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Lucille Ball/Desi Arnaz Biopic to come from Aaron Sorkin


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It doesn't sound flattering a'tall.  I've read that Desi was a womanizer, but Lucy also had her affairs, one of which was with George Sanders. Just speculation, mind you. Only what I've read.  I prefer to remember the couple as bringing many, many years of laughter to my life. As a matter of fact, I was just thinking about how much comedic brilliance Desi brought to the show in his own right.  Take a look at The Handcuffs, where Lucy & Desi are cuffed together. He has to get to a television program. Cuffed to Lucy, she uses her hands as mannerisms while Desi sings. Watch Desi's facial expressions. He is hilarious! Not to mention how they try to get undressed and to bed! 

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There's tons of stories about how Lucille Ball ran her shows with an iron fist, especially after the 1960 divorce.  From what I've gathered, if you knew your stuff and were responsible and professional, you got along with her.  But if you pulled any B.S. on set or during rehearsals, she would tear you a new one.  

This announcement was going around Twitter last week.  Lots of people were complaining about the casting of Kidman as Ball.   People were suggesting that Debra Messing take her place.

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Years ago I read an article about Lucy & Desi's relationship.  It said that Lucy had been told by virtually everyone in Hollywood that there was no way Desi would ever remain faithful to her, married or not.  She married him anyway and then was livid that he was constantly cheating on her.  About Lucy being a tough customer . . . she sure didn't have much good to say about any of the studios or films she worked on/at that I ever read.  As for Desi, while he may not have been great husband material, the man was a genius producer and "I Love Lucy" (still being shown in syndication all these years later) is a testament to his talent.

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15 minutes ago, lydecker said:

Years ago I read an article about Lucy & Desi's relationship.  It said that Lucy had been told by virtually everyone in Hollywood that there was no way Desi would ever remain faithful to her, married or not.  She married him anyway and then was livid that he was constantly cheating on her.  About Lucy being a tough customer . . . she sure didn't have much good to say about any of the studios or films she worked on/at that I ever read.  As for Desi, while he may not have been great husband material, the man was a genius producer and "I Love Lucy" (still being shown in syndication all these years later) is a testament to his talent.

Agree.  I don't think Arnaz gets enough credit for the work he did 70 years ago on "I Love Lucy"

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1 minute ago, txfilmfan said:

Agree.  I don't think Arnaz gets enough credit for the work he did 70 years ago on "I Love Lucy"

I totally agree.  Because Lucille Ball was the star, his contribution was unfairly played down. Here's a great, succinct statement about Arnaz from PBS:

Though famous onscreen, Desi Arnaz was also a very successful and innovative television producer. Throughout “I Love Lucy’s” incredibly successful six-season run, the actor-producer oversaw every aspect of production, including the difficult task of coordinating the first sitcom filmed in front of a live audience. In the early 1950s, the technical challenge of simultaneously operating three cameras and a studio audience in real time was considered insurmountable… But Desi Arnaz found a way.

“Bless Desi Arnaz for creating [the] three camera,” remarked filmmaker Penny Marshall, who’s career is indebted to Arnaz’s advances in television production. “You could find out what’s funny or not with an audience. They’re faster than anything.”

Desi Arnaz went on to build his Desilu Productions into one of the era’s most important studios. The powerhouse production company was the driving force behind such notable projects as “The Untouchables,” “Mission Impossible,” “Mannix” and “Star Trek,” furthering Arnaz’s legacy as an accomplished businessman both on and off the screen.

 

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3 hours ago, txfilmfan said:

This announcement was going around Twitter last week.  Lots of people were complaining about the casting of Kidman as Ball.   People were suggesting that Debra Messing take her place.

Although Nicole Kidman might not seem an obvious choice to play Lucille Ball, Debra Messing seems even less so to me. Yes, she was on a sitcom, but has she ever played anything but nebbishy neurotic New York-based Woody Allenish characters? I always wished Will and Grace had been Will and Jack, with Sean Hayes as a gay male Lucy Ricardo. Messing seems to have typecast as the weak woman who keeps getting in the way of her own strengths, which is definitely not Lucille Ball.

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3 hours ago, kingrat said:

Although Nicole Kidman might not seem an obvious choice to play Lucille Ball, Debra Messing seems even less so to me. 

I think it probably has to do with the Will and Grace tribute to Lucy. Messing was spot on perfect. She might not be first choice to play Lucille Ball, but she’s a perfect Lucy Ricardo. 

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I can't believe Lucie Luckenbill is part of this. Why? Lucy & Desi's story is already well documented. I think anyone with half a brain can understand the tragedy of their marriage/success of their business. What else could it possibly add except sordid details no one needs to see - just a lazy cash grab.

Although I do think Kidman will be an excellent Lucy-one of the things that was surprising about comedian Lucy was her incredible beauty. That, and Kidman's talent as an actress bode well for the performance. A good performance in a story that has already been told well.

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49 minutes ago, TikiSoo said:

I can't believe Lucie Luckenbill is part of this. Why? Lucy & Desi's story is already well documented. I think anyone with half a brain can understand the tragedy of their marriage/success of their business. What else could it possibly add except sordid details no one needs to see - just a lazy cash grab.

Although I do think Kidman will be an excellent Lucy-one of the things that was surprising about comedian Lucy was her incredible beauty. That, and Kidman's talent as an actress bode well for the performance. A good performance in a story that has already been told well.

I find their daughter's involvement in this a bit odd, too. For years, she "lived the myth" and now she's making statements indicating that her childhood was difficult and her parents didn't have much time for she and her brother.  If Aaron Sorkin is truly the writer/producer, this is a legitimate project.  Perhaps Lucie is using her famous parents to get herself in the limelight for a moment.

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20 hours ago, Janet0312 said:

It doesn't sound flattering a'tall.  I've read that Desi was a womanizer, but Lucy also had her affairs, one of which was with George Sanders. Just speculation, mind you. Only what I've read.  I prefer to remember the couple as bringing many, many years of laughter to my life. As a matter of fact, I was just thinking about how much comedic brilliance Desi brought to the show in his own right.  Take a look at The Handcuffs, where Lucy & Desi are cuffed together. He has to get to a television program. Cuffed to Lucy, she uses her hands as mannerisms while Desi sings. Watch Desi's facial expressions. He is hilarious! Not to mention how they try to get undressed and to bed! 

desi arnaz has never gotten the credit he deserves as a pioneer of american television. he invented a key camera angle and movement that would be used in scores of sitcoms in the decades to follow. he was the I in I Love Lucy. 

as far as his womanizing that is quite true but that kind of extramarital fooling around was a normal state of affairs in his home country of Cuba. he was also a veteran of the armed forces.

Desi Arnaz (1917-1986) - Find A Grave Memorial

May be an image of 1 person, outerwear and text that says 'GOOD THINGS DO NOT COME EASY. THE ROAD IS LINED WITH PITFALLS. Desi Arnaz, U.S. Army and WWII Veteran #WEDNESDAY Wisdom'

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As a major Lucille Ball/Desi Arnaz/I Love Lucy fan, I do not think I will be watching this.   I've read both of Lucy and Desi's respective autobiographies, and have heard about the problems in their marriage.  I don't need to see a dramatization of their tumultuous relationship.

I'll just binge-watch I Love Lucy instead.

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17 hours ago, lydecker said:

Years ago I read an article about Lucy & Desi's relationship.  It said that Lucy had been told by virtually everyone in Hollywood that there was no way Desi would ever remain faithful to her, married or not.  She married him anyway and then was livid that he was constantly cheating on her.  About Lucy being a tough customer . . . she sure didn't have much good to say about any of the studios or films she worked on/at that I ever read.  As for Desi, while he may not have been great husband material, the man was a genius producer and "I Love Lucy" (still being shown in syndication all these years later) is a testament to his talent.

I agree.

 

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4 hours ago, speedracer5 said:

As a major Lucille Ball/Desi Arnaz/I Love Lucy fan, I do not think I will be watching this.   I've read both of Lucy and Desi's respective autobiographies, and have heard about the problems in their marriage.  I don't need to see a dramatization of their tumultuous relationship.

I'll just binge-watch I Love Lucy instead.

Which of the Lucy/Desi books (including the one about Desilu) did you enjoy the most?  I am always really leery of film star bios because so many of them are poorly written and mostly are rehashes of the stuff everybody already knows.  The good ones are worth their weight in gold.

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4 hours ago, lydecker said:

Which of the Lucy/Desi books (including the one about Desilu) did you enjoy the most?  I am always really leery of film star bios because so many of them are poorly written and mostly are rehashes of the stuff everybody already knows.  The good ones are worth their weight in gold.

I discovered I Love Lucy in the sixth grade.  My family also went to the library at least once a month (on Sundays) for pretty much my entire childhood.  I started checking out books about I Love Lucy and Lucille Ball.  I read every single book about I Love Lucy, Lucille Ball, Desi Arnaz, and everything I Love Lucy-adjacent that I could find.

Lucy's autobiography, Love Lucy is excellent.  It follows her life from birth until the beginning years of The Lucy Show.  Apparently she'd started writing it and for whatever reason, put it down and didn't go back to it.  After Lucy passed, her daughter was going through her estate and found this manuscript stashed away somewhere in Lucy's office. 

Desi's autobiography, A Book, is fantastic.  It's even better than Lucy's.  Desi Arnaz and Errol Flynn have hands down the best celebrity autobiographies I've ever read.  Unfortunately, unlike Lucy's (and Errol's), Desi's book only had one printing, back in 1976.  This makes his book extremely hard to find.  I have a copy that I found in a used bookstore in downtown Salem, OR (my hometown).  I found it back in the mid-90s in middle school.  It was $5 and I got my parents to buy it for me.  I'm so happy I got it, because I have literally never seen another copy.   Thankfully, it is on Audible now, with a pretty good narrator.  I made my husband listen to it.  Lol. 

As for biographies, the Desilu book by Coyne S. Sanders is good.  I also liked Warren Harris' book about Lucy and Desi called Lucy & Desi: The Legendary Love Story of Television's Most Famous Couple.  I remember my library only having the Large Print version available, so that took some getting used to and made the book so long! Kathleen Brady's book, Lucille: The Life of Lucille Ball was pretty good.  I recall it being very accurate and interesting.  I haven't read it for a long time though. 

I loved Bart Andrews' very comprehensive book about I Love Lucy.  It is aptly titled "The I Love Lucy Book."  Loving Lucy by Andrews is another good book and it's full of a lot of photos.  It's similar in the vein of all those film books like "The Films of Bette Davis" or something with just photos and lots of information.  Another good I Love Lucy book is I Love Lucy: The Complete Picture History by Michael McClay.  That is a beautiful coffee table book. Laughs, Luck and Lucy: How I Came to Create the Most Popular Sitcom of All Time by I Love Lucy's head writer and executive producer Jess Oppenheimer is interesting.  There's also a book by the main I Love Lucy writers, Madelyn Pugh and Bob Carroll Jr. that is interesting. 

There's a great one about Vivian Vance called The Other Side of Ethel Mertz and another one about William Frawley and Vance called Meet the Mertzes

I hated Stefan Kanfer's Ball of Fire.  That was a terrible book, full of misinformation, even on the most basic of I Love Lucy and Lucille Ball knowledge.  There's also a terrible Charles Higham biography about Lucy.  I avoid his books like the plague. 

I just realized that I don't own the Vivian Vance book nor do I own the Mertzes one.  I thought I had them.  I also just discovered that there was a beautiful picture book of Lucy and Desi's 1956 visit to Lucy's hometown in Jamestown, NY that was released in 2018, called Lucy Comes Home.  I don't know how I didn't know about this, but now I need to have it to add to my collection.  I also realized that I don't have Brady's biography either.  My Lucy collection has some holes in it!

This is as good a place as any to post these photos:

zdO4Co3l.jpgdSl8nlpl.jpg

These are all the Lucy books that I have in my collection so far, all of them are good.

NAUMBoWl.jpg

This is my I Love Lucy doll collection.

XRbTxxQl.jpg

This is my Lucille Ball/I Love Lucy movie/TV collection.

 

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54 minutes ago, speedracer5 said:

I discovered I Love Lucy in the sixth grade.  My family also went to the library at least once a month (on Sundays) for pretty much my entire childhood.  I started checking out books about I Love Lucy and Lucille Ball.  I read every single book about I Love Lucy, Lucille Ball, Desi Arnaz, and everything I Love Lucy-adjacent that I could find.

Lucy's autobiography, Love Lucy is excellent.  It follows her life from birth until the beginning years of The Lucy Show.  Apparently she'd started writing it and for whatever reason, put it down and didn't go back to it.  After Lucy passed, her daughter was going through her estate and found this manuscript stashed away somewhere in Lucy's office. 

Desi's autobiography, A Book, is fantastic.  It's even better than Lucy's.  Desi Arnaz and Errol Flynn have hands down the best celebrity autobiographies I've ever read.  Unfortunately, unlike Lucy's (and Errol's), Desi's book only had one printing, back in 1976.  This makes his book extremely hard to find.  I have a copy that I found in a used bookstore in downtown Salem, OR (my hometown).  I found it back in the mid-90s in middle school.  It was $5 and I got my parents to buy it for me.  I'm so happy I got it, because I have literally never seen another copy.   Thankfully, it is on Audible now, with a pretty good narrator.  I made my husband listen to it.  Lol. 

As for biographies, the Desilu book by Coyne S. Sanders is good.  I also liked Warren Harris' book about Lucy and Desi called Lucy & Desi: The Legendary Love Story of Television's Most Famous Couple.  I remember my library only having the Large Print version available, so that took some getting used to and made the book so long! Kathleen Brady's book, Lucille: The Life of Lucille Ball was pretty good.  I recall it being very accurate and interesting.  I haven't read it for a long time though. 

I loved Bart Andrews' very comprehensive book about I Love Lucy.  It is aptly titled "The I Love Lucy Book."  Loving Lucy by Andrews is another good book and it's full of a lot of photos.  It's similar in the vein of all those film books like "The Films of Bette Davis" or something with just photos and lots of information.  Another good I Love Lucy book is I Love Lucy: The Complete Picture History by Michael McClay.  That is a beautiful coffee table book. Laughs, Luck and Lucy: How I Came to Create the Most Popular Sitcom of All Time by I Love Lucy's head writer and executive producer Jess Oppenheimer is interesting.  There's also a book by the main I Love Lucy writers, Madelyn Pugh and Bob Carroll Jr. that is interesting. 

There's a great one about Vivian Vance called The Other Side of Ethel Mertz and another one about William Frawley and Vance called Meet the Mertzes

I hated Stefan Kanfer's Ball of Fire.  That was a terrible book, full of misinformation, even on the most basic of I Love Lucy and Lucille Ball knowledge.  There's also a terrible Charles Higham biography about Lucy.  I avoid his books like the plague. 

I just realized that I don't own the Vivian Vance book nor do I own the Mertzes one.  I thought I had them.  I also just discovered that there was a beautiful picture book of Lucy and Desi's 1956 visit to Lucy's hometown in Jamestown, NY that was released in 2018, called Lucy Comes Home.  I don't know how I didn't know about this, but now I need to have it to add to my collection.  I also realized that I don't have Brady's biography either.  My Lucy collection has some holes in it!

This is as good a place as any to post these photos:

zdO4Co3l.jpgdSl8nlpl.jpg

These are all the Lucy books that I have in my collection so far, all of them are good.

NAUMBoWl.jpg

This is my I Love Lucy doll collection.

XRbTxxQl.jpg

This is my Lucille Ball/I Love Lucy movie/TV collection.

 

Ah, it's great to have holes in any collection because that means you still have things to find!  I noticed that you have Beauty for the Asking.  I had no idea that was on DVD.  Got to get it.  And, now I am inspired to find that Desi Arnaz bio.  Sounds like a great read.  Thanks for the reviews on Lucy/Desi books good and bad.

 

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18 minutes ago, lydecker said:

Ah, it's great to have holes in any collection because that means you still have things to find!  I noticed that you have Beauty for the Asking.  I had no idea that was on DVD.  Got to get it.  And, now I am inspired to find that Desi Arnaz bio.  Sounds like a great read.  Thanks for the reviews on Lucy/Desi books good and bad.

 

Desi went on the traditional book promo/talk show circuit when his book came out.  I remember seeing him on The Tonight Show.  It was memorable for a couple of reasons.  One was Desi, Bob Hope, Robert Blake and Don Rickles were all on the show that night.  Also, Johnny Carson was wearing an outfit that looked like he stole it from Liberace's cowboy collection.  He was doing a bit because "Rhinestone Cowboy" was popular at the time.

This was the same time (winter/early spring 1976) that Arnaz appeared on Saturday Night Live.

 

 

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23 minutes ago, lydecker said:

Ah, it's great to have holes in any collection because that means you still have things to find!  I noticed that you have Beauty for the Asking.  I had no idea that was on DVD.  Got to get it.  And, now I am inspired to find that Desi Arnaz bio.  Sounds like a great read.  Thanks for the reviews on Lucy/Desi books good and bad.

Yes! Beauty for the Asking just came out on Warner Archive a few years ago.  I was so excited when I learned that they were adding it to the collection.  

The Desi Arnaz autobiography is fantastic.  I think Desi had help with the actual writing of the book, but he and his ghostwriter did an excellent job.  You can hear Desi's voice when reading the book.  I covers his life from birth through his divorce from Lucy.   He was planning on writing a sequel, but sadly passed away before doing so.  Honestly, Desi Arnaz' book is the crown jewel of my collection due to how hard it is to find. 

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3 minutes ago, txfilmfan said:

Desi went on the traditional book promo/talk show circuit when his book came out.  I remember seeing him on The Tonight Show.  It was memorable for a couple of reasons.  One was Desi, Bob Hope, Robert Blake and Don Rickles were all on the show that night.  Also, Johnny Carson was wearing an outfit that looked like he stole it from Liberace's cowboy collection.  He was doing a bit because "Rhinestone Cowboy" was popular at the time.

This was the same time (winter/early spring 1976) that Arnaz appeared on Saturday Night Live.

I've watched this interview before.  It was a great interview and Johnny's rhinestone suit is hilarious.  There's another excellent interview from the early 80s and Desi appears on David Letterman.  I don't think Desi is promoting anything, it's more of a "This man is a legend, lets invite him onto the show" and you can tell that Letterman is in complete awe of him.  Desi even sings at the end of this show. 

 

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This is one of my favorite Desi Arnaz videos on You Tube.  He appears as the guest on "What's My Line?" and disguises his voice with a variety of accents.

 

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11 hours ago, txfilmfan said:

Desi went on the traditional book promo/talk show circuit when his book came out.  I remember seeing him on The Tonight Show.  It was memorable for a couple of reasons.  One was Desi, Bob Hope, Robert Blake and Don Rickles were all on the show that night.  Also, Johnny Carson was wearing an outfit that looked like he stole it from Liberace's cowboy collection.  He was doing a bit because "Rhinestone Cowboy" was popular at the time.

This was the same time (winter/early spring 1976) that Arnaz appeared on Saturday Night Live.

 

 

What a treasure this clip is!!  Thanks.

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12 hours ago, txfilmfan said:

Desi went on the traditional book promo/talk show circuit when his book came out.  I remember seeing him on The Tonight Show.  It was memorable for a couple of reasons.  One was Desi, Bob Hope, Robert Blake and Don Rickles were all on the show that night.  Also, Johnny Carson was wearing an outfit that looked like he stole it from Liberace's cowboy collection.  He was doing a bit because "Rhinestone Cowboy" was popular at the time.

This was the same time (winter/early spring 1976) that Arnaz appeared on Saturday Night Live.

 

I remember that SNL appearance.  I tried to find a clip of Desi reading Lewis Carroll's poem "Jabberwocky"  on one of their recurring "Poetry Corner" skits.  Hilarious.

In an interview on local movie host 's BILL KENNEDY's show, Lucy called Desi a "loser". The why of that escapes my memory.  But I think it had to do with him not being able to amaintain or hold onto anything good he achieved.  Like I guess, his marriage to Lucy, his clout with Desilu and the entertainment business in general or what.

But their show does enjoy unprecedented longevity.  My Grandmother liked I LOVE LUCY.  So did my Mother.  And me and my brother.  and MY kids liked it too.  And THEIR friend's kids like it as well.   And we all still do!  ;) 

Sepiatone

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2 hours ago, Sepiatone said:

I remember that SNL appearance.  I tried to find a clip of Desi reading Lewis Carroll's poem "Jabberwocky"  on one of their recurring "Poetry Corner" skits.  Hilarious.

In an interview on local movie host 's BILL KENNEDY's show, Lucy called Desi a "loser". The why of that escapes my memory.  But I think it had to do with him not being able to amaintain or hold onto anything good he achieved.  Like I guess, his marriage to Lucy, his clout with Desilu and the entertainment business in general or what.

But their show does enjoy unprecedented longevity.  My Grandmother liked I LOVE LUCY.  So did my Mother.  And me and my brother.  and MY kids liked it too.  And THEIR friend's kids like it as well.   And we all still do!  ;) 

Sepiatone

I remember that interview where Lucy called Desi a "loser."  There's no other way to put it, she was really a b---- in that interview.  I find it so ironic that she would ever have the nerve to say this since most of her fame and wealth came from Desi's brilliance.  Desi Arnaz a loser?  Not nice and definitely not true.

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15 hours ago, speedracer5 said:

Yes! Beauty for the Asking just came out on Warner Archive a few years ago.  I was so excited when I learned that they were adding it to the collection.  

The Desi Arnaz autobiography is fantastic.  I think Desi had help with the actual writing of the book, but he and his ghostwriter did an excellent job.  You can hear Desi's voice when reading the book.  I covers his life from birth through his divorce from Lucy.   He was planning on writing a sequel, but sadly passed away before doing so.  Honestly, Desi Arnaz' book is the crown jewel of my collection due to how hard it is to find. 

Wow.  You are not kidding about the Desi Arnaz book.  I immediately went to Amazon & eBay to see if I could buy it.  Copies on Amazon going for over $300 and the cheapest copy is $87.  "Crown jewel of your collection" is right!

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