Still Loving Lucy

The Lovely Lucille Ball

Today would have been the 98th birthday of beloved actress and comedienne Lucille Ball, who died a little over twenty years ago.  Of course it’s almost impossible to believe that we no longer have Lucy with us, because she’s around us every day, as solid a piece of pop culture as there is anywhere.  Even if you haven’t watched an episode of I Love Lucy in years, when you do go back it’s like visiting with an old friend.  I recently watched a few on TV and honestly was completely charmed again — they retain every bit of their comedy bite and brilliance.  Though perhaps her television credits somewhat eclipsed her movie work in the minds of the public at large, Lucille Ball started in motion pictures as a chorus girl beauty in the early 1930s, and made 80 or so films before revolutionizing television comedy twenty years later.  In honor of the great Lucy, let’s look at some clips to remember and celebrate the redhead who was as funny as she was beautiful, and a hell of an all-around actress. 

I like how Lucy frequently used real Hollywood celebrities on her series.  How about Lucy and her daughter Lucie Arnaz, along with Ginger Rogers, in a clip from Here’s Lucy from 1971?  Lucy and Ginger had appeared together in 1937′s Stage Door (and Lucy also made uncredited appearances in three other Rogers’ movies before that).  As you’ll see, both ladies still had what it takes as they break into dance in this amusing sequence. 

[youtube=http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=YDu-zmaKRhQ]

How about Lucy and her husband Desi Arnaz appearing with Ida Lupino and Howard Duff in an episode of The Lucy-Desi Comedy Hour from 1959?

[youtube=http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=RseZL4_5kvg]

And screen legend Orson Welles guest-starred in an episode of I Love Lucy highlighting his skills as a magician as he uses Lucy in one of his famous illusions…

[youtube=http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=mUNc3ASCoeM]

Everybody loves this sequence from I Love Lucy where Lucy dances with movie star Van Johnson…how about you?

[youtube=http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=WxASXzcmQqc]

Lucy and Ethel (the wonderful Vivian Vance) had a poolside encounter with Rock Hudson, too:

[youtube=http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=izj2nza7P7k]

And because it’s the funniest Lucy Ricardo-Meets-Hollywood encounter ever, here are two clips from the episode guest-starring William Holden.  Perfection!

[youtube=http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=S9t1-pZ_LD8]

[youtube=http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=Z76QqL_AozI]

How about Lucille Ball in the movies?  She’s more than a match for Bob Hope in Paramount’s Fancy Pants, a remake of Ruggles of Red Gap.

[youtube=http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=WUVdvUE4ewY]

Lucy and Bob were frequent onscreen co-stars, and made an appearance together on the 1989 Academy Awards — Lucy died just a few weeks later.

[youtube=http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=lqLiC7nSSfg]

Lucy appeared in the 1976 Shirley MacLaine television special Gypsy in My Soul, sharing show biz memories and dancing prowess…

[youtube=http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=M46dQYvMp1o]

Lucy’s all comedy and the title character in this trailer for 1950′s The Fuller Brush Girl:

[youtube=http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=vXCg1lpMgkw]

Lucy, Desi and MGM capitalized on the couple’s I Love Lucy fame for the very funny 1953 big screen comedy The Long Long Trailer:

[youtube=http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=uY2wAeciPlI]

I certainly remember going to the movies and seeing Lucy — I was addicted to reruns of I Love Lucy — in 1968′s Yours, Mine and Ours, opposite Henry Fonda:

[youtube=http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=m-1hTlxfzgY]

You might like to see Lucy in the screen version of the Broadway musical Mame, from 1974.  Not universally beloved, but she’s giving it her all:

[youtube=http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=sfZTjyxJTYw]

I highly recommend checking out the almost endless sites on the web about Lucy, all interesting and clear evidence of the love and esteem in which Lucille Ball is still held.  Particularly recommended are the official Lucille Ball website here, there’s a nice tribute from Time magazine here,  a succinct survey of her importance to television here from the Museum of Broadcast Communications, the Lucille Ball-Desi Arnaz center in Lucy’s hometown of Jamestown, NY, and for a good overview, check out the Lucille Ball Wikipedia entry.

We Love Lucy and We Always Will

0 Response Still Loving Lucy
Posted By Jenni : August 7, 2009 9:59 am

Thank you for the laughter this morning! I love the ILL tv show, especially when she and Desi went to Hollywood and all the antics that ensued. That fake nose with William Holden is priceless! Lucy was definitely an example of hard work, talent, and business savvy.

Posted By Jenni : August 7, 2009 9:59 am

Thank you for the laughter this morning! I love the ILL tv show, especially when she and Desi went to Hollywood and all the antics that ensued. That fake nose with William Holden is priceless! Lucy was definitely an example of hard work, talent, and business savvy.

Posted By Jane : August 7, 2009 12:28 pm

What a wonderful tribute to the legendary Lucy! New generations will discovering the joys of I Love Lucy one hundred years from now. Here’s an idea…drop Lucy CD’s on Iraq and Afghanistan. I’ll bet our Lucy could charm even the most hate filled extremist.

Posted By Jane : August 7, 2009 12:28 pm

What a wonderful tribute to the legendary Lucy! New generations will discovering the joys of I Love Lucy one hundred years from now. Here’s an idea…drop Lucy CD’s on Iraq and Afghanistan. I’ll bet our Lucy could charm even the most hate filled extremist.

Posted By Suzi : August 7, 2009 5:51 pm

I will always love Lucy. Last year I worked on a coffee-table book about the I Love Lucy series. There was not much text but lots of photos and a sound button to push to hear lines of dialogue. The publication got delayed so I am not sure when it is due for release, but it helped me relive all the episodes again. It’s amazing how much of them I retained even after all these years. The Harpo Marx and William Holden episodes are my favorites. Thanks for remembering Lucy.

Posted By Suzi : August 7, 2009 5:51 pm

I will always love Lucy. Last year I worked on a coffee-table book about the I Love Lucy series. There was not much text but lots of photos and a sound button to push to hear lines of dialogue. The publication got delayed so I am not sure when it is due for release, but it helped me relive all the episodes again. It’s amazing how much of them I retained even after all these years. The Harpo Marx and William Holden episodes are my favorites. Thanks for remembering Lucy.

Posted By Maggie : August 10, 2009 11:29 am

Thanks for mentioning Lucy’s connection to Ginger! Lucy credits her breakout role in Stage Door to Ginger’s mother Lela, who started the Hollytown Theatre. This gave young contract actresses who were not getting jobs the opportunity to star in stage plays. Lela would invite all of the studio heads and show them what their contract actors could really do.

The three Astaire/Rogers pictures that Lucy appears in are:
Top Hat
Roberta
Follow the Fleet

I have also read that Lucy and Ginger double dated often with Henry Fonda and James Stewart, respectively.

Posted By Maggie : August 10, 2009 11:29 am

Thanks for mentioning Lucy’s connection to Ginger! Lucy credits her breakout role in Stage Door to Ginger’s mother Lela, who started the Hollytown Theatre. This gave young contract actresses who were not getting jobs the opportunity to star in stage plays. Lela would invite all of the studio heads and show them what their contract actors could really do.

The three Astaire/Rogers pictures that Lucy appears in are:
Top Hat
Roberta
Follow the Fleet

I have also read that Lucy and Ginger double dated often with Henry Fonda and James Stewart, respectively.

Posted By captivatingone : August 14, 2009 9:29 pm

As a redhead, people assume that I Love Lucy is my favorite show for that very reason. But it really isn’t. She was a comedic genius. Two of my favorite episodes were the Van Johnson episode and the Bill Holden episode (my favorite favorite was the episode where they are in Ethel’s home town…the very end is hilarious!). We will continue to love Lucy, because here show is timeless. I look forward to introducing future generations to her!

Posted By captivatingone : August 14, 2009 9:29 pm

As a redhead, people assume that I Love Lucy is my favorite show for that very reason. But it really isn’t. She was a comedic genius. Two of my favorite episodes were the Van Johnson episode and the Bill Holden episode (my favorite favorite was the episode where they are in Ethel’s home town…the very end is hilarious!). We will continue to love Lucy, because here show is timeless. I look forward to introducing future generations to her!

Posted By Medusa : January 20, 2010 6:05 am

I apologize for the YouTube clips that aren’t available anymore. I think Hollywood’s insistence on taking down fan content is churlish and hateful. It appears that if they aren’t directly making money from it, they don’t want to share it. Not a very nice way to thank the aficionados…

Posted By Medusa : January 20, 2010 6:05 am

I apologize for the YouTube clips that aren’t available anymore. I think Hollywood’s insistence on taking down fan content is churlish and hateful. It appears that if they aren’t directly making money from it, they don’t want to share it. Not a very nice way to thank the aficionados…

Posted By Eric G. Meeks : December 14, 2011 3:08 pm

I wrote a new biography on Lucille Ball called:

PS I Love Lucy: The Story of Lucille Ball in Palm Springs

Now available as a Kindle download. Would you mind if I asked to post is somewhere on your website or tell any fans you know?

http://www.amazon.com/P-S-Love-Lucy-Lucille-ebook/dp/B006M00I2W/ref=sr_1_10?s=digital-text&ie=UTF8&qid=1323887618&sr=1-10

Contact me for any questions and thank you, I appreciate your help.

Posted By Eric G. Meeks : December 14, 2011 3:08 pm

I wrote a new biography on Lucille Ball called:

PS I Love Lucy: The Story of Lucille Ball in Palm Springs

Now available as a Kindle download. Would you mind if I asked to post is somewhere on your website or tell any fans you know?

http://www.amazon.com/P-S-Love-Lucy-Lucille-ebook/dp/B006M00I2W/ref=sr_1_10?s=digital-text&ie=UTF8&qid=1323887618&sr=1-10

Contact me for any questions and thank you, I appreciate your help.

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