Lucie Arnaz on mom Lucille Ball’s legacy: “She wrung every last bit of humor and fun out of everything they gave her.”
October 15 marks the 60th anniversary of the airing of the first episode of I Love Lucy.
So you can count of a very heavy Lucy week here on Greg In Hollywood.
TV Guide magazine has a terrific interview with Lucille Ball’s daughter, Lucie Arnaz, and I want to share a portion of it with you:
TV Guide Magazine: Did your mom have a favorite episode?
Arnaz: She said she had two. The sweet one when Lucy has to tell Ricky she’s having a baby ["Lucy Is Enceinte," 12/8/52]. The emotion of the scene got the better of them and they started to tear up. They thought they’d have to redo that shot, but everyone on the set said, “No, no, no!” The wild and crazy [favorite episode] was when Lucy dresses up as the Queen of the Gypsies ["The Operetta," 10/13/52]. She said, “I loved getting into costumes with my teeth all blacked out. I thought I looked hysterical, and I never had such a good time as with that silly-ass song and trying to hit that note.”
TV Guide Magazine: Did your mother get a lot of pleasure from doing I Love Lucy?
Arnaz: It was her only pleasure! She and Viv [Vivian Vance], Dad and Bill [William Frawley] had so much fun at work they never wanted to go home. She loved the whole process.
TV Guide Magazine: Did she feel that joy with her other TV shows?
Arnaz: My mother absolutely loved going to the studio every day and being that Lucy character. Nothing in her life ever made her happier, and that’s why when it ended and she didn’t have it anymore, I watched her deteriorate emotionally.
TV Guide Magazine: Was your mom anything like her iconic on-screen character?
Arnaz: She was opinionated and professorial and not the person that you would expect. People thought she was like Lucy Ricardo. And she wasn’t at all.
TV Guide Magazine: You worked with your mom on Here’s Lucy for six years. What were the most special moments?
Arnaz: When we were doing a dance number or singing. That wasn’t her bailiwick, so I would be all excited and she would go, “I can’t do this!” We would help each other. When we got it right, we’d be, “Yay! We did a dance together!” It was a wonderful bonding experience.
TV Guide Magazine: Why do you think people are still laughing at Lucy 60 years later?
Arnaz: The brilliant writing and execution! None of the actors played it like it was funny. They played it for real and [the audience] bought into it. It’s the best medicine ever. My mom made a tonic that never had to be renewed. The date on it never expires. You can always drink it and feel better.