June 30, 2009

The Lucille Ball TV Specials DVD Out Today!

Released today are a couple of Lucille Ball TV Specials on DVD! Two of Lucille Ball's television specials - "Lucy Gets Lucky" and "Three for Two" - on one release. The latter show features three mini comedies and features Jackie Gleason as a co-star. "Lucy Gets Lucky" has Ball playing a star-struck woman who heads to Las Vegas to see her favorite entertainer, Dean Martin.

"Lucy Gets Lucky" which aired on March 1, 1975 features Lucy as Lucy Collins, an avid fan of Dean Martin, who is determined to see her idol perform in concert at the MGM Grand Hotel in Las Vegas. Upon learning the concert is sold out and that Dean Martin is doing a special performance just for hotel employees, Lucy gets herself hired by the hotel. As usual, Lucy causes plenty of trouble along the way, and Dean Martin has to step in and save her, and Las Vegas, from disaster. Dean Martin had previously appeared in an episode of The Lucy Show, "Lucy Dates Dean Martin", which was Lucille Ball's favorite episode.

Lucy Gets Lucky was directed by Jack Donohue who also appeared in the TV Special as Ralph. TV ratings weren't quite what they used to be for Lucille Ball in her final season of Here's Lucy, but they were still substantial enough for Ball to negotiate with CBS and various sponsors, Timex sponsored Lucy Gets Lucky, to produce a series of TV specials where Lucy could work in a longer format. It seemed that Lucy was an undeniable "fact" with audiences; they would love her in anything for as long as she continued to work. The idea behind this TV special featured Lucy within the standard "typical Lucy" comedy formula of stunts and ensuing hilarity.

"Three for Two" which aired on December 3, 1975 was originally broadcast as "A Lucille Ball Special Starring Lucille Ball and Jackie Gleason", features Lucille Ball and Jackie Gleason, two giants of American TV comedy, combined in this single special which broke down into three separate situations depicting marital crises. In the first, Herb and Sally, Lucy and Jackie Gleason are a couple seeking to restore excitement in their marriage, they discover truths about one another after 24 years of marriage in a trip to Rome; in the second, Fred and Rita, they play a couple involved in adultery trying to decide whether they should tell their spouses; in the final situation, Mike and Pauline, Lucy and Jackie play a couple involved in a Christmas family crisis as over-dominating parents forced to realize their children's independence. Lucy previously worked with Jackie Gleason in the Here's Lucy episode, "Lucy Visits Jack Benny".

Directed by Charles Walters, "Three for Two" was inspired by stories written by Joseph Bologna and Renee Taylor, "Lovers and Other Strangers, Made for Each Other". In this special, we see a more dramatic Lucy instead of the zany antics we have come to expect. A more serious mode for both Gleason and Lucy appear in all three vignettes in this TV special.

The DVD:
Considering the age and relative obscurity of these two specials from the 1970s, the full-screen, 1.33:1 transfers for The Lucille Ball Specials: Lucy Gets Lucky & Three for Two look quite nice. Shot on film, the source materials used for these transfers look quite clean, with minimal damage and correct color. Overall, these probably look better than they did coming over most folks TV antennas back in 1975.

Some interesting extras are included on the DVD. First is a black and white clip from Art Linkletter's long-running daytime variety show, House Party, where Lucy shows up to discuss her new radio series, Lets Talk to Lucy, before Lucy and Art enact a comedy sketch where Lucy produces some wacky sound effects for a radio program. It's from 1965, and the clip runs 10:51. Next are two "visually enhanced" episodes from Lucy's Let's Talk to Lucy radio series, where stills, expertly produced, are animated over the radio programs' audio track. First is Episode #5, from 1964, where guest Dean Martin discusses a variety of projects he has coming up, including his smash single, Everybody Loves Somebody, Kiss Me, Stupid, and Robin and the 7 Hoods. This clip runs 11:29. Next, Lucy visits Dean again on the set of Marriage on the Rocks, in Episode #195 of her radio series, where Dean again smoothly discusses his career. This clip runs 9:03. Next, we have a featurette with the marvelous comedic actor Gino Conforti discussing his long association with Lucy. We even get to see a snippet of Lucy's first and only credited directorial effort (according to Conforti): the unsold pilot for Bungle Abbey, which co-starred Conforti. Conforti is effusive in his praise for Ball, and he has some fascinating insights into the actress. The featurette runs 14:09. Finally, we have some outtakes and bloopers from Lucy Gets Lucky that run 5:42.

Be sure to order your copy from the Everything Lucy Store to help us keep all the Lucille Ball news and up-to-date information coming your way!

Read more about all of the other Lucille Ball TV Specials on Everything Lucy! If you are interested in any of these on DVD, be sure to contact Everything Lucy!

June 26, 2009

Lucille Ball Honored on New Stamp

The US Postal Service will release 20 postage stamps on August 11 honoring early TV icons such as Rod Serling, The Lone Ranger, Milton Berle, Lucille Ball, Red Skelton, Alfred Hitchcock, George Burns & Gracie Allen, and the Honeymooners, among others.

A special ceremony will be held in Hollywood to mark the launch of the commemorative series collectively known as "Early TV Memories". The U.S. Postal Service plans to dedicate the set of "Early TV Memories" commemoratives at 10:30 a.m. PT on the release date, August 11th at the Leonard H. Goldenson Theatre in North Hollywood, California.

The event will be free and open to the public. Each stamp will have a 42-cent value.

The set consists of stamps depicting (as seen in order below) Milton Berle; I Love Lucy stars Lucille Ball and Vivian Vance; Red Skelton; puppet Howdy Doody; Dragnet star Jack Webb; Lassie; William Boyd, aka Hopalong Cassidy, and his horse Topper; You Bet Your Life host Groucho Marx; Dinah Shore; Ed Sullivan; Kukla, Fran and Ollie; Phil Silvers; The Lone Ranger (Clayton Moore) and his horse Silver; Perry Mason star Raymond Burr; Alfred Hitchcock; George Burns and Gracie Allen; Ozzie and Harriet Nelson; Steve Allen; Rod Serling; and "The Honeymooners" stars Jackie Gleason and Art Carney.

June 08, 2009

Lucie Arnaz Closes Landmark's Season on June 20th

In Port Washington, NY, Landmark Theater's 2008-09 Season ends on Saturday, June 20 at 8 PM with a night of favorite songs sung by a legendary performer - Lucie Arnaz. The Broadway and Cabaret Series is sponsored by Susan Isaacs & Elkan Abramowitz, Jane & Marty Schwartz, and Dot & Ed Slade with additional sponsorship for this performance by Jennifer & David Rimmer.

The daughter of Lucille Ball and Desi Arnaz, Lucie Arnaz's career on Broadway ("They're Playing Our Song," "Cabaret," "L'il Abner," and "Once Upon a Mattress," among others) prepared her well for her own show full of standards and nostalgia - including a very touching tribute to her father. Perfect for Father's Day weekend!

Look for Lucie on June 7 as one of the 2009 Tony Award presenters - then come see her for yourself in Port Washington!

Tickets are $55/$50 (with discounts for Friends of Landmark) and can be purchased by calling 516-767-6444 or visiting www.landmarkonmainstreet.org.

One Laugh Changed Carol Burnett's Life

A great story from thestar.com on Carol Burnett. The star of TV and stage is appearing Friday night at Massey Hall in Toronto, Canada for an evening called Laughter and Reflection with Carol Burnett, but she was already sharing both those qualities in a recent conversation.

The Carol Burnett Show is the last — and many still say the greatest — of all the classic TV variety shows. Carol Burnett and her show won 23 Emmys, staying popular until it finally went off the air after 11 seasons.

FIVE FAVES: CLASSIC MOMENTS FROM THE SHOW

1. "Tim (Conway) and Harvey (Korman) were always great together, but I'll never forget one sketch where Tim was a new dentist and Harvey was his first patient."

2. "Oh Lord, the Gone with the Wind parody. Coming down the stairs wearing the dress made out of curtains with the rod still in them. That was (costume designer) Bob Mackie's idea."

3. "I loved all the little mini one-act plays about `the family' with me as Eunice and Vicki (Lawrence) as Mama. Originally, everyone thought the roles should be reversed, but I think it worked out better the way we did it."

4. "Parodies made me happy. Like when we did Lovely Story instead of Love Story. I played a woman who only had five minutes to live. Harvey asked me if I wanted something to eat. I said `I'd love a four-minute egg.'"

5. "It was fun doing those backstage takeoffs of the old Betty Grable movie musicals. You know, the kind where we were a showbiz couple and they only wanted one of us and we got into such a horrible fight they wound up taking neither of us."

Carol Burnett's versatility is one of her great strengths. Few other women, past and present, share her skill set. Lucille Ball was Burnett's idol and a lifelong mentor. The woman who went from daffy 1940s movies to TV's I Love Lucy also did Broadway musicals (Wildcat), film musicals (Mame) and dramas such as What Now, Catherine Curtis?

Read the complete interview with Carol Burnett at The Star.

June 04, 2009

Lucy-Desi Center Looks to Brighter Days


News arrived from Mary Rapaport who used to be on the board of the Lucy-Desi Center about the turn around of The Center and our need to support them during this time and help to rebuild and heal.

In May of 2007, concerns were raised about unethical business practices at The Lucille Ball-Desi Arnaz Center. It became evident that several things happening at the Center did not reflect the high standards that the organization upholds. It was at that time that many employees called upon then-board member Mary Rapaport for help. Mrs. Rapaport and Lucie Arnaz worked to investigate the situation and resolve issues at The Lucille Ball-Desi Arnaz Center.

The ensuing two-year struggle culminated with the firing of the executive director and the subsequent resolution of issues stemming directly thereof. The road to recovery has been long and difficult.

Two weeks ago, Mrs. Rapaport spoke with Mr. Latone (President of the Lucy-Desi Center's Board of Directors) extensively regarding the future of The Lucille Ball-Desi Arnaz Center. Mr. Latone answered every question directly and honestly, regardless of implication. Mr. Latone and his board of directors have developed a viable business plan for the Center, which will hold the Lucy-Desi Center solidly to the course. For the first time, the Lucy-Desi Center is on the right course!

Lucie Arnaz's appearance in Jamestown last week was a much-needed affirmation that the Center has indeed entered a new era, and that healing has truly begun. Her final song spoke to everyone, as she imparted the need to overlook the differences and begin the healing process.

Great strides have been made to ensure that The Lucille Ball-Desi Arnaz Center is solidly on-track. While not every issue has been fully resolved, it is clear with absolute certainty that every issue has been addressed.

As a result of these difficult financial times, coupled with the strain weathered by these past struggles, the Center is in dire financial condition. In fact, without everyones' support, it is a very strong possibility that The Lucy-Desi Center may very well close its doors permanently. However, if we act now, we can save The Center from this unfortunate fate.

With that said, we are challenging all Lucy-Desi supporters and fans to step up to the plate and give your full support to The Lucille Ball-Desi Arnaz Center. We ask for all supporters and fans to renew their memberships, and to encourage others to join. We encourage all fans to resume shopping at the gift shop, and start visiting the center as much as possible. Perhaps most importantly, we ask that fans and friends overcome their differences and come together once again to support the place that brought them together initially. The time has come to stay focused, to stay positive, and to look forward.

Please join us in rebuilding this great organization that heals through love and laughter, while celebrating the legacy of Lucille Ball and Desi Arnaz.

To join The Lucille Ball-Desi Arnaz center, please visit their membership page or visit The Lucy-Desi Center for more information and inquire how you can donate or help out in any way.

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