When Lucille Ball and Desi Arnaz were riding high in 1953 as the stars of I Love Lucy, they decided to capitalize on their show’s popularity by signing to do the movie The Long, Long Trailer.
What is not widely known is that the release of the movie in 1954 about a couple on a rocky honeymoon meant pulling the plug on I Love Lucy: The Movie, a feature film version of their sitcom that had already been completed.
MGM, the studio releasing Trailer, balked because they felt that having the “Lucy” movie in theaters would interfere with the film’s marketing.
“We had heard about how three episodes were adapted into a movie, and it was something we were always curious about and had been looking for,” said Ron Simon, curator of the Museum of Television and Radio in Beverly Hills told me in 2006 when the film was screened there. “We’re really fortunate that it was located. It’s really one of the missing pieces of Lucy’s career, and we’re awfully glad to have it.”
I Love Lucy: The Movie had a successful test screening in Bakersfield before it was shelved, then lost for many years, before being located in a CBS vault by Dann Cahn, one of the handful of people who had been looking for it.
The movie was actually three episodes of the sitcom, The Ballet, The Benefit and Breaking the Lease, which were linked together with 12 minutes of specially shot footage featuring Ball, Arnaz, Vivian Vance and William Frawley — who made up the classic quartet of Lucy, Ricky, Fred and Ethel.
The movie was a behind-the-scenes look at I Love Lucy, which began with two audience members waiting in line for the show and then shows Arnaz warming up the studio audience and introducing the cast.
“Lucille Ball was so close to the museum and did quite a few seminars for us before she died,” Simon said in our interview. “We always wanted to have as complete a “Lucy” collection as possible.”
The movie had previously only been available as part of the complete DVD set of the series. It is now available individually for the first time.
TNT has ordered a third season of the gritty cop drama Southland, which features a gay cop played by Michael Cudlitz.
As you probably know, the show was saved by TNT after NBC canceled it just weeks before its second season premiere. It’s just been announced that the cable network will produced 10 new episodes for season three which will begin airing next January.
“Southland is a challenging, visceral show that engages viewers with its immersive style, provocative storylines and complex characters,” said TNT exec Michael Wright said in a statement. “These qualities have made Southland a favorite among critics and appointment viewing for an extremely loyal audience.”
The show focuses on a rookie patrol cop, played by Ben McKenzie, who is paired with the street-wise cop played by Cudlitz. The cast also includes Regina King, Kevin Alejandro, Arija Bareikis, Shawn Hatosy, Michael McGrady and Tom Everett Scott.
It was a several weeks-long bout with insomnia a few years back that first made me aware of Ryan Owens.
I’d lie in bed or on the sofa wondering if sleep would ever again come and would end up watching ABC News Now which was co-anchored by Ryan.
I liked the show because you got to see a bit of the anchor’s personalities and, well, I also thought Ryan was really cute.
His career has risen swiftly at ABC since he started on that middle-of-the-night newscast. He can now be seen covering major stories for World News with Diane Sawyer. He has also reported from Iraq, where he covered the American and Iraqi crackdown in Sadr City.
Prior to joining ABC, Ryan was a reporter for the NBC affiliates in Boston and Cincinatti. Before that the 1995 graduate of Northwestern University reported in the Chattanooga, TN and Evansville, IN markets.
I’m suffering from withdrawals after four days of the TCM Classic Film Festival.
It was a magical event and I hope it will become an annual thing. The location was perfect: Hollywood.
To see The Graduate, The Producers, North By Northwest, Saturday Night Fever and other films inside Grauman’s Chinese Theatre and Casablanca down the street at the historic Egyptian Theatre was something I never thought would happen.
Here are some of the things I learned during the festival:
Lorna Luft’s children had never before seen grandma Judy Garland’s movie A Star is Born on the big screen until last week … Director John Badham told us that the walls of the dance hall in Saturday Night Fever were achieved with aluminum foil hung on the walls then covered with Christmas lights … Two weeks before filming began 0n Fever, only John Travolta had been cast … Tab Hunter told us the studio was considering replacing Gwen Verdon with a movie star name in Damn Yankees … Ray Walston’s performance in Yankees is even funnier when you watch it with an audience … Seeing North By Northwest on the giant movie screen at Grauman’s Chinese Theatre revealed just how hairy leading man Cary Grant’s knuckles were … Mel Brooks told us that The Producers was originally going to be called Springtime for Hitler but the studio demanded a title change … Brooks was set to cast Dustin Hoffman in a supporting role until he got cast opposite Brooks’ wife Anne Bancroft in The Graduate … Two beloved characters from the sitcom Bewitched - Esmeralda (Alice Ghostley) and Aunt Clara (Marion Lorne) share a funny scene with Hoffman in a hotel ballroom … Another Bewitched alum, Agnes Moorehead, was sensational in Orson Wells-directed The Magnificent Ambersons … Joseph Cotten has never more sexy then he was in Ambersons. … I also learned that four movies in one day is pretty much my limit and I can really can’t stop from eating all my popcorn before the movie starts!
For a long time, it seemed like Molly Ringwald was frozen in time in all those wonderful John Hughes movies she starred in in the 80s.
She left an indelible impression in Sixteen Candles, The Breakfast Club and Pretty In Pink, among other films (She was also so very good in the wrenching 1985 TV movie Surviving about teen suicide).
Molly’s never stopped working in movies (Betsy’ Wedding), television (Townies) and on the Broadway stage (Cabaret, Learning to Drive). But it’s only since she took the role of a mother of a pregnant teen in the ABC Family series, The Secret Life of the American Teenager, that Molly has returned to the spotlight in a big way.
Her show is in its third season, she has a new self-help book out called Getting the Pretty Back, and Molly also reunited with several of her co-stars from the Hughes films for a tribute to their late director at this year’s Academy Awards.
Molly had a nice chat with Brandon Voss for The Advocate and I’ve got a portion of it here:
Tell me about the humorous “Vote No on Prop. 8” video that you and your husband filmed in 2008.
My friend Matt knew somebody that was doing it and wanted me to be a part of it, so of course I said I would. It was important to me to do because it seems absolutely crazy that people who love each other can’t marry. It’s unfair the way the whole Prop. 8 thing went down — the act of voting no on something instead of yes was confusing, and it felt like a train wreck from the very beginning. Right now it’s frustrating, but years from now it’s going to seem crazy, like, “Oh, my God, we had slavery? We thought it was OK to enslave people?” Matt and Greg, the godparents of my children, have a relationship and a marriage that most people could only aspire to have.
Have you always been conscious of your gay fan base?
Since most my friends are gay, it would be hard not to be aware of it now, but I don’t think I realized it early on in my career because I don’t know that I definitely had that fan base until later. I became pretty aware of it in the ’90s, after some time had passed, and especially when I was living in New York and doing a lot of theater.
I feel like the gay community might’ve identified with the general outcast characters in your John Hughes films, but why do you think there was no gay representation?
Maybe it was just too soon and too controversial at the time, but from what I understand, John was a big Republican. I really didn’t know this back then, and maybe he wasn’t when I was working with him, but I guess he became one. Not to say that all Republicans are antigay, but historically, you know, that has to rub off a little bit, right?
Though there were no gay characters, homosexuality was addressed in those early films through the frequent use of the word “fag.” Your character, Samantha, called Anthony Michael Hall’s Geek a “fag” in Sixteen Candles. “You die, fag” is scrawled on Bender’s locker in The Breakfast Club. And though it’s never spelled out, some of those outcast characters I mentioned — Duckie in Pretty in Pink, Brian in The Breakfast Club — almost seem like gay characters, in a way.
Yeah, completely! I totally know what you mean, and if those films were done today, those characters probably would’ve been gay. But sometimes I wonder if John was even aware of that. I don’t know that he was. What made those movies so interesting and so hard for people to replicate is that for some reason John was still somehow emotionally in the mind-set of those teenagers. Usually you can hear when an adult clearly wrote something for a kid character, but John’s movies don’t sound like that because he was still emotionally in that place. So you know how some kids can be gay and not know it? Or maybe they kind of know it but aren’t facing it? I feel like maybe John was writing those characters like that.
You were a regular on the first season of The Facts of Life. What do you remember about that infamous 1979 pilot episode, in which Blair insinuates that her tomboy classmate, Cindy, is a lesbian?
I remember nothing about that. Wow. Now that you say that, it sort of rings a bell, but I did not remember that at all.
Were you too young to understand the gay implications?
I knew what being gay was before I did Facts of Life because I did the West Coast production of Annie, which opened in San Francisco, and all the dressers were gay. I remember my mom talking to me about it. I was actually in San Francisco right when all that stuff was going on with Harvey Milk. I remember my mom talking to me about the Twinkie defense, and she told me the whole story of the murders, how it was a travesty, and how it never should’ve happened. We had conversations about what it meant to be gay, so I knew about that when I did Facts of Life, but for some reason I don’t remember that episode.
Your character was phased out at the very beginning of season 2, but surely you remember the sexual tension between Blair and Jo when Nancy McKeon joined the cast.
[Laughs] You know, Nancy McKeon sort of replaced me in a way. They were trimming down the cast to just four girls, and originally I was going to be one of those girls. But then they changed their mind, decided to go with Nancy McKeon, and booted me out.
Maybe it’s because I am so sick of the often mindless noise that is The Insider, Access Hollywood and Entertainment Tonight, this interview with Adam Lambert on the UK’s GMTV is so refreshing.
It’s not a long interview, but Adam actually gets to have a conversation and speak in more than quick soundbites before the show cuts to the latest scintillating (not!) detail of Larry King’s divorce or a feature on of Tiger Woods’ or Jesse James’ alleged mistresses (yawn).
Anyway, back to Adam. He’s a very smart, articulate and charming guy and if more US shows would stop having the attention span of a gnat, we’d get to see that more!
Here is the interview PLUS Adam’s performance of For Your Entertainment!
GLAAD’s President Jarrett Barrios and I had a chat at the recent media awards in Los Angeles. The Gay and Lesbian Alliance Against Defamation works to empower people to share their stories, tries to hold the media accountable for the words and images they present, and helps grassroots organizations communicate effectively.
Recently, GLAAD issued a Call to Action against CNN for featuring discredited “ex-gay” Richard Cohen on a segment regarding California’s “gay cure” bill as well as ABC daytime’s decision to pull the plug on the One Life to Live gay storyline that featured the gay characters of Oliver Fish (Scott Evans) and Kyle Lewis (Brett Claywell).
Here is our conversation:
Q. Let me ask you about what happened on One Life to Live and the Fish and Kyle storyline being written out. It was like a dagger in our hearts.
A. When you think about the demographic of the folks that we need to persuade to support gay, lesbian, bisexual, transgender equality, it’s a lot of those women – and men – who stay at home during the daytime and watch daytime television. Having an openly gay character in a relationship, having an openly gay depiction of affection and love, it’s so important. When we talk about gay marriage, it’s not about special rights, it’s about people who love each other. If you can’t understand that love because you’ve never seen it, you’re not as likely to support our equality. That’s why that storyline has been so important. It’s really unfortunate that things didn’t continue.
Q. GLAAD and some of the other LGBT organizations come under a lot more fire from bloggers and others these days who feel you aren’t being very effective or maybe reacting quickly enough to situations.
A. We’re not a blog. If you’re running a blog you can immediately go in and go after like CNN. But before we go after CNN, we have to do our homework. We have to investigate and confirm … We are viewed as a reliable resource for a lot of members of the press so we need to make sure. A lot of times it takes 48-72 hours before we can respond. So sometimes you’ll hear, ‘Where’s GLAAD?’ Well GLAAD is getting its ducks in a row so that when we do take action, we’ve made sure that we’ve checked out facts, we’ve dotted out i’s and crossed out t’s and our advocacy can be that much more effective.”
Q. Media has grown and changed so much because of the Internet and cable, there’s so much more to kep track of. How has that changed how GLAAD does its job?
A. Media has grown in some areas but it’s shrunk in other areas. There are fewer newspapers than there were five years ago. Where it’s grown is in social media: Facebook and Twitter presence. The advocacy we do reaching people through social media has grown immensely. And our advocacy impact has grown too because it’s so much easier now to reach people. Put it on Facebook, put it on Twitter, and people take action immediately. It’s very important that GLAAD take full advantage of that.
The Morning Man Classic comes a day late because I was immersed in the TCM Classic Film Festival all weekend.
Yesterday morning, I made it to Grauman’s early for a screening of Damn Yankees which was a late addition to the festival. It was such a joy to see on the big screen for the first time and leading man Tab Hunter was beyond beautiful.
So it was such a thrill when after the movie ended, out came Tab himself still looking fab at the age of 78. He talked about being the only major cast member not from the Broadway production and how studio head Jack Warner bought the property specifically for him.
A few days earlier, I did a brief interview with Tab and wondered if life had changed for him much since the publication of his autobiography Tab Hunter Confidential: The Making of a Movie Star a few years back. In the book, he not only shared details of his Hollywood hey-day, he also publicly confirmed that he is gay.
“I wrote is because I didn’t want some schmuck writing about me after I was dead and gone,” he said. “I figured get it from the horse’s mouth and not from horse’s ass after I’m no longer here so that’s exactly why I wrote it.”
Tab was closeted during his career as were other stars of his generation (Rock Hudson, Richard Chamberlain etc) and I wondered what he thought of some of these younger actors who are coming out such as Neil Patrick Harris, John Barrowman, Luke Macfarlane etc).
He said: “That’s up to the individual. I never talk about those things. The only thing that’s important is the work and growing as a human being from A to Z. Your growth mentally, physically and spiritually. Those are the three most important things on this journey of life.”
His advice to younger actors, gay or straight: “Put your nose to the grindstone. Ego’s a killer, remember that.”
Tab says life is good these days: “I live in Santa Barbara and I write and I work in my garden. I’ve got my dogs and my horse and I’ve got some nice friends. I’m doing all right for an old man.”
What about acting again?
Tab: “That was my past life.”
And what a past life! His birth name was Arthur Andrew Kelm and he was given the name Tab Hunter by agent Henry Wilson when he got a contract at Warner Bros.
He got a role in the film Island of Desire then became a star in the movie Battle Cry as a young man who has an affair with an older woman then ends up marrying the girl next door.
He then became a recording star with the number one hit Young Love which led to the starring role in Damn Yankees. A few years later, he turned to television with The Tab Hunter Show which lasted one year on NBC then moved to Europe to star in a series of spaghetti Westerns.
After fading from view in the 70s, Tab made a comeback in the early 80s in a series of movies including Grease 2 and most significantly, the films Polyester and Lust in the Dust.
During Hollywood’s studio era, Hunter once said in an interview that life “was difficult for me, because I was living two lives at that time. A private life of my own, which I never discussed, never talked about to anyone. And then my Hollywood life, which was just trying to learn my craft and succeed…” The star emphasizes that the word ‘gay’ “wasn’t even around in those days, and if anyone ever confronted me with it, I’d just kinda freak out. I was in total denial. I was just not comfortable in that Hollywood scene, other than the work process.”
it was a real who’s who at last night’s premiere of the musical Promises, Promises starring Sean Hays and Kristen Chenoweth.
This was a major happening with so many of our favorite stars on hand and I’ve selected some pics of those who fit into one (or more!) categories: 1) gay icon 2) openly gay 3.) handsome as hell.
Among them are John Stamos who arrived with the great Liza Minnelli, dreamy Cheyenne Jackson, a goatee-wearing T.R. Knight, Tony winner (The Boy from Oz) and big-screen heartthrob Hugh Jackman, my all-time crush Harry Connick Jr., Tony winner (Cabaret) Alan Cumming, Tony winner (Curtains) David Hyde Pierce, and Zachary Quinto.
Believe it or not, this is just the tip of the iceberg. Also in attendance were Vanessa Williams, Joan Rivers, Chloe Sevigny, Brooke Shields, Chelsea Clinton, Marlo Thomas and Phil Donahue, Neil Simon, Ellen Greene, Jane Krakowski and others.
Meryl Streep has so rarely, if ever, don’t a straight-up romantic comedy.
Then late last year, she added to her growing list of box office hits when she teamed up with Alec Baldwin and Steve Martin for It’s Complicated about a couple that embark on an extramarital affair with each other 10 years after their divorce.
While Meryl’s character is enjoying sex with the married ex who had left her for a younger woman, she has also begun dating a very sweet architect who is supervising an addition to her home.
In this clip, Meryl and Steve go to a party – and get stoned!
They are a lot of fun in this scene which, if you haven’t seen yet, you can rent or buy on DVD when the m0vie becomes available for home viewing on Tuesday,
TRIBUTE: It was 20 years ago that Ryan White died from AIDS and by his side was Elton John to whom he had become close.
Elton remembers Ryan beautifully in a letter published in the Washington Post.
Here are some excerpts:
I remember so well when we first met. A young boy with a terrible disease, you were the epitome of grace. You never blamed anyone for the illness that ravaged your body or the torment and stigma you endured.
When students, parents and teachers in your community shunned you, threatened you and expelled you from school, you responded not with words of hate but with understanding beyond your years. You said they were simply afraid of what they did not know.
When the media heralded you as an “innocent victim” because you had contracted AIDS through a blood transfusion, you rejected that label and stood in solidarity with thousands of HIV-positive women and men. You reminded America that all victims of AIDS are innocent.
When you became a celebrity, you embraced the opportunity to educate the nation about the AIDS epidemic, even though your only wish was to live an ordinary life.
Ryan, I wish you could know how much the world has changed since 1990, and how much you changed it.
I miss you so very much, Ryan. I was by your side when you died at Riley Hospital. You’ve been with me every day since. You inspired me to change my life and carry on your work. Because of you, I’m still in the struggle against AIDS, 20 years later. I pledge to not rest until we achieve the compassion for which you so bravely and beautifully fought.
Leslie Jordan’s new one-man show My Trip Down the Pink Carpet just opened at the Midtown Theatre and the reviews have been stellar. BroadwayWorld.com has photos from last week’s opening night and I wanted to share some of them with you including Leslie with Lily Tomlin who is producing the show along with her partner Jane Wagner. Also present at the opening was Tony winner Cynthia Nixon.
As tonight’s episode of Brothers & Sisters drew to a close, Kevin and Scotty were laying on their bed looking at books of baby names.
They even kissed!
What is the world coming to?
I’m so impressed – and appreciative – that the show has allowed the relationship and now marriage of Kevin (Matthew Rhys) and Scotty (Luke Macfarlane) to grow over four seasons into the happiest and most solid of all of the Walker siblings.
They have been trying to have a baby via surrogate and on Sunday’s episode, found out that they are going to become daddies!
This is a beautiful thing and such a contrast to how poorly ABC daytime handled the relationship between Oliver (Scott Evans) and Kyle (Brett Claywell) by writing them off One Life to Live just as they welcomed Oliver’s baby daughter into their lives.
The show blamed the gay storyline for a rating plummet but now ratings are even lower. I have not watched a single scene of the show since Oliver and Kyle left and I have no doubt I am the only fan who feels completely offended by how things ended and how the actors who had grown so fond of were treated.
It’s just so nice to have things being handled differently in ABC primetime.
I Had planned to post my interview with actor Philip Winchester this weekend to coincide with the LA and NYC release of his film In My Sleep which I really liked.
Well, I’m caught up at the TCM Film Festival so the posting will be a few days late but wanted to remind you about the movie which opened last night at Sunset 5 in West Hollywood. Showtimes today are: 1:40, 4:20, 7:10 and 9:50.
Philip plays a guy named Marcus. He wakes up in a cemetery barely dressed. We find out that he suffers from parasomnia, a rare form of sleep disorder which causes him to do things in his sleep, which he cannot remember the next day.
One morning, Marcus wakes up covered in blood with a knife at his side. Then, the wife of his best friend is found dead, stabbed to death. He begins investigating his own nocturnal activities, following clues and trying to figure out what happens after he goes to sleep at night.
Philip is terrific in the film and, well, he wears very little in many of the scenes because he’s sleepwalking! (He does a lot more than walk!)
The hunky actor told me that he had to work out extra hard prior to filming because his character is a swimmer. He most certainly achieved the desired result!
In our interview, I also discovered that the film’s poster was shot long after production wrapped (it’s a good thing Philip stays in such great shape!) He was appearing on stage in New York when writer-director Allen Wolf went to his hotel to get some shots.
Chaz Bono looked relaxed and happy at the recent GLAAD Media Awards in Los Angeles.
I have so much respect for the only child of Cher and Sonny Bono who has been very public about his transition from female to male and was glad we got the chance to talk about it a little bit.
Q. You see happier. How has the year been?
Chaz: It’s been a good year, it’s been a really good year.
Q. It takes a lot of courage to do all this in front of the world and because of your name, you can help people understand the journey. Do you feel like people are starting to get it a little bit?
Chaz: I think so. I’ve done a few interviews and I’ve got some a few projects coming out where I hope I’ll be able to go even more in-depth. And I hope people do start to get it. I’m not only happier, I’m a lot more comfortable. Everything in my life is just a lot easier now.
Q. What can you say about your upcoming projects?
A. I’ve got a book and a documentary. I’m in the process of both right now. I think for the book we’re looking at next April [for release] and they’re going to try and get them out at the same time. So a year from now.
Q. You were a cute girl and now you are an attractive man too. How’s that feeling?