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Guestward Ho Starring Vivian Vance


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Has anyone seen the 1960 pilot GUESTWARD HO which was an ultra-rare starring role for Vivian? This was apparently a comedy western produced by Desi, the executives apparently didn't like Vivian in the role but wanted the show and so it was recast with Joanne Dru. I really wish Desi had fought them to keep Viv in it. Considering it turned out to be a one season flop she could have only been the better choice since at surely at least a portion of the ILL audience would have tuned in to see her.


I remember around 1980, not long after reading about the pilot in LUCY & RICKY & FRED & ETHEL I saw someone offering a 16mm print of it (yes it was the pilot with Viv) in the memorabilia collectors tabloid Movie Collector's World so surely copies of it still exist today. This seems a perfect "bonus feature" for some Lucy project.

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I've seen it and I can see why it didn't sell. I think with the right vehicle Vivian could have indeed emerged as a top banana, but this wasn't it, at least as presented here....Too broad. Some of the comedy was sub-par visual stuff that wasn't that funny to begin with and the type that only Lucy could elevate to any sort of watchability; and even she could be tripped up by poorly conceived scripting. Nothing against Vivian's abilities as an actress, but, as we all know, there's only one Lucy.

By the way, according to those wonderful TV Guide teletypes: May 31, 1958


"Desilu has taken over the Guestward Ho property from CBS, which failed to make headway toward signing either NANETTE FABRAY or JEANNE CRAIN, and plans it as a series for VIVIAN VANCE for season after next.

---which would have been 60-61.


So WAS the 1959-60 already planned to be the LAST Lucy-Desi year? It's hard to imagine the Ricardos sans Mertzes, but of the next four presented after this was written, only one "Japan" used the Mertzes extensively.

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