FDL Movie Night Preview: Happy New Year–Celebrating the (Lucille) Ball Together
The ball in Time Square is going to drop in a just a few hours, and since New Years Eve is time of both hilarity and glamor, what better way to celebrate it than by embracing tonight in the form of Lucille Ball? Groundbreaking media pioneer, the first woman in television to head a production company, Lucy is one of the greatest American icons, full of glamor, strength and style. Heck, even FBI Director J. Edgar Hoover, in the midst of the 1950’s Red Scare — Ball gave sealed testimony to House Un-American Activities Committee because she’d registered to vote in 1936 as member of the Communist Party — said Lucy and her husband Desi Arnaz were
among his “favorites of the entertainment world.”
Tonight we’ll be discussing Lucille Ball, I Love Lucy, and her other shows, and as a special treat, we’ve uncovered this: Lucy’s Really Lost Moments, featuringthe only appearances of the cast of I Love Lucy in color and as guests on The Bob Hope Chevy Show sponsored by Chevrolet, along with other moments (some of which have been colorized). Segments of this compilation are fascinating because they really reveal the heavy, obvious level of sponsorship of early TV programs: The plot of one segement revolves around Ricky wanting a deal with Westinghouse for their new show, while Lucy just want new appliances. Another segment, I’ve Got a Secret, sponsored by Clairol with lots of signage, shows Lucy trying to affect the panel (including a young Johnny Carson), with her changing moods. And as a bonus, on his program, Bob Hope appears to the strains of “Aulde Lang Syne!”
See you tonight!
(And special geek alert: Desilu Productions, which Ball formed with husband Desi Arnaz, was the production company behind the original Star Trek, producing the show’s first season. By the second season, Ball sold the company to Gulf+Western, which renamed it Paramount Television. The couple had founded Desilu in 1950 to produce I Love Lucy; Ball bought out Arnaz after their divorce, and became the company’s head. Desilu also produced The Dick Van Dyke Show, and several other classics.)