“Forgotten Hollywood”- Lucy Celebrates a Century…

Posted on August 6, 2011 by raideoman1 | No Comments

Manny P. here…Lucy_YankArmy_cropped

   I love Lucy; you love Lucy; we all love Lucy! The television icon would have been 100 years old today. It’s easy to enjoy Lucille Ball’s work on the small screen. Her company Desilu had programs that remain vital today for the home viewing audience. However, let’s take a moment to remember her cinematic career, considered marginal at best. She was a beauty comfortable in character roles.

   After studying in a New York school for the dramatic arts (a fellow student was Bette Davis), she decided Hollywood was the only way to prove her talent. Her first appearance was as an unbilled member of the Goldwyn Girls in Roman Scandals in 1933. After appearing in a two reeler with the Three Stooges, she was hired at RKO.

   Her early credits were small, but Lucy appeared in memorable movies as Follow the Fleet, Top Hat, Roberta, and Room Service. She was given a rare co-starring assignment in Stage Door opposite Katharine Hepburn and Ginger Rogers. One of her best performances was in the pioneering disaster classic Five Came Back. The ensemble cast showcased the talents of Chester Morris, John Carradine, Patric Knowles, Joseph Calleia, C. Aubrey Smith, Wendy Barrie, and Allen Jenkins.

461px-Lucille_Ball,_mid-50s   She met her future husband Desi Arnaz in Too Many Girls in 1940, which may have been the most fateful part of her career. Often cast in the lead in small pictures, or as the other woman in major films, her later credits include Du Barry was a Lady, Without Love (starring Tracy and Hepburn), Easy to Wed, The Dark Corner, Sorrowful JonesMiss Grant Takes Richmond, Fancy Pants, and The Fuller Brush Girl.

   Quite frankly, movie studios were perplexed in how to cast the comedic beauty with the wise-cracking personality. Her talents were better suited to radio, and of course, later on television. Even after success on I Love Lucy, her films made money, but didn’t receive critical rave reviews. The Long Long Trailer, Forever Darling, Critic’s Choice, and Yours, Mine, and Ours were all mildly funny. Mame was candidly a flop.

   The value of her collective film career is Lucille Ball honed her comedy to arguably become the most successful television personality of all time. She had the unique ability to translate slapstick into an intimate viewing experience we continue to enjoy in this new century.

   Our love for Lucy continues, and our respect for her talent should never be underestimated…

Until next time>                               “never forget”

This entry was posted on Saturday, August 6th, 2011 at 3:44 am and is filed under Blog by Manny Pacheco. You can follow any comments to this post through the RSS 2.0 feed. You can leave a response, or trackback from your own site.

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