They Love Eddie

Welcome to a new Wildcard Wednesday! Last week marked the 105th anniversary of Desi Arnaz’s birth, and with the recent debut of an Amazon documentary, Lucy And Desi (directed by Amy Poehler, produced by Ron Howard), I thought I would use this entry to share a review.

Unfortunately, after having screened it, I don’t have much to say. It’s beautifully produced with unprecedented access to archival material — particularly audio recordings of both Lucille Ball and Desi Arnaz supplied by their kids — that will impress even the most ardent Lucy fans. (Incidentally, I myself provided a complete copy of their joint 1949 appearance on The Ed Wynn Show.) However, in terms of information and insight, I found the commentary relatively shallow — filled with the old familiar clichés (including a few inaccuracies — e.g., Desi Arnaz DID NOT invent the TV rerun) and some ham-fisted attempts at contemporary relevance, where lazy generalities fail to be a comparable substitute for unique dramatic analysis. Ultimately, I do recommend it — because of how it looks and what it contains — but as far as the biographical interpretation goes, veteran Lucy fans should not expect anything fresh or illuminating.

So, with that out of the way, I’ll take the rest of this post to share a related rarity — with subscribers who comment below to alert me of their non-commercial interest. It’s a copy of “At Sixty-Five,” a special episode of The Jackie Gleason Show that aired on January 12, 1957, when the comedian was on vacation and his variety series got taken over by Eddie Cantor, who was honored with a program celebrating his 65th birthday. Guests included Cantor’s old vaudeville pals George Burns and Gracie Allen — who appear in a filmed routine — and both Desi Arnaz and Lucille Ball, the latter of whom worked with Cantor early in her career as a Goldwyn Girl. Sadly, as with 1952’s Stars In The Eye, despite appearing in the same broadcast, these two famous sitcom couples don’t ever interact. But both of their segments are cute, and as an excerpt, in honor of Lucy and Desi, here’s their scene with Cantor from this special show. Enjoy!



Come back next week for a new Wildcard! And stay tuned Tuesday for more sitcom fun!

38 thoughts on “They Love Eddie

  1. Hi Jackson! I’d love to see the complete “At 65” show!

    I hope people check out the Lucy & Desi doc. It’s lovingly made and those audio recordings are priceless.

    Thanks for sharing!

    • Hi, Jimmy! Thanks for reading and commenting.

      Yes, the audio recordings are worth the price of admission. It was just disappointing to see the Amy Poehler film not really offer much — in terms of information and analysis — that was new or different from Lucie Arnaz’s own documentary from 30 years ago, which seemed to reach a lot of the same conclusions and with just as much (if not more) emotional resonance. I’ve heard the latter speak about supporting this project because they had a different “take” on the material… but beyond the fact that Arnaz herself has since become more forgiving of her mother, I really didn’t spot a significantly different vision.

      Of course, I’m always happy when I LOVE LUCY gets national exposure and new fans; I guess the discourse surrounding it (and them) has just sort of settled into regurgitated platitudes — probably an inevitability as we move further and further away from their lived era.

      I have emailed you at your gmail address.

  2. There are so many TV gems on kinescope out there that never get seen. Thanks very much for recifying that – at least in THIS case, anyway!

  3. I’d love to see the Jackie Gleason “At 65” show. It’s not often you get to see something from that era, that was so iconic. Thanks for offering it to us!

    • Hi, Alan! Thanks for reading and commenting.

      I have emailed you at your supportourcreatives address.

  4. As a huge Lucy fan, I would so appreciate seeing this. Thank you for offering.

    Also I agree with you about the Amy Poehler film. The “why now?” didn’t really get answered for me. Lucie Arnaz’s documentary pretty much already said it all.

    • Hi, Joey! Thanks for reading and commenting.

      I feel similarly about the two documentaries, and I have emailed you at your yahoo address.

  5. Jackson, I’d love to have a copy of this show.

    I agree with your take on the Lucy and Desi documentary. Although well presented, it does not really offer anything new. The TCM podcast is actually more compelling and informative. However, I am glad the documentary is out there and that it has been so well received.

    • Hi, John! Thanks for reading and commenting.

      I also enjoyed a lot of the TCM podcast — it was a unique format in which to present this familiar story, and the episodes prior to Ball’s TV career were especially enjoyable.

      I have emailed you at your si.rr address.

  6. Hi Jackson
    Love to see see this At 65. always like to see Lucille Ball and Desi Arnaz with Eddie Cantor.


    • Hi, Cynthia! Thanks for reading and commenting.

      Please subscribe to this blog using your preferred email address and I will send a link your way!

  7. Lucy is my lifelong first love! I thought I had collected all there is to collect from her long career. You’re amazing, Jackson! Please send!!

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