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"Senior Pens Lucille Ball Trivia Book"


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Senior Pens Lucille Ball Trivia Book

Writing What He Knows: James Sheridan, FCLC ’11, Authors “Lucille Ball: FAQ”


In March, over spring break, James Sheridan, Forhdam College at Lincoln Center (FCLC) '11, led two friends on a sightseeing tour around Los Angeles. But as the guide, Sheridan wasn't showing his buddies the Beverly Hills homes of just any celebrities. He was retracing the steps of his favorite entertainer Lucille Ball, the star of the 1950s classic sitcom "I Love Lucy," his favorite television program.


The DIY Lucy tour wasn't the reason they took the trip, but it was one thing Sheridan says he definitely wanted to do. The excursion included pilgrimages to the first house Ball lived in when she moved to LA and the Beverly Hills home she lived in for 35 years. The guys also drove past Paramount Studios, formerly Desilu Studios, which was named after the production company owned by Ball and Desi Arnaz.


"It's not my idea of fun," said Anndrew Vacca, Sheridan's friend, "but it is fun to listen to someone who knows that much. He was a tour guide; he is a tour guide."


Sheridan, Fordham College at Lincoln Center (FCLC) '11, knows everything a person could know about Lucille Ball, and he's about to share his knowledge with the reading public. In January, the 22-year-old finished writing an authoritative trivia biography of Ball with Barry Monush, a researcher at the Paley Center for Media's curatorial department in New York, where Sheridan works as a curatorial assistant. The book, titled "Lucille Ball FAQ: Everything Left to Know About America's Favorite Redhead," comes out June 15, about a month after Sheridan will graduate with a bachelor's degree in communication and media studies with a concentration in television.


"To find somebody James' age, who knows so much about the past is amazing to me," Monush said. "You mention early television icons, and most young people are very vague on them, no matter how famous they are."


As a child, Sheridan watched "Lucy" with his grandmother, and became really interested in Ball after a trip to Universal Studios in Florida when he was seven. At the time, his knowledge of Lucy came solely from Nick at Nite reruns, but "Lucy: A Tribute" at Universal exposed Sheridan to Ball's entire career in entertainment. An on-screen Lucy trivia game at the mini-museum inspired him to learn more. "I wouldn't leave until I won the game. And I eventually did," Sheridan said. "After that I started taping all the shows and reading all the books I could." At eight, he could name every episode of "Lucy" in order, had every episode taped, and today he's got all the episodes on DVD.


But his passion for Lucy doesn't end there. Sheridan appreciates all of Ball's work. He is able to recap her television career from the top of his head: "‘I Love Lucy' aired 1951 to 1957; ‘The Lucille Ball-Desi Arnaz Show' aired 1957 to 1960; ‘The Lucy Show' aired 1962 to 1968; ‘Here's Lucy' aired 1968 to 1974." When asked to repeat the names of the programs and years on air for clarification, Sheridan gladly listed them again, the second time more slowly.


"People always say 23 straight years on television, but really there was one year she was not on TV," he said. During this period, Ball made a few movies, television appearances, and starred on Broadway.


When Sheridan, usually a modest, quiet guy, talks about Lucy, he confidently spouts off minute details of her life and career. He has reason to be self-assured: Sheridan wrote a 440-page book on Lucy, and while he did extensive research, much of the information was already stored in his brain from years of watching and reading.


"He's like an encyclopedia," said David Lempka, Sheridan's friend. "He knew most of this stuff, but he synthesized all his knowledge when he was writing the book."


Despite the ease at which Lucy trivia flows out of him, Sheridan has difficulty explaining why he loves Lucy. But after some prodding, his reasons become clearer. "I'm a big fan of all classic television, and I feel like she's the best," he said.


As a producer and studio owner ("the first woman to do that"), Ball was responsible for many classic TV shows, like "Star Trek," which was produced by Desilu. "She was really the most powerful woman in Hollywood during that time. And she's funny, entertaining, and talented."


"I Love Lucy" was the first TV show shot "in front of a live studio audience with the big cameras on film," Sheridan said. "If there were no Lucy and the people she worked with, TV would be a lot different today, and I love television."


Sheridan loves TV so much he got a job at the Paley Center immediately after graduating from high school in 2007. He started in the visitors services department, greeting museum patrons and helping them view programs in the Paley Center library. After his first year, Sheridan asked to work more hours during the summer. He was told he could help move boxes of donated materials. This is when Sheridan met Monush, and made a notable first impression.


When Monush told Sheridan that Lucie Arnaz, daughter of Lucille Ball and Desi Arnaz, donated some of the tapes they were moving, Monush said Sheridan "lit up." The two started talking about the Ball-Arnaz family, Monush having no idea Sheridan was a huge fan. "So I'm there yammering away," Monush said. "‘We have this, did you know that Lucille Ball did this,' and he's going, ‘yes I did, actually I have a copy of that.'"


Sheridan was only supposed to work for another few weeks, but once Monush, and his supervisor Ron Simon, curator of television and radio, learned of his expertise, they made a place for him at the Paley Center. Sheridan has been working in the curatorial department for about three years. In 2008, he and Monush organized "An Evening with Lucie Arnaz," featuring a screening of some of the rare Lucy programs, and a discussion with Arnaz about her career alongside her mother.


"Beyond Lucille Ball, he has such a great overview of television in general," Monush said. "James really belongs at the Paley Center."


With the book's release date set, Sheridan is now working with Monush again, this time on acquiring rare Lucy programming for a Lucille Ball centennial event in partnership with TV Guide. According to Monush, the series, planned for August or September in commemoration of what would have been Ball's 100th birthday this year, will offer classic Lucy clips and obscure footage, such as her appearances on variety and talk shows.


"Some people had been saying, you should write a book," Sheridan said. "I was like, um okay." But when Monush told Sheridan his publisher wanted a new title for their "FAQ" series, Sheridan guessed he could do it since people had been telling him he could for so long. Still, humble till the end, Sheridan says he could not have written the book without Monush. "I mean I knew about Lucy," he said, "but Barry knew about the book writing."


Different than other books on Ball, Sheridan says his has finer points, including lists of pop culture references in her TV shows, information on all her major co-stars, her family, and every song she sang on TV, and of course, a comprehensive section on where Lucy lived.





Congratulations, HC! Can't wait to read the book! I also can't wait until this Anndrew fellow acquires a better sense of fun! :lucythrill:

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OMG what a great article on a great human being who also happens to be a Lucy encyclopedia and i've liked that KID for a decade now, bought that book TODAY as a matter of fact and cannot wait to get my hands on it as i know Jim can WRITE the way he can TALK about anything Lucy. I am so happy for you James, yes, CONGRATULATIONS on a great accomplishment and for writing the difinitive book on Lucy FACTS and not a flimsy one at that. The thing is i've FORGOTTEN more about Lucy than you KNOW but it will be nice to be reminded of everything thanks to your incredible knowledge. And i love how you are so modest that you never let on that all this was going on, no wonder you knew so much about her part in the Museum. Hope to meet you there someday! :peachonthebeach::professor::lucydesi::ill::lucy2: But change that pic on your post botttoms it should be b&w, color photo alternating, you're missing one color one and have one b&w too many, LOL!

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By the way i especially LOVED the line that Lucy was Hollywood's most powerful woman back then when she ran Desilu, i never thought of it that way but imagine that, she'd have been on the cover of Entertainment Weekly listed as it's most powerful woman. LUCY HEADS THE POWER 100, DECADES BEFORE OPRAH! :lucythrill::lucy2:

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Thank you so much everyone! I'm looking forward to the book being released next month. I hope you all like it.


I wish I was more articulate in that interview. Being interviewed makes me very nervous.



I can't wait to get it too but I can't get over what a youngun you are and so knowledgeable!! Remember, some of us actually LIVED through this stuff and will be "fact checking" with a fine-toothed comb! ;)

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I can't wait to get it too but I can't get over what a youngun you are and so knowledgeable!! Remember, some of us actually LIVED through this stuff and will be "fact checking" with a fine-toothed comb! ;)

YOU GOT THAT RIGHT! The ONE advantage we do have over him is we were there watching tv at the time, he was sucking on a pacifier. :lucythrill:

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This is AMAZING, Harry! I can't wait to get my hands on your book, might even snag several copies and gift them to friends whom I've converted into Lucy fans recently. And you came across perfectly in the interview, no worries. The funny (I hope) thing is, all this time I thought you were much older, and you're actually a year younger than me! :lucythrill:

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Thank you so much everyone! :D


Amazon has it listed as being released on May 15, but it's actually June. So if anyone ordered it from Amazon, it's not coming out in a couple days, but next month.

They called me today to tell me i can pick up Stern's book on Sunday, but i have to to wait a whole month before i get YOURS damnit, so i'll order Nick Yapp's book when i pick up Stern's to hold me over till YOURS comes out, Treasures i have to order online as there are no Barnes and Nobles here in Canada. :lucydisgust: The two Karol books are in an office here that beau will pick up and deliver them to me next time he comes to town. :lucyhorror:

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  • 4 weeks later...

TCM.com has a nice write up about the book on their website. In case anyone wanted to see what was in the book, here you go (the questions and answers at the bottom are from TCM, not me!):


Lucille Ball FAQ from Applause Theatre & Cinema Books

I Love Lucy revolutionized the way television shows were made. It became the first show to be watched by 10 million people, then 40 million people a year later. But James Sheridan and Barry Monush take readers beyond the "Lucy" character and into information that may not be common knowledge. Although known for her comic genius, Lucille Ball also was adept at drama, was the first woman to head a major production company on her own, and green-lighted some of the most popular and profitable television series of all time, including Star Trek and Mission: Impossible.


Lucille Ball FAQ (Applause Theatre & Cinema Books, $19.99) paints a full portrait of America's favorite redhead from her life growing up, love interests, friends and co-stars, inspirations, TV shows and films, and family.


Lucille Ball FAQ includes:

· A complete Lucy timeline

· Great black and white photos

· Complete lists of her awards and recorded songs

· Episode lists and synopses for each television series

· Places she lived and shot on location

· Inside jokes

· Pop culture references on her shows

· Her favorite guest stars

· Performances she nearly did, but didn't or couldn't


What is Lucille Ball's favorite episode of any of her series?

"Lucy Dates Dean Martin" from The Lucy Show


How many times did Lucy get married?

Three times. Once to Gary Morton and twice to Desi Arnaz (by the Justice of the Peace and then again in a Catholic Church to satisfy Desi's mother who believed that a couple should not have children until they are married in the eyes of God)


During house quarantine while Lucy's father had typhoid fever, what did Lucy's mother do to keep young Lucy from leaving the yard?

Tied her to a clothesline. Lucy pretended to have accidentally gotten tangled and convinced passersby to untie her, resulting in her pregnant mother searching the neighborhood for her escaped daughter.


What famous neighbor did the couple working in Lucy's house mistake for a vegetable salesman and slam the door in his face?

James Stewart. After Gary Morton pointed out their error, the next time Stewart came to the door with fresh vegetables from his garden, the couple gave him a dollar.


Lucille Ball FAQ

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TCM.com has a nice write up about the book on their website. In case anyone wanted to see what was in the book, here you go (the questions and answers at the bottom are from TCM, not me!):




Lucille Ball FAQ

Well, nice to know the book focuses on Lucille Ball rather than YOU the author, LOL! Can't wait to get that phone call telling me it's in, should be next week huh?

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"Senior Pens LB Trivia Book"


Since I know it's not me, I thought this might be referring to Claude!


And here's my new name for Harry: Senior Know-it-All.


Mine is set to ship next week from Amazon.

No, MY book will only be released when i'm gone from this world as there are too many EXPLOSIVE revelations in it, like those FACTS i stated to you and some others a while back, i don't want to get sued so i will be releasing all that info when i pass on, LOL! And yes, Harrison Carter is not a fink but rather a most knowledgeable young man with an infinite aquisition of facts regarding our idol, our dream woman, Miss Ball. And i am looking forward to reading every word of his upcoming book. Thank God the wait is almost over.

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