Thank you for taking time to read today’s post – it’s a special one…It’s Lucille Ball’s 100th birthday! To celebrate I’ve written this special post and I’m also doing something even more spectacular…I’m hosting my first GIVEAWAY!
Shut the front door!
Read through this special tribute and find out how you can win something awesome!
Once we were in 2011 the fact dawned on me; Lucille Ball would have been 100 this year. Not that I’ve been looking forward to August 6th like it were my own birthday, but it has been on my mind every time talk of August came up. Which….hello? Can you believe we’re in August already? Time’s a flyin’!
Today Lucille Ball, the pioneer in television and American culture, would have celebrated one-hundred years. An entire century. If you’re reading this and you’ve known me for a long time, say…since elementary, then you know the fascination I have with Lucille Ball and you are not surprised at all that I’m devoting a whole post to this woman on her would-have-been birthday. I hate using the term idol because it comes with a lot of weight, but I idolize Lucille Ball. I have since I was eight years old. When I see her or watch her it’s almost like it’s a sense of comfort. She kept me company and entertained for many years growing up. She was a bright light in an awkward adolescence and a mentor in a profession that I loved so much and dreamed of pursuing.
I was a huge Nick at Night fan. You remember those days. During prime time Nickelodeon turned into Nick at Night where they aired old TV shows, I Love Lucy being my favorite. I would spend hours watching The Dick Van Dyke Show, The Mary Tyler Moore Show, The Munsters, and I Dream of Jeannie. But once I discovered Lucy at eight years old I soaked up every episode of The Lucy Show, I Love Lucy, and The Lucy-Desi Comedy Hour. I would daydream that I was acting right along side Lucy, delivering punch lines and getting myself into shenanigans. The world of Lucy became my night time escape and there was no place I was happier.
I carried my childhood obsession into school. Some kids were obsessing over NKOTB and Saved By the Bell but this little red head was obsessing over another red head. Actually I didn’t know Lucy was a red head for a while. It wasn’t until I saw the episode “Lucy Hunts Uranium” that I found out when someone said a line about Lucy having red hair. That gave this nine/ten year old all the more reason to love her.
I began telling everyone that I was changing my name to Lucy. I put pictures of Lucy on my binder. I wrote Lucy-like sketches and made my friends perform them with me. When someone would chide me for “liking something so stupid” I forcefully informed them that they were just ignorant and “if they would just take the time to watch a black and white show, they would realize how cool it was.”
The greatest story of my life (YES, my life!) is in fifth grade I told everyone at school that Lucille Ball (“ya know, the lady from I Love Lucy on Nick@Night”) was my great aunt. I so wanted her to be a part of me that I decided to fictionally make her a part of my family – and if I told everyone and they believed it, then it would be true…right? I remember the thought process of coming up with that lie. “They won’t believe me if I say she’s my grandma because some of the kids have seen my grandma.” “They won’t believe me if I say she’s my aunt because she’s too old to be my aunt.” “Ahha! I’ll make her my great aunt!”
All the kids in school went around talking about it and fawning over Lucille Ball’s great niece. Then I left that small private school and went to public school for the next three years, never seeing most of my private school friends. Then, in high school I went back to private school and shared classrooms with those kids to whom I had told my fib. On the first day of high school my freshman year, several people came up to me very excited, “Hey, isn’t Lucille Ball your aunt?” Wow. First, they remembered that? Second, how embarrassing. I fessed up. Everyone got a kick out of my childish fib and now it’s a story that my friends and I look back on and laugh.
I was three years old when Lucy passed away in 1989. Actually, I was 2.5 if we really want to get technical. It always made me really sad that I wasn’t around for most of her popularity. I felt like I was born in the wrong time period. I was an old soul even at age eight. I saw and appreciated what kind of talent Lucy had. If she had been alive I’m sure that I would have written her a fan letter once a week. Since I couldn’t writer her fan letters that she would receive I wrote to her beyond the grave. Seriously, and I’m not even joking…I would write her fan letters, put it on my desk at night, and ask her to leave her signature as if her ghost were going to come into my room at night while I was sleeping and read my fan letter. Don’t even ask. Are all kids this nuts? Say yes or better yet, don’t answer. If I were my parent I would have sneaked in there and left a signature to really pull my leg. Ah, messing with kids can be so fun…it would have been like Santa Claus.
As I grew older I eased up on the weird obsession with Lucy (ie writing ghostly letters and lying about our relation) and grew to really admire her as an artist. As I was learning to become a performer myself I studied and analyzed her comedic prowess and utilized those tools to become a comedic performer myself. In college I did an honors presentation on her life and contribution to American society and was asked to give my presentation several times to several different audiences. I felt like I knew her – like we had shared a twenty year friendship. With that presentation I felt like I was a voice or an advocate for a period in American history and television that was quickly being shadowed by reality TV and pop culture. I felt like it was my responsibility to convey to my peers the important role this woman has played in shaping our culture and years of television. She was a part of television for a majority of the time television had been main stream in America and I wanted people to know that she is more than just a comic – she was a business woman, a genius, and one of the “founding fathers” of television.
My admiration for Lucille Ball runs deep – almost twenty years deep. She was one of the biggest parts of my childhood and the biggest inspiration in my decision to be a performer. Putting into words how much I admire and adore her is quite a feat. All I can say is go watch an episode of I Love Lucy – you’ll get a glimpse of that feeling I’m talking about.
Lucille Ball was an unprecedented performer and always have and always will remain timeless. I can’t wait to share her with my kids.
Lucy was a showbiz vet by the time I Love Lucy came around having spent over 20 years in the profession. She was known as the “Queen of the B’s.” The “B’s” were those pictures who had a smaller budget and were less known. However, even with that title, Lucy still stood out and paved her own way and eventually became a radio then television personality.
The three camera technique that was used on I Love Lucy was developed by Desi Arnaz and was ground-breaking for it’s time. This same technique has been used in countless sitcoms since I Love Lucy.
They were not allowed to say the word “pregnant” on I Love Lucy. Once they decided that Lucy and Ricky were going to have a baby and had it approved they also had to have their scripts approved by a priest, a rabbi, and a minister.
After Lucy and Desi divorced Lucy bought out Desi’s share of Desilu Studios and she became the first female head of a major studio.
In her old age she owned poodles. That alone makes her awesome.
She kept the same writers on her staff throughout her whole career.
She was married just as long to her second husband, Gary Morton, as she was to Desi.
She died on April 26, 1989 – Carol Burnett’s birthday. They were great friends and Lucy always sent Carol flowers on her birthday. When Carol awoke that day she said she found out that Lucy was dead then received flowers from her later that day.
She is one of the most recognized faces.
Over the years I have read pretty much every book there is out there about Lucille Ball. I feel I could wing a TCM special about her.
I pulled out some of the books I own.
1. Love, Lucy by Lucille Ball – Written by Lucy. It is awesome to read her own words.
2. Laughs, Luck…and Lucy by Jess Oppenhiemer – Jess was one of her writers and gives a wonderful account of working in television and radio’s golden years and working along side Lucille Ball.
3. I Loved Lucy by Lee Tannen – I just remember crying while reading this book.
My parents gave me this book for Christmas when I was ten and I’ve read it a dozen times since.
At one point I read this looking to take notes on how to be a better performer. This was a great lesson from Jack Benny.
My friend Diana gave me this for Christmas in fifth grade. I carried it around so much that I had to do some doctoring (ie folding and taping) on the edges of the cover.
I loved carrying this book around and looking at the hundreds of pictures that filled its pages.
I found this in my parents’ magazine collection when I was a kid. It’s from 1990, a year after she passed away. I kept it and I used to read it over and over again.
I remembered doing several art projects where I incorporated Lucy somehow.
We had to decorate our sixth grade art portfolio and I chose to draw a cartoon of Lucy.
Even my home-made Christmas card had I Love Lucy incorporated in it.
Here it is, y’all! Time for my very first giveaway! For such an awesome woman I had to do something special!
So, in celebration of Lucille Ball and her centennial birthday one lucky winner will win this 11×14 high-quality print!
It’s printed out on gorgeous paper, I tell ya. Gorgeousssss!
Who doesn’t love a little Lucy motivation in their home?
Here’s what you do…
1. Go HERE to facebook and “LIKE” the Everything Sunny Always page.
2. Leave a comment here on the blog telling me TWO THINGS: a) that you “liked” the Everything Sunny Always facebook page and B) what your absolute favorite Lucy moment is.
*EDIT* Giveaway closed
You have until Tuesday at midnight to leave a comment and I’ll post a winner on Wednesday.
*please help make my first giveaway a success by sharing this post with your friends*
You’re awesome! All of you!
HAPPY BIRTHDAY, LUCY!