Still in Love with Lucy

by Thomas Watson

Tuesday, May 28, 2002

Dear Fellow Lucy Fans,

Happy Birthday, Bob!

Believe it or not, Bob Hope will (God willing) celebrate his 99th birthday tomorrow. "Rapid Robert," as he was often called by the press and by his friend Lucille Ball, was born May 29, 1903, in Eltham, England. (Rumors have abounded for years that he was actually born in 1901, but, at this point, what does it matter?)

Lucy and Hope, of course, were longtime friends and frequent co-stars. They made four movies together. She appeared on his variety specials countless times over the years, and he appeared in episodes of I Love Lucy and The Lucy Show -- and in a 1964 Lucille Ball Comedy Hour special. Plans were afoot for him to guest-star in an episode of Life with Lucy, but the project folded before he had the chance. The twosome got together in May of 1988 for an NBC celebration of Bob's 85th birthday -- with Lucy performing one of her best production-numbers ever, "Comedy Ain't No Joke," with music and lyrics by Broadway's Cy Coleman (who had earlier written the music to "Wildcat.")

Lucy and Bob's last appearance together was ten months later at the 1989 Academy Awards presentation. Bob spent a lot of time backstage during rehearsals, trying to convince Lucy to join him for yet another of his birthday specials -- this one to be taped in early May in Paris. All expenses paid! Gary Morton urged Lucy to say yes -- it had been years since the Mortons had been abroad -- but Lucy had already agreed to appear in Buffalo, New York, on May 6th and in her hometown of Jamestown, New York, on May 20th. Hope insisted he could wisk her by jet from Buffalo to Paris, and have her back again in time for the Jamestown engagement -- but Lucy thought that would be a lot of activity to compress into two short weeks. She promised to think it over...

Her role in the Hope special, of course, was not to be. The lady left us a few weeks later, on April 26... Hope later wrote about the standing ovation the two of them received at the 1989 Academy Awards: "We walked out onto the stage, and the audience at the Shrine Auditorium rose to its feet. What an ovation! Lucy stood there beside me, beaming in her black and gold gown. Gently, she squeezed my hand, as if to say, 'Look, we've still got it!"

What wonderful memories Bob Hope has given us all... Thanks Bob -- and Happy Birthday!

And "Teensy & Weensy," too!

Birthday salutations go as well to Roz and Marilyn Borden, I Love Lucy's famed Teensy and Weensy, who celebrated a birthday yesterday. The talented twins were born in Hartford, Connecticut, on May 27, 19...uh..., 19...uh... Well, let's just say they were born somewhere between Speedy Cleaners and Goldblatt's Delicatessen...

The girls were with us last Saturday (May 18) for our We Love Lucy Radio Show on KAAT in Fresno... Jimmy Garrett brought along a camera and snapped this photo.

Happy birthday, Roz and Marilyn -- and many happy returns of the day!

Speaking of We Love Lucy Radio...

Many thanks to all who have written or e-mailed notes regarding our KAAT radio show last weekend... The program proved to us that we could produce (and that there is a potential audience for) a regular We Love Lucy radio-webcast... We think of it as the ultimate Lucy chat room!

We would love to undertake such a project -- essentially broadcasting (or is it narrow- casting?) to fans around the world, via the internet, a regularly-scheduled program that combined all of the elements we used last week --

  • pre-recorded music
  • "live" interviews with Lucy celebrities
  • phone-in capabilities, allowing fans to call in to chat with the program hosts and celebrity guests
  • "live" Lucy trivia contests, with Lucy merchandise being used as prizes

We could also do special "theme" shows, such as a salute to a given series, episode, movie, guest-star... you name it. In the fall, we could do a special program describing the new Lucy memorabilia that is coming out for Christmas. The possibilities are endless... While we cannot "stream" video at this time, we could provide same-day photos of our hosts and guests and have them on our website... And unlike over-the-air radio, our show would be truly interactive, with fans from all over the world being eligible to participate via phone-ins.

We would probably start by doing a two-hour program either monthly or every- other- week, with the show possibly becoming a weekly Lucy "chat" at some point down the road... All programs would be recorded and made available for easy play-back within the new Lucy Media Center area of this web site.

We see this as a major step toward keeping the We Love Lucy fan club "up to the minute" with modern technology...

Before we commit to this rather expensive proposition, however, we would like to get your feedback... What do you think? Would you be interested in hearing such a regular program? In order for it to be financially viable, we would need to charge a nominal fee -- probably $10 per month, or $50 for six months. Current fan club members would get the first month free, and a revised club-membership fee structure would be conceived for all incoming members. Paid subscribers would be given user-names and passwords with which to access the program link.

Joe Genua, a longtime Lucyfan and the printer of our former paper-journal, Star Notes, said recently that, "a club is only really a club if there are regular meetings." For the past six years our Loving Lucy Conventions have satisfied this requirement, and allowed us to meet in a common geographic place and share our love of Lucy... We feel that a We Love Lucy Internet Radio Show would allow us to get together more often -- without leaving our individual homes -- and enjoy each other's company in yet another way...

Please let us know your thoughts! We would not think of undertaking all of this without you!

Many thanks, and have a great week everybody!


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