‘MAME’ (1974) – the end of the ‘Lucy’ era.





Lucille Ball’s Mame was one of the worst ‘flops’ in motion picture history. Other bad movies lost far more money, but few were brought undone simply because their leading performer was so woefully miscast. The picture is, of course, a musical remake of Rosalind Russell’s Auntie Mame (1958), for which Ms. Russell was unsuccessfully nominated for an Oscar. It appears that after watching Russell in the non-musical Auntie Mame, Lucille arrived at the conclusion that she had based her characterization on Lucy’s character in her hit TV series, I Love Lucy. This belief inspired Ms. Ball to chase the role in the up-coming musical version, titled Mame. She had also expressed her deep concern over the ‘gritty’ path movies had been taking recently (Last Tango in Paris, The Exorcist, etc.), feeling that a return to more ‘wholesome’ fare was needed. Mame, she believed, might well be the starting point for a revival of ‘family’ movies.

Image result for mame the movie

Lucy as Mame

It is generally acknowledged that the extremely well-heeled Lucy kicked in $5 million to get the project off and running, on the proviso that she would be afforded first refusal to play the title role. At that time Angela Lansbury had become ensconced in the Mame role on Broadway and was wowing audiences night after night, so Lucy went along to see her performance. In fact, she even ventured backstage to congratulate Angela, telling her she was amazing in the part and a certainty to land the film role. According to Angela, she was touched by Lucy’s praise until she noticed the red-headed comedienne sitting in the wings during the performance – taking notes. No stranger to Hollywood intrigue and behind the scenes politics, Angela knew there and then that she would be most unlikely to be playing Mame on the screen.

Image result for angela lansbury as mame

Angela as Mame on Broadway

Warner Bros. decision to overlook Angela for the lead is a puzzling one. She was an actress of considerable standing, not only on Broadway, but in the movies as well. A three-time Oscar nominee – for Gaslight (1944), The Picture of Dorian Gray (1945) and The Manchurian Candidate (1962), she had even won a Tony for her performance as Mame on Broadway! One can only suspect that Lucille’s $5 million, coupled with any other pressure her stature in the industry was able to exert on the studio, combined to give her the nod and to remove Angela from the running.

Image result for rosalind russell as auntie mame

Rosalind Russell in Auntie Mame

Lucy was signed and her contract gave her casting approval. She did not like Madeline Kahn’s interpretation of Gooch, complaining that she was ‘too shapely’ for the character, so she fired her from the picture. At the time, Madeline was desperate to play Lili von Schtupp in Mel Brooks’ Blazing Saddles, about to commence shooting, so she needed to be fired (rather than quit) from Mame, in order to be paid for both films. Whether or not Lucille knew of this and decided to surreptitiously help her out is not known. Madeline herself stated years later that she was definitely fired from Lucy’s picture.

Image result for madeline kahn in blazing saddles

Madeline Kahn as Lili in Blazing Saddles

Before shooting on Mame commenced, however, songwriter Jerry Herman (he wrote the score for Mame), went to Warner Bros. and begged them to reconsider, to cast Angela in the lead instead of Lucille. He argued that Lucy was far too old (she was 62 at the time and Angela was 47), that she would have to be photographed in soft focus, and that her singing would have to be dubbed. He lost the argument. As it turned out, Lucy refused to let anyone do her singing for her anyway. Instead, she croaked her way through song after song. Audio engineers tried everything they could think of to enhance her vocals, to make them at least ‘passable’, but most people would agree they were fighting a battle already lost.

Image result for lucille ball in mame

Lucy as Mame

Lucille’s breathing was such that she was barely able to complete a sentence without becoming winded. She was a heavy smoker and the habit had taken its toll. Even simple phrases such as, ‘Open a new window’, had to be patched together from several takes. All this splicing made it impossible for Warners to release a 5.1 stereo soundtrack for their movie without revealing the hodge-podge of Lucy’s original recording efforts. When the critics savagely attacked her croaky singing voice, her response was defiant. ‘Mame stayed up all night, drinking champagne. What did you expect her to sound like? Julie Andrews?’

Watching the film, it is painfully apparent that Lucille is continually shot in soft focus. Critic Rex Reed scarcely endeared himself to her when he famously suggested in print that it ‘looked like they had rubbed chicken fat on the camera lens to shoot her.’ In short, there is absolutely nothing to like about the screen version of Mame or Lucy’s performance in it. This became immediately apparent to Warners when they screened it for the first time at the studio. Their intention had been to release the picture in late 1973, in time to qualify for Oscar nominations. It did not require a genius to realize that any Oscar recognition was out of the question, so release was delayed until the spring of 1974.

Lucille was devastated by the critics’ savage reaction to her performance, but she was equally shattered by the dismal public response as well. She was used to success and adoration so public ridicule and disdain deeply hurt her. She vowed never to make another movie. In truth, after Mame, producers and writers were not exactly bashing her door down with proposals anyway. She had become persona non grata. The picture was budgeted at $12 million and recouped about half that amount, mostly due to the loyalty of Lucille Ball fans (there were still plenty of them) around the world.

Time Magazine was especially brutal with its revue, directing most of its venom at the hapless, aging star. ‘The movie spans about 20 years, and seems that long in running time’, it commented. ‘Miss Ball has been molded over the years into some sort of national monument, and she performs like one too. Her grace, her timing, her vigor have all vanished.’ Stanley Kauffman, although conceding that she might have made an excellent Mame 15 years earlier, was scathing nevertheless, describing her as, ‘too old, too stringy in the legs, too basso in the voice, and too creaky in the joints.’ We can only speculate on Angela’s reaction to all this. My guess is that she was and is far too classy, (then or now), to comment or to criticize.


  1. I watched Mame recently, because of this conversation thread, and afterward it occurred to me that the whole storyline about Brian O’Banyon was cut out. Am I right about this? Brian was the Irish writer who was going to write Mame’s memoir; he’s the one Agnes had her little fling with. That was the funniest part of the Rosalind Russell movie for me, and I don’t think in the Lucille Ball version at all. Rosalind Russell was hilarious, and Lucy’s Mame doesn’t have that same antic spirit and zaniness. And no Brian!

    • Quite a bit seemed to be cut out or abbreviated from the original Movie of Auntie Mame. I love both versions, but the musical seemed to cut corners, and after watching Auntie Mame with Russell many times, the musical seems compacted and rushed. I think it failed because of that more just the singing.

    • Quite a bit seemed to be cut out or abbreviated from the original Movie of Auntie Mame. I love both versions, but the musical seemed to cut corners, and after watching Auntie Mame with Russell many times, the musical seems compacted and rushed. I think it failed because of that more just the singing.

  2. Funny… I actually love “Mame” (and Lucille Ball in it) even more than I love plain old Lucy, and I consider myself to be a rather discerning fellow and critic. I see (and hear) right past all the chicken fat on the movie-making equipment and enjoy this film every time I watch it and that’s fairly often. Over many decades I’ve turned on a lot of others to it as well and no one has ended up in the hate column. Quite the opposite. It’s true: Lucy wasn’t Lucy in it, but that makes her performance all the more interesting and remarkable. Not the best singer? Who cares? I’m sure Mame wasn’t either. I found Lucy’s Mame sophisticated, sarcastic, conniving and overall: endearing. And the supporting players are equally amusing and likeable (even the ones in unlikeable roles), each contributing magical moments, chief among them Robert Preston’s “Loving You.” For me this “Mame” is not even an acquired taste but more of a natural craving. I think I’ll put it on now.

    • I just saw Mame for the first time this weekend and I loved it as well. I was quite shocked to read how much it was not liked by the critics or general population. I’ve watched it twice now and will watch it again this upcoming week.

    • I just saw Mame for the first time this weekend and I loved it as well. I was quite shocked to read how much it was not liked by the critics or general population. I’ve watched it twice now and will watch it again this upcoming week.

  3. People certainly love Lucy, but this is awful. It’s also not bad enough to be true camp–it’s ultimately too dull for that. The pacing is slack and the music doesn’t flow. Ball’s singing was torture and there’s no real joy in the piece. The material is a mix of madcap and a certain kind of sophistication which is not a good match with Ball—she had very specific ideas about how to deliver a line and and the kind of comedy that worked for her.

    Lansbury had never carried an A-list picture (her Oscar nominations were for supporting roles) and that probably kept her from being considered apart from whatever financial interest Lucy had in the project. Still, she probably had the kind of joy and enthusiasm to make the frankly dated material work.

    • I must say that Lucy was a damn good comedienne, but I thought her husband was a total non-talent. He could not sing but was convinced he was talented. I read somewhere that when he insisted his name be included in the series title, a compromise was reached – ‘I Love Lucy’ kind of included him in the show’s title. He was the ‘I’.

      • That is ridiculous. He Desi hilarious as Ricky (can you suggest someone you think would be better??), and we know he was instrumental in shaping the series into the beloved show that is still watched daily around the world. He practically invented the three-camera system that is still used today, and it was Desi who pushed for the live studio audience, knowing that Lucy was even funnier with a live audience. To dismiss him is to ignore his major contribution to the series.

    • I feel the movie was unnecessary, not necessarily out of date. However, “Cabaret” had won 8 Academy Awards and made the standard movie musical, where people burst out into song at any given moment, seem passé.

      • Yes, Mame was out of date for the times. That said, it was at least true to the musical, as awful as it was. The movie version of Cabaret was tailored to a hip, 1970s audience; however, if you have ever seen the actual musical version of Cabaret, you’d realize how off kilter the movie was from the actual story and musical. In the musical, Sally Bowles was a fragile and failing character – she was not a great singer, much less a belter like Liza Minnelli. By the time she gets to the actual song “Cabaret,” she’s slowly falling apart, not becoming stronger and triumphant. I remember loving the movie – until I saw a local production of the musical and realized how frankly bad that movie interpretation was. But Hollywood had to do it’s thing, and as much as I love Liza, she won an Oscar for the most inappropriate and frankly WRONG interpretation of a character in musical history. Let me put it this way – would you have honestly believed a character with Liza’s charm and frankly her pipes playing in a low down cabaret in just pre-WWII Germany? I think not, and I’m grateful there have been subsequent Broadway productions that have shown who Sally was supposed to be.

  4. It’s a shame that George Cukor was forced to withdraw as director of “Mame’, but it’s also somewhat puzzling that Gene Saks was not able to inject more energy into the film “Mame”, as he had done when he directed the superb and lively movie versions of Neil Simon’s “Barefoot in the Park” and “The Odd Couple”. One senses that Saks threw up his hands, early on, and gave up.
    This is only speculation, but perhaps Lucille Ball intimidated him. She was not known for being particularly kind to directors and technicians. Her background, also, was Hollywood, not Broadway. Actors who get their early training on stage, rather than on screen, tend to be better at “long takes” and on maintaining a consistent characterization, rather than relying on a film editor to piece together an acceptable performance.
    I once heard Lucille Ball, in a television interview, comment that one doesn’t often THINK about characterization, but, rather, one just goes out there and DOES it.
    I beg to differ. Actors from the theatrical tradition devote a great deal of time to thinking about how they are going to approach character. Angela Lansbury has commented that she, herself, decided to pattern her stage characterization of Mame after the personality of the 1930’s movie actress Ina Claire.
    From an acting perspective, Lucille Ball, as Mame, didn’t seem to achieve any sort of characterization at all. Her line readings were acceptable, although the vocal damage she had suffered, from a lifetime of smoking and of strained speaking, made it increasingly difficult for her to inflect her speaking voice. This put a damper on her acting.
    Part of the problem is that Paul Zindel’s screenplay was remarkably devoid of humor. The character of Mame, in the movie, becomes little other than a “straight man” or foil for Robert Preston, Jane Connell, and Bea Arthur. In Lucille Ball, they had one of the best comediennes in screen history, but she was given very little funny dialogue to work with. Would that they had recruited Larry Gelbert to doctor the script. What Lawrence and Lee wrote, for the stage, worked for Russell and Lansbury, but they should have hired a screenwriter who knew how to play to Lucille Ball strengths.

    • You make a very strong point, David, regarding the less than impressive screenplay. Someone once said it is possible to make a bad picture from a good screenplay but you cannot make a good picture from a bad screenplay. Lucy had proved herself as a comedienne of standing prior to ‘Mame’. Perhaps, she should have chosen more carefully.

      • Good for you, Alan. I think a lot of people confuse actors with their beloved characters. My mother met Lucille Ball in the late 60s and had nothing nice to say about her. If you read between the lines in your article she sounds manipulative and egotistical.

        • Thank you. I am at a loss to understand how some people are afforded iconic status ahead of others. It probably has more to do with studio promotion than anything else. For instance, I have always felt that Jackie Gleason in ‘The Honeymooners’ was far funnier than Lucy, yet she gets the legendary status and he is regarded as an ‘also-ran’.

  5. I remember when the movie was released, it was such a joke. . .My aunt was a big fan of Lucy but when she saw the movie my aunt made the comment “What did they do film Lucy through linoleum.” If you are a Lucy fan I guess it doesn’t matter but the movie is just crap pure and simple.

    • True enough, Bob, but it would be sad if this one performance overshadows her achievements in the field of comedy, both in movies and on TV. She gave a lot of people worldwide a lot of enjoyment.

  6. Into the fray. I don’t mind MAME at all. Love the music and clever lyrics. Lucy’s singing is not good but I’d rather hear that than a phony dub job by Lisa Kirk or Marni Nixon. And Bea Arthur is made up to look awful but she’s still very funny as Vera.

    I’ve read that Lucy thought Rosalind Russell based her comedy style on Lucy’s TV character, but Roz had nailed this style back in 1939 in THE WOMEN, long before Lucy became famous as a comedienne. Oddly, both Lucy and Roz had both stated that Marion Davies was a big influence on their comedy styles.

    Lucy even stated in a book that she had appeared in Davies’ silent TILLIE THE TOILER in 1927. I don’t this is true but it was an attempt to make a connection.

    • Thankyou for your comments, Ed. I have always been a fan of Roz Russell who, I agree with you, was nailing her style long before Lucy hit it big. Marion may well have influenced both women. She had a flair for comedy that Hearst refused to let her utilize. Pity.

    • I agree re dubbing. And I have personally always loved Lucy’s heartfelt renditions. Fact is if Lucy had decided to be dubbed, all the nasty meanies would have attacked her and mocked her for that too. So she did the right thing and demonstrated integrity and respect for the intelligence of her audience.

      Also Lansbury was a supporting player in movies. And the bizarre Bedknobs & Broomsticks (in which Lansbury looks very dowdy) was not a financial success.

      Lucy looks every inch the movie star in Mame. The camera loved her – and yes, with the filters which have always been used on stars. It’s Hollywood tradition.

      • Obviously, the use of filters has been a Hollywood tradition for ages, but I still wish Lucy had not made ‘Mame’. It only damaged her legacy, one that had borne the test of time.

      • I feel the movie was unnecessary, not necessarily out of date. However, “Cabaret” had won 8 Academy Awards and made the standard movie musical, where people burst out into song at any given moment, seem passé.

    • And yet Lucille Ball never credits Mabel Normand for her comedic style. Mabel Normand stuffing her face with stolen from a cake strawberries was decades before Lucy stuffed hers with chocolates. Mabel was the original queen of slapstick. Only she did it on silent films and has never received the kudos deserved.

  7. Thank you, Alan, for providing the background I was seeking on this film. I’ve never seen it and don’t intend to, but I was curious as to how such a critical atrocity developed.

    My guess is that the intensity of the critics’ wrath was due to the perceived hubris on Ms. Ball’s part. By using her money and clout to supplant Ms. Lansbury in a role Lansbury brought to life on the stage was galling, and for Ball to ignore her vocal shortcomings and that she was too old to pull off the part must have been seen as vanity of the highest order, especially when the reviewers were forced to watch the evidence of this on a huge screen in scene after scene. No wonder their criticisms of Ball sounded so personal–they probably suffered from a form of PTSD long after the movie ended!

    I’m looking forward to reading your other posts. Very glad to have found your site.

      • I have watched the movie – saw it when it first came out when I was a teenager, and frankly, Lucy was a total embarrassment in the role. She could not sing, and to borrow from “Chicago, she was “stiffer than a girder.” The soft focus used on the closeups to hide her age were flat-out awful. Being a huge Broadway musical fan, I keep wondering what the movie would have been like with Angela Lansbury in the role she defined.

        Lucy was an amazing actress and comedienne, but she definitely had an issue with aging. Being a young Dave Clark 5 fan in the mid-sixties, I eagerly watched her 1966 TV special, “Lucy in London,” mostly to see the band. While it wasn’t bad, I realize now it was again another attempt by Lucy to act way younger and hipper than she really was. You can find it on YouTube, and seeing 55-year-old Lucy trying to play her Lucy Carmichael role but also be a “mod sixties bird” was jarring to say the least. That said, ironically, the mod fashions of the time actually suited her slender body frame and she looked good in many of them. The best moment in the the show was the Phil Spector “Lucy in London” music video number were Lucy was silent and dressed in all those glad rags. Sadly for me, the main appearance of the DC5 was them dressed in mourning clothes while singing “London Bridge” and “Pop Goes the Weasel” of all things while Lucy wore “Taming of the Shrew” drag and strolled with Anthony Newley…) The critical reception to the show was poor, and the Wikipedia page on the production noted that “problems arose in photographing the star on the London locations, where the use of heavy stage make-up and filtered lighting that was employed for her studio-based program could not be repeated.” Basically she looked “old” per her biographer, because of “difficulties in establishing flattering lighting for the outdoor sequences.”

        • Most interesting, Beth. Like so many entertainers, Lucy passed her ‘use by’ date and took no notice of it. Sad, because she really was a talented comedienne. Thankyou for your comments.

    • I respectfully request Joe that you actually watch the movie. The character of MAME is just that – a character Larger than Life and eccentric. It is worth watching for the costumes alone, done by the amazing Theodora Van Runkle. The cast is fantastic with the Great exception of Bea Arthur whose atrocious voice was FAR worse than Lucy’s! Kirby as young Patrick, John McGiver, Robert Preston, Bruce Davison, Joyce van Patton, Don Porter, even Jane Connell as a funny Gooch – all pros who make this a hoot. Natalie Wood’s singing being dubbed by Marni Nixon as a operatic soprano to me is much worse than hearing Lucy – whose voice we all know – singing for real. And as she said – Mame stayed up all night for years drinking and smoking! – how else would she sound? Roz Russell in Auntie Mame are FAR too stylized for me- esp with the Close-ups in an oval to end every scene with broad gestures. Ugh. The music is wonderful, even the dancing by Lucy and others is good; the staging is fabulous for any musical and this remains one of my top 10 films I enjoy over and over. The story spans 20-25 years. None of it is slapstick – the numbers are all heartfelt. PLEASE watch it with an open mind. Who cares about a little soft focus? Ignore that and enjoy the story and the acting and the music

  8. I have to agree with Alan R. Lucy made a terrible Mame. It should have gone to Angela Lansbury. However, I do think that the critics were ‘over the top’ in their criticism of Mame. They did not need to pillage Lucy. The box office receipts would make it clear that the movie was a failure. Lucy contributed so much to the development of the modern sit com that she was a pioneer. I pay her tribute for that, and think of Mame as an unfortunate mistake.

    • Fair enough, Ken. Everyone is titled to make a mistake. In Lucy’s case it was probably an example of an elderly woman clinging desperately to her youth, for she was 62 when they shot ‘Mame’ and simply too old for the role. Having said that, like you, I admire her contribution to sitcoms. Even today, many of the episodes of ‘I Love Lucy’ are hilarious. Thankyou for your comment.

      • #1 – 62 is FAR from Elderly. #2 Lucy received a Golden Globes Nom for best actress from the film #3 Ginger Rogers was 58 so would not have been much different #4 Did you hear Clint Eastwood Sing in Paint Your Wagon? Russell Crowe in les Miserables? Gerard Butler in Phantom?UGGGGGHHH. Puhleeze. give Lucy a break on this. Her voice was perf for her character. #5. We agree to disagree

        • Fair enough, Julie. It seems to be the norm these days to have non-singers singing in musicals, and compared to these people Lucy was certainly not a lot worse. Maybe, the likes of Shirley Jones and Jane Powell spoiled me back then. Speaking of lousy singers, I could not abide the warbling of Kathryn Grayson either. As for Ewan McGregor and ‘Moulin Rouge’…YUk!

  9. I saw Lucy’s Mame on opening day in Pittsburgh PA. I was eager to see it and was hoping to have a wonderful movie experience. I did not. After the admittedly magnificent cubist opening credits, it was all downhill and I mean fast. The movie is neither funny, entertaining, charming, or even camp. It is a boring, embarrassing, depressing mess and a complete failure and the majority of it falls on the shoulders of its woefully miscast star. I’m happy for those very few who liked it. I’m not here to insult anyone’s taste, but after a lifetime of watching movies of all type, I must say Mame is one of the worst movie musicals I’ve ever suffered. I give it a Z- grade.

  10. Thank you Lucille Ball for an afternoon of wonderful family fun enjoying this lovely movie. My mother and I enjoyed it so much . Perfectly done! Never knew about all the fuss. I thought she was funny and beautiful as always.

  11. I believe all those nay sayers of Lucy and Mame to be critics full of their own self importance.
    I saw this movie when it first came out and loved it. The production was luxe and Lucy was perfect for the role, playing the part with panache and style.
    Mame did as she said..proving to be wholesome family entertainment when gratuitus movie sex and violence were becoming the norm.
    On another note, I actually disliked the movie Auntie Mame and felt Russell’s acting was way over the top, silly and annoying.
    Lucille Ball in Mame may not have been Oscar worthy but certainly Russell in her portrayal, was not either. Talk about over-acting.
    Mame stands out as a terrific musical celebration and maybe people with their negative comments and critics with their negative criticism should remember that movies are about entertainment. Both Lucy and Mame are exactly that.

    • You liked Lucy’s performance. I did not. It is called a difference of opinion and that is ALL it is. I resent you saying I am full of my own self importance. The only person full of his self importance here is you my friend. In case you are unaware of it, it is possible to state your opinion WITHOUT insulting those whose opinions differ from yours. You should try it sometime. But not here.

      • Well, Alan you proved the poster you referenced to be exactly right. A response like that says much about where you’re coming from. I’m one of “those” who loved the Lucy version of Mame – in every way Lucy had the roll down, the personality, demeanor etc fit the character perfectly. I will agree, as a musician, she was long past singing well at that point, however, I think even that fit right in with the personality of the character – eccentric, self assured, over confident, filthy rich and didn’t give a damn about what anyone thought about her. She lived life to the fullest……Mame…..what a dame!!

        • I admire your unyielding loyalty to Lucy, Randy. Of course, you are not alone in that. She was a much-loved comedienne. ‘Mame’ was not the first musical to bomb, nor would it be the last, so the vitriole piled on the ageing star was far worse than she deserved. Far worse. Sadly, like a great many stars, she hung onto the spotlight too long. Not the first (or last) to make THAT mistake either. Interesting comments, Randy. Thank you.

    • You are joking, right? Lucy couldn’t act her way out of a paper bag. Lucy destroyed the character of Mame, and don’t get me started on her horrible signing.

  12. Interesting article, Alan. Makes me curious to see the film. Looks like the title song was filmed near the Huntington Library in Pasadena, rather than Georgia. Is that the case? I used to live in Glendale. Do you know when that scene was filmed, how long it took?

    • I cannot tell, Michael, if you are referring to ‘Mame’or to ‘Aunty Mame’ with Ros Russell. If you mean Lucy’s ‘Mame’, I cannot agree with you. If you mean Ros Russell, I agree wholeheartedly. That does not mean one of us is right and one wrong, of course. It simply means we have differing opinions.

      • It’s AUNTIE MAME not AUNTY MAME. And it’s Roz Russell or Rosiland Russell – but not Ros Russell. If you’re going to present your opinions with such confidence, accuracy would help your readers take you more seriously.

  13. Interestingly, MAME was a smash at Radio City music hall for the Easter 1974 show. The story about Lucy contributing money towards MAME is pretty much show biz myth though. She did aggressively pursue the role, but several sources that I’ve read deny that she put up money. The film does have a gorgeous production though, and that “Mame” number! Wow!

  14. There is a lot of bitchy innuendo and rehash of popular propaganda against this film, which, despite the orchestrated campaign of negativity, has stood the test of time and has actually improved with age. Ball is Mame for a generation of movie fans who saw it first run, she photographed like a true screen star / and old loser Lansbury has said in interviews that Lucy was considered for the Broadway show Mame before she was. So let’s take a fresh and fair look at Lucy’s wonderful Mame.

    • Thankyou for your comments, Leslie. Personal opinions of movies are always varied. You happened to like Lucy’s performance; I did not. That does not mean either of us is definitively right or wrong. We simply disagree. A lot of people thought ‘The Greatest Show on Earth’ was a good film (it won the Best Picture Oscar after all), whereas I thought it was lousy. On the other hand, I thoroughly enjoyed Michael Caine in ‘The Last Valley’, yet the critics belted his performance mercilessly. I could go on along the same lines forever. We must agree to disagree.

    • A generation of movie fans? Did you check out the box office receipts? Only a handful of that generation bothered to see Lucy demolish Mame.

  15. Lucille Ball was a consummate Entertainer performer and she cared about her audience. She wanted wholesome fun for the whole family to go see. I’m an extreme Lucille Ball fan and there’s nothing she ever did that I did not like. She deserves a lot of respect of young actors and actresses producers and directors she paved the way for many of them and privately she gave a lot of them jobs. Anyway since 1974 I’ve washed Maine every year at the holiday time. So let’s hear it for the Lucy. William Lewis impersonator Entertainer.

    • I have never questioned Lucy’s brilliance as a comedian and I never will, but far too many of her contemporaries complained about working with her, (especially on her TV show), for it to be ignored. As for her early days in Hollywood, well, she did what a great many pretty young things did to survive there. Needless to say, the executives, producers and the like were to blame for the plight many young women found themselves in. Lucy was just one of many. At least she managed to even some old scores in the end. As for her talentless jerk of a husband…

      • Are you referring to Desi Arnaz or Gary Morton? If the former, I can’t agree fully. Arnaz may have been a jerk, but he was far from talentless.

        • It is, of course, a matter of opinion, but I was referring to Arnaz. Re-runs of ‘I Love Lucy’ are run here in Perth every night and he often sings. Frankly, I think he has the worst singing voice I have EVER heard on a so-called singer in movies. If he possessed any other talents I am yet to hear of them. Lucy had all the talent in the family, in my opinion. Needless to say, Jan, your opinion is of equal value to mine, perhaps even superior to mine. Thankyou for your comments.

          • Desi Arnaz revolutionized the three camera sitcom – in other words, he single-handedly developed the modern television industry in its ability to utilize and preserve the rerun. Without this, the legacy of television from the 1950s forward would not have been preserved. He was a musician, conductor, actor and producer. His company produced The Andy Griffith Show, The Dick Van Dyke Show, The Lucy Show, Mission: Impossible, and Star Trek. Little things like that…
            Before you cavalierly dismiss someone as “talentless” (which is, yes, your opinion, but a vicious and unnecessary way to state it), you may want to do at least a tiny bit of research.

          • The man is remembered by most film and TV buffs as an actor/singer, bandleader, not for his role as a producer of TV shows. My description of him as ‘talentless’ referred to his singing, dancing, acting and bandleading, NOT what he did behind the scenes. His PERFORMING was mediocre at best and he was carried by his wife’s talent. I did not research his ‘behind the scenes’ accomplishments as a producer because, frankly, producers are a dime a dozen in that business. Keep your advice to yourself and find someone else to offer it to. I’m not interested in your opinions!

  16. Lucy was not so much a drinker (yes, she enjoyed Jack Daniels & coke) during socials and hours of playing backgammon. Bill Frawley had a long career as a character actress and prior to Lucy was known for heavy drinking, and love of horse racing, boxing and baseball. Desi Arnaz wanted Frawley to play the role of Freed Mertz and warned him if he showed up to work drinking, he was fired! Needless to say, Frawley performed to perfection and he, Desi and Lucy were lifetime friends.

  17. I will always love Lucy because it was with her strong support that her Desilu studio produced the television pilots for Star Trek & Mission:Impossible. Two of my favorite TV series.

  18. I was never really a big fan of the Lucy show. I couldn’t stand that awful noise she made when upset, but I viewed Mame on television when I was a young adult and I enjoyed it immensely. It was whacky, provoked social commentary and I felt that the vocals fit the character. All in all, it was a little madcap and a good bit of fun.

    • Thank you for your comments, Pamela. The wonderful thing about movies is that we all view them differently. And who is to say that any one person’s opinion is any better or worse than another’s. Not me, that’s for sure. In my site I voice my own personal opinions, nothing more. Just a bit of fun really. Thanks again.

    • I don’t think she was, Sheila. She was a hard-nosed business woman, but as far as I am aware she never had a drinking problem. Bill Frawley (Fred Mertz) sure as hell did though.

  19. As a kid, loved Rosalind Russell in the original pro.
    “Picture of Dorian Gray;” Don’t remember Angela Lansbury though. Also immersed myself
    in the book. [Just watched “Suspect,” 1944. Chas. Laughton, Ella Raines; really well done interesting story, well acted. Remembered Raines’ name; Hawks connection. TH&Have Not?]

1 Trackback / Pingback

  1. DiscoverNet | Inside Lucille Ball’s Tragic Life

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published.


This site uses Akismet to reduce spam. Learn how your comment data is processed.