Lovin’ Lucy

The many faces of Lucy. Three years old and a teen in row two. Then there’s the goofy Lucy we love and the pretty Lucy starting out in the entertainment business. Matel even made a tribute Barbie-Lucy! Man, she certainly was a special force to be reckoned with. Who doesn’t love Lucy?  :)))))

Growing up, I got to see a bunch of the “older” TV shows you are now enjoying on cable or streaming – the ones that my parents would mention referencing  the early days of television – shows like Perry Mason, Gunsmoke, The Honeymooners, The Andy Griffith Show, Leave It To Beaver…and of course I Love Lucy. Watching the reruns, and laughing at Lucille Ball’s incredible timing, slapstick comedy and funny faces, I must agree she was quite the talent.  Friends of mine made a daytrip to the Lucille Dezi Museum in Jamestown NY (her birthplace) and said they had a blast, reliving her skits and memories of her acting career. I decided to do some digging to find out more about her early career and show life, and also share some trivia (cause we all like trivia) about Lucy, Ricky and the gang. Before you start reading, click HERE to get yourself in the “Lucy” mood, and find the interesting trivia about this screen below.  Special thanks to Wikipedia, YouTube and for the info.  Enjoy!!

Classic Lucy and Ethel

Lucille Désirée Ball (1911-1989) was an American actress and comedian, nominated for 13 Primetime Emmy Awards, winning five times, and was the recipient of several other accolades, such as the Golden Globe Cecil B. DeMille Award and two stars on the Hollywood Walk of Fame. She earned many honors, including the Women in Film Crystal Award, an induction into the Television Hall of Fame, a Kennedy Center Honor, and the Governor’s Award from the Academy of Television Arts & Sciences.

She was born in Jamestown, NY, the first child and only daughter of Henry Durrell “Had” Ball, a lineman for Bell Telephone, and Désirée Evelyn “DeDe” (née Hunt) Ball.

Her father’s career with Bell Telephone frequently required the family to move during Lucy’s early childhood. Lucy’s father died of typhoid fever at age 27 when Lucy was only three. At that time, her mom DeDe was pregnant with her second child, Fred Ball (1915–2007).

Ball’s mother returned to NY, where her maternal grandparents helped raise Lucy and brother Fred in Celoron, a summer resort village on Chautauqua Lake. Their home was at 59 West 8th Street (later renamed to 59 Lucy Lane).

Ball loved Celoron Park. Its boardwalk had a ramp to the lake that served as a children’s slide, the Pier Ballroom, a roller-coaster, a bandstand, and a stage where vaudeville concerts and plays were presented. Four years after her Dad’s death, DeDe married Edward Peterson.

When Lucy was 12, her stepfather encouraged her to audition for his Shriners organization that needed entertainers for the chorus line of its next show. While Ball was onstage, she realized performing was a great way to gain praise.

In 1925, Ball, then only 14, started dating Johnny DeVita, a 21-year-old local hoodlum. Her mother was unhappy with the relationship. After about a year, her mother tried to separate them by exploiting Ball’s desire to be in show business. Despite the family’s meager finances, in 1926, she enrolled Lucy in the John Murray Anderson School for the Dramatic Arts in New York City. Ball later said about that time in her life, “All I learned in drama school was how to be frightened.” Her instructors felt she would not be successful in the entertainment business and were unafraid to directly state this to her.

In the face of this harsh criticism, Ball was determined to prove her teachers wrong and returned to New York City in 1928. That same year, she began working for Hattie Carnegie as an in-house model. Her acting forays were stalled at an early age when she became ill with rheumatic fever and was unable to work for two years.

In 1932, she moved back to New York City to resume her pursuit of an acting career, where she supported herself by again working for Carnegie and as the Chesterfield cigarette girl. Using the name Diane Belmont, she started getting chorus work on Broadway,

During the 30’s, Lucy moved to Hollywood, and played small movie roles with The Three Stooges, The Marx Brothers, Fred Astaire, Ginger Rogers and Katherine Hepburn. In 1940, she appeared as the lead in the musical Too Many Girls where she met and fell in love with Dezi Arnaz, who played on of her character’s bodyguards.

After many movies and radio jobs, Ball was cast in 1948 as Liz Cooper, a wacky wife in My Favorite Husband, a radio comedy for CBS Radio.  The show was successful and CBS asked her to develop it for television. She agreed, but insisted on working with her real-life husband, Cuban bandleader Desi Arnaz.

CBS executives were reluctant, thinking the public would not accept an Anglo-American redhead (her new hair color) and a Cuban as a couple. At first CBS was initially unimpressed with the pilot episode, produced by the couple’s Desilu Productions company.

I Love Lucy ran on CBS from October 15, 1951 to May 6, 1957 and was a smash hit. Not only a star vehicle for Lucille Ball, but also a potential means for her to salvage her marriage to Arnaz, as their relationship had become badly strained, in part because of hectic performing schedules, which often kept them apart, (but mostly due to Desi’s attraction to other women). I Love Lucy dominated U.S. ratings for most of its run.

For the production of I Love Lucy, Ball and Arnaz wanted to remain in their Los Angeles home, but prime time in Los Angeles was too late to air a major network series live on the East Coast. Sponsor Philip Morris pressured the couple into relocating, not wanting day-old kinescopes airing in major East Coast markets. Instead, the couple offered to take a pay cut to finance filming on better-quality 35 mm film, on the condition that Desilu would retain the rights of each episode once it aired.

CBS agreed to relinquish the post-first-broadcast rights to Desilu, not realizing they were giving up a valuable and enduring asset. In 1957, CBS bought back the rights for $1,000,000 ($10.4 million in today’s terms), financing Ball and Arnaz’s down payment for the purchase of the former RKO Pictures studios, which they turned into Desilu Studios.

A scene in which Lucy and Ricky practice the tango, in the episode “Lucy Does The Tango”, (evoked the longest recorded studio audience laugh in the history of the show), so long that the sound editor had to cut that section of the soundtrack in half. Watch

In the grape stomping episode, Lucy later said “I got into the vat with another actress, and she had been told that we would have a fight,” Lucy said on The Dick Cavett Show. “I slipped and, in slipping, I hit her accidentally and she took offense, until she hauled off and let me have it. Now this was supposed to happen — that she got right. But when she hit me, it took the wind out. She had been told that we were to stay down for a while, give me a chance to get my legs way up, so that they’d show in the camera, then up would come an arm and then both of them– my head was supposed to—but, well, my head never popped up. She’d get me down by the throat! I had grapes up my nose, in my ears, and she was choking me, and I’m really beating her to get her off…she didn’t understand that she had to let me up once in a while. I was drowning in these grapes!”

Along the way, Ball created a television dynasty and achieved several firsts. She was the first woman to head a TV production company, Desilu, which she had formed with Arnaz.

On July 17, 1951, less than three weeks prior to her 40th birthday, Ball gave birth to daughter Lucie Désirée Arnaz and a year and a half later, she gave birth to Desiderio Alberto Arnaz IV, known as Desi Arnaz, Jr. Before he was born, I Love Lucy was a solid ratings hit, and Ball and Arnaz wrote the pregnancy into the show. Ball’s necessary and planned caesarean section in real life was scheduled for the same date that her television character gave birth.

CBS insisted that a pregnant woman could not be shown on television, nor could the word “pregnant” be spoken on-air. After approval from several religious figures, the network allowed the pregnancy storyline, but insisted that the word “expecting” be used instead of “pregnant”. (Arnaz garnered laughs when he deliberately mispronounced it as “spectin'”.)

The episode aired on the evening of January 19, 1953, with 44 million viewers watching Lucy Ricardo welcome little Ricky, while in real life Ball delivered her second child, Desi Jr., that same day in Los Angeles. The birth made the cover of the first issue of TV Guide for the week of April 3–9, 1953.

And …. One of the most famous episodes of “I Love Lucy” features Lucy Ricardo promoting a health tonic called “Vitameatavegamin” in a television commercial. The scene is remembered for Lucy’s hilarious struggle with the product’s high alcohol content: VIEW HERE

Lucille Ball became the first woman to run a major TV studio. In 1962, Desi Arnaz resigned as the studio’s president, and Lucy bought out his holding in the company.

Four years later, CBS turned down the original “Star Trek” series pilot, fearing the weekly budget to produce it would be too high. But Lucy stood behind it and gave the crew the finances needed, and it was made. So, Trekkies, you’ve got Lucille Ball to thank for your obsession. (Desilu also went on to produce the TV series “Mission: Impossible.” Killer theme song. CLICK HERE



Me, too.

As you may know the Kowalski Heat Treating logo finds its way
into the visuals of my Friday posts.
I.  Love.  My.  Logo.
One week there could be three logos.
The next week there could be 15 logos.
And sometimes the logo is very small or just a partial logo showing.
But there are always logos in some of the pictures.
So, I challenge you, my beloved readers, to count them and send me a
quick email with the total number of logos in the Friday post.
On the following Tuesday I’ll pick a winner from the correct answers
and send that lucky person some great KHT swag.
So, start counting and good luck!  
Oh, and the logos at the very top header don’t count.
Got it? Good.  :-))))
Have fun!!


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