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Jerry Herman bio


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This was published in 2005 so may have been discussed already but I have a few comments.

As is expected, the Mame movie is trounced.

Look how long it took to finally dispel the rumor, most often reported as fact, that "Ball had it written in Vance's contract that she remain 20 pounds overweight", a gag that took on a life of its own.

Well, when are we finally going to discredit the idea that "Ball in the hopes of reviving her flagging television career invested 5 MILLION DOLLARS in the film on the condition she be cast in the lead."?

She may have had a participation in the profits, but this was Warner Brothers not some fledgeling company that needed outside financing help and the idea that Lucy had to BUY the part that was ANGELA'S is absurd. They had every reason to have faith that Lucy would be big box-office.

But it's those sorts of remarks that just gives fuel to the fire of those that want to hate Lucy in "Mame".

I have my reservation about PARTS of Mame, but I think it takes more flack than is fair. If they hadn't known Lucy's age, would they have been so fixated on it? It's not like she was Mae West in "Sextette" being wooed by Timothy Dalton, close to 60 years her junior. The book quotes Frank Rich describing her as "too thick in the middle, too stringy in the legs and too creaky in the joints." What movie was he watching???

Her singing quality is debatable, but I get tired of people knocking her dancing, which is just fine and practically the exact choreography of the original. I've seen video of Ginger Rogers and Angela Lansbury and neither kicks higher and more effortlessly than Lucille Ball.

Everything Lucy did is skewed negatively in this book:

--"Lucy tried to run the show from the beginning complaining about...the lack of care given the props--which she felt she was paying for" (!!!?)

--"Ball thought Preston too short and the INSENSITIVE STAR bought the DAPPER Preston a pair of shoes with lifts." Really what's so bad about that? Wouldn't that show Preston to a better advantage?

--And then there's Madelyn Kahn. Lucy was wrong to get rid of her, but that's hindsight. Enough people have said it so it may be true, but I just don't think the reason was that Kahn "was far too pretty to be photographed beside Ball."

(Just a thought and envision it before you dismiss it as ridiculous: WAYNE NEWTON as Gooch!)

Not content with repeating the same questionable stories, the author gets another dig in at Lucy that is totally false. In 1969, Gene Saks was set to direct Angela in "Dear World" but was replaced because Lansbury "was piqued that Saks had not stood up strongly enough on her behalf during the casting of the "Mame" movie". Never mind that this was at least two years before the role was given to Lucy and that Saks wasn't even signed as director until George Cukor bowed out!

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This was published in 2005 so may have been discussed already but I have a few comments.

As is expected, the Mame movie is trounced.

Look how long it took to finally dispel the rumor, most often reported as fact, that "Ball had it written in Vance's contract that she remain 20 pounds overweight", a gag that took on a life of its own.

Well, when are we finally going to discredit the idea that "Ball in the hopes of reviving her flagging television career invested 5 MILLION DOLLARS in the film on the condition she be cast in the lead."?

She may have had a participation in the profits, but this was Warner Brothers not some fledgeling company that needed outside financing help and the idea that Lucy had to BUY the part that was ANGELA'S is absurd. They had every reason to have faith that Lucy would be big box-office.

But it's those sorts of remarks that just gives fuel to the fire of those that want to hate Lucy in "Mame".

I have my reservation about PARTS of Mame, but I think it takes more flack than is fair. If they hadn't known Lucy's age, would they have been so fixated on it? It's not like she was Mae West in "Sextette" being wooed by Timothy Dalton, close to 60 years her junior. The book quotes Frank Rich describing her as "too thick in the middle, too stringy in the legs and too creaky in the joints." What movie was he watching???

Her singing quality is debatable, but I get tired of people knocking her dancing, which is just fine and practically the exact choreography of the original. I've seen video of Ginger Rogers and Angela Lansbury and neither kicks higher and more effortlessly than Lucille Ball.

Everything Lucy did is skewed negatively in this book:

--"Lucy tried to run the show from the beginning complaining about...the lack of care given the props--which she felt she was paying for" (!!!?)

--"Ball thought Preston too short and the INSENSITIVE STAR bought the DAPPER Preston a pair of shoes with lifts." Really what's so bad about that? Wouldn't that show Preston to a better advantage?

--And then there's Madelyn Kahn. Lucy was wrong to get rid of her, but that's hindsight. Enough people have said it so it may be true, but I just don't think the reason was that Kahn "was far too pretty to be photographed beside Ball."

(Just a thought and envision it before you dismiss it as ridiculous: WAYNE NEWTON as Gooch!)

Not content with repeating the same questionable stories, the author gets another dig in at Lucy that is totally false. In 1969, Gene Saks was set to direct Angela in "Dear World" but was replaced because Lansbury "was piqued that Saks had not stood up strongly enough on her behalf during the casting of the "Mame" movie". Never mind that this was at least two years before the role was given to Lucy and that Saks wasn't even signed as director until George Cukor bowed out!

OMG, your BEST post E V E R ! I agree with absolutely everything you said except for the part about Newton as Gooch, what the hell is that about? LOL!

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OMG, your BEST post E V E R ! I agree with absolutely everything you said except for the part about Newton as Gooch, what the hell is that about? LOL!

Stunt casting! He may be taller but has pretty much the same shape as Jane Connell!

Taking stunt casting one step further......Vera played by Liberace! Now THAT would have created some "buzz"!

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Stunt casting! He may be taller but has pretty much the same shape as Jane Connell!

Taking stunt casting one step further......Vera played by Liberace! Now THAT would have created some "buzz"!

Ok now you're just negating the great points made in the rest of your post, LOL! An all gay version of Mame may be what you're looking for. Do you seriously think Lucy gave up five million dollars to get cast in Mame? I dun't thin so either. Madeline Kahn would have added nothing in my humble opinion, the actress playing Gooch was excellent, it's just the script that was bad. Who the hell is frank rich anyway? I would think the entire Broadway community was anxious to tear Lucy apart as their beloved anchela lundsburied had been passed over, she would have added nothing to the box office and it still would not have done well but that's because like Dolly, it was just not a great movie. Lucy however aws excellent and yes her dancing was awesome, her personality just perfect for the part and i for one never thought she was too old for the part, they just had trouble making her look younger with too much gauze on the lens. Lucy never looked better sartorially, with ehr best film wardrobe in a career that featured many a beautiful outfit, if only she had refused to wear those God awful turbans that did give her that man dressed as a woman LOOK. Her singing was fine, these big bloated musicals with little plot never do well anyway. I look at it because Lucy IS Mame, not for her singing but her all around performance and bigger than life role of a lifetime. After Lucy, the only other great feature of this film is the fantastic MUSIC by Herman.

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Ok now you're just negating the great points made in the rest of your post, LOL! An all gay version of Mame may be what you're looking for.

 

Well why not! Put Rock Hudson as Beau back on the table and cast Paul Lynde as Mame. Although it puts a bit of a creepy spin on "Patrick, I'm going to show you things you never DREAMED existed!"

 

back to being serious:

Preston was the perfect choice for Beau. He was 5'10", 3 inches taller than Lucy. But with the heels Lucy is wearing they would have been the same height, so I believe he WAS using elevator shoes after all!

Hudson would have been fine, but at 48 would have invited more age slurs, being 14 years younger than Lucy. I do think Madelyn kahn would have added a lot to mame. I've heard the rumor she wanted to get out of Mame to do Blazing Saddles, but I doubt it. On paper which looked like it was going to be the bigger hit? Though this "use your 'trick' voice now" exchange during the table reading seemed like a flimsy reason to fire her. Maybe there's more to it.

There was talk of Carol Burnett as Gooch; and Bette Davis as VERA!! What do you think of that?

Though i find this hard to believe, it's been written that Bette campaigned heavily to play MAME. I can't imagine.

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If I knew Cukor was the original director set for Mame, then I'd forgotten and oh, what a film that would have been!! Sadly, we'll never know. I think too for whatever reason she was let go, Kahn would have definitely added a lot to the proceedings -- and I'm not knocking Connell but I loved Kahn and thought she was hilarious. I would have thought the two redheads would have had great chemistry together!

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This was published in 2005 so may have been discussed already but I have a few comments.

As is expected, the Mame movie is trounced.

Look how long it took to finally dispel the rumor, most often reported as fact, that "Ball had it written in Vance's contract that she remain 20 pounds overweight", a gag that took on a life of its own.

Well, when are we finally going to discredit the idea that "Ball in the hopes of reviving her flagging television career invested 5 MILLION DOLLARS in the film on the condition she be cast in the lead."?

She may have had a participation in the profits, but this was Warner Brothers not some fledgeling company that needed outside financing help and the idea that Lucy had to BUY the part that was ANGELA'S is absurd. They had every reason to have faith that Lucy would be big box-office.

But it's those sorts of remarks that just gives fuel to the fire of those that want to hate Lucy in "Mame".

I have my reservation about PARTS of Mame, but I think it takes more flack than is fair. If they hadn't known Lucy's age, would they have been so fixated on it? It's not like she was Mae West in "Sextette" being wooed by Timothy Dalton, close to 60 years her junior. The book quotes Frank Rich describing her as "too thick in the middle, too stringy in the legs and too creaky in the joints." What movie was he watching???

Her singing quality is debatable, but I get tired of people knocking her dancing, which is just fine and practically the exact choreography of the original. I've seen video of Ginger Rogers and Angela Lansbury and neither kicks higher and more effortlessly than Lucille Ball.

Everything Lucy did is skewed negatively in this book:

--"Lucy tried to run the show from the beginning complaining about...the lack of care given the props--which she felt she was paying for" (!!!?)

--"Ball thought Preston too short and the INSENSITIVE STAR bought the DAPPER Preston a pair of shoes with lifts." Really what's so bad about that? Wouldn't that show Preston to a better advantage?

--And then there's Madelyn Kahn. Lucy was wrong to get rid of her, but that's hindsight. Enough people have said it so it may be true, but I just don't think the reason was that Kahn "was far too pretty to be photographed beside Ball."

(Just a thought and envision it before you dismiss it as ridiculous: WAYNE NEWTON as Gooch!)

Not content with repeating the same questionable stories, the author gets another dig in at Lucy that is totally false. In 1969, Gene Saks was set to direct Angela in "Dear World" but was replaced because Lansbury "was piqued that Saks had not stood up strongly enough on her behalf during the casting of the "Mame" movie". Never mind that this was at least two years before the role was given to Lucy and that Saks wasn't even signed as director until George Cukor bowed out!

Wow I better get this book to read.. I though Jerry Herman felt Lucille did a wonderful job... I kinda believe the "controling everything on the set" part.. she strikes me as that type.. but I can completely understand her wanting everything to go well... and let's face it.. none of us are perfect every second.. I guess most people knew her by the tv personna and were shocked by the real woman's behavior... also who the hell else could have done it at that time?? And finally.. doing it because of her tv show's poor deciline?? Why wouldn't she just stop all together?? She knew the game and knew she wasn't a spring chicken.. how could more film roles be in the future when everyone loved to watch her on television?? Maybe a new format or some decent writters.. but a film career to replace the saggin tv career at 63?? I don't think she was that optimistic.. What are your thoughts all??

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Well why not! Put Rock Hudson as Beau back on the table and cast Paul Lynde as Mame. Although it puts a bit of a creepy spin on "Patrick, I'm going to show you things you never DREAMED existed!"

 

back to being serious:

Preston was the perfect choice for Beau. He was 5'10", 3 inches taller than Lucy. But with the heels Lucy is wearing they would have been the same height, so I believe he WAS using elevator shoes after all!

Hudson would have been fine, but at 48 would have invited more age slurs, being 14 years younger than Lucy. I do think Madelyn kahn would have added a lot to mame. I've heard the rumor she wanted to get out of Mame to do Blazing Saddles, but I doubt it. On paper which looked like it was going to be the bigger hit? Though this "use your 'trick' voice now" exchange during the table reading seemed like a flimsy reason to fire her. Maybe there's more to it.

There was talk of Carol Burnett as Gooch; and Bette Davis as VERA!! What do you think of that?

Though i find this hard to believe, it's been written that Bette campaigned heavily to play MAME. I can't imagine.

YES, Bette Davis desperately wanted the role of Vera, so much so that she offered to bring her own wardrobe when she heard the cost of Lucy's. I guess she was looking for another Crawford/Davis type combo but Lucy backed the original Vera, Bea. Maybe Davis thought she had the inside traack as it was being shot at her old alma mater WARNERS.

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I had never heard Cukor was slated to direct Mame, a real shame it didn't happen as he could craft a perfect film. And the thought of him directing Lucy---oh, man!

YES Cukor was all set but had to bow out when the filming was delayed because of Lucy's broken leg, he went instead to his next project Travels with my Aunt and directing the great Maggie Smith, he would have been terrific for Lucy and might have saved the picture. Gene Saks couldn't direct some jeans out of a sack.

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I LOVE Bette, but I don't see her as Vera...maybe because Bea fit the role so perfectly?

I'm just surprised she was desperate to that point for such a small insignificant role anyway. Imagine what the jokes would have been with that duo. Whatever happened to baby Mame? Hush hush sweet Mamie.

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Bette's daughter continually bled her dry, so that may account for any desperation of her part...

I think it was the fact that she kept hearing about this BIG film project and it was at her old stomping grounds so she applied for the job, i remember her saying in an interview or in a book that MISS BALL DID NOT WANT ME, well, why should she, she tried twice to get you on her show and you always backed out at the last minute and she was friendly with Bea, who did it on Broadway and would not be a pain to work with like Bette would have been. Not to mention the fact that Bea's husband was directing the picture.

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I'm just surprised she was desperate to that point for such a small insignificant role anyway. Imagine what the jokes would have been with that duo. Whatever happened to baby Mame? Hush hush sweet Mamie.

Small perhaps, hardly "insignificant"! Still, curious that Davis would consider at all taking a back seat to La Ball, regardless of her financial circumstances or whatever other reasons she wanted the part, especially having been the studios box office top draw for so many years! Very interesting. :D

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Yup.. what a movie.. Bette Davis as Mame.. wow... and they bitched about Lucy's singing! And when she couldn't get the lead, she wanted to play Vera.. "but Miss Ball would have none of that".. Davis said..."It was her ship and she was determined to sink it alone"... Bette bitterly complained... Let us remember something.. directing Lucy was like trying to flag down the SuperChief with a Zippo lighter... I mean Cukor or not.. Lucy directs! However, Crawford, Davis and others were like that too.. they needed strong directors to put them in their place and coach a good performance out of them.. Man Oh Man some scenes in Mame would just sizzle if directed properly.. Also, Mame really suffers from poor editing!.. I don't think Lucy was wrong.. or Bea.. they do great jobs.. Madeline would have been fun as Gooch.. maybe give the film a whole different audience.. anyway.. did you know Vivian Vance was being considered for Vera??? She said no.. saying.. they would just call it a musical with Lucy and Ethel...I bet that book of Herman's bio has some fun stuff about Barbara as Dolly.. any actress who is worth a shit is difficult!... I sure would have loved to have a chance to direct Lucy.. never will.. but Man would I like to harness that Ball of Fire! And I really LOVE Mame.. it Lacks something.. it's like opening a bottle of soda and it goes flat before you finish it..

Did that Jerry Herman Bio say anything nice or flattering about Miss Ball??? Jerry wrote some terriffic musicals.. any mention of why "That's How Young I Feel" was dropped from the movie??? or a mention of why Beaureguard's song "Lovin' You" was written for the movie and why??? Also, I've mentioned before... but I like to say it.. I think Lucille does a great job with "If He Walked Into My Life" she really puts meaning into it!

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Yup.. what a movie.. Bette Davis as Mame.. wow... and they bitched about Lucy's singing! And when she couldn't get the lead, she wanted to play Vera.. "but Miss Ball would have none of that".. Davis said..."It was her ship and she was determined to sink it alone"... Bette bitterly complained... Let us remember something.. directing Lucy was like trying to flag down the SuperChief with a Zippo lighter... I mean Cukor or not.. Lucy directs! However, Crawford, Davis and others were like that too.. they needed strong directors to put them in their place and coach a good performance out of them.. Man Oh Man some scenes in Mame would just sizzle if directed properly.. Also, Mame really suffers from poor editing!.. I don't think Lucy was wrong.. or Bea.. they do great jobs.. Madeline would have been fun as Gooch.. maybe give the film a whole different audience.. anyway.. did you know Vivian Vance was being considered for Vera??? She said no.. saying.. they would just call it a musical with Lucy and Ethel...I bet that book of Herman's bio has some fun stuff about Barbara as Dolly.. any actress who is worth a shit is difficult!... I sure would have loved to have a chance to direct Lucy.. never will.. but Man would I like to harness that Ball of Fire! And I really LOVE Mame.. it Lacks something.. it's like opening a bottle of soda and it goes flat before you finish it..

Did that Jerry Herman Bio say anything nice or flattering about Miss Ball??? Jerry wrote some terriffic musicals.. any mention of why "That's How Young I Feel" was dropped from the movie??? or a mention of why Beaureguard's song "Lovin' You" was written for the movie and why??? Also, I've mentioned before... but I like to say it.. I think Lucille does a great job with "If He Walked Into My Life" she really puts meaning into it!

Where the hell did you get THAT? Bette only wanted the VERA role, she knew she was never a possibility for Mame. And Joe, i meant insignificant for the role of Vera as it is such an incredibly small role for someone of Davis' stature.

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.. directing Lucy was like trying to flag down the SuperChief with a Zippo lighter... THAT GREAT QUOTE WAS UTTERED BY COMEDIAN JACK CARTER, ANOTHER SECOND STRING COMIC LIKE GARY WHO SHOULD HAVE BEEN SHOT FOR INTRODUCING LUCY TO GARY INSTEAD OF BEING REWARDED WITH TWO HERE'S LUCY DIRECTING GIGS, probably as a favor to his wife Paula who was so close to Lucy. As for If He Walked Into My Life, it's such a beautiful classic ballad that although Lucy gives it her all and yes, does do it very very well, it's just that you remember it sung by really great singers and it suffers somewwhat by comparison. Lucy did better with UP tempo tunes in the film. OMG, this is so funny, i am hearing Carole Cook in a short scene in Palm Springs Weekend as i type this.

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Let us remember something.. directing Lucy was like trying to flag down the SuperChief with a Zippo lighter... I mean Cukor or not.. Lucy directs!

marionstrong.gif That's very well put! But I disagree in part: I think Cukor would have been very good for her, stood his ground, and done a much better job than Saks -- perhaps more than any other director in Hollywood history, he was renowned for directing "strong" women and getting the best out of them. :D

.. any actress who is worth a shit is difficult!...

I couldn't disagree more: I've never heard one inkling that Streep, for example, is "difficult" yet she's one of, if not THE finest American actresses working today.

And I really LOVE Mame.. it Lacks something.. it's like opening a bottle of soda and it goes flat before you finish it..

Very well said, I couldn't agree more. And yet I still wish I'd seen it on the Big Screen, where I think I'd love it even more! lucyhaha.JPG

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marionstrong.gif That's very well put! But I disagree in part: I think Cukor would have been very good for her, stood his ground, and done a much better job than Saks -- perhaps more than any other director in Hollywood history, he was renowned for directing "strong" women and getting the best out of them. :D

 

I couldn't disagree more: I've never heard one inkling that Streep, for example, is "difficult" yet she's one of, if not THE finest American actresses working today.

 

Very well said, I couldn't agree more. And yet I still wish I'd seen it on the Big Screen, where I think I'd love it even more! lucyhaha.JPG

Cukor would have directed Lucy to an Oscar nomination, yes, he was a GREAT FEMALE director. Streep doesn't have to BE difficult, directors are in awe of HER. I saw MAME on the biggest screen in Canada and it was absolutely enchanting, YES, it helps to see it on a BIG screen as it is a MUSICAL after all, bigger than life. Funny that reviewers usually say it's better seen on the small screen which Lucy owned.

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Funny that reviewers usually say it's better seen on the small screen which Lucy owned.

I disagree, having only seen it that way a hundred times until getting my own big screen HDTV this past year and WOW!! what a difference it makes!! Next best thing to seeing it in a theater I have to imagine since I never got the chance but DEFINITELY much more enjoyable than on a "regular" TV screen all those years previous! :Dlucythrill.JPG
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