Saturday, August 06, 2011

Happy 100th Birthday, My Dear Lucy

Lucille Ball truly was an inspiration. Not only was she one of the most powerful women in Hollywood in her day, she helped create Desilu Productions with her husband Desi Arnaz, the first company to use a multi-camera film setup before a live studio audience. She was a true class act.

Even though she was born 100 years ago this month and her mega-hit TV show premiered 60 years ago this October, there remains a single truth about Lucille Ball: We still love Lucy.

I LOVE LUCY took place on the East Side, was in black and white, the fashions were outdated, but the show continues to air in 80 countries and has been dubbed in 21 languages. Her fans are multigenerational. The first show I remember seeing Lucy on was THE LUCY SHOW. It was the episode with Carol Burnett. They were airline flight attendants and they mess up - the usual way - but end up turning the mess into a big musical onboard flight. I never dreamt that years later, I would become such a fan and collector.

One day, while I was walking thru the village, I stopped at a table someone had set up to sell photos and postcards. I rummaged thru and found a beautiful photo of Lucy in a white shroud. I bought it. Took it to be framed. Took it home. Hung it on the wall and that became the first item I ever collected. Every time I’d see a photo or postcard or anything on or with Lucy, I’d buy it. I even named my first pet- a cat - Lucy. I was hooked!

WILDCAT - A musical with a book by N. Richard Nash, lyrics by Carolyn Leigh, and music by Cy Coleman. It opened on Broadway in 1960 at the Alvin Theatre, starring a 48-year-old Lucille Ball. It was her only appearance in a Broadway production.

I never got to meet Lucille Ball or Desi Arnaz (he died in 1986, 3 years before Lucy). In fact, she was the last of the “gang” to go. The one and only time I wrote a fan letter to Lucy, It was sent to her in the hospital. The day after I mailed the letter, she died. I got back a note from the family thanking me for remembering ‘mom’ and a thanks for writing. Lucy will always be in the hearts of her fans. Wherever you go there are kids and adults that say they have favorite episodes and never once tire of talking about how great her shows are. It is said that anywhere at any moment, anywhere in the world, you’ll find an episode of I Love Lucy on TV. Many say I Love Lucy has healing powers. I fully believe in this. If you’re ever “tired, rundown, listless...” If you’re ever “in a jam”, “up a tree”, “down a well”, “in a mess”, and you need a pick-up, watch an I Love Lucy episode. Happy Birthday, Lucy!!


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