Lucille Ball is my favorite actress, my favorite famous person, one of my most favorite of human beings. I never personally knew her (though I feel like I do), but she - and for that matter, all of Classic Hollywood - has touched my life in more ways than I could possibly say. She’s my queen, she’s my Lucy. ♥
I love her because was the funniest human being that has ever existed. Some people say she couldn’t be funny without a script. And because of her modesty, she would always attest to this, crediting her writers for everything she was. But I think in real life, she was absolutely witty and charming. I love her that despite the fact she could do physical comedy and satire like the men, she still kept her femininity. And no matter what kind of a crazy outfit she had on, she was always beautiful - with her humungous blue eyes, her knockout legs, and her red hair that suited her better than any color… even if it wasn’t natural. She defies the stereotype that women comics are unattractive and undesirable. And she was smart and shrewd. It was Desi who handled the business at first, but credit to her should be given for being in solely charge of Desilu once Desi opted out. Thus making her the first woman to completely own and run a production studio by herself. She never gave up. She had patience and perseverance - and she believed in hard work. I think it was because of these virtues she still held onto hope during her Hollywood B Movie Days, and she did eventually become a star: one of the biggest stars in the galaxy. She was loyal, extremely loyal. She had the same housekeepers, chauffeurs, hairdressers, writers, directors, etc. for years - she formed relationships with people that lasted for life. Some people say she was difficult to work with. I think a better way to put it is was that she had a high standard, and was a perfectionist. But if you pleased her, she would love you a lot, and she’d stick by you come hell or high water. Then there is her marriage to Desi Arnaz. Tumultuous, passionate, loud, romantic, painful. Despite the fact that their relationship ended in divorce, I will always love them as a couple, and their love story is incredible. I don’t think I’ve seen anything like it. These are just a handful of reasons I love her. There are small things. And there are large things. But they all accumulate up to one fabulous, lovely lady. I’ll make no bones about the fact that I’d defend her to the death.
Here is some Lucy FAQ that may help you out before you want to drop something into my ask box (but seriously, though, as long as you’re polite and we keep it on the subject of Lucy, mostly, I have no issues with what you may leave in there! :D), or if you want to get into Lucy and don’t know where to begin.
What’s your favorite I Love Lucy episode? What do you recommend watching?
I couldn’t really pick one. It is my favorite TV show after all, and I’m a pretty indecisive person. The first episode I saw was Return Home to Europe, which made me laugh until my sides hurt and after that every day I’d come home from school and watch Lucy. For that reason, I have a sentimental attachment to that episode. However, The Girls Want to Go to a Nightclub is crazy hilarious. But I might have to go with, if I really had to choose, Lucy is Enciente, because it was beautiful. And I don’t care how you want to rank them, the last scene in it is the most precious moment in TV history. Watch them all, really, you’ll come to find your personal favorite moments, everyone does! But the ones I mentioned are, I suppose, starting places. They’re all incredible.
What’s your favorite Lucy movie?
The thing you have to bear in mind is that though Lucy made over 100 movies, most of these were films from her B movie career in the 30s and 40s. And most of them weren’t very good for that reason. (But Lucy was always fantastic, and in my quest to see her entire filmography - I’m not kidding - I’m going to make it through all these B pictures as they become available.) However, Yours Mine and Ours (1968) is one of my favorites, so is The Long Long Trailer (1953). The Facts of Life (1961) is cute, and Too Many Girls (1940) should be watched for the scene where Desi faints in ecstasy from seeing Lucy (they fell in love on the set of this movie, though they don’t play lovers on screen). Also, The Big Street (1942) is a pretty bad movie but her performance in that makes it worthwhile.
What’s your opinion on Desilu?
As I mentioned up there, it’s one of the reasons I love her. I feel that people shouldn’t make judgments about their marriage before they really have researched about it. There are two kinds of misconceptions about Desilu: the first is that Lucy & Desi were just like Lucy & Ricky, the epitome of the American Dream family, with separate beds and smiling faces. The second is that Desi was a wife beater who treated Lucy like hell. The real Desilu were a couple that was passionately in love, but could never find stability in their relationship. They were always on two ends of the spectrum: madly amorous to one another or arguing like there was no tomorrow. Desi put it best when he said, “We’d either make love like mad or fight like hell.” Lasting relationships require stability, it’s just a fact. Their love story is incredible to read about, though. So much passion; it’s what tore them apart. Desi was NEVER a wife beater. There was some physical affliction, but no more than the norm for fighting couples: perhaps throwing things, glass shattering, apparently Lucy tried to ‘shoot’ Desi with a dueling pistol cigarette lighter the day they discussed divorce… but Desi never inappropriately physically abused her, I don’t think she would’ve stood for it. I don’t know where that rumor began because I have NEVER read it in a Lucy book or seen it in a documentary. He did hurt her with his philandering and drinking. To him, at the time, it seemed like no big deal because his dad and grandad had done it - not an excuse, but an explanation - however, later on, I think he felt guilty about it. The bottom line is that they definitely loved each other until the end. They were not perfect, they were not Lucy and Ricky, they cheated on each other, etc. but their love was just amazingly powerful (for, otherwise, how else could they have stuck together for 20 years?) and that’s why I adore them.
How do you feel about Desi Arnaz?
Brilliant man but with many destructive faults. Never gets enough credit - he contributed plenty to how television evolved and how the sitcom is made today. His reputation has become scarred in the past years as more details have surfaced about the Arnaz marriage, and it bothers me to no end. I think people forget how much he loved her. He hurt her, yes, but he also loved her very much and did till he died.
How do you feel about Gary Morton?
I have mixed feelings about him. But the first thing I should say is that he made Lucy happy for the last decades of her life and gave her the stability that she needed (and was so lacking when she was with Desi). For that, I will always appreciate/respect him. That being said, I get more of a companionship feel from their marriage and I doubt they had the passionate love she’d had with Desi. (Which makes sense, because I do think she was a one man woman & Desi was the it for it her.) Also, I’m not a fan of some of the business decisions he made for her later on, and how he seemingly forced her into doing Life with Lucy. That bothers me. I have also heard stories of how he cut her off from some of her friends, and how the day after her funeral he was rearranging the furniture in the house because it was “his” house now. So I don’t know. But if he made her happy, then that’s okay with me.
How do you feel about her children?
Of course, I like them. They have been wonderful to their parents’ memories, Lucie particularly. They’ve never pulled a Christina Crawford and have always kept their parents’ respect. Lucie’s home movie documentary is FANTASTIC - by far the best video I’ve seen about her parents - and if it weren’t for her auction in 2011, I wouldn’t have Lucy’s signature (on a banking account card from the 1950s). So I will always be grateful to her because of that.