September 29, 2006

The Last Days of Lucille Ball

In his book, The Last Days of Dead Celebrities, Mitchell Fink describes Lucille Ball among 15 other celebrities in their final hours. In her last years, the zany and outgoing Lucille Ball turned into a bitter, depressed recluse who was sick of herself and resentful of the star-stoking machinery that had made her a household name and a wealthy woman. Fink quotes an expiring Lucille Ball remarking, "I'm so tired of myself".

Mitchell appeared on The O'Reilly Factor back on June 2nd for an interview and discussed Lucy. Now, I'm not a fan of O'Reilly and consider him one of the right-wing problems in this nation propagating the lies of this administration and serving as a tool to further it's propaganda and the GOP crimes against Americans.

Following is a transcript of that show:

O'REILLY: In the "Back of the Book" segment tonight, many of us grew up with Lucy, Lucille Ball, perhaps the most successful comedic actress in American history. Ms. Ball died in 1989. Not much was known about her last days, until now.

A new book called "The Last Days of Dead Celebrities" chronicles Lucy's final weeks and the author, Mitchell Fink, joins us now.

You know, 10 or 12 people that everybody knows.


O'REILLY: And the Lucille Ball chapter, I thought, was the most interesting. Because I didn't know, after she disappeared from TV in the '80s. Her last show was a bomb. Right?

FINK: A bomb that was really driven by her husband, Gary Morton, the failed comic.

O'REILLY: Right.

FINK: He wanted her to do it because he really wanted the money.

O'REILLY: But nobody remembers that last show. Everybody remembers "I Love Lucy", which is still in reruns today. And this woman was loved by the American public. Why, then, couldn't she have enjoyed her retirement for her last years?

FINK: What happened, when Desi Arnaz died in December of 1986, that was the beginning of the end for Lucy. And for the next 2 1/2 years was a very slow and sad decline. She was very sad. I was taken by that sadness, too. And her last days were really those kind of days that she didn't want to be around anymore.

O'REILLY: But she was divorced from Arnaz for so many years.

FINK: And married to someone else.

O'REILLY: Why -- why would his demise...

FINK: She never stopped loving him

O'REILLY: Is that right?

FINK: She was in love with him until the day she died.

O'REILLY: Why did she get divorced then?

FINK: Because he was a very difficult man to live with. It was acrimonious. There was a lot of drinking. There was a lot of womanizing and -- but he never stopped calling her. And she never stopped taking those calls, and she loved him.

O'REILLY: All right. Now even so, a woman like this, who all America loves. She's in retirement, she has enough money, she's living up in the Hollywood Hills. And you have a great story in the book about how they wanted to honor her along with Bob Hope at the Academy Awards. She couldn't even enjoy that.

FINK: She couldn't enjoy it so much that when Hope called her and he said, "They want us to do something," 1989. It was the year that "Rainman" won. And Hope said, "You've got to so this." She didn't want to put on the wig. She didn't want to put on the dress, but she went. She went because Bob hope asked her to.

Afterwards, she didn't want to -- she wanted to go right home. She wanted -- instead of going to Swifty Lazar's party. She wound up going to Swifty's party at Spago. Every famous person was there. They all went and kissed her ring, and she couldn't have cared less.

O'REILLY: Why? Why couldn't she enjoy her fame, take the acknowledgments, take the accolades from the younger performers?

FINK: Because she -- I think she expected that everyone wanted her to be the Lucy of old, and she wasn't that Lucy anymore. Because when you have to put on a red wig and when you have to go out and you have to smile. She had had a stroke the year before. And so she slurred her words a little bit. She was embarrassed.

O'REILLY: Really? So you think the pressure of the old Lucy that we're looking at right now in her older days, she didn't want to have people disappointed?

FINK: Here's the truth of what happened, because I was standing there that night in 1989. She comes out of Spago, expecting to see her car. There's no car there, only hundreds of fans across the street. She walks out to the middle of the street. She tilts her head back. She pulls up her dress, hikes it up and she starts to dance. You know, she was a show girl, and that's how she started out.

O'REILLY: Right.

FINK: The crowd went wild. They went crazy. "Lucy, Lucy, they're yelling. She gets into the car. She goes home and she never tells a soul about that, soaking up that adulation. And yet, it mattered not at all to her.

O'REILLY: Nothing?

FINK: Nothing.

O'REILLY: It's amazing. And then a few weeks after that she died from a heart aneurysm.

FINK: That's right.

O'REILLY: And still today, though, I believe the woman is by far and away the most beloved performer of our generation.

FINK: There's no question. If you could have been there at Spago, they all came up to her.

O'REILLY: "The Last Days of Dead Celebrities". Mitchell Fink, thanks for coming on. We thank you.

September 26, 2006

Life With Lucy co-Star to Appear on Internet TV

Larry Anderson, co-star of Lucille Ball's last series, Life With Lucy, which premiered 20 years ago on September 20th, 1986, will appear as a special guest on an internet TV Show from Cocola Broadcasting Company.

The show is scheduled to play this coming Saturday, September 30th. The show, which mixes in-studio talk with screenings of classic television programs, runs 8PM-12 Midnight Pacific Time and can be seen over the internet.

Besides reminiscing about Lucille Ball, Larry will discuss his latest project, "JawDroppers", which is a video collection of magic tricks that are performed by Larry Anderson. Larry has been a professional magician since he was 14 and has followed this career all his life.

Also appearing on the show will be Lucy's film archivist Stuart Shostak.

September 25, 2006

Emmy Nominee Recollects Why He Loves Lucy

An article by Billy Van Zandt appears in the Hall of Fame Magazine as an exclusive and reminices why he loves Lucy and why we all should honor both she and Desi for their pioneering stance in the world of TV.

Billy Van Zandt is a writer/producer of more than 300 hours of television comedy and one of the most often-produced playwrights in the world. He received an Emmy nomination for his TV special "I Love Lucy: The Very First Show." Pictured here is the author along with Lucy on the set of his special.

As excerpted from the article:
The success of I Love Lucy is unparalleled in the history of television. The show never ranked less than third in popularity in the six years it was on the air. Stores across the nation closed on Monday nights when the show aired, posting signs that read, "We're closed. We love Lucy, too." The episode with the birth of their TV child "Little Ricky" bumped President Dwight D. Eisenhower's inauguration off the front pages. Some estimate that more people know the face of Lucille Ball than any human being that ever lived in the history of the planet.

Be sure to read the rest of the article from Billy.

DVD Decision 2006!

I may be a little late on this one, but it's always better late then never! As reported here earlier this past May, and Warner Brothers Home Video teamed up for your votes on what you wanted to be released in DVD.

The winners were announced the end of August and the classic film starring Lucille Ball, Best Foot Forward has won the exclusive. It will be released December 19th along with the other top winners.

The films are from Warner Brothers, RKO and MGM, and range from critical classics to more popular fare.

In addition to Best Foot Forward, other releases for December 19th include the film version of Ray Bradbury's The Illustrated Man with Rod Steiger in the title role, the World War II adventure Operation Crossbow starring Sophia Loren and George Peppard, the vintage Judy Garland title Presenting Lily Mars, and another war film, Up Periscope starring James Garner. The sixth title, There was a Crooked Man is a combination Western-prison film written by the guys who wrote Bonnie and Clyde.

The second half dozen DVDs are scheduled for January 30th release. The Amazon exclusive of this bunch is Angels in the Outfield, the original from 1951 starring Janet Leigh and Paul Douglas, a name that is virtually forgotten now, but was a top actor fifty years ago. The other titles are The Arrangement, Elia Kazan's film from his novel, starring Kirk Douglas and Faye Dunaway, Looker, a film directed by Jurrasic Park author Michael Crichton with Albert Finney and James Coburn, the classic bio-pic Madame Curie starring Greer Garson and Walter Pidgeon, and Gymkata starring Kurt Thomas.

The two exclusives can be preordered directly from Amazon online!

September 22, 2006

Laurence Luckinbill, Sybok in Star-Trek V

Laurence Luckinbill, husband to Lucie Arnaz, daughter of Lucille Ball recently had an extensive write-up in The Lewisboro Ledger by J.D. Piro. It provided an interesting read for Lucy Fans.

Mr. Luckinbill provides an adversary to Captain Kirk, played by William Shatner, in the movie Star-Trek V as Sybok, the renegade Vulcan who hijacks the Enterprise and takes it on an interstellar quest to the end of the galaxy. His goal — a planet where God himself is rumored to reside.

Below are excerpts from the story:

On a Friday evening last month {July 2006}, the audience in the Ridgefield Playhouse discovered that Lewisboro has a local connection to the long-running Star Trek series. The Ridgefield Playhouse’s Lost and Found Film Series provided a forum for acknowledging the many contributions to stage, screen and television of Lewisboro’s Laurence Luckinbill — actor, writer, producer, and star of that evening’s feature presentation, the 1989 movie Star Trek V: The Final Frontier.

Mr. Luckinbill’s résumé suggests a lifetime of creativity. He is the author and star of four one-man plays on the lives of such diverse figures as Ernest Hemingway, Theodore Roosevelt, Clarence Darrow, and Lyndon Johnson.

Mr. Luckinbill can trace his Star Trek roots back to the show’s inception. He is married to Lucie Arnaz, daughter of Desi Arnaz and Lucille Ball. Ms. Ball’s production company, Desilu Studios, produced the original Star Trek TV series in the 1960s. Mr. Luckinbill recounted his mother-in-law’s story of the sale of Star Trek to the brass at Desilu Studios: “Gene Roddenberry came into Desilu and gave one of the shortest and greatest sales pitches ever. He stood up and said, ‘It’s Wagon Train to the stars,’ and sat down. They bought it!” Wagon Train was an enormously popular TV western in the 1960s. But it was Mr. Luckinbill’s work as Lyndon Johnson that convinced the film’s director, William Shatner, to cast Mr. Luckinbill.

For more, read the story!

Lucille Ball look-alike contest

As reported in The Sun News, Jo Ann Mathews reports on the Lucille Ball look-alike contest.

The event, held at The Meadow at Silver Coast Winery in Ocean Isle Beach, NC was the fifth annual Purple Feet Festival, this past Saturday, September 16th.

The contestants who resembled Lucy, stomped grapes at the Winery while being asked questions from the Judges!

September 20, 2006

Lucy Carmichael had four TV children

Although most famous as the partner of then-husband Desi Arnaz in the 1950s classic TV series "I Love Lucy," Lucille Ball returned the next decade to star in "The Lucille Ball Show." It debuted in 1962 with Ball as Lucy Carmichael, a widow with two children living in Danfield, Connecticut, and sharing her house with her best friend, Vivian Bagley, played by Vivian Vance (Ethel on "I Love Lucy"). After one month, the title was switched to "The Lucy Show."

The foil was her boss, a banker named Theodore J. Mooney, played by Gale Gordon. In 1962, Candy Moore and Jimmy Garrett played Lucille Ball's TV children Chris and Jerry on the series "The Lucy Show."

The series got a huge makeover for the fall of 1968 as Lucy moved to Los Angeles and now was a widow with kids named Kim and Craig. They were portrayed by Lucille Ball's real-life children, Lucie Arnaz and Desi Arnaz Jr. By this time, Lucy's best friend was Mary Jane Lewis, played by Mary Jane Croft. Gordon was now her brother-in-law Uncle Harry Carter, whom she worked for. This version was titled "Here's Lucy" and continued until 1974.

Seen here in 1965, Lucie Arnaz and Desi Arnaz Jr., Lucille Ball's real-life children, played her TV kiddos in the 1968 TV series "Here's Lucy."

November is LUCY Month on TCM

Get those VCRs dusted off and get your Tapes ready - or for those more up-to-date, tune in your TIVOs! Below is a complete listing of Lucille Ball and Desi Arnaz films scheduled to air Wednesdays in November on Turner Classic Movies. Because many of these films are not currently available on home video, Wednesdays in November will be a special treat for all of us.

Wednesday, November 1
8:00 PM The Long, Long Trailer ('54)
10:00 PM Forever Darling ('56)
11:45 PM Too Many Girls ('40)
.... and Early Roles
1:15 AM I Dream Too Much ('35)
3:00 AM Bunker Bean ('36)
4:15 AM Chatterbox ('36)
5:30 AM That Girl From Paris ('36)
7:30 AM Don't Tell The Wife ('37)
8:45 AM Follow the Fleet ('36)
10:45 AM Top Hat ('35)

Wednesday, November 8

8:00 PM The Fuller Brush Girl ('50)
9:30 PM Miss Grant Takes Richmond ('49)
11:00 PM A Girl, a Guy and a Gob ('41)
12:45 AM Beauty for the Asking ('39)
2:00 AM Look Who's Laughing ('41)
3:30 AM Easy Living ('49)
.... and More Lucy
5:00 AM Valley of the Sun ('42)
6:30 AM Next Time I Marry ('38)
7:45 AM Seven Days Leave ('42)
9:15 AM Having Wonderful Time ('38)
10:30 AM Easy To Wed ('46)
12:30 PM Without Love ('45)
2:30 PM Joy of Living ('38)

Wednesday, November 15

8:00 PM The Big Street ('42)
10:00 PM Five Came Back ('39)
11:30 PM Twelve Crowded Hours ('39)
12:45 AM Panama Lady ('39)
2:00 AM Marines Fly High ('40)
... and Crime Comedies
3:15 AM Go Chase Yourself ('38)
4:45 AM Two Smart People ('46)

Wednesday, November 22

8:00 PM Yours, Mine and Ours ('68)
10:00 PM The Facts of Life ('60)
12:00 AM Her Husband's Affairs ('47)
1:30 AM You Can't Fool Your Wife ('40)
..and More Lucy
2:45 AM Du Barry Was a Lady ('43)
4:30 AM The Magic Carpet ('51)

Wednesday, November 29

8:00 PM Meet the People ('44)
10:00 PM Stage Door ('37)
11:45 PM Best Foot Forward ('43)
1:30 AM The Affairs of Annabel ('38)
2:45 AM Annabel Takes a Tour ('38)
4:00 AM That's Right - You're Wrong ('40)
5:45 AM Dance Girl, Dance ('40)
7:30 AM Room Service ('38)
9:00 AM Ziegfeld Follies ('46)

September 19, 2006

Lucy still a Hit and Lucy-Desi Show coming to DVD!

Some news on the horizon that I want to report here. I've been out the last several weeks as I just got married to my partner of 12 years!! So, in the next few days, hope to catch up everyone on all that is being seen on the net about our favorite Red-Head!

One great article from the Los Angeles Times, Zany Redhead Has Stirred 55 Years of Laughter, by Greg Hernandez, reports:

"People have been asking about the 'Lucy-Desi Comedy Hour' a lot," said Gord Lacy, editor of the Web site TVShows, where fans vote for which shows they want most to see released on DVD. "The 'I Love Lucy' seasons have been released at a steady pace, and people are happy with the sets and want more."

The episodes will be released as seasons 7, 8 and 9, but in a single DVD package. They will have some rare gems, including color home movies secretly taken by an audience member during the show's first season. It is the only color film of the Ricardos in their apartment, according to Oppenheimer.

This is great news for us Lucy fans, and one that I suspected would occur that has been rumored for some time. This new DVD Box Set is scheduled to be released in early 2007! It will contain all 13 of the one-hour episodes!

Stay tuned here for more upcoming news as it's reported.

September 08, 2006

Desi Arnaz Jr. to Speak at HRC Inaugural Dinner

As reported: The Human Rights Campaign Las Vegas Community will host its inaugural dinner at the MGM Grand Conference Center on Saturday, September 9, 2006. Keynote speaker and recipient of the National Equality Award will be the actress/dancer/singer Liza Minnelli.

Also being honored at the dinner will be United States Senator Harry Reid, Democratic Leader, and local HIV/AIDS physician Dr. Jerry Cade. Senator Reid will be presented with the Constitutionality Award and Dr. Cade will be honored with a Life Time Achievement Award for his pioneering work in the research, care, and treatment of HIV/AIDS patients.

This inaugural dinner will also feature a silent auction, a live auction and live entertainment, including performers from Cirque du Soleil and local impersonator extraordinaire, Frank Marino. Also featured will be vocalist Laura Taylor and performers from KRAVE nightclub.

The Human Rights Campaign is America’s largest civil rights organization working to achieve gay, lesbian, bisexual and transgender equality. By inspiring and engaging all Americans, HRC strives to end discrimination against GLBT citizens and realize a nation that achieves fundamental fairness and equality for all.

HRC seeks to improve the lives of GLBT Americans by advocating for equal rights and benefits in the workplace, ensuring families are treated equally under the law and increasing public support among all Americans through innovative advocacy, education and outreach programs. HRC works to secure equal rights for GLBT individuals and families at the federal and state levels by lobbying elected officials, mobilizing grassroots supporters, educating Americans, investing strategically to elect fair-minded officials and partnering with other GLBT organizations.

Tickets for this exciting and extravagant evening may be reserved on line at Box Office Tickets or by visiting the HRC Web Site.

September 07, 2006

Lucie Arnaz to be featured at the Crest Theatre

Lucie Arnaz will appear at the Crest Theatre at the Old School Square Arts Center in Delray Beach, Florida on January 15th and 16th as part of the Merrill Lynch Broadway Cabaret series, which Lucie will be opening.

Individual tickets go on sale to the general public on Oct. 18. All performance tickets are $38 for matinee and $40 for evening, with the exception of "Man 1 Bank 0," which is priced at a flat $35. Old School Square members receive a discount. Lecture tickets are $25 general admission and $40 reserved; reserved tickets include valet parking and a post-lecture reception. For information, call 561-243-7922, ext. 1, or visit

Wine Tasting the "I Love Lucy" Way!

Recently a vineyard from Hollister, California - Pietra Santa Winery, held it's Third Annual Grape Stomp as part of several contests that also included live music, dancing, food and of course, wine.

Although people flock to the winery for the Grape Stomp event, the stars are the wine produced which include Merlot, Dolcetto, Sangiovese, Chardonnay, Cabernet Sauvignon, Pinot Grigio and Zinfandel. The winery also produces olive oil from it's own olive trees.

For more information on the event, visit their web site and see how they did it, just the way they did it on "I Love Lucy."