March 20, 2006

New Book from Davis and Carroll

Laughing With Lucy: My Life With America's Leading Lady of Comedy by Madelyn Pugh Davis with Bob Carroll Jr. (Emmis, 288 pp., $19.95). Madelyn Pugh Davis has collaborated with her longtime writing partner Bob Carroll Jr. to produce a gracefully written memoir of the five decades she and Carroll spent churning out hundreds of scripts for Lucille Ball's radio and television shows, most notably I Love Lucy.

Davis warns in the first chapter that her book is not a tell-all about the people she used to work with. She steers far away from any discussion of Ball's stormy relationship with costar and real-life husband Desi Arnaz or his high profile drinking, gambling, and womanizing, which have been chronicled by Ball's biographers. (One of the reasons they decided to create I Love Lucy was to save their marriage. They had filed for divorce once before.)

One thing about Ball is clear: Though in the public eye her persona collided with her character's, Ball had little in common with the bubbly, child-like Lucy Ricardo. Davis offers flashes of insight: "Everyone is complicated and Lucy was more complicated than most. . . . She wasn't exactly known for her tact. She was often blunt and had trouble expressing herself." Still, Davis writes, Ball was "a beautiful clown . . . a comedy writer's dream. She made whatever you wrote look great."

You can find this book for sale on

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