he had lived to celebrate what would have been his 95th birthday in March, he could very well be our foremost surviving television icon.

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My mind drifted during some long speeches I had to sit through this afternoon and I started thinking about Desi's legacy. Many people here saw Lucy live long enough to become a legend during her lifetime for obvious reasons. George Burns and Bob Hope became near dieties as they approached their centennials. The Queen has become almost an untouchable figure now that she's reached her Diamond Jubilee and Prince Philip, who was never the most popular public figure, has basically become the rascally, beloved grandfather of the Commonwealth as he entered his ninth and now tenth decade of life.

 

It seems many people -- fans and TV historians alike -- rarely find themselves preaching to the converted when they salute Desi's achievements as a television pioneer and innovator, and also his achievements of someone of a minority who hit the pinnacle of stardom. Do you think this had to do with his relative retreat from public life after A Book came out (aside from The Escape Artist), or did he simply die before he got his due?

 

By today's standards, Desi died astonishingly young. Had he, as the youngest member of the Fab Four, outlived the rest of his co-stars, do you think he would have achieved and been able to enjoy his recognition in life? Certainly, if he had lived to celebrate what would have been his 95th birthday in March, he could very well be our foremost surviving television icon.

What an intriguing question and a valid one at that. One thing I feel certain of: had he still been around and "vital" (not to mention mobile) enough to manage an appearance, he certainly would have been the highlight at any and all of the events and appearances surrounding ILLs 60th and La Ball's 100th this year, I'm thinking in particular the lovely tribute that occurred a few months ago at the Hollywood Museum in which Lucie (with Larry at her side) gave a short but heartfelt speech.

 

What an even more incredible moment it would have been had "Dad" been present!

lucyshy.JPG

 

 

 

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  • 2 weeks later...

Interesting thoughts, Brock. (And a better use of your time than listening to speeches, unless those were Lucy related ;) )

 

My two cents: Desi's lifetime body of work was cut short when he left the business. If he had lived a longer life, I think he would have received more recognition for his many contributions to the medium of television (whether or not he stayed in the business). It seems as though many know of his achievements (especially in Hollywood) but don't give him the accolades he deserves for them.

 

Today, with Lifetime Achievement Awards & anniversary celebrations for Lucy & their show I Love Lucy, I believe he would have been a much sought after guest with so much to contribute. He was brilliant behind the scenes, & when he played Ricky Ricardo in front of the camera his acting talent really shone. I'll bet he would have enjoyed all the well deserved attention, too.

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