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Lucy Moves to NBC

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I was checking on Amazon and I was SO PROUD to see the option to buy each special- separate from each other- and stream it in High Def- It was almost like seeing a catalogue of Lucy's later work! 

I have amazon prime and the connection I have with my TV allows me to watch Prime Shows- and if you have the same options, you can find Her move to NBC there :) 

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So am I correct that I can screen the specials for free if I have Amazon Prime or is there still a charge? Just got Prime to play on my TV this year instead of my computer.

No, unfortunately there's still a charge for us because it's listed as an instant video but not considered "Prime" so we still pay for it- but there is a rental option, which isn't bad- because it shows Amazon even later Lucy is still watchable :)

heres the link to what I see online, but Ill try to take a quick picture of what it looked like on screen. Pretty nice! :D


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It is good to see this. I remember that I enjoyed her part in the pilot, being serenade, and getting onstage with Donald O'Conner. His number was so 70s it was dated and too many had cameos but I wish more could have happened. If Music Mart came out 1976 during nostalgia craze it couldn't have been picked up but it was a little too late.

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  • 3 years later...

I watched Lucy Moves to NBC when it was first on.  (Actually just caught one of the two (?) reruns.  Am I correct in that NBC reran it twice?  Not for its quality but to fill time when there was a strike?).  So I watched it all the way through for the first time since then.  I hope someone will address my questions contained below..

"L Moves to NBC".....Hmmmm.....When Lucy died and several celebrities did ET interviews, Donald O'Connor in his praise said "she was always in my corner."  And right he was.  When Lucy went on Merv Griffin to promote the special, she did a big build-up: something like "I dig professionalism.  I did talent.  I dig.....DONALD O'CONNOR" and when the applause didn't happen instantaneously she paused and gestured to the audience to make them applaud.  Was 55 year old Donald O'Connor who Lucy thought the TV public was clamoring for in 1980?  His last big movie was in 1957 and other than (probably) hosting the Hollywood Palace or something, he had been touring with plays to make a living but out of the public eye for the previous 20-some years.  I wouldn't have tuned into "Music Mart" but was it any worse than the TV comedy fare being offered in 1980, a very arid period for comedy? I'm not knocking Donald.  He could certainly still impress with his tap-dancing skills, but if he really wanted this series to sell,  he should have memorized his lines and not glanced at cue cards.   We assume that the cast presented would have been regulars, so....OY! those "Mart" employees.  I guess they were going for another Good Times JJ with the lanky black guy in bell bottoms, but that sort of delivery has not aged well.   Scotty "I'm Scotty Coogan" Plummer played a mean banjo, but had no acting appeal, despite trying hard.  Gloria Dehaven was still lovely.  Was she ever a STAR as stated in her intro?  I cannot name one Gloria movie.   Lucy has an odd look in this special.  Checked the credits and her make up was done by someone I've never heard of, which may account for that. She looks better as Sister Hitchcock than Lucille Ball.    I guess she needed Hal King to do it right.  You'd never guess this was the same woman who a mere 6 years earlier looked so great in "Mame".   I would have slapped him too!!  The credits list "videotape editors" but it looks like film to me.

I was aware of Gary Coleman but never saw an episode of "Diff'rent Strokes" (I refused to watch a show that puts an unnecessary apostrophe in the title).  Is his "Lucy-NBC" line delivery indicative of what he did on "Strokes"?   A little hard to watch now that we know what became of him: the child-prodigy grows up syndrome.  Sadly, all the adult stars from "LM2NBC: are gone now.  "Lucy Moves" has a clever opening with the tour bus.  And 60 year old Doris Singleton looks GREAT!  I never noticed how much shorter than Lucy she was.  The writers were old school, hence the "hilarious" Choo-Choo and her getting her "L's and R's" backwards, now cringe-worthy.  I guess having the NBC executives being so young was an industry in-joke in 1980.  Was Silverman all that young?  I don't know how accurate the portrayal of Lucy being hired as an NBC executive programmer was, but once NBC saw that Music Mart was what she had in mind, I would guess the relationship was quietly terminated.  To my knowledge this was the last "Lucille Ball Special" and her last big network showcase until "Stone Pillow" (5 years later?)

I could not make it all the way through "Bungle Abbey".  The actors are all doing what they're directed to do, so I suppose you can't blame them but......CHARLIE CALLAS?? ( Plus I never found Gino appealing either).   Why oh why was LBP still commissioning scripts from Fred Fox and (let's call him by his nickname, PL--EASE) "Cy" Jacobs?  Their Lucy scripts were as a whole pretty dismal.  (as always: IMVHO) My least favorite writing credit to see during the opening of those last 3-writing-teams HL years.  Too bad Gale couldn't find a post-Lucy vehicle that allowed him to give the more subtle cool-burn performance that he was still capable of. What I preferred over that loud bluster, which had become his stock-in-trade mainly because of the less-than-great writing of the post B&M scripts (as always, my own assessment) and the increasingly presentational style of comedy Lucy's shows became as the years went on.   Other than the impromptu savings bond skit, I don't think I've ever seen Gale look at a cue card, even when he was 80 on LWL!  A true pro.  (I didn't mean to blather on this long, but who else would be remotely interested??)

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Good timing. I just recently rewatched this.  Not one of my favorite specials but there are a few redeeming qualities in this that makes me rank it higher than Three For Two.  The meta opening is great and loving some Ruta playing backgammon. Bit of foreshadowing with the line about Lucy playing backgammon for the rest of her life. Yep, pretty much.

Once we get to NBC I have so many questions. The whole premise is that Lucy comes to NBC to develop new shows and the overall vibe is how can this scattered brained woman do that? So obviously we are getting “Lucy” the incompetent secretary play of the character. But yet everything around her is Lucille the actual woman, who did we all forget ran a whole damn studio and did it successfully?

Did Lucy actually get a whole office and some big NBC welcoming in real life? How long did this partnership last? What all was she invested in with these 2 pilots? It seems like this project is hardly ever talked about yet it warranted a whole special.  In the office I get a kick out of those 3 TV’s stacked on top of each other, all in those wooden cabinets. I remember our TV as a kid looking very similar. Ah, the trend to make media devices look like furniture.

I have no idea about the kid and Silverman thing but can shed a bit on Gary Coleman. As a child of the 80s I was a big fan of Different Strokes. The early episodes I probably caught in rerun, which I watched often. I do recall more towards the end of the run so much that I remember being mad I was sick one night and had to go to bed early and would miss that week’s show. In a People magazine article in 1980 Lucy had this to say. “And I love Gary Coleman. He puts me away. He puts everybody away.” Gary’s delivery, at least when he was in that cute precocious stage was like that. The show did get into some serious topics, a trend in the 80s, with storylines concerning race, and pedophilia. The show was huge when it came out and spun off Mrs. Garrett into Facts of Life.

Back to the show. I can’t believe all Gene Kelly does in this special is show up to introduce Donald O’Connor. What a waste. The table read I love though. As soon as she puts on her glasses and begins to read, that’s Lucille, not some daffy Lucy character anymore. It’s short but oh how I would have loved to see more of that in this special, but that probably would have confused those who only thought she was “Lucy”. I fast forward through the actual pilot, except for Lucy’s old lady character.

If you watch the outtakes from this special there is one after she greeted all her special guests, Lucy looks out at the audience and says “damn, what a day.” The hugs she gives each person are so genuine. I recently learned that this was shot on her and Gary’s wedding anniversary. Wonder if they all went to Chasens after to celebrate.

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Ditto to everything that Neil and Shelly said! Is there any Lucy fan who’s sat through “Music Mart” more than once? The first half of the special is very gimmicky, but I love it. It’s fun to see all of the stars and the musical numbers, but the first thing I think of with “NBC” is the reunion between Lucy and Gale. The energy and the love that explodes with his entrance always puts a smile on my face. You can also feel it with Lucy/Bob and Donald/Gloria. I would’ve much rather seen a sitcom that focused on Lucy’s role as a producer at the network with her assistants Gale and “Wanda”. If given the chance, I bet that Doris would make a great second banana, and it would be cool to see Lucy and Gale in a non-antagonistic relationship (for the first and only time, she’s his boss!)

P.S.- All this talk about Gloria DeHaven and Donald O’Connor is making me want to rewatch Out to Sea!

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  • 6 months later...

An interview to promote Lucy Moves to NBC I had never read before:

Washington Star, February 7, 1980: Beverly Hills, California — It sometimes rains in Southern California and, after a heavy shower, a light mist is tarnishing Lotusland. Lucille Ball is huddled in her big house off Sunset Boulevard, a victim of the virus that has come with the weather. The usually radiant redhead has a red nose, pale cheeks, a smoky cough and an irritable disposition.

“I just said that,” she grumps when a reporter asks her to elaborate on the new situation comedy she hopes to sell NBC. Her superstar status has made interviews superfluous for years, but she wants to tell people about her 90-minute special, “Lucille Ball Moves to NBC.” Her first production for NBC, it tells the story — “kiddingly,” she explains — of how Fred Silverman convinced her to leave CBS. The last half-hour of the special, she says, is “just like a sample” of the sit-com she’s producing. It’s called “The Music Mart” and stars Donald O’Connor and Gloria DeHaven as the “big band era” musical parents of Scotty Plummer, “a great banjo player, Liberace discovered him.” Lucy’s husband of the past 18 years, Gary Morton, is executive producer of the entire special which is jammed with NBC luminaries, including Johnny Carson and Bob Hope.

For Lucille Ball, it’s a razzle, dazzle beginning to a new career. At 68, and in semi retirement, she has suddenly changed networks and gone into the sit-com production business again. How did Fred Silverman really talk her into it?

The first laugh of the afternoon, deep, delighted.”He just kept talking. And I just kept saying, ‘I belong to CBS, No! No! No!’ “ Silverman, obviously a man who doesn’t take no for an answer, had ambushed Ball in a Hollywood restaurant. “They sneaked him over to our table,” she says, with glee. After several hours, she took him home with her for more discussion.

The outcome was a compromise. “He wanted me to have a workshop, to work for a whole year with thousands of new faces, to cull out new people. That would take too long. I wanted to start with troupers.” Therefore, Donald O’Connor. “The real meaning to me of a trouper,” she says sternly, banging out her words: “They’re there. They work. They know. They are show-biz.”

So, instead of a workshop, Silverman gave Ball a production company. Besides the O’Connor show, she has three more sit-coms in various stages of development. The way these thing work, they aren’t all automatically going into NBC’s schedule. Silverman will have to pass judgment, she says. But, he has certainly gone to the source. If the star of “I Love Lucy,” a series still fresh in reruns nearly 30 years after its premiere, doesn’t have insights into what makes a good sit-com, who does?

Well, what does make a good sit-com?

“Good writers,” says Lucy. “Ha, ha, ha, ha, ha,” her laugh bursts out again, bumping along its gravelly road. “And good memories.” Her natural good humor is returning, along with some color to her face. “It was all new to me. I never had any training. I’m not naturally witty. I don’t say funny things. I can tell you, I don’t ad lib my scripts. I’m not a stand-up comic.”

She learned, she says, from her writers, Madelyn Pugh and Bob Carroll. “They had what I call a curly sense of humor about domestic situations. Ha! Although neither of them had been married, to each other or to anyone else.” And, although she didn’t know it at the time, “we stole from Laurel and Hardy and from Charlie Chaplin,” says Lucy, whose comedy has been ranked alongside those greats.

The result, of course, was “I Love Lucy,” in which Lucy co-starred with her first husband, Desi Arnaz, to whom she was married 19 years. “The marriage wasn’t good, it was just long,” she says, flat out. And adds, thoughtfully, “But it wasn’t disastrous. Because you can’t have two beautiful children and call it disastrous.” The children are Lucy Arnaz, 27, a singer and actress, now appearing on Broadway in “They’re Playing My Song” — “SRO! SRO! SRO!” exclaims Lucy, loudly, proudly — and Desi Arnaz IV, 25, actor and musician. Both cut their teeth appearing with their parents in “I Love Lucy.”

The usually flamboyant Lucille Ball is rather drably dressed in a beige pants suit and wearing a large, heavy gold coin as a pendant. Hair somewhat mussed. No lavishly-painted lips. And, most noticeably absent, those inch-long lashes she bats so bewitchingly as a television clown. But, as she begins to forget about her virus and warms up to the interview there is a transfiguration. Her face, again inhabited by her comic spirit, changes expression every half-second. Her eyes, even without the lashes, become round, huge.

She’s in motion now, sitting back, for one of those belly laughs, then leaning forward, elbows on her knees, to drive home a punch-line, her gold coin swinging back and forth. “It’s an old gambling coin, a 20 dollar gold piece,” she explains. “God!” she exclaims, an improvisation occurring to her in spite of herself. “Wouldn’t people grab that to get on a bus. I’d say to the driver, ‘Sir, sorry, it’s all I have with me today.’ “That’s Just fine,’” answers Lucy in her bus driver voice, impossibly lower than her own, punctuating each word. “‘Where do you want to go?’’ “Cleveland!”

Her house is big and old, “pushed out in all directions” in the 25 years she’s lived there, the swimming pool a relatively recent addition. “I had no pool when the children were little. I had one in Northridge (where she had another home) to worry about. I had the ocean. I had the pool in Palm Springs (at a vacation home). I wanted one place I didn’t have to wake up at 5 in the morning with a splash.”

Despite her legendary success as a comic, Lucille Ball considers motherhood her greatest triumph. “Just having a career, that would be very boring. The best part of my life is having children. They keep you young,” she says, the laughs rolling out again. “They keep you worried longer.”

Lucy’s worried plenty about her kids, The drug scene terrified her. Her son, Desi, she explains, had an exceptionally early exposure, when, at 11, he formed his own musical group with other kids of stars. “His peers were so much older,” she says, “There were a great many things I worried about constantly. I’ve never had a problem, but they were exposed to it.” She’s grateful that Desi’s early fame was short-lived. “Now’s the time for him to be having fun with his music.”

As a precaution, Lucy took her kids out of school — a public school and a private school — and brought them to work with her at the studios where they flourished under a tutor. “There were too many of their friends coming here stoned, just to go to a prom.”

Possibly as a result of her sheltering, her daughter spent her 15th through 19th years sitting around the house watching movies and television. Sitting with her was her one and only boyfriend. “They used to sit over there,” says Lucy, pointing at a love seat in the middle of her big living room. “Fifteen to 19, right there. We couldn’t get her to go out on another date.” “Will you go out roller skating or something.” Lucy nagged. “Mu-tttther,” said her daughter. “Well, she married him on her 20th birthday, we had a wedding that went on for blocks,” roars Lucy. “And one year to the day” the marriage was over.

Lucy Arnaz, unmarried, flamboyant like her mom, roaringly successful, and Desi Arnaz IV, just married to actress Linda Purl, working at his career as an actor, “more serious,” continue to delight and amaze their mother.

“I had them late in life,” she relates. “I’d lost two and I thought, my God, I’ll be too old to have children. During my ninth year of marriage, my mother-in-law, who was one of the most beautiful South American ladies ever, said to me, ‘You become Catholic. You have baby.’ So I went and had instruction and” — Lucy claps her hands __”five months later I was pregnant. For me, the birth of a child, it was a miracle. I couldn’t believe it.”

The interview is ending, but by now, Lucy is charged up. “You made me feel good,” she says, “My adrenalin is going. Say, did I tell the story about Lynn Fontanne?” Lucy leaps from her chair to stage center to act out her meeting with the famous, aged actress, at one of several recent awards ceremonies for Henry Fonda. “They asked me to escort Miss Fontanne to the stage,” she relates. Lucy.style, the encounter was a debacle. Before the story was over, Ball was on her knees — one of her legs is still weak after a skiing accident several years ago — before Fontanne, who was kissing her hand and telling her, “I am your most favorite, is that how how say say it?”

So, of course, Lucy kissed Fontanne’s hand. “I was in such awe.” And then, of course, she couldn’t get up. “I tried and finally, I said, Aw, the hell with it!” Lucy, who has been crawling around on her living room floor, finally boosts herself up and falls back into her chair, gasping with laughter, her little dog — quietly unobtrusive until now — barking in alarm. “It’s all right, honey,” she tells the dog, “I’m just telling stories. She’s thinks when I’m yelling, there’s something wrong.”

Lucy’s been up on the stage accepting awards for herself, alongside Bob Hope, many a time, too. After one such ceremony, she opened the newspaper to read stories about both of them which were so detailed they read like obituaries. “The next day, Bob called me up and wanted to know if I was still alive!”

“What’s left for me to say?” she says, subsiding. Then, thoughtfully: “I just want to see my grandchildren.”

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I’ve noticed a trend in interviews later in Lucy’s life. It always has to do with her look, voice, the smoking. These people who never interviewed her before show up at the house to talk about a new project, her career, whatever the topic dujoir is. Lucy’s not stupid. She knows all the questions because she’s been asked 100 times before so her answers are never that enthusiastic.

The reports you can tell were expecting this done up to the hilt, funny and outgoing person who just loved to talk about the old days. They are essentially shocked at what greets them at the door. But the reality is, the lady liked to be comfortable at home and wasn’t going to dress to impress Joe from the Paduka Press. She’s also bored with herself after all the decades in showbiz.

What a good reporter/interviewer can do is try to tap into her personally. This reporter got her to do that by the end so that she felt comfortable enough to tell a story and when Lucy tells stories you are going to get a show. Not many interviewers can get this turn. I’ve seen it in video interviews and in print. It’s very interesting to watch/read.

Twice now recently interviews have come up with Lucy lamenting about Lucie’s love life. I like that Lucy felt that dating was good for a person. That they should get out and do things with others and sort of feel out a potential mate first and not rush into anything. Lucy could be strict in some of her discipline but she had a very healthy outlook on that.

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Later Lucy interviews:  although this one is kinder than most, there's always THAT TONE.   Lucy was in better shape than the average 68 year old woman, but it's like the writers were expecting Lucy of 1955 or even 1965 and had to point out the fact that she aged as if to say "you're not fooling ME...or my readers."  Strange, I think.  Must have been hard for Lucy to read.  

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