Still in Love with Lucy

by Thomas Watson

Monday, September 24, 2012

Dear Fellow Lucyfans,

I Remember Emmy

Congratulations to the all the winners at last night’s Emmy Awards!

Speaking of the Emmys, I wanted to remind readers that included in the upcoming DVD release of THE LUCY SHOW: THE SIXTH & FINAL SEASON is a clip of Lucille Ball accepting her fourth golden statuette at the 1968 Emmy ceremony. (See photo, above, with fellow-winners, Bill Cosby and Don Adams.) The set is due out on Tuesday, October 9th. For complete details, see my newsletter of September 10.

Yesterday, longtime Lucyfan Michael Stern posted a question on Facebook – asking readers for their favorite Emmy memories…

I guess one of mine has to be the night of the 36th annual awards – which also happened to be held on September 23rd – back in 1984, 28 years ago! The Awards that year were held over in Pasadena at the Civic Auditorium. Tom Selleck, at the height of his Magnum, PI fame, was the host.

That night my partner, Richard Brock, and I were working backstage as bodyguards/gophers for a couple of the stars… I was assigned to Lucy, and Richard was assigned to Bob Hope.

Mr. Hope arrived just before show time, and having just completed a weekend of appearances elsewhere, had not had a chance to review (let alone memorize) his speech. He asked Richard to stand guard while he himself went outback, in a passageway back of the auditorium, and reviewed his speech. When it was time for him to go on stage, of course, his performance was flawless.

Lucy put the backstage production personnel into a bit of a dither. It had been a rather warm afternoon (as usual) in Southern California, so Lucy decided at the last minute to dress backstage rather than at home. Unfortunately, no dressing room had been set aside for her, so Tom Selleck graciously let Lucy use his dressing room while he rehearsed.

Lucy’s assignment that night was to introduce the second batch of inductees into the then new TV Academy Hall of Fame. (She had been one of the first inductees the previous spring.)

The Emmy producers assumed Lucy (and husband Gary) would sit out front in the audience until it was time for her to make her announcements. No, not Lucy. She wanted to “hang out” backstage in the “green room,” and visit with some of her celebrity pals. I will never forget watching her there, “holding court” as one celeb after another came in to say hello. (She was thrilled when her buddy John Ritter won as Outstanding Lead Actor in a Comedy Series for his work on the just-ending Three's Company.)

The evening had only one boo-boo… Among the industry leaders being inducted into the Hall of Fame that year was the founder of Hallmark Cards, longtime sponsor of the Hallmark Hall of Fame, Joyce C. Hall. No one had clued Lucy in to the fact that Joyce was a male… and Lucy, in her speech, referred to him as a her. Oops!

As soon as Lucy had finished her presentation, she and Gary made a beeline for the exit. I'd arranged to have their limo waiting just outside the stage door. Entertainment Tonight and the other news media were clamoring for an interview, but Lucy just waved goodbye. The Lady had had her fun -- now she and Gary were off to Matteo's (a favorite restaurant) and an early night.

So that was one of my favorite Emmy momories, Michael…

Thanks for asking.

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