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:
LUCY’S HAIR DYE WAS KEPT UNDER LOCK-AND-KEY
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?”
LUCY DID I LOVE LUCY’S CLASSIC “VITAMEATAVEGAMIN” COMMERCIAL IN ONE TAKE!
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:
LUCY WAS ONCE ACCUSED OF BEING A COMMUNIST
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].”
“LITTLE RICKY” COULD HAVE BEEN “LITTLE LUCY” IF LUCY HAD GIVEN BIRTH TO A GIRL
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.”
STAR TREK WAS PRODUCED UNDER LUCY’S WATCH (WHEN SHE WAS PRESIDENT OF DESILU)
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.”
LUCY LOVED TO PLAY BACKGAMMON
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: