First Lady of Laughs
January 31, 2013
So you've probably figured out from my last blog that I like funny stuff and television. Put the two together and what do you get? I Love Lucy (thought I was gonna say funny television, didn't you)! Hey, folks, that's the funniest television show ever in my opinion. I watched many sitcoms growing up, but old reruns were my favorite. And out of those old reruns, Lucy was my all- time favorite and still is. I never get tired of watching that show, even though I've seen every episode numerous times and can recite the lines along with the actors!
Lucille Ball was truly the pioneer for comedians. She worked very hard to get where she was and had some rough times along her legendary journey. Ball's father, a lineman for the Bell Telephone Company, died when she was only four years old. She and her little brother, Fred, were raised by their mother and grandparents in Celeron, New York for the next few years. Lucy's grandpa was into theater and took them to vaudeville shows. Her mom remarried and the kids were then raised by her step-father's parents while her mother and step-father went to find work in a different city. Her step-father was a Shriner and asked a twelve-year-old Lucy to audition for a chorus line in their next show. She quickly realized that she loved the recognition she received from being onstage.
Ball attended the John Murray Anderson School for the Dramatic Arts in New York City when she was fourteen (she had begun dating a 23 year old and sending her there was her mother's effort to keep the two apart). Bette Davis was a classmate. Lucy didn't learn anything there but "how to be frightened." Her teachers didn't think she was talented! Determined to prove them wrong, she found work as a fashion model with Hattie Carnegie in 1928. Just as her career was taking off, she was struck with a bout of illness and couldn't work for the next 2 years. But that didn't stop her. She moved back to New York City in 1932 and enjoyed work as the Chesterfield cigarette girl. She also did some chorus work on Broadway, was an uncredited Goldwyn Girl, and went on to play in many Hollywood pictures.
That brings us to 1948 when Ball was cast in the CBS radio program My Favorite Husband as the wacky wife, Liz Cugat. CBS asked her to develop the show for television. She agreed but insisted on working with her real life husband, Desi Arnaz. (You know him as Ricky Ricardo or Mickey Bacardi, as his on screen mother-in-law called him.) From there, television history was made. Lucille Ball was the first female head of a production company and introduced many methods of television production that are still used today, including filming before a live audience! How could you not love Lucy?!
If you would like to rekindle your love for that crazy redhead (originally a brunette) and possibly learn something you didn't know (like that the Lucy theme song actually has words and yeah, I can sing them for you!). MCPL can help with that. MCPL has I Love Lucy and The Lucy Show on DVD as well as some of her movies There are also many great books to choose from about Lucille Ball, her life with Desi Arnaz, and her life in film and television.
To learn more about her career as a Hollywood actress, check out Lucy at the Movies by Cindy De La Hoz. Or, to get up close and personal with the lady who wrote those famous lines for the show, try Laughing with Lucy: My Life with America's Leading Lady of Comedy by Madelyn Pugh Davis.
Long Live Lucy!