Still in Love with Lucy

by Thomas Watson

Tuesday, October 14, 2008

Dear Fellow Lucyfans,

Happy Birthday to longtime Lucyfan Peter Ennamorato, whose birthday -- tomorrow -- falls on the anniversary of I Love Lucy! Many happy returns to you both!

There's not a lot of Lucy news to report, so I thought we'd attack some of the e-mails that have been stacking up...

From another longtime fan, Skip Koenig, come three questions:

1. "I just re-read Desi's book, noticing how impeccably well written it is. Did he have a ghost writer?"

Yes and no... Desi outlined and wrote much of the book himself, but he was assisted by his one-time brother-in-law and longtime friend Kenny Morgan. Kenny had been married for many years to Lucy's "sister," Cleo, and Kenny worked for Desilu for many years in the Public Relations department.

Madelyn Davis tells some amusing stories about Desi calling her a few times during the months he was working on his book. He'd ask about this incident or that... and neither could remember! They were both too busy living those wonderful moments to actually keep track of all the details!

2. "I didn't understand the Sinatra "Guys and Dolls" two-and-a-half-minute clip on I Love Lucy."

Normally, when the Lucy shows were rehearsed, the cast and crew were able to get a very good idea as to the program's timing. On the few occasions they were wrong, it was because the show ran long -- i.e., wound up running something like 32-33 minutes. This happened because the audience laughter delayed things -- and the film editors (Dann Cahn, Bud Molin, etc.) had to figure out how to make the show fit into a half-hour.

When they filmed "Lucy and the Dummy," in which Lucy Ricardo entertains at an MGM party, something unusual happened -- it ran short by about two-and-a-half-minutes... Rather than write some new bit to squeeze into the completed footage, Jess Oppenheimer and Desi decided it would be logical for a "preview" of a new movie to be included at a studio party... So they called Sam Goldwyn, who'd just finished shooting "Guys and Dolls," and asked to borrow a piece of the film to use as a trailer. Goldwyn sent the film over, Bud Molin cut it into the existing Lucy footage (with a new on-camera intro by actor Lee Millar), and the show timed out perfectly.

Millar, by the way, was the son of character actress Verna Felton of December Bride.

3. "What does Lucy's home on Roxbury Drive look like today? I've heard there have been renovations."

"Renovations" hardly covers it. The house was basically gutted a few years ago and totally rebuilt, inside and out. The new owners retained the old foundation and basic structure, but everything else was -- to use your word -- renovated. The beautiful lawn in the front of the house is now a circular driveway, and there is a short wall around the front yard. Here are "before and after" photos:

Lucy's home in 1989

The home today

Thanks, Skip! Hope these answers are helpful!

Also in our e-mail was word from actor Stanley Livingston (of My Three Sons fame) that he and his friends have finished work on two video projects, "The Actor's Journey" (for Adults), and "The Actor's Journey for Kids." The first is an 8-volume, 10-hour-long DVD series. The kids version is 5-volumes running 5-hours.

The sets are a little pricey, but they are not designed for fans. They are designed for people who want to go into acting as a profession. They are comprised of interviews with professional actors who share with the viewer insights that only a fellow-actor can impart. Think of them as "tips to survival." Acting schools can teach people how to act (well, sometimes), but no one really teaches a novice actor how to survive and make a living at it... These DVDs hope to fill that void.

For more information, visit the project's web site at:

And that's all 'til next time! Have a great week everyone!


Friends of Old Time Radio - October Gathering

Lucie Arnaz and her husband Laurence Luckinbill will be appearing in various events at the 33rd "Friends of Old Time Radio" gathering on Saturday, October 25, 2008, at the Newark Airport Holiday Inn, Newark, NJ.

On Saturday afternoon at 3:15 p.m., Lucie will participate in the "Singers and Musicians" panel, and will perform a song from "They're Playing Our Song," accompanied on the piano by Brian Gari, the grandson of Eddie Cantor.

Then at 5:00 p.m., Gregg Oppenheimer will direct Larry and Lucie in a re-creation of a hilarious episode of "The Bickersons".

After the Saturday dinner banquet, Gregg will direct Larry and Lucie in another radio re-creation: "X Minus One: Mars Is Heaven," based on Ray Bradbury's "The Martian Chronicles," co-starring Harold Gould (of TV's "Rhoda"), Shirley ("Marion Strong") Mitchell, Arthur Anderson (one of the original players in Orson Welles' "Mercury Theatre on the Air" and the voice of the "Lucky Charms" leprechaun), and actor Will Hutchins (of TV's "Sugarfoot"). Keir Dullea and Gil Stratton, originally announced for this production, have had to cancel.

More information and a complete schedule can be found at:

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