Still in Love with Lucy

by Thomas Watson




Monday, August 12, 2002

Dear Fellow Lucy Fans,

Many thanks to radio station KAAT and on-air host Ron Paul for inviting members of We Love Lucy to participate once again in his "Flying Home" broadcast last Saturday night. Stuart Shostak, Rick Carl, Richard Brock and yours truly visited with Paul at the KAAT studios in Fresno, California, and reminisced about Miss Ball and the birth of the We Love Lucy club 25 years ago this week.
(Left to right): Tom Watson, Rick Carl, Stuart Shostak, Richard Brock.
(Kneeling): host Ron Paul.

Paul aired the restaurant scene ("pork chops, huh?") from a "My Favorite Husband" broadcast that was a precursor to the "Lucy Changes Her Mind" episode of I Love Lucy. It was interesting to hear Lucy, Richard Denning, Gale Gordon and Bea Benaderet delivering many of the same lines we are accustomed to hearing from Lucy, Desi, Bill and Viv. Frank Nelson, of course, was still the exasperated waiter ("... and a new eraser for me!"). Great fun!

Paul also entertained us with musical selections from "Babalu Music," "Wildcat" and "Mame" -- and Jimmy Garrett joined in the festivities via telephone from his home in southern California.

Club members phoned-in as well from various parts of the United States and Canada. It was virtually a We Love Lucy club meeting "on the air."

We hope to do another KAAT/internet radio show the first week in October, to celebrate the 40th anniversary of The Lucy Show. Exact day, date and time will be announced in a few weeks...

Lucy and Elvis

It is hard to believe that 25 years have passed since We Love Lucy got underway... I was living in New York City at the time, and have very distinct memories of putting together our very first "Star Notes" newsletter. As a matter of fact, I was standing in a neighborhood printing shop (we did not have stores like Minuteman Press and Kinko's in those days), discussing our "kick off" club brochures when news come over the radio that Elvis Presley had died. Talk about a roller-coaster day for one's emotions!

Lucy and Presley, of course, never actually worked together -- but it was not for lack of trying! Lucy and Gary Morton tried to arrange an Elvis Presley guest appearance on Here's Lucy back in 1971. The Richard Burton/Elizabeth Taylor appearance had worked so well that the Mortons hoped to repeat the success by having the Redhead meet the King... Sadly, CBS said no...

The Burton/Taylor show had been very expensive, requiring not only extra funds originally earmarked for other episodes of Here's Lucy, but additional dollars from CBS as well. Everyone agreed the expense was worth it -- and the show, indeed, delivered one of Lucy's all-time high ratings. But CBS was going through a time of transition in the early 1970s, with older shows like Red Skelton and Jackie Gleason being replaced by new hits like Mary Tyler Moore and All in the Family. While no one at the network wanted to pull the plug on Here's Lucy, many did consider the show to be old-hat and no longer worthy of special favors. When the network saw what a "Lucy Meets Elvis" episode would cost... well, let's just say the Eye looked the other way.

TV Guide Crosswords

Elvis passed away on August 16, 1977 -- and TV Guide celebrates the King's memory next week with a special multi-cover issue... Sitting next to it on many newsstands is the August, 2002, issue of "TV Guide Crosswords," the cover of which honors TV Babies... Lucy and Little Ricky Ricardo (aka Lucille Ball and one of the Simmons twins) dominate (see photo, left)... There are no pictures inside, but it is a nice addition to one's magazine collection.

See you next week!


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