December 30, 2006

Lucille Ball and Groucho Marx

Lucille Ball has done various audio, movie and television work with the major comedy teams of the day, including The Three Stooges, Abbott and Costello, Laurel and Hardy and The Marx Brothers. Here is an episode from a radio program called G.I. Journal, from 1945 where her and Groucho are guests on the show. You have to download the MP3 file to listen to the broadcast.

G.I. Journal with Lucille Ball and Groucho Marx.

December 29, 2006

Desi Arnaz Contributions to Hollywood

Most everyone knows Desi Arnaz. That is to say, everyone knows he was the star and executive producer of "I Love Lucy." And anyone who has ever watched the show knows that he was Cuban and a talented musician. But something that not many people know is that Arnaz played a vital part in the set up of the show at a time when the television sitcom was still being molded. Arnaz conceptualized the multi-cam setup used for filming the set, a format that would be used on virtually every sitcom from "Happy Days" to "Full House" to "Friends." Now folks, let's pause, take a breath and consider this fact: A Cuban is responsible for how American sitcoms have been filmed for more than 50 years!

Read the rest at in an article by Gabe Rodrigues, "From Lucy to Reba: A Look at Cuban and Hollywood Relations"!

December 20, 2006

20th Century Fox Auctions Off Stars' Contracts

Movie studio, 20th Century Fox, will auction off more than 200 documents signed by stars such as Lucille Ball, Marilyn Monroe, Humphrey Bogart, and Elvis Presley among many other celebrities!

Proceeds from the sale, which will take place in New York on January 25th through Swann Galleries, will benefit the Motion Picture and Television Fund's insurance fund, a charity for Hollywood actors and employees.

Among the items is a 1946 internal memo advising that Norma Jean Dougherty was changing her name to Marilyn Monroe; Judy Garland's contract in the 1967 film, "Valley of the Dolls" along with the termination letter drafted after she showed up for work inebriated!

Up for auction also is Lucille Ball's contract for the thriller "Dark Corner", which paid her $5,000 a week, or $60,000 for the film.

Read more about the Charity Auction at Variety!

Lucy Has Some Splannin To Do

As reported by the Houston Chronicle, every TV show had catchphrases! TV Land devoted a week of shows to the top TV catchphrases. Lucy's catchphrase in I Love Lucy came in at #5 with "Lucy, you got some 'splainin' to do."

Catch all the top 10 catchprases here!

December 19, 2006

Lucille Ball Exclusive DVD Released Today!

As first reported here back in May, Amazon held a vote for movies to be released on DVD and the film "Best Foot Forward" was chosen back in September to be released.

This 1943 MGM film starring Lucille Ball and Harry James is a fast paced, college musical, full of great music, lively dancing and just plain fun. The story is simple, a military college cadet wins a date with Hollywood actress Lucille Ball (in one of many performances where she plays herself). This ill conceived publicity stunt designed to re-start her faltering career, turns into a hilarious disaster when the cadet's girlfriend shows-up the night of the big date. You can imagine the fun that ensues with Lucy hiding out in the cadet's dorm room closet which continues to get more crowed by the minute.

The musical numbers are all classic, like Harry James' swing version of "Flight of the Bumble Bee," and the rollicking "Barrelhouse, Boogie, and The Blues," beautifully performed by Nancy Walker, June Allison, and Gloria DeHaven. This was their MGM debut film and they all went on to stardom.

You can order your DVD from Amazon for $13.98.

Lucy-Desi Center Receives Donation

As reported in The Celebrity Cafe, Ray Evans, who was the Lyrcist behind "Silver Bells", made a $20,000 donation to the Lucille Ball-Desi Arnaz Center in Jamestown, New York.

Recently Evans met Ric Wyman, the director of the Lucille Ball-Desi Arnaz Center in Lucy's hometown. They were introduced by Shirley Mitchell, Jay Livingston's widow, who had a recurring role in I Love Lucy. As a result of that encounter, Mr. Evans made a $20,000 donation to the Lucy-Desi Center’s expansion plans.

Asked about his gift, from his home in Beverly Hills Mr. Evans responded: "I’m glad to be part of the Lucille Ball-Desi Arnaz Center in Jamestown, New York. I was born and grew up in Salamanca, right around the corner, and this is a real hometown kind of program. I knew Lucille Ball very well, and in addition to writing songs for several of the movies she did with Bob Hope, we talked about our common background. I get back to Salamanca once a year, and I’m planning to visit Jamestown on my next trip."

Lucy a Communist? TVLand Myths and Legends Explores

On January 31st at 10pm EST, TV Lands' Myths and Legends series, "Film Frights & Red Scares" will discuss among other things, whether Lucille Ball was ever a Communist.

TV Land takes a look at the most compelling and intriguing mysteries in Hollywood with the premiere of TV Land Myths and Legends on Wednesday's at 10pm EST in January. Produced by Gay Rosenthal Productions (Behind the Music and Little People, Big World), each 30-minute episode explores the truth behind these notorious stories.

"If there's one thing that people love to talk about, it's entertainment's most famous -- and infamous -- myths and legends," states Larry W. Jones, President, TV Land. "These mysteries are a part of the Boomer fabric, and this series examines the deepest, darkest and -- at times -- most unbelievable tales about Hollywood that have existed throughout the years."

TV Land Myths and Legends features original interviews, archival clips and appearances by celebrities -- many of whom had a direct connection to these legendary stories. Each episode explores extraordinary tales about Hollywood's most memorable stars, TV shows, films and music. The series examines the origin of these myths and rumors -- shedding light on some of pop culture's darkest mysteries.
For more information visit TV Lands News Release.

December 15, 2006

"I Love Lucy" Costume Donated to The Lucy-Desi Center

As reported by the Lucille Ball - Desi Arnaz Center in Jamestown, NY, the frog costume worn by William Frawley in the I Love Lucy episode, "Little Ricky’s School Pageant" has been donated to the center by Bill and Mary Rapaport of East Amherst, New York.

Fifty years ago this Sunday, on December 17, 1956, “Little Ricky’s School Pageant”, episode 163 of “I Love Lucy”, aired for the first time.

The script called for the four main characters to take on roles in Little Ricky’s kindergarten play, “The Enchanted Forest”. Desi Arnaz, in the role of Ricky Ricardo, played a talking tree, while Lucille Ball, as Lucy Ricardo, swung above the stage as the wicked old witch of the forest. Little Ricky’s godparents were also part of the ensemble: Ethel Mertz (Vivian Vance) played the fairy princess while Fred (William Frawley) took on the role of the friendly frog, Hippity-Hoppity.

Bill and Mary Rapaport of East Amherst, New York, recently donated the frog costume William Frawley wore in this classic episode to the Lucille Ball-Desi Arnaz Center in Jamestown, New York. It includes an oversized frog “head”, “hands” and “feet”. The costume had been part of the Estate of Pepito Perez and was offered at a Hollywood memorabilia auction in Beverly Hills in December, 2005. While the costume was missing the union suit that Bill Frawley wore, it fetched $17,000. The Rapaports subsequently purchased it from the auction’s high bidder and have made it available to be enjoyed by visitors to Lucy’s hometown.

This amazing costume is now on exhibit in the Desilu Playhouse, a museum devoted to the “I Love Lucy” television series. It was unveiled yesterday (Thursday, December 14) to members of the Lucy-Desi Center’s Acquisitions Society, a group that was created in the summer of 2005 to acquire and care for historically significant items related to the First Couple of Comedy. Lucie Arnaz and Desi Arnaz, Jr. are among the Society’s founding members.

Following the unveiling, a special luncheon was held in the Tropicana Room on the second floor of the Rapaport Center. The Desilu Playhouse occupies the ground floor of the Rapaport Center at 2 W. Third Street in downtown Jamestown and was made possible primarily through private funding from the Rapaports.

December 13, 2006

Larry Anderson as Guest Speaker on Internet Radio

As reported by Tom Watson of the Internet Fan Magazine Site, "All About Lucy", Larry Anderson will be a Guest on the Internet Radio Show produced by Shokus Video. Shokus Internet Radio Show, produced by Stu Shokus, will be personally airing a weekly program on Wednesdays at 4:00 pm PST, 7:00 pm EST.

Larry Anderson, who played in Lucille Ball's last television sitcom, Life With Lucy, as her son-in-law Ted MacGibbon will appear on the Shokus Live Radio Series December 27th.

Larry, besides being a gameshow host, has been a professional magician since he was 14 and has followed this career all his life. He was ofen performing his magic in between set changes during the production of Life With Lucy. Larry's latest project, "JawDroppers", is a video collection of magic tricks that he has performed.

To listen to the show on December 27th, visit the Shokus Internet Radio Site. To view the complete schedule of shows hosted by Shokus, vist Live365 Broadcast Scheduler.

December 11, 2006

Lucie Arnaz to Host Academy of Television Arts & Sciences Hall of Fame Ceremony

As president of the board of directors of the Lucille Ball-Desi Arnaz Center in her mother’s hometown, Jamestown, New York, Lucie Arnaz shared some personal reflections on being asked to host the Academy of Television Arts & Sciences Hall of Fame Induction Ceremony in Beverly Hills this week.

The Academy of Television Arts & Sciences Hall of Fame honors individuals who have made extraordinary contributions to television: on-camera legends and pioneering talent that include directors, producers, costume designers, writers, animators, executives, reporters and explorers. Since the first ceremony in 1984, more than 100 of television’s notables have been inducted. Past honorees include Lucille Ball, Johnny Carson, David Sarnoff, Walter Cronkite, Milton Berle, Walt Disney, Bob Hope, Mary Tyler Moore, Barbara Walters, Angela Lansbury, Oprah Winfrey and Carl Reiner.

In addition to hosting, Ms. Arnaz will also be the presenter for the induction of talk show host Regis Philbin. California’s First Lady, Maria Shriver, will induct Tom Brokaw; Viacom Chairman and CEO Sumner Redstone will induct television and film producer Leonard Goldberg (Charlie's Angels, Starsky and Hutch, Brian's Song); former Chairman and CEO of NBC and co-founder of MTM Enterprises, Grant Tinker, will induct award-winning producer/director, James Burrows (Will and Grace, Cheers, Frasier, Friends), and equestrian Elizabeth Shatner will induct Emmy-Award winning actor William Shatner (Boston Legal).

In sharing her anticipation of Thursday’s event, actress and producer Lucie Arnaz related that she was asked to host it by the ceremony’s producer, Sam Haskell, whom she described as “a great friend and mentor. I was thrilled to be invited. And, as a special favor to Sam, I will also be singing a little number towards the end of the show, just because he asked!”

Ms. Arnaz added, “I have appeared on the show twice, once in the early 80’s when my mother was inducted. I sang a wonderful touching piece of special material written by Larry Grossman, ‘My Mother, The Star’. Again, after my father passed away, both Desi (Jr.) and I were there to accept for him when he was inducted.”

December 07, 2006

Lucy-Desi Comedy Hour Artwork

As posted on TV Shows on DVD, CBS/Paramount has released the artwork for the upcoming, Lucy-Desi Comedy Hour, which they're calling I Love Lucy, Seasons 7, 8 and 9. The set will be available on March 13, 2007!

To learn more about The Lucy-Desi Comedy Hour, visit the Everything Lucy web site, the first and foremost web site devoted exclusively to Lucille Ball since 1998!

December 06, 2006

Lucy's Grave Featured in New Book

Author, Chuck D'Imperio was inspired to write his book "Great Graves of Upstate New York" when he came across the grave of Samuel Clemens - better known as Mark Twain. He wanted to know after coming across Twain's gravesite in an Elmira, NY cemetery nearly 20 years ago why he was buried in upstate New York.

D'Imperio's curiosity led him to search out for other famous Americans buried in upstate New York, which led to his book.

In between hosting the morning show on a country music radio station in Oneonta, NY (WDOS), D'Imperio traveled across the state seeking the final resting places of notable Americans buried north of the Tappan Zee Bridge.

His book includes 70 entries, from film and TV sitcom star Lucille Ball in Jamestown to the man credited with inventing the potato chip - George Crum, who's buried outside Saratoga Springs.

As for Mark Twain, he's buried in Elmira because that's where his wife was from.

For more information or to order the book, visit D'Imperio's web site.

December 04, 2006

Remembering Desi

This past Saturday, December 2nd marked the 20th anniversary of the death of Desi Arnaz. He died just 3 years before Lucy of lung cancer.

Desi was born as Desidario Alberto Arnaz ye de Acha the Third in Santiago, Cuba on March 2, 1917. His father was the mayor of Santiago. The 1933 Batista revolution had landed his father in jail and as well stripped Desi's family of wealth, property and power. His father was released mostly because the U.S. officials believed him to be neutral during the revolt. The family fled to Miami, Florida.

One of Desi's first jobs in America consisted of cleaning canary cages. However, after forming his own small band of musicians, he was hired by Xavier Cugat, the "king of Latin music. Desi soon left Cugat, and formed his own Latin band and literally launched the conga craze in America.

Desi was cast in the Broadway play "Too Many Girls, " which as well brought Desi to Hollywood to make the film version of the play. It was on the set of "Too Many Girls" that Desi and Lucille Ball met. They were married on November 30th, 1940 and approximately ten years later they formed Desilu Productions and soon began I Love Lucy.