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LUCY on "Summer Under Stars" Not as yet deserved


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(*-Indicates AMPAS win) First of all I know i am skating on ultra thin ice-(in saying anything negative about 1 of the most beloved stars ever: Lucille Ball-(1911-89) However, I felt compelled on her day to say something about this lil' injustice-(N0 BIGGIE OF COURSE) & check out title-(Not as Yet?) I know Lucy is/was amazingly talented,etc However, she hit her high-note in tv & by no-means in cinema!? Had it not been for that little box folks watched with her & Desi-("I Love Lucy," of course-TRIVIA: For those of whom didn't know this 1. She purchased RKO Radio from H. Hughes & filmed that series' there) 1stly, the Studios' didn't know what to do with her, especially at 1st-(she was taller than most of the leading men of her cinema era. Ironically, she started at same "Dream Factory" RKO>"Stage Door" & others. & she also had to go a couple blocks north to do a short with: "The 3 Stooges") The Movie-Moguls were at a stand-still in what to do with Lucy, at that time anyway-(very few big-flix, if you check) So, personally I don't believe it was fair-(maybe next yr. or the year after. That is if TCM still has it's "Summer Under the Stars," then? I certainly hope so. In the meantime, they've really "snubbed," some true "Motion Picture Stars," in favor of Mrs. Ball? What about "The Great 0ne: Jackie Gleason"-(to my mind, he's "Mr. TV!" But, Jackie has not done a lotta' theatrical stuff-(although & unlike Lucy. He was nominated for the OSCAR "The Hustler" & deserved a 2nd shot for '86's "Nothing in Common")-(NOTE: To anyone, whom else has seen the latter?) Jack Benny is another example. "Mr. Radio" & TV, over his big screen work. Another is: *George Burns-(& he won the OSCAR!) TV was his main forte though. I just logged-in on the awful tearing-down of "Kong," at Universal. It has a "Lucy museum," or it did anyhow!? & the heavyweights that they ignored in favor of Lucille Ball-(this yr.)-(Most have also complained of repeating sev. *Bogey, *Davis, *"The Duke" & not repeating *Spence!) However, I was wondering what day in August is devoted to>W.C. Fields/B. Keaton/ Laurel & Hardy/ Mae West-(if she's on this mo. straighten me out!)/ *Muni/ *Wallace Beery-(now, this guy made tons of flix, back into silent era!)/ John Garfield/ Flynn-(P.S. not 1 of my favs. but always a leading contender in popularity contest's. Like the ongoing: "Motion Pic. Hall-of-Fame!"/ Lon Chaney, Sr./ *A. Quinn/ Mickey Rooney-(strangely, the lil' guy is always shoved under the carpet of sorts? & he lead annual B.O. 1939, 40 & 1941/ Shirley Temple-(though I am not a fan, this little girl also lead Box-0ffice: 1935, 36, 37 & 1938/ & this is a powerful, respected, yet understated actor-(sound fimiliar?) But, has never really been thought of as a true "Movie Star!" If you know what I mean? 2 time winner: *Fredric March???/ This 1 I am not sure if they included this mo.-(I should have checked on her? It's a crime if she's not though: 3 time OSCAR winner: *Ingrid Bergman/ & Where is: *Bing? Or even & I know it sounds silly, but Jerry Lewis has definately made his mark & in cinema!! Anyway, just something to think about & or vent,etc On the whole TCM has still done superbly!-(I just worry it won't have this again & these will be slighted?)

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I have to agree with this assessment of Lucy, even though there are no doubts that she was a brilliant comedic talent and one of show biz's most beloved icons. And obviously, "beloved" definitely comes into play in scheduling Lucy for Summer under the Stars. I can't think of any other person in the biz who is so loved by women in particular. Now I hate to make generalizations like this, but I've found that every woman I've met who is an ardent Lucy has never seen, or wanted to see, the silent comics Chaplin, Keaton and Lloyd, or even the older TV work of Jack Benny and Ernie Kovacs. I sometimes mention to them, "You know, Chaplin did that gag many years earlier than Lucy." They'll just answer, "Oh, I've never watched him," in a blase manner (meaning that they have no interest in ever viewing the movie I've just mentioned to them). Most of them never watch TCM either, and never mention the great Jackie Gleason, in spite of their high familiarity with him. They're just happy to go on believing that Lucy is the first and last word in comedy. It's very perplexing to me, but while I don't feel that Lucy deserves a block feature on TCM just yet, I can't complain too much. TCM has already done a great job in presenting Chaplin, Keaton and Lloyd, and perhaps in time more comedy legends will be featured (like Laurel & Hardy, Fatty Arbuckle, Max Linder or maybe even some early Douglas Fairbanks Sr). Hopefully TCM can keep gaining new viewers, so that more can appreciate the history of film/TV comedy and gain a broader perspective.

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Duck, Orson! You're likely to have your assertions about women who like Lucy to be hurled back at you. I like, yet do not really love Lucille Ball. I especially like smaller movies that she appeared in such as The Dark Corner and The Big Street. She's talented, and some of her stuff on tv did make me laugh.

 

Yet, clearly alot of her shtick was learned from the classic comedians who were her mentors. Of her contemporaries, I've always found that Fred Allen(whose film and tv career was limited), and Jack Benny were much funnier. I guess I see your interesting point, but have some qualms about your generalization about women who love Lucy.

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I agree, moria, I liked those particular movies very much.

 

orson, I hope you don't know a LOT of women like that! They're missing out on a lot, when it comes to movies and television.

 

I never found Lucy to be as sympathetic as Ralph Kramden, or as brilliant as Kovacs.

 

Where I did admire her was in her business sense. She and Desi (another very smart business person) saw a niche and filled it. She could indeed have been a notable 'noir dame' like Lizabeth Scott or Gloria Grahame, but chose to move out and up. All the same, her palpable personal chill came across in her television series, and all accounts seem to indicate she wasn't a very good mother either.

 

I may have 'liked' Lucy, but I never 'loved' her.

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Yes, unfortunately, MOST women I've met feel that way about Lucy. But they're not serious movie lovers, like those who frequent these boards and watch TCM. They've grown up on sitcom humor and view the comedy genre as strictly an exchange of sarcasm and one-liners. The thought of male comedians raises fears in them of "lowly" slapstick, even though most such critics have never viewed these comedians to think otherwise. They refuse to understand that physical comedy actually requires a higher intellect and level of creativity than verbal humor does (Kovacs, in particular, while arguably the zaniest of comics, was actually one of the field's brainiest). So, I hope I didn't create any misunderstandings. Lucy, as far as I've seen personally, attracts many female devotees who are raised on sitcoms, as opposed to women (and men) who especially love classic films -- a breed of fans who prefer to continually seek and discover.

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Good post, orson. I *am* curious about the ages of these women, but I guess it's not polite to ask.

 

Interesting, because I was raised on television, mindnumbingly unreal television, like 'Ozzie and Harriet' and 'The Donna Reed Show'. I know these shows were far better than the drek passing for sitcoms today, but I still missed out on the 'Show of Shows' and Fred Allen. I watched every 'I Love Lucy' and 'Abbott and Costello'.

 

However, I think it has more to do with internal rather than external factors. My parents didn't spend any time encouraging me to appreciate classic movies, and I could count on one hand the number of times we went to the cinema. But we did watch 'The Million Dollar Movie' and 'The Late Late Show' (oh those themes), and they still have their favorites today. My father talked about Theda Bara and Pola Negri as actresses he liked.

 

Eventually, I got myself to foreign films, and revelled in all the classic films that PBS started showing when they became a channel. But you are correct, the classic movie fan is a breed apart. Long winded post, I know, but I just wanted to opine on the fact that those raised on television and classic movie lovers are not mutually exclusive beings.

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Frankly I believe Lucille Ball deserved a day under the stars more so than a few others that are featured this month whose names I won't mention.

I do feel that some of the selection of her movies that were shown were not to her full advantage though.

I wish TCM would have had the rights to show "The Fuller Brush Girl" which is hilarious, "The Big Street" good dramatic turn, "Stage Door", "Room Service", "Five Came Back", "Lured", "Miss Grant Takes Richmond" and "Fancy Pants" with Bob Hope.

She certainly paid her dues in Hollywood and eventually proved to be one of our finest comediennes.

And yes...I do love Lucy too.

 

Mongo

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I like the fact she was given a day. Yes she is not movie superstar but she was a star. The big legends get air play several times throughout the year. It's nice to have others have a day. A day to a character actor like Thomas Mitchell and the such would be great.

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I understand the point that some of you have made in saying that Lucille Ball is not quite deserving, but please remember that she is a National Icon, and one of the biggest figures in the history of Pop Culture - therefore she's going to be chosen over other stars to have a day.

 

And as someone else mentioned - after seeing so much of her T.V. work, it's refreshing to see a day of her films, and see the work that she did before and after "I Love Lucy." It's not everyday that we get to see her films, and TCM should be commended for playing them, and offering us a different perspective on her career.

 

And consider this - if she had never done T.V., she probably would've continued to make movies and would've perhaps become an even bigger MOVIE star, since she was already pretty big when she signed on to do a T.V. show. In fact, many of her peers in the movie business gave her flack for doing T.V. because MOVIE stars didn't do it back then - it was considered selling out. But she was smart enough to see its potential, and wound up making the best decision of her life.

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I must really be "Movie Crazy!" Most that know where I reside. Also are quite aware that a rather large Hurricane is scheduled-(& man, I hope as usual, Florida weatherguys are incorrect, once again!) to make a direct hit on my area-(it's presently at #3) Anyway, I felt compelled to reply to some as usual anyway. 1stly, to Mongo, I see your point-(as usual, you & I seem to be agreeing more than we used to)-(P.S. I know it's cited anyway, but he also lives in this state. But, he's out of harm's way with this storm) & to orson4ever, I have a superb "60 minutes" interview with: Jackie Gleason! Shortly before he went. He said it was *Orson Welles whom first started calling him "The Great 0ne!" & then Lucy picked it up!-(NOTE: I have the orig. recording of his '38 "War of the Worlds," & I wish someone would verify this 1 way or the other. His daughter Julie Garfield didn't touch on it, when she was on TCM-(on it's last quarter, it sounds identical to John Garfield! He played the last man alive. Strangely, nobody has ever, ever, mentioned this? It's been clerified it's not him in '33's "Footlight P") That is another comedic team that TCM rarely shows-(I know they just had a lil' special on them, but it was rare? "Abbott & Costello" They were champs of the B.O. for 1942 as well-(though, I've always liked "3 Stooges,' more. Plus, "A & C," stole a lot from the latter. Bud Abbott, was the finest straightman of all-time too!-(& the man was epileptic & alcoholic) & how about: Betty Hutton-(my per. fav. of all "Pvt. Screenings!"-(when they found this long gone lady)I'm sitting here at my desk & among the many pictures on the wall. 1 is of M-G-M's 20th Anniversary. Lucille Ball, is actually sitting next to Hedy Lamarr, *Kate Hepburn, *J. Stewart-(in his military uniform) & L.B. Mayer! & someone I completely forget. & apparently TCM did as well-(it's ok & typically-(sad) for her. It's difficult to find great books on her too-(even while in Tinsel-Town itself?)& I feel particularly ASHAMED for forgetting this LADY!!!

What happened to: Natalie Wood???)

Thank You

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Mongo-I'm pretty sure I've seen Five Came Back on TCM I guess they decided not to include it during these 24 hours that they dedicated to Lucille Ball. I think Lucy deserves her day she was in so many movies which I was surprised to learn about{her movie career} since all I knew about her was I Love Lucy. Of course it has been several years now that I've known about Lucy's work in movies and I like the movie work better than the TV work. I will always consider the funny of I Love Lucy in Ricky's ,Fred's, and Ethel's hands. In the movies we get just Lucille's performances I mean she's more believable to me,more funny when it is suppose to be funny and touching when it's suppose to be dramatic. My favorite Lucille Ball movie is Yours,Mine and Ours. I caught it {on vacation mind you} during the time they moved into the house. I love that movie.

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