Sunday, August 28, 2011

Countdown to 9-11 Tenth Anniversary

Two weeks from today, the tenth anniversary of one of the darkest days in American history will take place. It is fitting that this most widely recorded event will also have extremely prolific television coverage. The Flaming Nose will list as many 9-11 specials as possible here, so that our readers can plan which ones they would like to view. I should also mention that many people also plan to mark 9-11 as a national day of service to provide volunteer efforts for their communities.

Rising: Rebuilding Ground Zero
Discovery Channel on September 1, 2011 at 8PM. Documentary on the massive undertaking to rebuild Ground Zero.

9/11: Ten Years Later: A rebroadcast of the CBS special narrated and updated by Robert DeNiro. September 11, 2011 at 8pm.

George W. Bush The 9-11 Interview: This special airs tonight (August 28th). An exclusive National Geographic channel interview with the former president as he describes what he was thinking and feeling as the events of 9-11 unfolded ten years ago.

9-11 Heroes of the 88th Floor: Scheduled for September 4th at 9pm on TLC, Chris Noth narrates this incredible story of bravery about two men who saved a total of 77 lives inside the towers on 9-11.

Saved: 9/11/2001: A unique perspective from Animal Planet about how the healing love of family pets helped two families deal with the pain from 9-11. Airing September 7th at 9pm.

The Love We Make: This one has me thinking I'm going to have to re-up for Showtime (again!). It's a behind the scenes look at the Concert for New York tribute organized by Paul McCartney in the days following 9-11. Featuring rock heavy weights Elton John, The Who and David Bowie. I remember watching this concert when it first aired, and getting a sinus head ache for a solid week from crying so hard. Scheduled for Saturday, September 10 at 9pm.

Voices Inside the Towers: Some survived...some did not. History Channel special on the recorded messages from those trapped inside the Twin Towers on 9-11. There is some confusion about the airing of this special, as many online sources show it scheduled for Sept 10th on History, but their own website no longer has it listed. It's quite possible this special has been pulled already, most likely due to the controversial nature of the content. Sounds like the lawyers got involved.

The Space Between: The only fictional depiction of 9-11, this movie is set to air on USA network on September 11th at 8pm. Starring Academy Award winner Melissa Leo, it's about a flight attendant who befriends a Pakistani boy after flights are grounded on 9-11.

102 Minutes that Changed America: History Channel and A&E will both air this extraordinary documentary that uses video footage from real people (without narration) to depict what happened on the morning of the terrorist attacks in real time. The Flaming Nose has written about this special before, it is probably the best and most chilling of all 9-11 specials because it is utterly real. It will be scheduled again at 8:47 am on 9-11-2011.

The Flight that Fought Back: Discovery Channel is making it possible to watch this documentary from their website. One of the most inspirational and tragic stories from 9-11, depicts the events from Flight 93, where the passengers joined together to fight back against the terrorists.

Twins of the Twin Towers: Fledgling Oprah Winfrey Network (OWN) airs a special about the 40 twins who lost their siblings in the World Trade Tower attacks of 9-11. Scheduled for September 11 at 9pm.

9-11. We will never forget, and television will make sure of it.

TV Characters "Watching TV" -- "Men Behaving Badly"!

Characters on TV are usually too busy being characters on TV to actually watch TV, but here's a wonderful combination of two of our favorite things -- Star Trek and TV watching!  The often hilarious Britcom Men Behaving Badly (1992 - 1999, which is listed now on IMDb as British MBB because there was a two-season U.S. version in 1996), starred the very talented Martin Clunes (you may know him best from his great work in the Doc Martin series as the titular curmudgeonly medico, or from his starring role in the very fine Goodbye, Mr. Chips redo which we saw over here as a Masterpiece Theatre), the droll Caroline Quentin (Jonathan Creek, Life Begins, many more), Leslie Ash, and Neil Morrissey (both of whom have done lots of TV in Britain but not shows that have traveled over here much, unfortunately).  The series was at first lambasted for the juvenile behavior of its stars -- the epitome of the British trend of the times known as "laddism" -- but it became immensely popular and it just plain funny.  (MBB ran on one of the Canadian niche networks (Book TV, of all things!) when I lived up there and I fell in love with it.)

The show lasted forty-four goofy episodes, and is highly recommended for good solid silly laughs.  Clunes and Morrissey are best friend flatmates; Quentin in Clunes' sensible girlfriend, and Ash is Morrissey's sometime girlfriend (he pursues her vigorously in the earlier episodes and she finally gives in).  In Season 6 they did an episode called "Watching TV" where they're plopped on the couch watching an episode of classic Star Trek, and talking through it.  Deceptively simple premise, very funny episode! (Also great because Quentin is at first conked out -- ladies often fall asleep during TV shows, I've found, experientially and anecdotally!) Men Behaving Badly is on Netflix streaming -- all seasons, at least right now.  Gratis, more Men Behaving Badly episodes are on Hulu, others here and there on the net, and on DVD.  Seems lately that links are harder to find if there are eps up on Hulu, but keep searching!)

Enjoy "Watching TV" from Men Behaving Badly, originally broadcast November 27, 1997!  (This is actually just the first five minutes, then you have to click on the link at the top of the viewers to go to Veoh and watch the rest, but it works just fine, or you can just click to begin with and watch the whole thing right away.)  Or watch on Netflix

Watch Men Behaving Badly - s6e04 - Watching Tv.avi in Comedy | View More Free Videos Online at

Friday, August 26, 2011

Lee Majors IS the Six Million Dollar Man!

Fans of actor Lee Majors and his iconic role as TV's The Six Million Dollar Man will enjoy this really informed interview by Mark Gollom from the CBC.  Included is a nearly half-hour audio version of the conversation between Mark and Majors, and you will appreciate how well informed Mark is about the show -- he's a lifelong fan -- in comparison to so many times when reporters know NOTHING about the subject and ruin a good interview opportunity. 

Be sure to check out this terrific article!  Majors is in Toronto this weekend (starting yesterday) for their FanExpo event, which even they refer to as "Comic Con North".  They've got a great line-up of guests -- take a look at the Sci Fi list alone! -- and if I were in Toronto this would be a must-attend!  (I especially love that Kevin Sorbo [right] will be there -- I think he's wonderful!)

Anyway, if you are there, go!  If not, at least read the article and poke around the website!

Thursday, August 25, 2011

Special Guest Star Miss Joan Blondell!

If you're a fan of this tremendously talented actress who took her big screen stardom back in the 1930s and kept it alive for decades on the small screen, you will enjoy my latest post on TCM's Movie Morlocks' blog about the great Joan Blondell!  Click here to read it.  The above still is from an appearance on Bonanza. 

Lots of links to her material that you can view now, though so much isn't out there and we can only hope that more vintage TV becomes available for all of us to enjoy!

Saturday, August 20, 2011

Celebrating Skip Homeier!

All fans of episodic TV will want to check out my post on Turner Classic Movies' Movie Morlocks site, where I recently put up a nice tribute to the terrific character actor Skip Homeier.  Homeier was a very familiar face on TV for many years -- retired now and very much missed -- and even if perhaps you don't know his name you certainly have seen his face on many of your favorite series, including of course Star Trek.

Check out the article here!

Monday, August 15, 2011

Happy Birthday to Rose Marie!

We wish a very Happy Birthday today to Rose Marie -- born on August 15, 1923 -- the brilliantly talented former child star who grew up to co-star on one of television's most innovative, smart and hilarious sitcoms ever.  As quick-witted comedy writer Sally Rogers on The Dick Van Dyke Show, Rose Marie showed us that ladies were as funny as gentlemen, and also how much fun working in an office with clever colleagues could be. These two principles have guided many of us on The Flaming Nose, and we salute Rose Marie for being such a tremendous and beautiful role model for independent women!
In case you weren't aware of her early show business triumphs, she was a popular singing star as "Baby Rose Marie" -- and boy, could she belt them out!

And of course we remember how she'd occasionally get to belt out a tune on The Dick Van Dyke Show, too!

In this clip from her interview at the Emmy Legends site, she discusses her role as Sally Rogers and what an important step it was for the portrayal of women on TV.  (The whole interview is available on the above link.)

Here's a real piece of TV nostalgia:  Rose Marie's The Dick Van Dyke Show co-star Morey Amsterdam and RM appearing on a 1964 episode of the variety show The Hollywood Palace, doing some old-fashioned comedy patter and looking wonderful!  (The clip quality isn't great but it's worth it to watch this pair of show-biz pros at work).

Here's a clip from a little later, when she was a spokeswoman for Pledge furniture polish, in addition to all her other work including regular appearances on The Hollywood Squares.

We highly recommend making a visit to Rose Marie's terrific website which contains lots of great info on her prolific career. All fans of this wonderfully talented lady will really enjoy spending some time there!

Happy Birthday, Rose Marie!  You're a true TV Treasure!

Saturday, August 13, 2011

Happy Birthday, Alfred Hitchcock!

Yes, he was the Master of Suspense. But on 113th anniversary of his birth today, I prefer to focus not on his films, but on the man himself--particularly, his intelligence and indubitably dry wit. These aspects of his personality--coupled with his love of the macabre and the unending power of his films and TV work, of course--were what made him into a superstar. I believe that when informed people think of the word or the profession "director," they think of Alfred Hitchcock. As an explanation to why this is so, here are ten clips that I also offer as tribute, and as a mini late career bio, to this unique artist who truly changed how we see the world:

Here he is, in 1954, as the mystery guest on the TV game show What's My Line? As he signs in, we get to see Hitchcock compose the famous, impossibly elegant 9-line caricature this one-time storyboard artist wryly concocted for himself (here, it's an 8-line drawing--he omits that slight hairline on the show's blackboard). I love his references to Grace Kelly at the end of the clip--"What did you do about it?" This tells us so much about the man.

I imagine TV execs really got a hungry sense of Alfred Hitchcock's surprising on-screen dynamism while watching him on What's My Line. The following year, in 1955, he began hosting his own anthology series, suitably called Alfred Hitchcock Presents. His appearances on the show--in which this devotee of cinema often derided the necessary trappings of TV (particularly its need for commercials)--are what I think made him an even more stellar household name than he already laid claim to being. This intro, from 1955's episode titled "The Other Sister," is a fine example of his unforgettable hosting style.

Mr. Hitchcock was a pioneer, too, in the construction of film trailers, even though no director--even Steven Spielberg--has ever attempted to do what he did with them. This development in his on-screen personality become more intense after his TV show became a long-running hit. As a result, his home studio Universal allowed him to indulge in unusually long trailers for his films. The Psycho preview is justifiably famous. But so should be this advanced look at his 1963 effort The Birds, in which not even one actual shot from the film is shown (even the glimpse of lead actress Tippi Hedren was filmed specifically for the trailer).

Hitchcock wisely dissects what frightens people here in 1964, on the BBC interview show Monitor. I love how Hitch's handsome facial profile is captured here.

The film-specific crafts of editing and scoring are smartly used in this 1965 segment shot for French television, in which Hitchcock pointedly discusses the dynamics of arguably his most famous film Psycho and then deftly practices his impeccable French on the interviewer.

On the director's 1970 appearance on The Dick Cavett Show (in one of the best episodes of that series, available on Cavett's Hollywood Greats DVD collection), Hitchcock comments correctly on the effects of sex on the Hollywood elite, and then defiantly admits to one of his favorite forms of repartee, in a statement with which I wholeheartedly agree.

Another Hitchcock trailer, this time for his 1972 tale of murder called Frenzy (his late-career return to British filmmaking and still his most personal film, if you ask me). The initial sight of Hitch floating on the Thames is highly amusing. "How do you like my tie?"

Part one of Tom Snyder's very revealing 1973 interview with Hitch on the Tomorrow show; Snyder starts by asking Hitch what scares him. The other five parts are on You Tube.

One year before his death in 1980, Alfred Hitchcock was awarded the Lifetime Achievement Award from the American Film Institute. Surrounded by a truly astounding collection of moviemaking royalty, he is, as usual, hilarious and articulate. But here he is also unexpectedly touching, as he pays tribute to his wife and collaborator of 53 years, Alma Reville Hitchcock who, dutifully sitting by his side, is visably moved throughout.

And, finally, no tribute would be complete without noting the director's famed cameos in his own films. This You Tube post from royvanderzwann collects all but eight of them, and deftly points out each of Hitchcock's sometimes imperceptible on-screen appearances, backed with French composer Charles-Fran├žois Gounod's "Funeral March for a Marionette," which of course forever became Hitch's instantly recognizable theme song.

Happy birthday, Mr. Hitchcock, wherever you are. And thank you, for everything.

(John Candy as Hitchcock on SCTV--to fully view the segment, click here.)

Sunday, August 7, 2011

More Great Lucy Moments from The Queen of Comedy!

We've had a lot of clips here lately, and considering how many episodes of TV Lucy starred in -- well over 500! -- we haven't even come close to sampling her great comedy output.  Let's try some more, shall we, as we watch another selection of timeless Lucy moments!

How about one of The Flaming Nose correspondent Jane's favorite sequences, from I Love Lucy episode "Be a Pal" where Lucy (as Carmen Miranda) tries to make Cuban Ricky a little less homesick:

From the episode "The Ballet" comes this terrific sequence where Lucy tries to learn ballet, under the stern tutelage of guest actress Mary Wickes as Madame Le Mond:

Also from "The Ballet" comes Lucy and comic Frank Scannell doing the classic vaudeville routine "Slowly I Turned":

This is one of my favorite I Love Lucy sequences -- from 'Ricky Thinks He's Going Bald"!

From the I Love Lucy episode "The Million Dollar Idea" -- Lucy and Ethel's salad dressing needs to be un-sold via a TV commercial:

This next clip is always included in Lucy's top moments ever -- from "Lucy Does a TV Commercial"!

The famous grape-stomping scene from "Lucy's Italian Movie"!

And now from "Job Switching" comes one of the top scenes ever, with the great character actress Elvia Allman as Lucy and Ethel's boss at the candy factory:

We hope everybody has been inspired to watch more Lucille Ball after this exciting 100th Birthday Anniversary Weekend.  The media coverage of Lucy the past week has been phenomenal everywhere, and it's proof that she reigns supreme as the Queen of Comedy, even after all these years.  Any female comedy actress coming along since I Love Lucy is always measured against the standard of hilarity established by Lucille Ball, and that's a fair test. 

Many talented and funny women have stepped up to the plate during the past decades -- Joan Davis, Irene Ryan, Tina Fey, Cindy Williams, Amy Poehler, Penny Marshall, Shelly Long, Debra Messing, Bea Arthur, Mary Tyler Moore, Betty White, Julia Louis-Dreyfus, Roseanne Barr, Brett Butler, Jenna Elfman, Lisa Kudrow, and so many more -- but nobody has topped Lucy. 

Long Live the Queen!  Long Live Lucy!

Saturday, August 6, 2011

Lucy's Memorable Musical Moments!

How about a collection of entertaining musical sequences from Lucy's TV shows?  There were lots of them, from sentimental to supremely silly, so let's we'll spotlight a few here!

I Love Lucy episode 'The Operetta": Lucy is dressed up as a gypsy hag and sings a tambourine-accented "Queen of the Gypsies"!

I Love Lucy "Lucy Meets Bob Hope":  Lucy, Ricky and Bob Hope sing the baseball lament "Nobody Loves the Ump" and a version of "Thanks for the Memories"

I Love Lucy "Lucy's Last Birthday":  Lucy thinks that everybody has forgotten her birthday, and this gives us two good songs, the march "Friends of the Friendless" and then Ricky singing the "I Love Lucy" theme song to her. 

I Love Lucy "Lucy Goes to Scotland":  Now don't go crazy, but this scene is in color, colorized several years ago, but going from set photos which allowed accurate colors.  It looks pretty good, and we've got Ricky singing "I'm in Love with the Dragon's Dinner" from Lucy's dream musical.

I Love Lucy "The Diet":  Lucy loses a few pounds in order to get into Ricky's nightclub act, and they sing "Cuban Pete" together!

I Love Lucy "Ethel's Home Town":  We've posted this on The Flaming Nose before, and we still love it!  Ethel gives a concert and it's sabotaged by Lucy, Ricky and Fred in a most hilarious manner! 

I Love Lucy "Lucy is Enciente":  At the Tropicana, Lucy finally breaks the news that she is expecting, and Ricky sings the Eddie Cantor favorite "We're Having a Baby" to her.  This is the whole sequence and is considered one of the top scenes in the entire series.  Still utterly charming and sweet.

I Love Lucy "Sales Resistance":  Ricky writes a song for Lucy and his new son -- "There's a Brand New Baby at Our House"

I Love Lucy "Lucy and Ethel Buy the Same Dress":  Here are Lucy and Ethel rehearsing Cole Porter's "Friendship" for a TV appearance.  In the finale of the show, the ladies tear up each other's new gowns, but I couldn't find a clip of that, unfortunately, but this one is plenty cute!

The Lucy-Desi Comedy Hour "Lucy Goes to Alaska".  Lucy meets up with Red Skelton to do a hobo routine together, and they sing "Poor Us". 

I Love Lucy "Lucy Does the Tango":  With eggs in her shirt, that's how she does it, all right!  The end of this bit got the biggest studio audience in the history of I Love Lucy, btw.

I Love Lucy "Lucy's Show Biz Swan Song":  Pregnant Lucy wants to join in Ricky, Ethel and Fred's Barbershop Quartet!

I Love Lucy "Breaking the Lease":  Lucy, Ricky, Fred and Ethel sing "Sweet Sue" with Ethel playing the piano.

I Love Lucy "California, Here We Come!":  On their way to California, the whole gang joins in!

Happy 100th Birthday, Lucy!

LIFE Magazine and Lucille Ball!

LIFE Magazine has several great Lucy photo collections, and you'll want to take a look at them!

Lucille Ball Unpublished Photos -- brand new collection!

More on Lucy from TV Week!

TV Week has a nice article about the programming taking place today in honor of Lucy's 100th, and if you have Sirius Radio you'll definitely want to find out about what they are doing.  Please visit TV Week and their article "Must-See TV Over the Weekend: You Owe It To Yourself and Your Family To Spend at Least a Few Minutes Watching the Person TV Critic Tom Shales Once Dubbed 'Television's Biggest Star"!

Lucy's Hollywood Guest Stars!

I've put up a post on TCM's Movie Morlocks all about the Hollywood celebrities who guest-starred on I Love Lucy.  It's got a lot of clips -- though for some reason WordPress often doesn't play the clips correctly, so I put in direct links -- but it's got all our favorites and you'll enjoy it!  Please go over to TCM's Movie Morlocks and take a look!

Friday, August 5, 2011

Happy 100th Birthday, Dear Lucy!

Had she not left us on April 26th, 1989...Ms. Lucille Ball would have turned 100 years old tomorrow on August 6th. Such a milestone must be honored by The Flaming Nose, for she is our muse...and we love her so much. She is considered one of America's foremost comedians, as well as (to this day) one of the most popular television stars of all time. So much has been written about the great Ms. Ball, that it makes little sense to recap it again here. If you want to catch up on the nuts and bolts of Lucy's bio, a good place to start is on the Wikipedia page. Or you could re-visit a Lucy birthday post that I wrote in 2009, which has some interesting tidbits about her career.

This time I'm going to focus on some of my favorite episodes and post a few great clips from treasured Lucy TV interviews. So without further ado...

Jane's Top Five Favorite I Love Lucy Episodes:

Lucy in Hollywood-The William Holden Episode. This is the moment that inspired The Flaming Nose. Lucy accidentally spills a bowl of spaghetti on William Holden at the Brown Derby. Trying to disguise herself later at home when Ricky brings the star for a visit, she dons a long putty nose and some pointy glasses. The nose catches fire (scripted) and Lucy puts out the flame in her coffee cup (genius Lucille improv). Thus we have, in my humble opinion, the greatest spontaneous funny TV moment of all time. Apparently I am not alone in this belief, as you can see if you check out the YouTube video below and the many adoring comments.#2: Lucy is Enceinte-Lucy is Pregnant. Lucy is going to have a baby but she can't find the right time to tell Ricky! Made all the more poignant by the fact that the actress and Desi Arnez really were going to have a baby at the time. Incredibly moving (I actually cry every time I watch) I blubbered through it dozens of times on VHS when I was going to have my own baby. Actual baby (the Tomster) grew up watching and loving Lucy too. I feel I have done my duty by creating another happy Lucy fan for the planet Earth.
#3: Lucy and Ethyl are Aliens. They dress up for a special advertising job and scare tourists on top of the Empire State Building. Funniest line, "It's a Moo Moo!", uttered in a nasal Martian accent.
#4: Lucy, Ricky, Ethyl and Fred head to Hollywood.
ROAD TRIP!!! Need I say more.
#5: Lucy in Paris:
She tries to eat snails and puts the shell cracker on her nose. All of the Paris episodes are superb, from the burlap bag haute couture fashion mishap to the police station scene where a confused chain of non-English speaking money changing victims try to "splain" themselves.

Favorite real-life truth about Lucy as a person:
She was by all accounts an excellent mom. You won't be reading any Mommy Dearest expose's about our precious star. She was a great mother, just like my own mother, who counted Lucille Ball as her favorite TV actress through out her whole life. Collins Family Trivia: We used to accuse my mother (actually, compliment is a more accurate description) of being just like Lucy. For one thing, Alice Johnson Collins sounded a great deal like Lucille Ball. Their accents were virtually identical. This is most likely because they both grew up in upstate New York near the the Great Lakes....Lucy near Buffalo in Jamestown, and Alice in Rochester. Also, they were born just a few days apart in August, although Lucy was 15 years older than my mom. Two funny Leos from upstate NY!

And Now...for some great Lucy TV Moments:

Lucy talks to Joan Rivers on the Tonight Show in 1985:
She talks about her made for TV movie "Stone Pillow"

Lucy's Last Big Appearance with Bob Hope on the Oscars in 1989: Observe the amazing standing O the audience gave them. They are utterly charming together. This was one of the greatest moments in Academy Award history. I remember watching it live, and got goose bumps from seeing such great Hollywood legends together on the stage. A few months later our Lucy would be gone. But you would never know it to watch this segment. She died with her boots on, that's for sure. Working and awesome until the end.

Lucy and the Putty Nose with William Holden: Lucy at her absolute finest. Check out the amazing Bill Holden, who looks a lot like our current Mad Men Golden Boy, Jon Hamm!

We miss you Lucy. Oh how I wish you had lived to see your 100th birthday. The world was a more darling place with you in it.

Thursday, August 4, 2011

Lucy's 100th Birthday Fest: Lucy's TV Theme Songs Thru the Years!

There's nothing that sticks in the minds of TV fans like a good theme song, especially with a sitcom.  A jaunty opening theme can, in fact, essentially make a show.  It's no exaggeration to say that sitcoms like Gilligan's Island, The Brady Bunch, and more recently Cheers had their success -- and lasting impact -- sealed through their memorable theme songs that instantly bring to mind the series. 

In her TV career spanning several decades and several different incarnations of her eponymous show, Lucille Ball had a terrific collection of theme songs, starting of course with the wonderful I Love Lucy theme written by Eliot Daniel, and heard in Wilbur Hatch's unforgettable orchestration.  We heard this at the beginning of the 181 episodes of the series -- its original run was 1951 - 1957 -- and it's never been off the air since.

Lucy and the entire ILL ensemble followed up with a thirteen episode run of The Lucy-Desi Comedy Hour from 1957 - 1960, with a variation of the I Love Lucy theme.  You can watch the beginning of one of the episodes to see the difference. 

Two years later Lucy returned to series TV with The Lucy Show, co-starring Vivian Vance,  TLS ran for 150 episodes from 1962 - 1968, and of course in many reruns though it wasn't as eternal a syndication staple as was I Love Lucy.  Once a station had I Love Lucy, corning the market on Lucille Ball meant another acquisition of a show with a huge amount of episodes, and most stations simply didn't need both.  Thanks to the net and DVDs, the very funny The Lucy Show is now beginning to get exposure again. 

The Lucy Show went through quite a few different opening themes, beginning with this one utilizing cartoon stick figures, much like the original network style for I Love Lucy (the heart logo came in during syndication runs). 

Season two (and beyond) of The Lucy Show was filmed in color but broadcast in black and white (color in syndication runs, though).  This is a vibrant open with wonderful Lucy images.

For some reason I really remember this third season version of The Lucy Show open, with the musical stings emphasizing certain comic moments, especially the Chaplin walk. 

This is another version of The Lucy Show in color show open, with the kaleidoscope images. You'll also enjoy seeing that iconic, glamorous and somewhat haughty Lucille Ball caricature again!

This next one is evidently a seldom-used Season 5 The Lucy Show open which uses familiar audio but a different version of the theme song.

This next one is a different version of the theme written for Season 5 (heard in the previous opening), with an animated open that Lucy evidently disliked -- including her disembodied head on a jack-in-the-box -- and so it was quickly changed out.  Definitely worth looking at, though! 

Lucy's next series was Here's Lucy, created by Lucille Ball to be produced by her new production company; she had just sold off her previous company Desilu to conglomerate Gulf & Western.  Here's Lucy premiered in the fall of 1968, with her own two children Lucie and Desi, Jr. as co-stars.  Here's Lucy would end up running for another six years, until 1974, for a total of another 143 episodes of Lucille Ball comedy! 

Here's basically the same theme but with Lucie Arnaz elevated to full 2nd billing in the last couple years of the show.

Lucy's last TV series was Life with Lucy which premiered in 1986 and unfortunately only filmed 13 episodes.  Of course the Lucy magic and talent was still there, but it was years later and maybe nobody really wanted to see Lucille Ball as a grandmother -- she had previously been basically ageless. The theme song is fairly generic and not very memorable, and the show's demise could at least have had as much to do with that as anything else.  Remember what I said about a good theme song at the beginning here....

Thanks for the memories, Lucy!

Grateful acknowledgements to YouTube users schmoe56789, kbirdusa, jgknightboyz2000, minnowtrappermd, and hepburnflicks for all the great clips!

Let's Turn Facebook into Lucy-Land for her 100th Birthday Anniversary!

Okay, I got this from my fellow Movie Morlock and Facebook friend Suzi Doll, who changed her profile picture there to Lucy yesterday in honor of her upcoming 100th on Saturday.  What a great idea!  We should ALL change our Facebook profile pics to America's -- no, probably the world's -- greatest comedienne!  Find a Lucy pic and put it up there, starting now and through the weekend!

Wednesday, August 3, 2011

Lucille Ball - Style Setter - In Honor of Her 100th Birthday

This is first of several special posts on The Flaming Nose celebrating the 100th Anniversary of the birth of Lucille Ball

In celebration of Lucille Ball's 100th birthday! Lucy was born on August 6, 1911, so here is a tribute to her great sense of style or should I say Lucy Ricardo's great sense of style. Happy birthday Lucy!

Joan Crawford's big shoulder pads (remember those came back in the 1980's and thank God they went the way of the big hair bands of that era - they were gone relatively quickly), Katherine Hepburn's slack suits (long before women wore slack suits, - well Marlene Dietrich wore them), Audrey Hepburn's little black dress (well, Audrey in general), Jane Fonda's "Klute" shag cut (my sister had the shag cut like millions of others), Diane Keaton's "Annie Hall" men's baggy look. All of these women were style setters of the cinema.

We often overlook the style setters of television. Farrah and Jen's hair certainly had their fair share of publicity and magazine covers. Mary Tyler Moore's Mary Richards character was certainly a style setter. I went into the media business for one reason and one reason only - I wanted to be Mary Richards. I wanted to work in the media (check), I wanted to drive a Mustang (owned two of the them, so check), grew to love hats (I still wear them - I own about 20 hats); and of course have a great friend like Rhoda (check - I have several wonderful friends). The one woman who clearly never gets her due re: style is Lucy Ricardo. Lucy was the first and certainly most prominent style setter in the history of television. I'll splain!

Lucille Ball has been credited with many things. She is clearly one of the most iconic names and faces of the twentieth century. She remains to this day the most significant television presence of all time. "I Love Lucy" is still seen on a daily basis literally all around the world. She was the top female executive in the entertainment industry (pretty much in any industry and pretty much the only female executive in the media at the time) long before it became the norm to find women in top positions in the industry (and no, I haven't forgotten Mary Pickford's dominance in the early days of film). She was a stunningly beautiful woman (and long and lean too) who had the best comic timing of any woman or man ever to act in front of a camera. I could keep going, but we pretty much know the range and depth of Lucille Ball's talents. Brilliant is an overused word in our society, particularly as it is used and overused in show business circles, but Lucille Ball was brilliant. Her timing was perfect. Not near perfect, but perfect. Her facial expressions are not matched by any other actress attempting comedy (Diane Keaton may be the only actress who even comes close). She had a unique ability to show unease; and of course she displayed true emotion like no other actress before or since her time. (the episode "Lucy is Enceinte" is the greatest example of this talent). Her experience awash in tears at the close of the episode is touching 59 years later. As a viewer, you feel the joy of her pregnancy!

Lucy is never credited with her style. Lucille McGillicuddy Ricardo was a style icon several years before we even ventured near the Breakfast at Tiffany's little black dress. I have been watching an endless number of Lucy episodes in recent months and I want ---- no I demand her wardrobe. Her clothes from the show can be worn today and quite frankly, I want all of them. Nothing is dated. The Lucy outfits are timeless and classic; and of course the former leggy model wears them with perfection and there isn't a red pump in that apartment. She didn't need them - she was five feet nine inches tall in flats!!! She wears the ballerina shoe and yes, those are all the rage today as well. Her style is so effortless it just walks in with her usual grace and elegance and that alone makes a statement. It is the anti-statement of style. If you try too hard it doesn't count. Lucy never tries. She just is. She is one of those women who looks better in jeans and a tee shirt than most women look in formal attire.

In the episode, "Lucy and Ethel Buy the Same Dress" both Lucy and Ethel wear an amazingly lovely dress that I quite frankly wish I had for my prom and that's if my prom were being held this weekend. It's not, but if I were going I'd want that draped floral arrangement on my formal. Forget the Wednesday Afternoon Fine Arts League - give it to me, so I can be the best dressed girl at the senior prom!!!! Remember the gorgeous black lace collar dress she put on during the "Fan Magazine Interview" episode. It's gorgeous and totally desirable in 2011. I have a cocktail party event coming up and I want it!!! Her open toed shoes were the perfect shoes for the dress and I know Jimmy Choo wasn't around at this time. Lucy just had a knack for selecting the right accessories. Now please don't tell me someone else picked them - it wouldn't be the point either way. She wore them and in the words of Rod Stewart she wore them well! Another find would be the 3/4 sleeve coat she dons in "Getting Ready." The white button down blouse and the fabulous hunter jacket she chooses in her hen raising experience are too much for this lover of clothes. I need the jacket for my long walks in the woods and that button down is a killer. I must have it! Theory couldn't have designed a better silhouette for a blouse. Then there are the capris she wears while golfing. The black skinnies she dons in "Lucy Tells The Truth." I could keep going! Of course, my two all time favorite Lucy outfits are the white dress with the black weaving (again, I have no idea if it was black or white) along the collar. She wore this dress in several episodes (our redhead was one smart chick) and every time I see it I think you could wear that right now. Without a doubt the Lucy outfit worn repeatedly in her series that works and works and works and no one would question why she was wearing the same outfit again (that's life - we do wear the same outfits again and again, but when you have style it always works). Did you guess the black slacks with the V-necked striped collar top. Now I really have to have that outfit! Lucille Ball was brilliant and stylish.

When I was 12 years old I wrote her a fan letter and I never received a response. I forgave her long ago. She was Lucy and she will always be the best thing that ever happened to television. Long live the redhead from Jamestown!

Monday, August 1, 2011

A Little Bit of French and Saunders!

I will point you now to my most recent offering over at TCM's Movie Morlocks blog, where I did a post with many clips featuring the great Brit comediennes Dawn French and Jennifer Saunders.  Dawn and Jennifer -- known together better as French & Saunders -- were and are top TV names over in Britain and during the run of their eponymous comedy/variety show they did many clever and hilarious movie spoofs.  Take a look over at the post on Morlocks and enjoy!  Funny ladies are always a treat!

(I caution you that sometimes YouTube clips don't show up correctly, or at all, on the blog, intermittently, but there direct links to the clips are also there if the site in on the fritz when you visit!).