A Strange Celebration

Welcome to another Wildcard Wednesday! The strange celebration to which the title refers is coming up this Saturday — the 26th of April. What exactly are we celebrating? The 25th anniversary of Lucille Ball’s death. Despite the morbidity of this notion, let us remember that when we honor the date of someone’s passing we’re really celebrating a life. I wasn’t around 25 years ago when Lucy passed away, but I’ve seen news coverage — and it’s such a strange phenomenon. What do you say when an icon,  a legend that you’ve laughed and grown up with for decades, unexpectedly dies? It’s a lot like losing a loved one. It IS like a losing a loved one. It’s the sort of thing that can unite an entire country — we all love Lucy. (Okay, I know there may be some fools out there who dislike her just to be outre, having never given her work the opportunity to make a fair impression on them. But they’re insignificant.)  So, in celebration of her life, I thought I’d share a few Lucy treats today. Followers of my blog will know she’s a recurring player on That’s Entertainment!, and she’ll return to a regular position for a few Tuesdays in May/June, but this should hit the spot for now. (And, really, there can never be too much Lucy!)

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This first clip comes from a November 15th, 1952 CBS program entitled Stars In The Eye, which starred Jack Benny and featured all the CBS talent in honor of the brand new CBS Television Studios in Hollywood. In this clip, Jack makes himself a pest during the shooting of I Love Lucy. Note that Lucille Ball is pregnant here.

Here we have Lucille Ball’s February 19th, 1961 appearance on The Ed Sullivan Show. She performs “Hey, Look Me Over!” with Paula Stewart, her costar in the wonderful 1960 musical, Wildcat! (This show features a great Cy Coleman and Carolyn Leigh score!)

Last, but not least, here’s a clip from one of the special features on the DVD release of Lucy Calls The President, a 1977 TV special that, in addition to Lucy, features Vivian Vance, Gale Gordon, Mary Jane Croft, Mary Wickes, Steve Allen, and Ed McMahon. This is the funniest and BEST of Lucy’s ’70s specials, and also marks the last time that Lucy and Viv would work together. Below is a snippet of the dress rehearsal, as included on the DVD — which you should BUY here.

 

 

Come back next Wednesday for another Wildcard post! And tune in tomorrow for more Xena!

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4 thoughts on “A Strange Celebration

  1. How well I remember the day that Lucy died. Only twice in my life did I cry at hearing of a star’s death. The first was Lucy, and the second was Elizabeth Montgomery. When you grow up watching certain programs, the personalities seem frozen in their prime on film. While certainly we watched Lucy get older in her successive series, daily exposure to I Love Lucy made Lucy Ricardo seem kind of ageless, a constant companion to generations of TV viewers. A 1926 review of the first Vitaphone presentation called it “The closest thing to resurrection “. Thank God we have film and tape to keep classic images alive today for all to enjoy.

    • Hi, Leslie! Thanks for reading and commenting!

      Your words are so true. We’re blessed to have these performers immortalized on the screen for future generations. Always there for us. Death of the body, but not the joy they inspire!

  2. I was around when Lucy died (and Desi, Vivian, & Bill, though I was an infant when Bill died). I still remember I was working long hours at my first job out of college when it happened, and when I was out to eat w/ a friend the next day, I saw the USA Today in a rack with her death on the headline. I asked my friend “She died? I didn’t know.”. Someone else in line to go into the restaurant asked “Which rock have you been under for the last day?”. I caught up on the news over the weekend and the weeks ahead, as there was good coverage on both entertainment shows (like ET) and print media.
    My first memories of Lucy were from Lucy Show reruns (probably CBS daytime). I got in trouble reenacting her mishap w/ the fire extinguisher using our outdoor hose, as my mother was not pleased about this. I also remember on occasion seeing Here’s Lucy Monday nights (sponsored by Lever Bros.) if I stayed up late enough. I eventually became familiar w/ Lucy’s earliest tv role as Lucy Ricardo, and now I’m happy to say thanks to Me-TV, I’ve seen all 13 Lucy-Desi Comedy Hours, and I’ve seen a good majority of each of her shows in reruns, and I have the first 4 seasons of Lucy Show & first 2 seasons of Here’s Lucy on DVD. Those sets have some great extras, though I enjoyed Lucy Show much more when she was in CT w/ Viv & her kids as opposed to her Hollywood shows w/ Mr. Mooney & all those celebrities.

    • Hi, Jon! Thanks for reading and commenting.

      I too prefer the first three seasons of THE LUCY SHOW to the latter three, although I will add that I think Season Six is the best of the California years. (You can read about my favorite episodes on this site.)

      HERE’S LUCY is much more interesting in terms of seasonal quality. I think Lucy does some great work in the first season, but the best years of the series itself are the final two. (Largely due to the return of Carroll & Davis to the fold.) You can read about my favorites from each season on Sitcom Tuesdays starting in about five weeks!

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