Still in Love with Lucy

by Thomas Watson

Monday, April 21, 2003

Dear Fellow Lucy Fans,

Madeline Zima as Younger Lucy

News about the upcoming CBS made-for-TV biography, "Lucy," scheduled to air Sunday, May 4, 8-11PM (Eastern time) continues to interest many of our members... Actress Madeline Zima has recently posted some photos taken of her and Prascilla Bonnet on the set of the film. Madeline, as we have mentioned in earlier letters, plays teen-aged Lucy. Prascilla plays a teen-aged Bette Davis, whom Lucy encounters in her drama class at the Robert Minton-John Murray Anderson School of Drama in 1927-28.

Here are a couple of photos -- one, a scene from the film; the second, a picture snapped on the set between takes:

Images (c) John Jolley

Lucy Saluted on New Travel Channel Biography

"LUCY! TV'S COMEDY QUEEN" is the title of a special program airing later this month on The Travel Channel cable network. The documentary will premiere Tuesday, April 29, at 10PM (Eastern and Pacific time zones) -- and, like many cable programs, will be repeated a few times in different time-slots shortly thereafter. Please see your local listings for airings in your area.

The documentary, which covers the career of our favorite redhead, will include interviews with Gregg Oppenheimer, son of I Love Lucy's Jess Oppenheimer; writer Bob Schiller; Bernie Weitzman, business affairs VP at Desilu; hair stylist Irma Kusely; film editor Dann Cahn; and many others.

Los Angeles Lucyfans on the News

Yes, that's "on" the news, not "in" the news... Lucy impressionist Suzanne LaRusch, longtime Lucy fan Michael Stern, and yours truly are among the Los Angeles-based people being interviewed for a series of Lucy-related "human interest" stories produced by the news department of our local CBS affiliate, KCBS-TV. (The series will also include comments from celebrities like Betty White.) The station plans to air the stories as part of its early evening (5PM) newscasts the week prior to the network movie mentioned in our lead item.

The lady who interviewed me was very interested in hearing how Lucy fans (and the fan club) have made the transition from traditional scrapbooks and photos into the modern age of the internet...

Starting Young

The journalist was also interested in how diverse the Lucy fan base really is -- Our We Love Lucy club alone includes people of all ages, races and nationalities...

One is really never too young to start being a Lucy fan. Proving the point, longtime fan Taylor Goodman and his wife Charmaine recently shared with me a photo of their young daughter McKenzie, who at the ripe old age of two-and-a-half has not only started to watch Lucy -- she's already trying to imitate her:


Gifts & Messages from Lucy

Turning to our Questions-and-Answers Mail Bag, member Mark Easley recently asked:

"Since you were friends with Lucy, what were some of the gifts you received for birthdays, Christmas, etc. Also, did Lucy ever just pick up the phone and call some of her friends?"

Well, to answer the latter question first, yes, on occasion Lucy was known to pick up her phone and call a fan, especially if the fan had recently sent a gift or a note and Lucy wanted to thank him in person. A friend of mine has a series of tapes from his old answering machine that start out, "Hi, George, it's Lucy..." (Fortunately, that was the era in which answering machines HAD removable tapes... Today most devices are electronic recorders.)

As for gifts, there were many things, but the one rather unique gift that she gave me -- and perhaps the only one I do not still have -- was new upholstery for a car I was driving back in 1986.

I often drove Lucy home after work on Life with Lucy, and she would usually grab a soft drink or a "green slushy" to drink on the ride home. (A "green slushy" was a margarita with most of the liquor left out... We'd put so much ice into the blender, the drink was almost as thick as a sno-cone.)

One night as we were tooling down Sunset Boulevard toward Beverly Hills, some half-baked driver cut us off... I slammed on the brakes and Lucy's slushy went all over her, all over me -- and all over the front seat of the car... We both laughed, but Lucy was very concerned about staining my upholstery. I told her not to worry about it (it was an older car even then), but when a similar "accident" occurred a couple of weeks later, she decided to have the seats reupholstered for Christmas...

You do not know how hard it was for me a few years later to give that car up!


Until next time....


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Original materials © 2003 Lucyfan Enterprises. All rights reserved.
"I Love Lucy" is copyrighted by and a registered trademark of CBS Worldwide, Inc.
Images of Lucille Ball and Desi Arnaz used with permission of Desilu, too, LLC.
Licensing by Unforgettable Licensing, Northbrook, Illinois.