Archive for the ‘"Lucy Show"’ Category

6 Things You May Not Know about Lucille Ball

Friday, August 5th, 2011

Tomorrow, August 6, 2011, marks Lucille Ball’s 100th birthday! Sadly, Lucy passed away in 1989, before the Archive of American Television was founded. Fortunately, the Archive has captured many interviews with her friends and colleagues in its collection. Here are a few selections:

Irma Kusely – Lucille Ball’s Hairdresser

“Her hair color? I call it apricot but a lot of people think of it as red.  It’s not red at all.  It’s a golden apricot color. We used regular hair dye when I did her own hair. We then used as a balance, a henna rinse, which she was famous for. She had a safe of it  in my garage …  She loved to gamble and when we did a show in Las Vegas, she met a very wealthy sheik and he heard about her problem about the henna and he said he would send her the henna. And he did.  She moved a box of henna which was in my garage but in the safe. There was a lot of it left when she left this world, but I had to give it to the estate. I don’t know what little Lucie did with it, maybe sold it for a million dollars. Just for a spoonful, can you imagine what I could’ve made with that?”

Madelyn Pugh Davis and Bob Carroll, Jr. – Writers

“The TV commercial was scripted. It took us a day and a half to get that name Vitameatavegamin, too.  That was a tough one. The most amazing thing is that she didn’t use any cue cards.  She did that whole thing in one take.  Which she did a lot.  She and Harpo Marx, same thing. They just did it, in front of the audience. They didn’t need any retakes, amazing.”

Watch the famous take below:

Dann Cahn – editor

“In those early seasons of I Love Lucy, we had the terrible Red scare, where they called Lucy a Communist and everybody was walking around in Hollywood afraid that we’d be called up before the House Un-American Activities Committee. They had to apologize to Lucy because she was no more red than her hair was, which wasn’t red. Her grandpa had been a Socialist, and somehow she had signed a card to the Communist Party for the old man to keep him quiet.  That was a big scare for a week and Desi went out and made this wonderful speech [about how the only 'red' thing about Lucy was her hair].”

Dann Cahn – editor

“And then the next big dramatic thing that hit the newspapers was Lucy went to the hospital for a Cesarean birth on a Monday morning and that night they gave birth  to a little boy on the show. It had been decided weeks earlier that whatever Lucy had, and remember there was no testing, that the baby’s birth is going to be the same sex.”

Leonard Nimoy – actor

“I met her once or twice.  She never came on the set but Bill [Shatner] and I were having lunch one day in the commissary and she came by the table graciously and said, “hi guys, you’re doing great work. Keep it up, thanks.” and left.  I think the next time we met her was when we were asked to come to a reception for Charlie Bluhdorn who was head of Gulf and Western, who had just bought the studio from her in 1967.  Some of us were asked to come and say hello to him and welcome him, and Lucy was there.”

Doris Singleton – Actress, “Carolyn Appleby” on I Love Lucy

“We were going to a party at writer Seaman Jacobs’ house and everybody was there. The doorbell rang and it was Lucy.  I was very surprised to see her because nobody said that she was coming.  Lucy comes in and  says, “OK, where’s the game?”  Like, in “Guys and Dolls.”  I said, “What game?” She said, “June told me that it was a backgammon game.”  She was crazy, crazy about backgammon. That’s what Lucy did all the time when she was not on the set.  She’d go to her room and play backgammon with one of her stand-ins or friends — she had a group that were always on the show.”

To see more Archive interviewees discussing the legacy of Lucille Ball, visit her curated TV Legend page here.

To see more about I Love Lucy, click here.

To see how Lucy’s birthday is being celebrated on the East and West Coasts, see the links below:

The Hollywood Museum is celebrates Lucy’s 100th

The Lucy Desi Center in Jamestown, NY presents Lucy Fest in honor of Lucy’s birthday

“I Love Lucy” writer Madelyn Pugh Davis dies at 90

Thursday, April 21st, 2011

Sad news, we’ve learned that legendary comedy writer Madelyn Pugh Davis died on April 20th at the age of 90. Best known for her work on Lucille Ball’s shows including I Love Lucy, The Lucy Show, and Life with Lucy, she also wrote for Steve Allen, The Mothers-In-Law, Alice and more. The Archive of American Television interviewed Madelyn and her lifelong writing partner Bob Carroll, Jr. in 1997.

Madelyn Pugh Davis on being one of the first female writers hired at CBS radio as a junior writer

I wouldn’t have had any of the jobs I had, if it hadn’t been for World War II, because usually men were drafted, went in the Army and women were not working that much then, so  that was the reason, I think, I got these jobs.  Someone had to leave. I was the second woman hired at CBS, on staff.  Mostly they only had men writers. They told me that they  would make me a senior writer, they had me doing research for some show that they  said, “well, you’ll do that for a few months and then, then we’ll make you a senior writer.” So it was kind of a beginning.  They didn’t even have an office for me and I worked in the supply closet with a writer named Jack Newman who was hired at the same time.

Bob Carroll, Jr. & Madelyn Pugh Davis on the development of I Love Lucy

Madelyn:     As a television show, at first we weren’t asked about it, they had other people I, think.  And NBC was interested.  Actually they wanted her to go to television with My Favorite Husband  with Richard Denning.

Bob:    Right, yeah, she said no, I want to do it with my husband.

Madelyn:    But they didn’t want to do that. They said, we don’t believe that you’re really, you’re married to a Cuban band eader.   And she said, well, I am married to him! She held out.  So, uh, they asked us to a write a  Vaudeville act, a stage act for them, where Desi was going on the road and then she would interrupt and try to get into the act and come up from the back of the audience and all. Bob and I wrote that and hey went on the road with it and  I think they played quite a few places and then they had network people look at it.

Bob: They had the great cello bit.

Madelyn:  And of course, they worked beautifully together and they could see that he was funny and they said okay.  So the they asked Jess [Oppenheimer] and Bob and me to do the I Love Lucy pilot.

Bob Carroll, Jr. & Madelyn Pugh Davis on their writing partnership

Bob:  I didn’t really like to work.

Madelyn:  We’ve been writing together, it’ll be 50 years, and he wasn’t sure it would work out.

Bob:  She has all the discipline. I never typed a script in the entire fifty years.  A final script ever — I couldn’t type.  I walk, I’m a pacer. I pace back and forth.

Madelyn:  We found that we just wrote well together. We have the same sense of humor.  And sometimes if you’re reading a script around a table, we would put the same word or the same joke, that it needed that word. We never had to argue about what was funny.  We just argued about the temperature of the room!

Madelyn Pugh Davis on the power of the rerun

In studio A at CBS and then a kinescope was shown to people who were going to buy I Love Lucy.  And that was the way you did things in those days.  So doing it on film and no one knew there were ever going to be reruns. I remember Desi Arnaz or somebody saying, “why would anybody look at it if they’d already seen it?”  No one thought it should be permanent and there was so many shows done live in those days, I think Burns And Allen were live in the early days, every two weeks, so it was, it was a wheel. It all turned out rather well.

Interview clip: Bob Carroll, Jr. & Madelyn Pugh Davis on the legacy of I Love Lucy

Full Interview Description:

Bob Carroll, Jr. (1918-2007) and writing partner Madelyn Pugh Davis, were interviewed for three hours in Los Angeles, CA. Davis and Carroll speak of their 50-year writing relationship that included writing for Steve Allen, as well as the decades of working with Lucille Ball and Desi Arnaz, and the classic I Love Lucy show.  The interview was conducted by Tom Gilbert on November 24, 1997.

As a footnote, after Bob Carroll, Jr.’s passing in early 2007, Madelyn sent a letter to us about this interview. “I felt Tom Gilbert did an excellent job of interviewing us. It is probably the best and most extensive interview Bob and I ever had….”  [K.H.]

“I Love Lucy” Writer Madelyn Pugh Davis is 90

Tuesday, March 15th, 2011

Happy Birthday to Archive Interviewee Madelyn Pugh Davis! Born March 15, 921, Madelyn became known in the 1950s for her work writing on the I Love Lucy television series, alongside partner Bob Carroll. Watch the complete interview with Bob and Madelyn here.

About This Interview

Bob Carroll, Jr. (1918-2007) and writing partner Madelyn Pugh Davis, were interviewed for three hours in Los Angeles, CA. Davis and Carroll speak of their 50-year writing relationship that included writing for Steve Allen, as well as the decades of working with Lucille Ball and Desi Arnaz, and the classic I Love Lucy show.

When asked about working together, Madelyn said “We never had to argue about what was funny.  We just argued about the temperature of the room.”

The interview was conducted by Tom Gilbert on November 24, 1997.

Dick Martin Dies at the Age of 86– Archive Interview Segment Online

Sunday, May 25th, 2008

Comedian Dick Martin, best known as the co-host with Dan Rowan of television’s Laugh-In (1968-73) has died (click here for his obituary on The Archive interviewed Martin in 2002. His complete three-and-a-half hour interview will be available online soon and can also be viewed at Academy headquarters.

For Laugh-In’s 40th anniversary in January of this year, the Archive posted a lengthy segment of his interview, which can be viewed here.

Interview description:
Martin spoke about his lifelong ambition to work in the entertainment industry, and his early career steps in Hollywood. He described his first encounter with Dan Rowan, and their subsequent partnership. He remembered with great detail their years on the road working in nightclubs around the country, and their early forays into television. Next, he spoke about working with Lucille Ball as an occasional performer on her CBS series The Lucy Show. Mr. Martin spoke at length about their renowned variety series Rowan and Martin’s Laugh-In, and talked about working with his well-known co-stars. Finally, he discussed his second career as a director for television, on programs including The Bob Newhart Show, Flo, Family Ties, Mama’s Family, The Bradys, and Newhart.