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.


Lisa said...

Beautiful potpourri of Lucy memories all of which lead to the conclusion that she was completely wonderful, talented and beautiful! The Oscar clips is truly amazing; hard to believe that she was gone just a few months later, and that's she's been gone for over twenty years. The Lucy character is completely timeless and will without a doubt live forever. Great post!

Judith said...

Jane, you couldn't find three better clips. My favorite episode of "I Love Lucy" is the William Holden episode. Superbly acted all the way around and of course, I love Holden. The interview with Joan Rivers is pure and honest and the clip with Bob Hope at the Oscars made me cry. They don't make them like that anymore.

Lisa said...

My favorite Lucy episode is the William Holden one also! That one is priceless!

Jane said...

When I really started to think about it I had so many favorite episodes, it was impossible to list them all. I feel bad for not including the Harpo Marx segment, which was so brilliant. Or the time Lucy thought everyone forgot her birthday and she went and joined the Salvation Army (includes the "Friends of the friendless" song. Wouldn't it be great to have a party where everyone could come as someone from their favorite Lucy episode? God, she was such a genius.