Lucille Ball & Her Comedies

Discussion in 'TV Central' started by ClassyCo, Feb 7, 2018.

  1. ClassyCo

    ClassyCo Soap Chat Well-Known Member

    Message Count:
    555
    Trophy Points:
    377
    Ratings:
    +551
    Member Since:
    September 2013
    Lucille Ball was television's First Lady of Comedy. Are you a fan?

    upload_2018-2-6_19-9-5.png

    Regardless of her popularity here or with any us, she certainly made her mark in the cement of television history. Both on-screen and off.
     
    • Agree Agree x 2
  2. Snarky's Ghost

    Snarky's Ghost Soap Chat Oracle

    Message Count:
    4,312
    Trophy Points:
    5,636
    Location:
    Haunting that cozy cellar under Falcon Crest
    Ratings:
    +5,637
    Member Since:
    September 2000
    Obviously, I LOVE LUCY from the '50s is incomparably iconic, the most viewed series in global history, and it even established how the three camera, live audience sitcom would be filmed and structured.

    Her later shows, THE LUCY SHOW and HERE'S LUCY, were just attempts to extend the franchise and do some visual pranks, although I watched them, too.

    I felt sorry for Lucy, mean cow though she was, about her 1986 Aaron Spelling sitcom that her slimy husband Gary Morton pushed her into. It was lousy, and even when Spelling chivalrously took the blame and said "don't blame Lucy, I've just never produced a sitcom before," the media jumped on her anyway.
     
    • Agree Agree x 2
  3. Angela Channing

    Angela Channing Soap Chat Warrior

    Message Count:
    5,238
    Trophy Points:
    7,960
    Ratings:
    +7,243
    Member Since:
    1999
    Around 25 years ago, Channel 4 (a major UK terrestrial TV station) screened I Love Lucy in the early morning and I watched this series for the first time and I thought it was brilliant. What I thought was amazing was that a sitcom that was made long before I was born was still being screened on a mainstream TV station but clearly the channel controllers thought it was good enough bring in a sufficiently large audience.
     
    • Like Like x 1
  4. Sarah

    Sarah Super Moderator Staff Member Original Member Since 1998

    Message Count:
    2,997
    Trophy Points:
    5,327
    Location:
    Northern Ireland
    Ratings:
    +3,813
    Member Since:
    1998
    Never seen it, but always wanted to as everytime I go to America, I see something about her. There's a few stores in the likes of Universal Studios dedicated to her with Lucille type merchandise. So I'm very curious.
     
    • Like Like x 1
  5. ClassyCo

    ClassyCo Soap Chat Well-Known Member

    Message Count:
    555
    Trophy Points:
    377
    Ratings:
    +551
    Member Since:
    September 2013
    I Love Lucy was definitely to most iconic and the best of her shows. It was still at the top of its game when she and Desi decided to turn it into the weaker The Lucille Ball-Desi Arnaz Show. The only thing I didn't care for about I Love Lucy was the attempts to "publicize" Desi. Lucy was the star of the family, and all his singing and whatever I could have done without.

    The first few seasons of The Lucy Show had some good episodes. Lucy and Vivian Vance (now "Viv") played well off of each other, and it was after she left that the Lucy antics went considerably down hill. Gale Gordon was a good foil, but the continuing reliance on a revolving door of guest stars, some famous and some wannabes, didn't help. When it ended in 1968, it was still at #2 in the ratings, but Lucy stopped to start Lucille Ball Productions (or LBP).

    As we know, LBP started Here's Lucy, which started in the fall of 1968. It's plot was only slightly different than the last few Lucy Show seasons. Lucy was a secretary, Gale Gordon her hot-headed boss and brother-in-law, and her real life children, Lucie and Desi Jr., as her on-screen kids. I actually seemed to prefer Here's Lucy over those latter Lucy Show episodes. Still, the material is weaker than her earlier scripts, but I generally liked it better. As Lucy "aged" when she broke her like in the early 1970s, I enjoyed that the slapstick took a back seat.

    I have only seen pieces of Life with Lucy, but I know it wasn't good. The thing to blame is it was an "old-fashioned" sitcom trying to make it in an era when sitcoms were changing rapidly. I mean by this time, TVs were cluttered with such hits like The Cosby Show, The Golden Girls, Cheers, and others shows of that calibre. They had Lucy in almost constant reruns, but I'm sure she could have made a go of it had she gotten the M*A*S*H writers she was offered and did newer material. But she didn't.
     
  6. ClassyCo

    ClassyCo Soap Chat Well-Known Member

    Message Count:
    555
    Trophy Points:
    377
    Ratings:
    +551
    Member Since:
    September 2013
    The show actually continues to draw strong ratings in almost constant ratings. As of write now, I know it shows daily on Hallmark, and it also has regular scheduling on TV Land and MeTV.
     
    • Agree Agree x 1
  7. Snarky's Ghost

    Snarky's Ghost Soap Chat Oracle

    Message Count:
    4,312
    Trophy Points:
    5,636
    Location:
    Haunting that cozy cellar under Falcon Crest
    Ratings:
    +5,637
    Member Since:
    September 2000
    We were lucky to get that. Lucy and Desi had separated and were divorcing.
    Bizarre.
     
    • Like Like x 1
    • Informative Informative x 1
  8. Daniel Avery

    Daniel Avery Super Moderator Staff Member

    Message Count:
    1,850
    Trophy Points:
    5,121
    Location:
    Sunny South Florida
    Ratings:
    +3,330
    Member Since:
    June 10, 2000
    In the early years of TV, as they were expanding into national exposure, the producers of TV shows (and a lot of the performers) were mostly veterans of Vaudeville. They believed that TV shows needed to have some comedy, some singing/dancing, and other stuff that people traditionally went to Vaudeville shows to see. They thought it had to be like what we call a "variety show" today. I think the emphasis on Desi/Ricky at "the club" was the producers fulfilling this supposed need to have the singing and dancing components. It's what separated I Love Lucy from its inspiration/source material, Lucy's radio comedy My Favorite Husband, which had the limitations of what could be done on a radio program. Having the live audience gave it a bit more of a theatrical feel, I'm sure, but filming it to be broadcast later was the inspired move.

    Though I was a big Lucy fan due to I Love Lucy, I never really got the same kick out of The Lucy Show, since Gale Gordon sort of got on my nerves. Life With Lucy was an infamous fiasco, though I recall watching it. I was so afraid she would break a hip or something in all those physical comedy bits she apparently wanted to do. There was one scene where she wrestled with a collapsing/malfunctioning recliner and my mom exclaimed that "they ought not make her do that" (as if Ball would have ever done ANYTHING she didn't want to do!).

    I love these colorized episodes of I Love Lucy that CBS airs on holidays. The process is much more natural-looking than the Ted Turner-sponsored colorizing done in the 1980s. They are always a ratings hit when CBS airs them, too, so there is still a place for Lucy on that network.
     
    • Like Like x 3
  9. TJames03

    TJames03 Soap Chat Well-Known Member

    Message Count:
    669
    Trophy Points:
    277
    Location:
    California
    Ratings:
    +401
    Her 1986 comeback proved that not everyone loved Lucy. ILL was good, but it was the same gag nearly every episode. Her other shows were just the same thing over and over.
     
    • Like Like x 1
  10. ClassyCo

    ClassyCo Soap Chat Well-Known Member

    Message Count:
    555
    Trophy Points:
    377
    Ratings:
    +551
    Member Since:
    September 2013
    When you look at it from that perspective, the way I Love Lucy was formatted makes perfect sense. Vaudeville was a crowd-getter back then, so I'm sure TPTB's initial intent was to expand the venue Vaudeville had given them. (Fred Mertz was even a former vaudeville performer.)

    I actually enjoy several episodes throughout The Lucy Show and Here's Lucy (sometimes the shows run together in one's mind), although none of them were up to the I Love Lucy standard. Gale Gordon was "ole reliable" to Ball at seems, although he was known to irritate me from time to time.

    As for Life with Lucy, it seems to have been a disaster from the beginning.

    Yes, I certainly love the colorized episodes, too. I record them every year. Does anyone know if there will be any colorized episodes this year, and if so, which ones?
     
  11. Daniel Avery

    Daniel Avery Super Moderator Staff Member

    Message Count:
    1,850
    Trophy Points:
    5,121
    Location:
    Sunny South Florida
    Ratings:
    +3,330
    Member Since:
    June 10, 2000
    The colorized ILL episodes (two put together as an hour-long special) has become a Christmas tradition. They even branched out and colorized some old Dick Van Dyke Show episodes to air right behind them. I'd love for them to do the same thing for other holidays which could benefit from holiday specials, like Easter and/or Thanksgiving.

    The choices of episodes seem random, probably those which are easiest to "clear" (that is, easiest to rerun without having to get permissions and to pay residuals to musicians). It might help that most of the people who appeared are dead. ;)
     
    • Like Like x 1
  12. bmasters9

    bmasters9 Soap Chat TV Fanatic

    Message Count:
    1,204
    Trophy Points:
    587
    Location:
    LL
    Ratings:
    +649
    And one major reason why that ABC Lucy show didn't last as long as the others is because Lucy was really up in years by that time (75, to be exact), and the physical comedy that she was expert in on CBS in the 50s when she was younger would probably have really done a number on her (or maybe done her in) on ABC in 1986.
     
    • Like Like x 1
    • Agree Agree x 1
  13. ClassyCo

    ClassyCo Soap Chat Well-Known Member

    Message Count:
    555
    Trophy Points:
    377
    Ratings:
    +551
    Member Since:
    September 2013
    But that's precisely my point. Lucy, while well-known for slapstick, was well up in her years by the mid-eighties, and she should have moved on. The slapstick-type situation comedies had fallen out of favor (Three's Company was successful for many years, though), and newer comedies had taken their place. In saying that, however, I'm unsure as to whether audiences could have accepted Lucy as anything other than "Lucy".
     
  14. ClassyCo

    ClassyCo Soap Chat Well-Known Member

    Message Count:
    555
    Trophy Points:
    377
    Ratings:
    +551
    Member Since:
    September 2013
    I look forward to the I Love Lucy episodes being colorized by CBS annually, but as for The Dick Van Dyke Show, I couldn't care less to see it. I've never liked it.
     
    • Agree Agree x 1
  15. Daniel Avery

    Daniel Avery Super Moderator Staff Member

    Message Count:
    1,850
    Trophy Points:
    5,121
    Location:
    Sunny South Florida
    Ratings:
    +3,330
    Member Since:
    June 10, 2000
    Me, neither....;)

    Lucy starred in a serious (some would say maudlin) TV-movie in 1985 called Stone Pillow that was very well-received. People had forgotten she'd started as a dramatic film actress, and this makes it clear she could do other things besides "Lucy Ricardo, the Golden Years".
     
    • Agree Agree x 2
    • Like Like x 1
  16. stevew

    stevew Soap Chat Well-Known Member

    Message Count:
    774
    Trophy Points:
    881
    Location:
    Michigan
    Ratings:
    +458
    Member Since:
    Jan 2012
    I loved Lucy as a comic. I even liked her in Mame singing and I’m not a musical fan. And in Stone Pillow she was excellent, imo. At her age going for drama as a comeback would have made more sense.

    At the time I watched bits and pieces of Dynasty with my grandmother as she was in and out of the hospital. It never fully caught my attention, but in all fairness having watched the first two seasons much later on (I hadn’t seen any of them in their first run) I must say, I’d have been hooked if I’d started from the beginning. Anyway, when I heard Spelling was bringing Lucy back I pictured her in Dynasty. I said to my grandmother she should be Alexis’s American mother.

    Picture her walking into the entry of the Carrington Mansion as Blake chokes Alexis and Ben holds back Krystal. She smells the flowers on the way in and says, “Way to kill two birds with one stone, Blake.” Blake turns and looks at her. Let’s go of a chocking Alexis, we all knew wasn’t going to dye, and says, “Oh my God.” Alexis lunges for Blake and the two go off the balcony. Now? Is Alexis going to die? Joan replaced with Lucy, would have been a cliff hanger keeping us on our toes. BTW I don’t think she should have replaced her but it could have added to the drama especially with rumors of contract negotiations. And Alexis with a mother to explain some stuff could have been fun.
     
    Last edited: Feb 10, 2018
    • Funny Funny x 2
    • Like Like x 1
  17. ClassyCo

    ClassyCo Soap Chat Well-Known Member

    Message Count:
    555
    Trophy Points:
    377
    Ratings:
    +551
    Member Since:
    September 2013
    I have never seen Stone Pillow, but I've heard about it; good and bad things. The better reviews certainly testify that Lucy could definitely be more than a slapstick prop, but she wasn't given the chance often enough to do that.
    This, I would have loved. I think it would have been good to see Lucy is a soap like Dynasty, and it certainly wouldn't have been expected by the audience. It would have definitely provided some head scratching, especially if it could have been kept out of the news as much as possible. I think she and Joan would have played well off one another. But now we will never know. :(
     
  18. stevew

    stevew Soap Chat Well-Known Member

    Message Count:
    774
    Trophy Points:
    881
    Location:
    Michigan
    Ratings:
    +458
    Member Since:
    Jan 2012
    Thank you. I believe she’d have played a funny and cringe worth mother of a bitch. Lol. I sent this into Dynasty when I was in high school before the choking scene. Imagine my surprise when Blake ran up the the stairs to do it. Wish they’d have done the Lucy bit. I’m not saying they stole the idea from me but it was cool as a kid to see it. And I think adding Lucy would have been a lot of fun on Dynasty.
     
    • Agree Agree x 1
  19. Daniel Avery

    Daniel Avery Super Moderator Staff Member

    Message Count:
    1,850
    Trophy Points:
    5,121
    Location:
    Sunny South Florida
    Ratings:
    +3,330
    Member Since:
    June 10, 2000
    This is almost exactly what Betty White did when she joined the cast of The Bold and the Beautiful as Stephanie Forrester's neglectful and neurotic mother. There was no comedy in it, however--the issues they dealt with were deep-seated resentments and all the issues that made people say "Oh, that's why Stephanie grew up to be such a bitch to everyone!".
     
    • Like Like x 1
    • Thanks Thanks x 1
  20. stevew

    stevew Soap Chat Well-Known Member

    Message Count:
    774
    Trophy Points:
    881
    Location:
    Michigan
    Ratings:
    +458
    Member Since:
    Jan 2012
    Thanks. I’ve never seen it. And to think they used Betty White. At least I know I had a good idea. :)
     
    Last edited: Feb 12, 2018
    • Like Like x 1
    • Agree Agree x 1

Share This Page