Still in Love with Lucy

by Thomas Watson

Monday, May 12, 2003

Dear Fellow Lucy Fans,

Discussions continue to swirl around CBS's recent made-for-television biography, "Lucy." Most fans agree that while Rachel York and Daniel Pino are fine actors in their own right, they faced an almost impossible challenge in trying to play television's most-beloved couple. Many fans, however, were rightfully outraged by some of the blatant errors in the film.

Perhaps the most "short changed" personage in the story was I Love Lucy producer/head writer Jess Oppenheimer. In the film, it looked as though Jess was hired in 1951 to assist Desi with production chores. In real life, of course, Jess was not only part of the show from the very beginning, he was on Lucy's team as far back as September, 1948, when he joined "My Favorite Husband." What would it have cost the producers/writers of this new film to have gotten it right?

In other news...

Danny Takes a Cruise

Film editor and raconteur extraordinaire Dann Cahn will share his experiences on I Love Lucy -- and the rest of his colorful career -- on board the Windsurf sailing ship during a week-long cruise from Rome to Venice, Italy, October 12-19, 2003. Dann, who has appeared at all of our Loving Lucy Conventions, will not only discuss his longtime association with Lucy and Desi, but will also share colorful anecdotes about Danny Thomas, Marilyn Monroe, Katharine Hepburn, Orson Welles, John Wayne, Marlene Dietrich, Gloria Stuart -- and many others.

The Windsurf (pictured below) will leave Rome on October 12, making stops in Amalfi, Italy; Taormina, Sicily; Corfu, Greece; Dubrovnik and Hvar, Croatia; before landing in Venice, Italy on October 19.

Special rates are available for passengers in the Dann Cahn Group, with staterooms priced at $1760 and $1860, suites at $2790 (each representing a saving of nearly 50% off the regular rates).

If you are seriously interested in taking this "cruise of a lifetime," contact travel agent Michelle Budrick at:

Viking Travel & Cruise Shop

Michelle will be able to send you a brochure about the cruise and give you all the pertinent information. Happy sailing!

Jamestown Reminder

Just a quick reminder that "Lucy-Desi Days 2003" are swifty approaching! The weekend-long event will be held in Jamestown, New York, May 23-25 -- less than two weeks from now. Special guest Betsy Palmer will reminisce about working with Lucy over the years, Marilyn Borden will be honored with a special "birthday cruise," and yours truly will be there to present highlights from our California conventions.

In addition, the weekend -- presented by the Lucy-Desi Center -- will include screenings, an auction, town tours, trivia contests and all sorts of special Lucy events. For complete information, visit the Lucy-Desi web site at:


Harriet McCain

After last week's "Lucy" movie, I was asked if Lucy really had a maid named Harriet ... and the answer is yes -- this is one thing the film got right!

Harriet McCain was the lady's name, and she was hired by Lucy in 1939 after Lucy had heard her interviewed on a radio program called "Help Thy Neighbor." In her memoire, Love, Lucy, Miss Ball recalled:

"She said that her mother had worked for the Jack Bennys for 14 years and that she was looking for the same kind of job. When I interviewed Harriet, I didn't ask for any references, to her surprise. After about five minutes' talk, I decided I liked her looks and manner and asked, "What size uniform do you wear?' and that was that."

Harriet stayed with Lucy for over 25 years, assisting her not only at home but traveling with her throughout the United States and abroad. Here are a couple of photos, the first taken in 1946 on the set of "Lover Come Back," the second in February, 1954, in Lucy's New York hotel suite. (The Arnazes were in Manhattan promoting the premiere of "The Long, Long Trailer."):


Have a great week!


Back to All About Lucy

To Newsletters Archive

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.