We love Lucy at 100th birthday

Lucille Ball was born a century ago today, long before the medium that made her a household name. Ball was born August 6, 1911 in Jamestown, New York. She died at the age of 77 on April 26, 1989.
And in between, what a life she led. Her mother allowed Ball to pursue show business only as a distraction from a boyfriend who was a known gangster’s son. She was hired and fired by many of the big names on Broadway, including Earl Carroll and Florenz Ziegfeld. In Hollywood, Ball was known as “Queen of the B’s,” for her many small roles in ‘B’ pictures. Still, she persevered.
She eloped with Cuban musician Desi Arnaz after a first marriage ended in divorce, thus setting the stage for “I Love Lucy” and the production company Desilu.
Zany Lucy Ricardo became for many Americans a representation of Lucille Ball. And while Ball certainly had that side to her, she was more brainy than zany. She and Arnaz wisely retained ownership of “I Love Lucy”, and the show has been aired on television – to this day – without ever going off the air. Even after their marriage dissolved, and I Love Lucy ended, the company was responsible for shows such as “Our Miss Brooks”, “The Untouchables”, “Star Trek”, and “Mission: Impossible”. A number of other hits, including “My Three Sons”, “Make Room for Daddy”, “The Dick Van Dyke Show”, “The Andy Griffith Show”, and “I Spy”, were filmed at Desilu Studios.
Ball received numerous honors during her lifetime and after her death, in 1989, after heart surgery.

We love Lucy at 100th birthday
Lucille Ball.

She was the trailblazer with the blazing red hair. She was the performer who, fellow comedienne Joan Rivers said: “opened the door for good-looking women to be funny.” And she was the monstrous talent Post TV critic Tom Shales once dubbed “Television’s biggest star.”
Lucille Ball. Just the name makes you smile.
That’s largely because to several generations, the name is synonymous with Lucy Ricardo, the mischievous ’50s character who summons the reruns of the mind — iconic black-and-white scenes of conveyor-belt chocolates and stomped Italian grapes and massive contraband cheese.
“Speed it up a little!”
For 60 years this October, laughter cooked up by the stunt-loving Lucy has been comfort food for the soul.
Today, to celebrate Lucille Ball’s 100th birthday, Google has cooked up an interactive home-page logo: a vintage TV set that plays seven classic clips from “I Love Lucy.”
In other words – For one of our greatest TV stars ever, Google presents one of its greatest “Doodles” ever.
Where the words “I Love Lucy” typically appear, the heart-enclosed script lettering spells out “Google,” Click “play” and the TV set offers a time-travel tribute.
Lucille Ball’s voice. Just the delivery makes you smile.
Lucy’s centennial is being widely toasted this week. Life magazine unveiled a gallery of previously unpublished Ball photos. The Hollywood Museum is presenting an exhibit that runs till November. And TCM and Hallmark are among the channels scheduled to run marathon Lucy programming.

I grew up watching Lucille Ball on our black and white TV and later came to admire her non comedic acting skills playing femme fatals and other roles in black and white movies. Her one Broadway musical – “Wildcat” showed that, like Angela Lansbury, she excelled in many artistic venues.
The 1950′s, a decade dominated by the likes of Lucy, Milton Berle, Steve Allen, Red Skelton and so many other funny people, constrained performers from engaging in what was then called ‘blue humor.’ In other words, you had to really be funny and not rely on bathroom humor for cheap laughs. In addition, these TV shows were done before live audiences. There was no such thing as a laugh track. If you weren’t funny, you didn’t get laughs and you died on stage.
People identified with Lucy. Though she desperately wanted a career in show business – a joke in itself because she was already a star in real life – she could never make it. Her TV and real life husband, Desi Arnaz – aka Ricky Ricardo, tried to discourage her, but she never gave up. Lucy had a work ethic we could use more of today.
Even in re-runs, her comedy still works – the Vitameta Vegimin supplement, infused with alcohol, made her drunk, but her drunkeness, far from being crude or a turn-off, was hilarious and still makes me laugh. Same with the scene where she is crushing grapes with her feet in an Italian village, and the time when she and neighbor Ethel Mertz were picking candy off a conveyor belt that suddenly speeds up. Lucy starts shoving chocolates down the front of her shirt. I defy anyone not to crack-up, regardless of their age.
It doesn’t seem possible that Lucille Ball would have been 100 years old today. Her preserved work will keep her forever young and forever in the hearts of those of us who grew up with her. Future generations, too, will love Lucy, because she is timeless.

Comments are closed.